Artikel-Schlagworte: „Stage presence“

Masterclass / Play with Presence (part 1)

Donnerstag, 31. Mai 2012

Observations from a Masterclass with Mauricio Fuks

For 3 days world-renowned violin teacher Mauricio Fuks stayed in Kronberg last week and worked with a couple of the socalled Young Soloists from Kronberg Academy. Maestro Fuks had to listen to and work with 11 young aspiring musicians, 6 violinists and 5 cellists. They were all expecting new insights and new challenges as takeaways for their own musical development.

While these days were intensely busy, there were also moments of inspiration and motivation on evenings that provided both musicians and the teacher with some inspiration through films and joint performances.

The last day, May 22nd, provided an opportunity for me to sit in and follow two sessions where I could observe an incredible teacher doing his masterly work.

What was special during those 4-5 hours in the Academy Studio was the fact that I could witness a dynamic and famous teacher who never lost his direct contact to the young musicians. After each student had finished his or her prepared musical piece he began to analyse and immediately initiate a deep dialogue. In his crisp and clear English he uttered a bunch of citation-ready statements that could all be used in any musical textbook in the section on stage performance, intonation and phrasing and how one can improve delivery, i.e. better performance.

From time to time maestro Fuks brought up little anecdotes, often going back to his own student years under famous American violinist Jascha Heifetz, who was known for his stringent teaching style and criticism. Those anecdotes not only helped to soften tensions but also served as additional learning impetus.

In one of the sessions one of  the Young Soloists was going through a series of  playing situations with the aim of establishing more communication links to his accompanying pianist. That exercise was tough, it required hard work. Then Mr. Fuks said “ It´s good to sweat!”. And he recalled an anecdote where he was tutored by Mr. Heifetz, early on in his educational phase. “Although I was struggling with an Asian flue I wanted to accept that lesson that he had offered me on short notice. I hadn´t  prepared my piece and felt weak because of the flue. But Mr. Heifetz quickly noticed that I didn´t play with energy and enough presence. So he said I don´t see any sweat on your face!” And Mr. Fuks went on by quoting another thought of Mr. Heifetz:  “The paying customers in a concert are expecting from you, the musician, that you deliver, whether you have the flue or not.” Later Mr. Heifetz added: “Once you are in playing mode you have to deliver”. Mr. Fuks´s quotes from those lessons that he underwent himself decades ago caused the Young Soloists in the room to nod in agreement.

One way to improve performance is by means of video-taping one´s own sessions, alone or with others. Mauricio Fuks´s advice was “be your best teacher”. And the aim of teaching would be to become more independent. It seemed that that message got through to all the other young masterclass attendants who were in the studio.

Performing chamber music is all about communication. That´s what Mauricio Fuks stressed several times on that afternoon. Especially for chamber music performers it is essential, so he said, to communicate across all senses and on all levels. Communication links one with the audience, the more intense the better. “You must feel the energy of the other players that are on stage with you”. Part of the communications process is to listen and to feel what the other fellow musicians are doing and, at the same time, make one´s own sound intonation clearly be heard by the audience. Then Mr. Fuks turned to the Young Soloist and strongly underlined: “Have the public in your hand!”

Michael Heinz / Kronberg Academy

Masterclass with Yuri Bashmet

Dienstag, 31. Januar 2012

Intense two days with a focus on musicality, precision and body language

Thirteen Young Soloists gathered in Kronberg for two days of intense education with a great violist and and a man who understands the full spectrum of the human body language:  mime Samy Molcho. Mr. Molcho is known for his body language expertise while Yuri Bashmet, the world-renowned viola artist, demonstrated his unique musicianship and educational prowess for the young musicians. Samy Molcho´s session delivered an important input for the Young Soloists with regard to the character and quality of their stage presence: Learning and understanding the impact of  an artist´s movements and gestures while performing on stage representing an indirect kind of communication that influences how the artist is generally perceived by the audience. Thereby having an influence on how well the performance can be supported through the right body language.

The sessions with both artists were extremely well received and the stimulation and the insights that the two men had to offer left the group highly motivated. Walking through the hall of our KAM facilities I tried to gather some personal feedback from the young musicians about the sessions with the famous Russian violist.

Said Hanna Lee, 27, violist from Korea,  studying in Kronberg since October last year,
“there was so much information over these two days, I am extremely motivated to dig deeper into  the world of music and try to be more complete as a player. Yes, it was very worthwhile”.

Yura Lee, another Korean violist, now living in Boston, confirmed this view during a break on the last day and continued having great fun with some other fellow Young Soloists.

Ella van Poucke, 17, the youngest participant of the group, found that Mr. Bashmet was extremely focused on every single note of the composition. And Pablo Ferrández, 21, another young Soloist added, “ Mr. Bashmet pays enormous attention to every detail, he has great listening capabilities and I was overwhelmed that he listens to the very last millisecond of a tone. He helps to improve one´s listening skills greatly”.

István Várdai, 27, who will finish the masters programme mid-year, was dwelling on the very personal traits of Mr. Bashmet when he said “ We get along very well with each other, and his personality is of such a kind that I can relate to very much”.

Berlin-based Gabriel Schwabe, 24, just concentrated on two skills. “What makes him unique? I asked. “It´s his very precision and also his patience” Gabriel answered.

Stephen Potts, director of “Kronberg Academy Masters” programme, attended most of the sessions and together with his team colleagues Anne Zipf and Gisela Rösing provided for all the necessary support and logistical services that needed to be organised before, during and after the sessions.

When Mr. Bashmet was ready to rush out of the studio rooms just minutes after the final session was completed I could ask hastily two questions believing these would help characterise his engagement as a teacher in Kronberg.

What is special about Kronberg and its academy, Mr. Bashmet?”, I asked him. “It´s all about the atmosphere. The academy is like a family, that´s very special!”.

“And what do you gain as a teacher from engaging in this kind of activity?” was my follow-up question. Standing already in the doorway he paused for a second then said “ When I am working with very young highly talented musicians I am feeling younger myself”.

Michael Heinz / Kronberg Academy Team

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