Mastering the Masterclass: Preparing Graduates to Teach with Dr. Leigh Lafosse

Leigh Lafosse, clarinetist with the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own”, gave an energetic lecture on “Mastering the Masterclass: Preparing Graduates to Teach.” In her research, Dr. Lafosse spoke with pedagogues to gain an understanding of strengths and weaknesses of most masterclasses. During her lecture, she focused on public speaking with emphasis on inflection, eye contact, and smiling. Dr. Lafosse interacted with the audience to show various ways to engage with both the performer in the master class and the collective audience. She achieved this by asking the audience to describe three ways to form an embouchure, to raise their hands when hearing a rest held too short, and to pinpoint issues that the performer experienced. Finally, she emphasized the importance of being able to emulate common mistakes by students, which included articulation, support, and tongue placement. She stated at the beginning of her lecture that one of the biggest keys in getting a teaching job is through giving a masterclass, however, most musicians are not prepared when given this opportunity. Overall, the master class was highly informative and showed a great understanding by Dr. Lafosse in terms of how to approach a master class.

–Notes by Dr. Michael Bartnik
Dr. Bartnik recently joined the faculty at Nicholls State University as Assistant Professor of Music where he teaches woodwinds and performs regularly with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.

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