Mark Valenti
Mission Statement      Teaching      Performing      Master Class

Master Class / Workshop
I am having great success in Master Classes and Workshops by emphasizing and reinforcing basic principles that everyone can learn from as opposed to the tradition of just giving a private lesson in front of a class on individuals' pieces. I like to engage everyone present - students, teachers and audience members, in a discussion about what goes into the experience of performing as well as listening to music. My approach also has the added benefit of alleviating the pressure on the student performers.


MASTER CLASS/WORKSHOP TOPICS

Listening
How to listen to communicate
How to listen for your interpretation
How to listen to the music to find answers
How to play more by ear

Memorizing
How to secure memory
How to memorize by ear
How to memorize by structure

Rhythm
The importance of basic rhythmical feel
How to use rhythm as a mode of expression
How to make rhythmical inflections and articulations

Practice Methods
How to mix up your practice methods with a varied diet
What different practice methods emphasize and neglect
Why we practice different tempos

Pedaling
How to use both pedals effectively
The subtleties of every degree of employment
How to use sympathetic vibrations to enrich tone

Piano Action
Understanding how the mechanism works
How to use physical actions to match the mechanical action

Understanding Tonality
How to listen to tonal consonances and dissonances
The tonal implications on phrasing


IMPROVISING YOUR INTERPRETATION
A workshop in how to let the music guide you to interpret your repertoire.

  • Investigate the difference between a fresh, spontaneous performance versus a pre-planned, predetermined performance.
  • How to listen to your repertoire as you are performing to create mood, style, emotion, projection and communication.
  • How to listen to melody to create shape, phrasing and dynamics.
  • How to listen to harmony to emphasize form, structure and drama.
  • How to feel rhythm to create flow, flexibility, stresses, accents and agogics.

THEORY IS NOT A DIRTY WORD
A workshop in how to have theory and analysis enhance your artistic understanding and expression.

  • Understanding the effects created by melodic shapes, patterns and highlights.
  • Understanding the effects created by harmonic colors, structures and functions.
  • Understanding the effects created by meter, pulse, stresses and groove.
  • Understanding the effects created by the architecture of phrases and formal sections.

WORKING AS AN INDEPENDENT MUSICIAN
A workshop in how to be a self-employed professional musician.

  • How to pursue performances and gigs.
  • How to be your own manager and agent.
  • How to market and network.
  • How to organize your time and duties.

HOW TO LISTEN TO MUSIC
A workshop in improving your listening skills.

  • How to distinguish different instruments' timbres.
  • How to follow and understand a melody.
  • How to hear the changing colors created by harmonies.
  • Feeling the beat and rhythmic character of a style of music.
  • Hearing the form and structure in music.
  • Distinguishing the different styles of Classical Music and Jazz.

TEACHING IN THE POSITIVE
A workshop in how to teach with nothing but positive critiques.

  • How to correct any type of mistake without ever saying the word "wrong".
  • How to enable the student to find the answers.
  • How to covertly address specific problems.
  • How to use the appropriate vocabulary.
  • How to show students they are successful.
  • How to instill confidence and motivation.

PREPARING, PERFORMING AND MAINTAINING A PROGRAM
A workshop in the realities of performing your programs.

  • How to get programs up and running.
  • How to continually improve your program.
  • How to deal with common performance scenarios and issues.
  • How to juggle different repertoire and programs.
  • How to prioritize in your practice sessions.
  • How to keep a program fresh.