A masterclass can be thought of as a kind of open lesson. Just like in any lesson, a participant plays for the teacher (a faculty member or featured artist), who gives feedback. The participant may be stopped, asked to repeat something or to try something different. Unlike in a one-on-one lesson, a masterclass is open to all other participants to listen and observe. Ideas may be discussed with all participants together.

Although this format can be a little nerve-wracking, it’s important to remember that a masterclass is NOT a performance and is NOT a competition. It is not essential to play a ‘finished’ concert piece. It is also absolutely acceptable to play an etude or a section of a piece.

It is also possible for ensembles to play in a masterclass together, so long as all ensemble members are registered active SMW participants. In addition to multiple marimbas, a vibraphone is provided for ensemble repertoire.