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Malcolm Kemp

Organ masterclass DVDs - a challenge

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I am sure that I've told you all before that a couple of years ago I discovered a couple of American websites that produce fantastic DVDs and videos of masterclasses in orchestral and choral conducting as well as choir training. The best of these involve the Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

 

Very recently I discovered the English website of the Masterclass Media Foundation when I ordered a DVD of Simon Carrington doing a choral conducting masterclass at last year's Three Choirs. From that same site I've also found masterclasses in piano, singing and orchestral conducting, although the catalogue is far broader than that. Some of the masterclasses were recorded at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. All are of a very high standard and the DVDs arrive almost by return of post.

 

As a result of some courses/seminars I've been on in recent months and some related research I've been doing, I've become particularly interested in how our brains process learning and it is clear that different people learn in different ways. I have a student, not the most academically/intellectually gifted person on the planet but well worth teaching, and I'm still trying to decipher how he learns most effectively. I've spoken before about how helpful I find the Priory (and other) DVDs in watching player's techniques &c., and I personally find this a very helpful aid to learning.

 

What I cannot find anywhere (apart from about three uninspiring looking examples on the Organ Historical Society website) is any DVDs of organ playing masterclasses. This is a great pity. Are there any commercially available anywhere? If not, do members of this forum think they might be worthwhile if anyone could be persuaded to produce and market them?

 

Malcolm

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I am sure that I've told you all before that a couple of years ago I discovered a couple of American websites that produce fantastic DVDs and videos of masterclasses in orchestral and choral conducting as well as choir training. The best of these involve the Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

 

Very recently I discovered the English website of the Masterclass Media Foundation when I ordered a DVD of Simon Carrington doing a choral conducting masterclass at last year's Three Choirs. From that same site I've also found masterclasses in piano, singing and orchestral conducting, although the catalogue is far broader than that. Some of the masterclasses were recorded at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. All are of a very high standard and the DVDs arrive almost by return of post.

 

As a result of some courses/seminars I've been on in recent months and some related research I've been doing, I've become particularly interested in how our brains process learning and it is clear that different people learn in different ways. I have a student, not the most academically/intellectually gifted person on the planet but well worth teaching, and I'm still trying to decipher how he learns most effectively. I've spoken before about how helpful I find the Priory (and other) DVDs in watching player's techniques &c., and I personally find this a very helpful aid to learning.

 

What I cannot find anywhere (apart from about three uninspiring looking examples on the Organ Historical Society website) is any DVDs of organ playing masterclasses. This is a great pity. Are there any commercially available anywhere? If not, do members of this forum think they might be worthwhile if anyone could be persuaded to produce and market them?

 

Malcolm

 

The closest I've come to seeing anything like this was Gillian Weir, when she was the subject of a South Bank Show, where there was some brief footage of her giving a masterclass in the US. As I recall, she was trying to give a bit more character to the student's opening of BWV 564.

 

Sorry I can't be of any more help, but I think the very best masterclasses are inspiring to all musicians, whatever the instrument. I've recently been enjoying Daniel Barenboim's Beethoven Sonata masterclasses, to the likes of Jonathan Biss and Lang Lang. One of the points he makes is that it is important for pianists to know more than just piano works, conductors to know more than just orchestral repertoire, and so on. I'm sure it's the same for organists!

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