Cap concert series puts spotlight on faculty

“I hope that students will be inspired by these concerts to feel freer in performance and take any opportunities to perform.” Kate Hammett-Vaughn is a Jazz Studies voice teacher at Capilano, and the music department is making sure her students will get the opportunity to see her perform at one of their many faculty concerts this year.

The Jazz concert on January 21 in Fir 113 was packed with students, and the faculty performing showed great passion and energy in their performance. Hammett-Vaughn is a reputable Jazz singer and sounded lovely.

“It’s important for students to see live music, and important for them to see faculty in performance. Students tend to get wrapped up in their heads, ‘Am I playing this right? Am I doing this right?” It is a great experience seeing faculty in performance, especially because it is inspiring to see the passion they have for their craft.

The next day, another member of Capilano’s music faculty was in concert in the performing arts theatre in Birch. Gene Ramsbottom, a clarinet teacher at Capilano, played pieces by Darius Milhaud, Aram Khachaturian and Bella Bartok with violin and piano.

Gene feels that “faculty performing shows students the level of preparation needed to do a performance. There is purpose to all those scales and technique stuff you’re asked to practice all the time.” He also went on to say, “If a student was particularly keen they would probably want to shadow their teachers, volunteer to be a page turner, get on stage as much as possible.”

Heather Pawsey, a Classical voice teacher at Capilano, says, “One of the best ways to learn performance is to go to performances, and analyze what’s being done, ‘Why was that so effective when he did this?’ or ‘Wow, what do you do during an incredibly long piano intro when you feel trapped on stage?’”

Often, a career in performance is not enough to pay the bills and many performers take on students and teach to make a decent living. It’s great for students pursuing performing to be taught by someone who has a lot of experience in performance. For a teacher, it's very rewarding to see progress in your students, and to use your experience to give a good example.

“It’s a unique moment playing in front of an audience, rather than just a recording studio or an empty hall, because you get feedback from the audience,” says Ramsbottom. And that's what makes it all worth it – performing in front of an audience and receiving praise for all your hard work. Perhaps the most valuable thing a student can learn from watching performance is that no one is perfect and mistakes can happen even with the most seasoned performers/teachers. No performance is ever the same, and that is the beauty of live music.

In case you missed the concerts, you can listen to sound clips on Kate Hammett-Vaughn's website, Katehv.com.

// Jillian Law,

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