I've had so many thoughts I'd like to post about my experience in a master class but have been too busy to sit down and write. I'm forcing myself to throw down the points I do remember before it all becomes a distant memory!
First of all, Emily was great! She braved crazy weather across the country to give us all such a great experience. Her master class was the inaugural meeting of the Atlanta Cello Project, started by my friend Ann. It is a group of cello enthusiasts in Atlanta..currently at 30+ members. The master class drew 15+ people even though we had a snow storm that day!
Without a lot of thought (and hopefully not too redundant), here are some observations from my experience in preparing for the master class:
1. I played the Haydn C, first mvt. I thought I had been working on this (on and off) for a year but in looking back at my blog..it's actually been 1.5 years! ha! It did get exponentially better in the weeks leading up to the class though. I'd say I really really worked on it in preparation for the master class for about 2 months.
2. Having this goal changed my practices. It forced me to work on the parts of this piece that were hard for me. I didn't have the luxury of ignoring them anymore. Runs that I thought were impossible had to become a possibility so I focused my practices on making the impossible possible. The other downside of brushing over problem areas for so long is that you actually train your ear to ignore the problem areas. My teacher pointed that out in many places. As if I didn't have enough to work on, I also had to re-train my ear to the hear the right thing.
3. The impossible did start becoming possible! It was interesting. Before, I couldn't fathom how I could ever play the harder parts with any consistency. If you work on it enough...it will come.
4. Positions that seemed physically impossible became possible as well. There were a few thumb position double stops that I just accepted as positions that my hand just does not do. Guess what? If you practice the position enough times...it does become 'not uncomfortable'. I learned to accept that uncomfortable positions can be comfortable with enough practice.
5. I have to start practicing with a metronome all the time. I did this in the month leading up to the master class but I still clipped my rhythms when I performed. If I started practicing with a metronome from the start - I wouldn't have had to un-practice the rhythm problems. Sounds easy enough but so hard to do. Why did I think that a month of practice with the metronome would undo the 1+ year of practicing it without?
6. Fix problem areas from the start instead of practicing the wrong way only to un-practice it later and repractice it the right way. I am doing this more in my practices. Un-practicing is SO boring so it is a pretty good motivator.
7. The best part? My lessons became more productive too. I had a goal...and because of that, my teacher had a goal. Lessons became focused as well.
I learned a lot from the experience and look forward to more opportunities like this! I also enjoyed meeting Emily...after years of chatting with her via blog comments...it was nice to chat live.