The Instrumental Quintet offered Masterclasses to Five BYU School of Music Classes
Imagine having professional musicians come to your own classroom — no glamorous field trip needed! The Imani Winds quintet group provided masterclasses to BYU music students on Tuesday, February 7th in the university’s new Music Building.
All five members of the award-winning music group taught classes divided by instrument — including horn, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and flute.
Kevin Newton, the horn player for Imani Winds, selected a few students in his designated class to play live pieces, then gave them feedback.
It could seem a bit intimidating to play in front of the class — not to mention a successful musician — but BYU music students welcome the opportunity to learn from masters in their discipline. Students reported that Newton’s fresh perspective and emphasis on emotion’s correlation with music and how it can speak to others helped them think about making music in new ways.
“Music, like all art, reflects the human experience. You have no idea that people need you or have no idea what they’re going through,” Newton said. He encouraged the students to “change the way they think” about music and to focus on efficient practice. Doing so, he told attendees, would help them both gain technical mastery and improve at connecting with their audiences.
Elizabeth, an instrumentalist from Boston, was the first to play her piece in front of the class. After finishing it, the guest artist asked, “What does this piece make you think of?” Elizabeth responded that it made her think of a peaceful lake, but with a tinge of trauma.
“We need to be able to feel the point at which that [thought] happens,” Newton said. He drew the image to something famous pianist Arthur Rubinstein used to do, called the “psychic transferral of emotional energy.”
This means playing a musical piece as if to a specific person, such as a loved one, “who is in the corner of the room… [as if] you’re having a conversation with them…never lose touch with the person, knowing that they’ll say, ‘oh yeah, that was awesome,’” said Newton.
Life application and emotional awareness in music were the common themes of Newton’s guest visit in particular. The BYU students present were ready to learn and now have new goals to improve their skills.