Carolina Brass conducts master class for ECSU music students

Kesha Williams
October 18, 2010

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From the first day of class, Douglas Jackson, an assistant professor in the ECSU Music Department, knows he faces two immediate challenges: classroom instruction that will improve the students' understanding of music concepts and instruction that will improve their ability to perform live.

Jackson teaches applied trumpet, jazz and brass ensemble and music business core concentration classes at ECSU. He is the director of the Collegians Jazz Ensemble and the ECSU Brass Ensemble. Students in both ensembles are required to perform live concerts each semester. He recently welcomed to campus Carolina Brass, a world renowned ensemble known for their use of Classical and Contemporary works, Medieval and Renaissance music, and pops programs. As graduates from some of the country's most prestigious music programs and as accomplished musicians, they are well suited to conduct hundreds of educational programs each year.

Thanks to Arts of the Albemarle, Carolina Brass recently visited the region to provide education programs to area school youths and to perform live at the McGuire Theater. Douglas, also a member of Arts of the Albemarle Board of Directors, worked with Billy Caudle, director of performing arts for Arts of the Albemarle, to schedule a master class for ECSU students.

The Brass Pedagogy Master Class drew students from ECSU's five degree programs.   Members of Carolina Brass performed several selections and conducted a question and answer session for the students.  The ECSU Brass Ensemble performed for their guests and learned performance techniques from them.  By the end of the session, the two ensembles joined forces for a performance of a ten-part brass choir selection written in the 16th century by the Baroque period composer Giovanni Gabrieli.

Douglass said master classes are a time honored tradition in the performing arts, where music students and instructors infuse class instruction with live performances.

"The master class gives students the perspective of working professionals. It's a value added experience that helps them to become more qualified musicians," They learn performance etiquette which entails proper posture with your instrument, stage presence tips, and tips on how a performer should relay the history of the music to the  audience."

Tim Hudson, a founding member and director of Carolina Brass, said the master class was a complete success.

"We enjoyed giving the master class at Elizabeth City State University, meeting faculty members and working with the students. It is obvious they are getting good instruction from Douglas, an excellent role model for students, and from other faculty at ECSU. Carolina Brass is interested in returning to work with ECSU students through a series of master classes, ensemble coaching and individual instruction and a performance for the community."

Yamaha Artist Services provided partial funding for the master class and the university provided the remaining for it.