Delmarva Now - Mar 2015 - Mid-Atlantic Symphony musicians mentor rising stars
Jon Bleiweis, March 20, 2015 - Musicians from the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra hosted master classes with students from Southern Delaware School of the Arts in Selbyville Wednesday, March 18.
It's not every day that a professional musician comes to Melody Oneschuk's band room at Southern Delaware School of the Arts to assist her students, let alone four.
A quartet of musicians from the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra visited Southern Delaware School of the Arts on Wednesday, March 18, to offer a master class to the school's 42-member seventh and eighth grade concert band. This was the orchestra's first time at the school, after previously hosting master classes in Maryland and at Cape Henlopen High School.
"It's a more personal situation. If you're just interacting with a band or orchestra director, he or she can't address things on that level," said MSO percussionist Greg Herron. "Youth brings a certain excitement. It's invigorating to be around."
The morning began with the students playing "A Childhood Hymn" by David Holsinger. Then students then split up by section to get in-depth lessons and tips on how to play the piece better.
Percussionist Greg Herron gave pointers to the band's eight percussionists on stick techniques and tips on how to play different instruments, such as the triangle and the bass drum. Clarinet player Edna Huang helped woodwind players produce bigger and richer sounds.
"I thought it was pretty interesting to see what it takes to be an actual professional alto sax player," said Jaiden Vanderhorst, a seventh grade alto saxophone player. "I still have a lot to learn."
Flautist Elena Yakovleva taught the band's nine flute players, and horn player Andrew Houde discussed how a brass section can take cues from one another while playing. He also taught the horn players about various breathing techniques.
"Breathing is very important in making that rich sound," said eighth-grader Josh Hoffpauir. "As a trombone player, I have to breathe a lot to make my sounds much more rich and full."
After about an hour, the students returned to the band room to play the Holsinger piece once again. It may not have been a lot of time, but Oneschuk could notice the differences.
"You sound much more smooth, much more connected and very, very pretty," she told her ensemble. "I love it."
The students left band class for the day with high hopes for their May 14 concert, when they will play the piece for the masses. Until then, they'll refine their skills based on what they learned from the pros.
"The band sounds a lot better," said seventh grade alto saxophone player Jaasiel Nunez. "If we keep doing this, it will sound great for the concerts.