Southampton saxes at the RCM

Last week undergraduate Kathryn Firth (year 2) and fellow saxophonists from Southampton went to  London with their tutor Dr Angela Space for a specialist masterclass.  Kathryn tells us what they learned:

Kathryn and colleagues at the RCM

Last Friday (7th February), I travelled to London with six other undergraduate classical saxophone students from the university for a Saxophone Masterclass with Lars Mlekusch at the Royal College of Music.

The masterclass involved five of the Royal College’s classical saxophonists – ranging from second years to post-graduates – playing to an audience of around 60 people (including the public and students from the Royal College itself), with Lars Mlekusch giving feedback, practical and technical advice about various techniques including slap tongue and altissimo. Lars’ feedback to the performers was interesting, useful, and transferrable to our own practice sessions, instrumental lessons and performance preparations.

Our trip to the Royal College of Music provided us with an understanding of what it would be like to attend a specialist music college, and made us aware of the similarities and differences between the RCM and our experiences here at the University of Southampton – which we discussed afterwards in the aptly named BaRCM. None of us doubted that we receive the same quality of teaching; many of our teachers here in Southampton teach at other universities and music colleges. The difference, however, is that none of us take courses specialising in just performance; we all study different modules that require different amounts of work. This means that, unlike students studying performance at music colleges, we just do not have quite as much time to practice.

Overall, the masterclass provided us with an insight into life at a music college, and more importantly gave us the opportunity to learn new practice techniques that will help us all to further our playing.