The latest music masterclass – for our A Level students – was held by clarinettist Joseph Shiner, cellist Reinoud Ford, and pianist Simon Lane.
During the session the pupils demonstrated their musical prowess, and were also treated to some more unusual approaches to help improve their techniques. Notably, clarinettist Joseph Shiner combined traditional, stylistic advice with planking – yes, planking! This particular fitness position encourages core muscle engagement, which utilises the airstream more effectively when playing woodwind instruments. Joseph explained how core-based exercises are used by professional musicians to reduce straining of the throat.
To complement the technical advice, the musical experts examined the more profound aspects of performances, namely improvisation. Despite the pupils using written music to aid their performances, they were encouraged to improvise and apply their own interpretation.
It was a unique and insightful afternoon; commenting on the masterclass, Lower Sixth Former Megan J said: “The classes are great; as a harpist and clarinettist, the section on engaging the core was incredibly useful to know.”
It seems the benefits were reciprocated as Joseph commented: “It is inspiring to watch the pupils perform. Having been on the other side of the classes in my younger years, I know how figurative these moments are - they stick with you.”
The session was followed in the evening by a Celebrity Recital in Great School, where our acclaimed guests performed for pupils and parents. It was a fantastic, enriching start to the Lent Term.
The College welcomed once again Splendid Productions, who performed Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis for pupils from all year groups. Afterwards, Drama students and scholars enjoyed a fun and inspiring workshop, where they were given the opportunity to experiment and were presented with new acting perspectives.
The performance and workshop are part of the extensive co-curricular Drama programme at the College, invaluable to students in terms of understanding how productions are brought to the stage and to an audience.
Mr Nicolas Beeby, Director of Drama and Dance, commented:
“Students were treated to an entrancing piece of Brechtian theatre that will truly inspire them in their own work. Jimmy’s workshop after the show was an intense opportunity for students to try out some the skills they had seen in performance.”