The Music Department has been hosting Clarinet Day since 2016 where students are able to learn new things from teachers from across the country. However, due to COVID-19, the event has changed and will now be entirely online, spanning the course of a couple months.
Dr. Luis Viquez, the director of orchestras and assistant professor of clarinets at USD, is hosting the Spring 2021 Virtual Clarinet Artists Series. The series will have four teachers that focus on different aspects of the clarinet.
Dr. Vanessa Davis, a clarinet teacher and performer in Texas, will give students feedback on their performances and answering questions. Dr. Yamileth Perez, a teacher at the University of Costa Rica, will be giving students feedback on their performances. Dr. Jeremy Reynolds, the associate professor of clarinets at the University of Denver, will also be giving feedback to students. Professor Ricardo Chavez, a saxophone professor at the University of Costa Rica, will be teaching students how to double up on clarinet and saxophone.
Every student learns differently and Viquez said he hopes the clinicians will be able to teach students in a way that makes sense for them after they perform.
“Our USD students will have the opportunity to perform in front of the cameras, they will be performing for those clinicians,” Viquez said. “(The clinicians) will be giving them constructive feedback in different approaches for them to continue learning.”
Davis said the Series is another opportunity for students to perform the piece they are working on and gain confidence. Davis said it is also an opportunity for her to give students three to five points to work on based on what she thinks really stood out.
“In the context of a masterclass, it’s different than a private lesson because I’m not going to be telling them how I want it to be played because I’m not their private teacher,” Davis said.
Perez said that these masterclasses allow her to see when students are playing too rigidly so she can give them tips on how to enjoy the music more and play correctly. All the teachers, including Perez, said these masterclasses are a great opportunity to teach and give feedback to a wide audience.
“I don’t remember any time in my life I said no to a masterclass,” Perez said. “I always say of course because I love teaching, I love playing so I love sharing all that with everybody else.”
Reynolds said it is important to play for others, but not too many as too much feedback can be a bad thing. Reynolds said that finding the right balance is important when working with others.
“I think that’s one of the best things about music is that it’s always collaborative,” Reynolds said. “I think every opportunity to collaborate is very important.”
Chavez said the skill could open new work opportunities as many people today only specialize in one instrument.
“It’s a good way to know your instrument in a better way because it would make you think outside the box,” Chavez said. “So when you go back to your main instrument, it would make you rethink certain things.”