Just call them virtual virtuosos.
For their final performance exams on Dec. 12, applied percussion students at Kansas State University had to play before a virtual panel of professional musicians, including a retired member of the New York Philharmonic.
Kurt Gartner, professor of percussion, seeks to enrich the final exam experience each year by connecting his students with professional musicians via video conference. Morris “Arnie” Lang, a member of the New York Philharmonic’s percussion section from 1955 to 1995 and a member of the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame, headed this year’s slate of panelists.
“Our students appreciate the insights and different perspectives of our guest panelists,” Gartner said. “Students get to perform with a sense that the red light is on, and they get brief master class experiences that keep them on the best professional paths.”
Using consumer-grade videoconference platforms, Gartner is able to bring in several panelists each year, eliminating time and distance of travel as factors. “Our experiences with video conferences have always been positive.
Playing their exams for pros sharpens our students’ skills and plugs them right into the professional community,” Gartner said. “You bet we’ll be doing this again.”