Masterclass with Dr. Michael Low: A Day of Musical Insight at Coach House Pianos

by The Cross-Eyed Pianist

Link to original article

Last Saturday I hosted a one-day masterclass in the sumptuous surroundings of Coach House Piano’s London showroom. The tutor was Dr Michael Low, a pianist and teacher based in South Africa, with whom I have been friends for over 10 years, and who is a regular contributor to this site.

The event was open to advanced amateur pianists (5 performers in all) and one of the nice things about it was that most of the participants knew one another through the London Piano Meetup Group (which I co-founded in 2013 and which is still going strong). We had a couple of observers as well, and David, who looks after the education programme at Coach House, had very kindly arranged their event space so that people could sit around the piano (a lovely Bosendorfer 225) which made for a friendly and supportive atmosphere from the outset.

The word ‘Masterclass’ still has rather negative connotations, suggesting the “private lesson in public”, with a formidable “master” teacher and a trembling student, their every error and slip heard and duly noted by teacher and audience. In fact, the format, if done right, is one of the most beneficial ways of learning, providing as it does not just a lesson with a skilled teacher but also a forum for critique by others, and the exchange of ideas and discussion about aspects such as technique, interpretation, presentation, performance practice, repertoire and more. It is this element of interaction with other pianists and active participants/listeners that makes the masterclass scenario quite different from the private lesson, and with Michael Low, a relaxed, enthusiatic and, above all, skilled teacher, our event on Saturday was informative, insightful and friendly.

Repertoire played

Debussy – Les Collines d’Anacapri, La cathédrale engloutie; Beethoven – Bagatelles op126; Beach – Ballad in D-flat; Schubert – Sonata in B-flat, D960, 1st movt

Michael Low wrote after the event: “Thank you so much for all your hard work in making Saturday’s event such a success. When my international work came to an abrupt halt in 2020 never did I envisage that I would be able to see my family again, let alone give a masterclass in London. To say that I am grateful beyond words would be an understatement. And to the performers, Sakura, Jenny, Cathy, Howard and Lee: thank you so much for sharing your music with us. I was most impressed with your musical commitment as well as your openness to an alternative musical perspective. Thank you also for all your kind feedback. I hope to stay in touch with all of you and look forward to hear you play again, hopefully in the near future.”

And some feedback from participants:

“Thank you Michael for giving us such great tips, anecdotes and musical inspiration! And thanks also to Coach House Pianos for hosting us – and providing a top notch Bösendorfer to play!” (Jenny)

“Perfect day. Michael is insightful and gives a perfect mix of feedback on both interpretation and help with technique.” (Howard)

All being well, we will present another similar event at Coach House Pianos next time Michael is in the UK.

Dr Michael Low’s website

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *