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Juilliard Masterclass training for Regents Students

20 June 2016

On Wednesday our Music staff and students were treated to a rare opportunity to have Michael Shinn and Jessica Shinn visit our school.  Both Michael and Jessica are Juilliard alumni, which is why we had the privilege of hosting them due to our collaboration with The Juilliard School.  

  • Juilliard Masterclass
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  • Juilliard Masterclass

Michael is  professional pianist and the Chair of Keyboard Studies at The Juilliard School where he teaches piano, chamber music, piano pedagogy, keyboard skills and analysis for performers.  Jessica is a professional pianist and a teacher at the Juilliard School.  Both have performed throughout the US and Europe in their professional careers.

So you can imagine our delight when they came in to teach keyboards to our Year 7 students, enthusiastically encouraging them to “Be Ambitious” by playing a famous Mozart Sonata and the clashing chords of ‘The Rite of Spring’ by Stravinsky, which they all managed by the end of the lesson. 

However, it was in the masterclass where we were truly inspired by our visitors.  125 Secondary students joined the Primary students to watch Michael and Jessica in action coaching 3 of or lucky students.  Two of those coached were from our Secondary School and were selected following an application process. 

Cooper from Year 7 wrote a fantastically worded letter talking about what music has done for him in his life:

“Music has been one of the only things that has been consistent throughout my life.  I have lived in two other countries previously, and have had to adapt to different cultures and experiences. My love for music and my participation in the schools’ music programs have helped me to adjust to different surroundings and provided me with a sense of normalcy in a changing environment.  This is also an incredible opportunity, which if I get the chance to participate, would make me appreciate how lucky I am to meet a Julliard pianist in person. I don’t think many people could say that about themselves! It is a once in a lifetime experience that I would love to take if I am selected.”

Ayuki from Year 10 was selected for his honest and personal account of what it would mean for him to be chosen:

 “For me, the piano has been a part of my life; I started learning how to play when I was 4 years old.  Passing the time with my piano, I have experienced joys and sorrows; it has helped me to face difficulties in my life.  I would like to improve my music through the process of practicing, interpretation and techniques. I am grateful to have the opportunity to meet these professional musicians and it is a privilege to have the chance to learn from them.”

Emily Andrews, Head Of secondary Music