Master Class??

Cello master class?

Even though I am 73 years old, I can still recall some of my violin teachers. And I strongly believe that teaching is a wonderful, noble profession if the teacher has passion in what s/he is teaching. Yes… with musicians, teaching is frequently a way to make ends meet. After all, in most of the world one has to be at the very top to command the kind of fee for a performance that can pay your expenses…

Why I am pontificating on this? I watched British Cellist Steven Isserlis conduct a Master class with a young woman. And I am afraid that I simply see no really clear contribution made by the world-famous Cellist. Sure… he’s demonstrating well. And that’s to his credit! Some teachers don’t ever bother to do that… they just resort to words which don’t communicate what’s required.

We see the young woman repeatedly playing the same phrase, and Isserlis does attempt to show her that if one plays the notes at equal length and with equal emphasis, there’s no “poetry” there… But the student seems ill at ease; she knows she’s being filmed… and her playing really does not progress much with Isserlis’ teaching.

Take a look at the video below, and tell me whether you notice one other thing: I see no *kindness* on the part of this teacher! There really is no gentleness in his voice, and no compassion… about the challenge, the difficulty of achieving what Isserlis wants! Just the repeated criticism; but this repeated criticism seemingly yields no real measurable results!

See what you think… and feel free to comment with your own impressions below the video area.

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