Dear Ben, Laura, Nick, Nicole, Chi-Yuan, and Omar,
Thank you so very much for a fantastic day of music. You put on the best in-house workshops and performances I have ever experienced. All our students are buzzing from the opportunity to work with such outstanding musicians who performed flawlessly and treated them so professionally. Every one of my jh/hs/elementary orchestra members expressed the desire to have more programs like yours and all of them would love the opportunity to work with you all again. Many are planning to attend the April 17 concert.
I asked them to share something they especially enjoyed about Thursday's performances and or workshops. The girls in the string master class both shared how you made them tell a story with their pieces, to stop just thinking in terms of notes and rhythms and to think about how each note is played and to play with emotion. To put movement in their bodies, instruments, and music. The few I spoke to in the jazz class were impressed at how Nick could just listen to a piece and play it. They also related to you telling them to play with confidence whether they were good or not. They got a lot out of the exercise in which you had them do their worst improvisation-they said that many of the kids sounded good playing bad! They appreciated your candor and honesty in sharing your musical experiences from grade school on up. The orchestra enjoyed how each song you played meant something to you and how your sense of humor was a part of your overall performance.
The violins learned a lot about making their long notes sing and holding their instruments up properly. You made them feel more confident, like they were here to play for something important. You did all this with kindness and praise. The cellos were encouraged to make their notes rounder and to make their notes and accents last longer. They all are encouraged to play more expressively, to break the song down one bar at a time, and to play with more confidence.
If nothing else, you gave them the power to believe they could be as good as any one of you. The older and younger students were especially impressed with the compositions written by James and Greg. They enjoyed your arrangements and many are beginning to write their own pieces. The elementary students liked the songs which told a story and we experimented with many different sounds in each section of the orchestra. They liked how you made the instruments "talk" and loved the diverse program you brought forth.
I can't thank you enough for willingly taking an entire day to work with our children. They will remember this day for a very long time, if not forever. On behalf of the entire Southold music staff who was as impressed, if not more so than our students, a heartfelt thank you for sharing your incredible talent with us. We are very much looking forward to your Astralis performance.