Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Ryan Anthony at CCM

CCM trumpeters have been in hog heaven recently, first with Joe Burgstaller visiting last week, and now this week with Ryan Anthony, Principal Trumpet with the Dallas Symphony. What can you say about these guys, each with stellar careers going full blast! Well known is Ryan's impressive experience as a Canadian Brass member, soloist with many major orchestras, winner of numerous awards, Trumpet Professor at Oberlin College, and much more. Both are obviously top-notch musicians and excellent communicators.

First on Mr. Anthony's master class agenda - Bitsch Variations played by Masters' student Chris Pike. Adrienne Doctor, undergrad, followed with the Charlier Solo de Concour. Then DMA, Rory Powell nicely made his way through some of the difficult Tull Sonata. Each responded well to suggestions and showed noticeable improvement.

Quintet coaching followed with spot-on comments on the Ewald. No words were wasted as Ryan offered some seating and musical suggestions. Items addressed: using enough energy, steady and forward-moving rhythm, more variety of dynamics, communication between players, balance, and freedom of expression.

Here is some of the feedback from those in attendance:
  • Mr. Anthony offered some good communication points for our quintet such as eye contact, taking advantage of the "robust" volume potential of brass, as well as a more audience-friendly seating arrangement. The string quartet was suggested as a model for freedom of movement, communication and energy.
  • With regard to the Anthony class, I felt that his point that the audience will feel what the performer feels really hit home for me. If the performer is stressed, the audience will feel the same. Likewise with a joyous, exciting performance.
  • Tell a story when playing no matter what it is.
  • Be able to list adjectives that describe your piece.
  • The most important part of your first note is the breath. Don't walk on stage without it.
  • Be able to play a skeleton outline of awkward passages. Once fluid, then add the passing notes.
  • Play so well that it makes the judges put their pencils down and listen!
  • Everything done on the stage must be contagious and magnified.
  • Breathing is a part of the musical phrase.
  • Focus on the emotions rather than just the notes in the music. Get beyond the printed page. Tell a story, attempt to convey something other than notes to the audience.
  • Put the audience at ease with your persona.
  • Communicate; treat everything like chamber music.
  • Never stop being a student.
  • All music is either SONG or DANCE. Relay that to the listeners.
  • Avoid "vanilla" performances. Add more flavors.
  • Audiences also listen with their eyes.
  • If all you focus on is technique, that's all your audience will hear.
  • Music must move us.
  • Think: I can't wait to play this!
  • Take a passage, any passage. Now, if that's all the composer ever wrote, it must still sound great!
  • Impressive heroic visual of the great horn soloist Hermann Baumann totally winning his audience even before he ever played the first notes of the Strauss Horn Concerto!!

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