This story recently appeared in the winter 2012 edition of Harker Quarterly.
Before their performance at the Harker Concert Series in late September, renowned jazz pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist John Shifflett and rummer Jason Lewis held a master class in the Nichols Hall auditorium to help upper and middle school students improve their musicianship both as individuals and members of a group.
Students gathered around Eigsti as he sat at the piano and offered his advice. When improvising, he told the students, it is good to “leave a little space” so that he can hear what his bandmates are doing and perhaps give them some room to add flourishes of their own.
The upper school jazz band played their rendition of John Coltrane’s “Blue Train” for the trio, who then gave them advice on how to improve, warning them against cutting into one another’s soloing time and advising them to be mindful of signals from their bandmates.
On Oct. 26, the members of the Parker Quartet gave a special master class to Harker music students prior to the quartet’s performance at the Harker Concert Series later that evening, offering advice on both how to improve their individual technique as well as how to play as a more cohesive unit.
Members of the upper school string quartet played portions of a piece they were learning and received pointers on how to bring about the desired emotional impact. Parker Quartet members also sat in with the Harker student musicians as they played through sections of the piece to demonstrate the principles they spoke about.
Parker Quartet violist Jessica Bodner advised the students to interpret the music they played “not so much as a technician but as a musician,” while violinist David McCarroll noted, “There are a lot of very fast changes of character that you could bring out more,” and that the musicians should be “looking for differences of character as much as possible.”
See the full story on both these concerts at the links below.