Sunday, March 8, 2009

Two Masterclasses in One Day

Hello All,
Despite the torrential downpour,y esterday was a great day for me! Dr. Kraft and myself left in the morning to head up to East Lansing to attend a 3-hour masterclass at Michigan State given by Joseph Alessi, principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic. I had been looking forward to this for about a week or so, and knew it would be a great opportunity to hear a great player and see how he interacts with students.
And I wasn't disappointed one bit! Mr. Alessi has one of the most even- controlled sounds I have ever heard--and this evenness occurred in all registers. His approach to teaching students was phenomenal as well. I actually enjoyed his teaching more than his playing! It was truly a great experience just sitting there listening. One day, it will happen to get a lesson with him.
As the title says two masterclasses, you might be wondering what was the other one. From Warsaw, Indiana, it is about 3-hours one way to MSU. This means I was in the car for 6-hours with my own trombone teacher! If you do the math right, for 9 hours yesterday I was being taught or mentored by two truly talented musicians!! You don't get those often (especially for free). The unique experience of sitting next to Dr. Kraft during the masterclass was that at times he would make his own comments to me about the student being taught at the time. Then we were able to discuss things on the car ride back. What is ironic is both teachers say the same thing about playing the trombone. I think this is a hint I should catch on to.
I am truly fortunate and humbled to have Dr. Kraft as my teacher at Grace College. Yesterday's car ride was absolutely magnificent. We talked about everything: trombone, orchestral life, and even girls and relationships! Among other topics of conversation it is great to see a man of God who wanted to honor the Lord while in the professional orchestra. And he still strives to do that. Many things in that car ride probably won't be made public--they don't need to be--but as for what was discussed his wisdom was truly helpful and motivational.
Whelp off to the practice room! Gotta get ready for New York!

J-man (I Corinthians 9:24-27)