August 2018 Convention
Orlando, FL

High School Masterclass

Jonathan Keeble taught the high school masterclass featuring students selected from entrants in the High School Soloist competition. Each student performed with pianist Jasmin Arakawa in an informative, engaging, and often lighthearted class. Keeble addressed the strengths and weaknesses of each student while offering concrete advice to improve fundamental musicianship and performance of the repertoire.

Jonathan Keeble

Madison Hardick, my student, who will attend the University of Colorado-Boulder next year, performed Fantasie by Hue. Keeble began by working on developing a vibrato with greater depth and resonance throughout Hardick’s tone. He discussed the controversial aspects of vibrato and demonstrated how vibrato originates from many points in the body depending on what’s happening in the music.

Keeble asked the performers and audience to say “ssss” while simultaneously producing vibrato. It quickly became clear that depending on the register of the note, different parts of the body become more or less involved. Hardick made quick, audible improvements in her tone after practicing these exercises.

Tracie Kwon, student of Michelle Cho, performed Chant de Linos by Jolivet. Keeble began by reviewing the dedication, premiere, and style, emphasizing how historical knowledge should influence performance. They then progressed to working on breath placement and emphasizing the implied accents in the 7/8 section to sound more similar to drums. Kwon noted tightness in her playing, and Keeble had her attempt to sing and play into the flute while simultaneously using exaggerated vibrato. If as a performer you can’t do these at the same time, Keeble says it is a clear sign your throat is too tight.

Scott Quirk, who studies with Jim Walker, performed the third movement of Reinecke’s Concerto in D Major. With Quirk, Keeble began by focusing on keeping his pitch centered throughout his range. From there they progressed to discussing several elements that can help the performer stay calm through this involved movement. This included breathing, posture, and focus.

Keeble is well known as a fantastic pedagogue, and this masterclass added to that reputation. All students performed beautifully, and the event was well-organized by High School Soloist Competition Coordinator John Lane.

—Shauna Thompson

photo by Shauna Thompson