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School of Music

From NYC to Provo - The 5 Browns Share Music and Insights for Piano Performers

BYU’s piano students had the privilege of playing for The 5 Browns and hear their personalized advice

People Magazine dubbed Utah’s own The 5 Browns the “Fab Five,” but they don’t just play beautifully. They also give back, like the recent masterclass they hosted with BYU School of Music.

Named the “Fab Five” by People magazine, The 5 Browns piano group came and shared a bit of their expertise with BYU’s piano students.

Originally from Alpine, Utah, The 5 Browns are the first set of 5 siblings to have been accepted simultaneously into New York’s Juilliard School.

The piano professionals have been recognized on Oprah, PBS, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America and numerous other media sources. Their unique approach to piano has gained them a great deal of recognition, making their advice quite valuable to BYU’s piano players.

Students Jacob Warnick and Tanner Jorden both had the opportunity to play and receive suggestions. Warnick was a bit anxious to play for The 5 Browns.

“Typically when you're playing for somebody you don't have to worry about particulars,” he said, continuing, “It's a little bit more nerve-racking, because hear everything. It's really important to pay more attention to the details.”

Despite initial nerves, Warnick said the feedback was helpful. He received personal critiques from Melody, as she walked him through specific areas of the song that could use improvement. She noted that he seemed to become more comfortable the longer he was onstage.

Melody focused on the tempo, differentiation in texture and varying dynamics. She applauded Warnick on his technique. She suggested that an element of surprise be added to the song, especially in key changes, making sure not to “show everything at once.”

Warnick said he benefited from Melody’s advice. “It’s not very common that you get to play for someone with so much talent and to get such great feedback,” he said

Jorden shared his experience performing for Gregory.

When Jorden first discovered he would be given a chance to play for The 5 Browns, he said he felt “super excited, because listened to their music a lot.”

Prior to performing, he made sure to mentally prepare as he looked forward to playing and taking in the expert guidance that was soon to come.

Gregory emphasized the importance of storytelling through music and creating imagery. He expounded on the history of the piece that Jorden played, encouraging him to better understand the song and what it was trying to say.

“When you get the balance just right, the emotional effect on you and the listener is so much more impactful,” Gregory said.

Jorden appreciated the advice and the way in which Gregory approached the piece.

“I'll be a little bit more thoughtful about where I'm taking time; why I'm taking time,” Jordan said. “I'll be more thoughtful about where I put the climaxes, looking more into what the composer meant by his dynamics instead of looking right at the dynamics.”

Both students walked away from the special experience looking forward to improving their piano-playing skills.

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To discover more about The 5 Browns, visit https://www.the5browns.com/.

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