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The Communicator NEWS & POLITICS

Music Masterclasses Give Students, Community Access to Professional Expertise

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Photo credit: Mackenzie Billman

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Written by: Communicator StaffMarch 26, 2014

On March 18, two professional musicians, Joe Murphy and Matthew Slotkin, came to IPFW to teach a masterclass in saxophone and guitar and work with students in order to improve their performances.

Each masterclass took about an hour and a half, which gave the instructors some time to work one on one with a few advanced students on their technique. During this event, the two musicians listened to the songs played by the students while giving constructive criticism.

These instructors have many years of experience behind them. Joe Murphy, who has been a saxophone professor at Mansfield University for the past 27 years, earned his doctorate degree in musical art from Northwestern University. Dr. Murphy has performed a solo at the Lincoln center as well as performing in Europe, Taiwan, and Japan.

Matthew Slotkin earned his doctorate from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied guitar. Now, he teaches at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. Dr. Slotkin has performed in Europe, South America, North America, and Australia.

For IPFW, welcoming these professors who have taught masterclasses several times at other universities has some marked benefits.

“It is very important to have a variety of instrumental teachers over a performer’s lifetime. It creates a more accomplished musician with a variety of techniques and information from which to draw,” said Susan Domer, marketing and public relations specialist for the college of visual and performing arts.

The masterclass also allowed students from different high schools to attend. This prospect gives potential music majors a chance to learn more about IPFW.

“It sends a clear message to the prospective student that IPFW offers opportunities to work with national and international artists,” associate professor Farrell Vernon said.

Because IPFW doesn’t have a master degree program in musical arts, the masterclasses have yet another possible benefit. While students meet with these instructors from other universities, they are able to make a connection with that university. This networking gives them a better chance at being accepted for a master degree in music and possibly other disciplines.

After working with IPFW students, the duo came together that evening to perform before leaving to teach a masterclass at Indiana State.

Story by: Mackenzie Billman