Thoughts + Articles

Empowering Others

How can you empower yourself and others to improve? How do you connect with others?

A few years ago, I traveled to Australia and New Zealand to play a concert tour and give master classes in Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra, Australia and in Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand at their concert halls, Universities, and music schools. A master class is when a musical artist, an expert, comes in and listens to exceptional students play and makes suggestions to improve the musicians performance. Each master class was for three and a half hours.

Our master class opened with a violinist and pianist playing Wieniawski’s Etude-Caprice, Op. 18, No.4. After they played, I began the applause for the audience to acknowledge the musicians. The students, like a student chef, had the raw materials, the ingredients, but didn’t know how to put the music together to create a masterpiece. They needed help shaping the music into beautiful phrases and melodies.

I suggested the violinist begin the piece with the bow on the string accenting every first and fourth beat of the piece, emphasizing the musical phrase and rhythm continuing his vibrato, moving his left hand fingers by rocking within the pitch and change the speed to enhance the sound. Also I asked him to add crescendos, (gradually getting louder), as the melody moves up to the top note and, decrescendos, (gradually getting softer) as the violinist played the lower notes of the melody. The violinist and I worked on a few phrases of the Wieniawski together for 5 minutes. I moved my hands conducting him through the new accents, continuous vibrato, crescendos and decrescendos.

I asked the pianist to add in the accents, the crescendos and decrescendos into her performance also. She and I worked together for 5 minutes through several phrases and I conducted her through these accents, crescendos and decrescendos.

Next, the violinist and pianist performed the Wieniawski with the changes and I conducted them emphasizing the accents, vibrato, crescendos and decrescendos; just as a musical conductor from an orchestra would. An air of excitement filled the hall as the audience listened to the gorgeous music surrounding them.

The two talented musicians played the piece with sparkle, excitement, and brilliance the way Wieniawski intended his piece to be played. When they finished their performance the audience applauded wildly. The professors listening gave the thumbs up! After hearing several more soloists with their pianists, the chamber music part of the master class began.

Four talented students, a violinist, violist, cellist, and pianist, played one of Mozart’s celebrated piano quartets, (the first Allegro movement), at a fast and lively tempo. After they played, I began the applause for the audience to acknowledge the musicians. These students like their colleagues needed help in shaping the music into beautiful phrases and melodies. First I asked the pianist to add accents, emphasizing certain notes to outline the rhythm of the musical phrase to add structure for the Mozart piano quartet. Then I asked the pianist to add in crescendos and decrescendos into the performance. I asked the pianist to play a few phrases like this and I sang the phrases and moved my hands as a conductor to show the pianist where to place the accents and the crescendos and decrescendos.

Then I worked separately with the violinist, violist, and cellist, for a few minutes, on continuing their vibrato, to enhance the sound, showed them where to place the accents for emphasis while adding crescendos, as the melody moved to the top of the phrase and, to add decrescendos, as each of the musicians played their melody, their counter melodies, and harmony lines. I worked with them by demonstrating for them on violin or viola, singing the phrases with them, and moving my hands as a conductor as they each played their section of the Mozart.

After about 15 to 20 minutes of work we put Mozart’s piano quartet back together and the musicians played the Allegro with me conducting the performance moving my hands for accents, vibrato, crescendos and decrescendos as a musical conductor would. The Mozart became a living-breathing piece full of energy and vitality.The audience applauded vigorously with great enjoyment. The performance by these young people was just glorious! By stepping back with a fresh approach the music was taken apart and put back together into beautiful flowing melodies with harmony.

We worked on turning the solos and chamber music into beautiful performances in a very short time. The three and a half-hour master class flew by.

Helping these young people make their music come alive was a privilege for me. These talented, hardworking, students were so happy to be involved in making exciting beautiful music. They enjoyed seeing their audience hear their new version of the music. Smiles abounded. Several of their teachers thanked me too! It is such a rewarding experience to help others.

What are three ways you can empower others and help them improve in their work?

1) Turn a mundane performance; into a living-breathing masterpiece by connecting with an expert.

2) By taking a step back and looking with a fresh new approach to reassess the parts of the work, you will be able to put the work back together into a dazzling spectacular gem.

3) Attend seminars, read books, study audio tapes, go on to YouTube to become an expert in your field. Continue to learn and grow. Never stop learning!

Remember people learn by example not by criticism!


Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an Best Selling Author, John Maxwell Team Member, Certified World Class Speaking Coach, sought after speaker, business owner, teacher, researcher, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Businesses”. Her innovative observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful. She writes a monthly newsletter “Madeline’s Monthly article & Musical Tips Blog” and a monthly radio show “Madeline’s One Minute Musical Radio Show”. Her book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available on Amazon or Kindle. Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at

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This entry was posted on Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 at 2:26 pm and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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