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Masterclass piano recital educates students

Posted on 12.11.2013

A piano masterclass led by pianist and University of Indianapolis Associate Adjunct Professor of Music Minju Choi was held on Nov. 22.
A masterclass is a tutoring session from an expert to a gifted performer. The performer plays the piece and then is given advice by the expert on how to improve.


Music professor Minju Choi explains the purpose of a masterclass to the audience at her Nov. 22 class.

In this case, the youngest performer was in fourth grade and the oldest was a high school senior. Most masterclasses, including this one, are held in public.
The first song was the first-ever recital performance for 10-year-old Abby Ko, who played a piece composed by Joseph Haydn. According to Choi, no performer ever forgets his or her first recital.
“My mom had a piano school, and I lived in a home with seven pianos,” she said.
Choi has been teaching since she was in high school, when she taught alongside her mother, and has taught at UIndy since 2010. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Juilliard and has performed around the world. She said she believes the most rewarding part of being a teacher is watching the growth of the students.
“I’m witnessing one step further in their piano education to become a better pianist, “ she said.
According to Choi, the most important part of being a teacher is instilling confidence.
“It comes down to how they [the students] communicate through music and giving them the confidence that they have something good and worth sharing,” she said.
Choi said that her student musicians can use any feelings of stage fright to their advantage.
“The more you perform, the more you are able to control your nervousness and utilize the nervous energy into something positive on stage,” she said.
Senior sports management major Cole Quyle was impressed with all the pianists and especially enjoyed the second song, “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” by Franz Liszt, which has appeared in some of his favorite cartoons.
“I thought the performers did a really good job and I learned more about piano than I thought I would in a day,” he said.
Choi said another goal of a masterclass is for the player to improve their piece by being taught by an expert.
“You talk about what was great about their playing and some things you were thinking about during the performance,” she said.
However, Choi also said that her tips are just suggestions, and it is the musician’s decision whether to accept them or not.
While the audience and the performer can come away with some newfound knowledge, the performer, according to Choi, also has a duty for the stage.
“They have a responsibility,” she said. “As a musician to share their music and say something beautiful.”


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