Digital Exclusive: Brass Master Class at Marywood

Digital Exclusive

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)– Some of the top ‘brass’ in the region stopped by Marywood University to help polish some skills of other local musicians.

Music students at Marywood University in Scranton were treated to an intimate session of performances and critiques Thursday afternoon.
The musicians played prepared pieces for their ‘juries’ at the end of their fall semester and received feedback from members of the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic.

“I think it went great. The kids did a great job,” said Andrea Menousek who plays principal horn for the philharmonic and was one of a trio of master class instructors. “They’re clearly working hard. They all have beautiful sound and wonderful intonation so I think the music education department here must be doing a good job.”

“I think mine went pretty well,” said music education major Theresa Staerker, who played a piece on trombone. “I did get pretty nervous halfway through but it was a lot of fun.”

While the faculty and students are doing their part to prepare and perfect, sometimes a fresh perspective is key.

“It was a lot of fun. We definitely prepare a lot and to have someone critique our work, other than our teachers, is very rewarding,” Staerker added. “It’s also very relieving because you get another person to tell you that you’re good as well as tell you the bad parts.”

The students in this master class can play beyond a shadow of a doubt, they’re just looking for those little things to put them over the top.

“A little bit about phrasing, a little bit about ideas of technique but also stylistically and how to play ‘soloistically,'” said Menousek. “They are all doing a wonderful job and we just did little tweaks.”

“So I’m taking away the fact that I can’t use enough tongue and I’m also using more air as well as octave jumps,” added Staerker.

While these future professional musicians and educators are working diligently at their craft and are already well on their way to being masters, there’s a long road ahead of them and they’ve gotten some advice from those who have walked it before.

“I have been playing horn since I was about 12 years old. I won’t tell you how long that is, it’s been a long, long time,” said Menousek. “Mastering an instrument is a long, long process. It takes a long time. Little by little, when you’re playing an instrument there’s always something interesting about it, always something challenging about it, always something interesting and always something rewarding.”

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