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Summary of Master Classes at the Centro Studi Carlo della Giacoma, Todi, Italy


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Clarinetist, Jeffrey Anderson writes about his experience as a participant in Carinet Master Classes  at the Centro Studi Carlo Della Giacoma in Todi, Italy

As a clarinet player, the main focus of Study Abroad at the Centro Studi Carlo Della Giacoma, Italy was honing in and isolating the way we play the clarinet.  The heart of the three weeks was daily warm-ups and masterclasses, provided by clarinet professor Caroline Hartig and piano professor Deborah Moriarty.  It was very helpful to learn Dr. Hartigís personal daily warm up routine, and actually do it with her.  Dr. Hartig made sure we all were doing everything correctly and gave us tips, pointers, and variations along the way.  We all felt like we were having a lesson with her all while in a class setting.

The masterclasses were with our piano accompanists, and we each had our turn to perform in front of our fellow students.  One of the great perks of the masterclasses was the different perspectives and directions each professor gave.  This kept our learning fresh and kept us thinking of new ways to perform and incorporate many ideas given to us into one great performance.  Also, since we all had piano accompanists, we learned proper etiquette and cooperation to use with our accompanists, a skill not always taught thoroughly in normal classes.  We also made great friends with our fellow clarinetists and pianists, which led to mutual trust and greater musical risk taking and satisfaction.

As clarinetists, we also had the opportunity to travel to Perugia, a nearly city and visit their music conservatory clarinet professor and students.  Dr. Hartig gave masterclasses there to the Italian clarinetists.  We were able to observe and interact with the students as they played familiar clarinet repertoire and other seldom known pieces.  We discovered they were much like us, had the same playing issues we dealt with, played with the same musical intent, had the same appreciation for music, and turned out to be friends.  We played clarinet chamber works alongside the Italian clarinetists, were able to play the professorís basset horn, and had a final performance of a beautiful clarinet octet with them.

One of the most fun times I had in Italy was playing quartets in the main public piazza.  Everyone in Italy has great appreciation for music and performers.  Right after the first note, we had an eager audience and some Italians even knew the melodies to some of the pieces we played!  We all felt we were appreciated and welcomed by the locals.

My clarinet playing has grown so much from study abroad in Italy.  I gained experience performing, learning new pieces at an accelerated pace, working with accompanists, collaborating in chamber ensembles, and sharing my love for music.  This growth will not just stay in Italy; it will follow me back to school and wherever I travel to in the future.

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