Masterclass Taster for All-Steinway School

The Royal Alexandra and Albert School is the first state school in England to receive the prestigious accolade of being an All-Steinway School. This special status means that, this academic year, the School will take delivery of eight new pianos from the world-renowned piano makers, replacing its current stock of uprights and baby grands. This means that all pupils at the School will learn to play the instrument on brand new Steinways, considered to be some of the best pianos in the world.

But before the exciting arrival of the School’s own pianos, a group of eleven young musicians from the School were treated to a Steinway Masterclass this week at Steinway Hall, the company’s British headquarters.

Two pupils who are working towards their Grade 8 piano exam had a one-to-one Masterclass with Charles Owen, a highly accomplished and successful pianist, Steinway & Sons UK Ambassador, and Professor of Piano at Guildhall School in London.

Mr Owen worked with pupils on their chosen exam pieces, giving insightful and expert tips for technical improvement and for capturing the essence of each work. With every small adjustment and clear explanation, pupils visibly improved. Mr Owen’s knowledge of Beethoven and Chopin gave pupils an additional layer of understanding and context to their chosen pieces that enhanced their performances.

Mr Lewis Edney, Director of Music at the School, said of the Masterclass, “We are grateful to Mr Keith Glazebrook from Steinway & Sons for the invitation to the Masterclass and Mr Owen for his time during the amazing day. Leon and Edward, who took part in the Masterclass, were given invaluable advice on their pieces, which will undoubtedly benefit and develop their musical skills.  We look forward to being an All-Steinway School and introducing our pupils to the Steinway level of excellence.”

Not only did pupils enjoy taking part and watching the Masterclass, but they were also shown around the gleaming Steinway showrooms and their repair workroom, catching a glimpse of the intricate care that goes into making a Steinway piano. They learnt about how the company started from humble beginnings with its founder, Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg, and about the different elements that make Steinways so special.

The day included some other very special treats: There was a fantastic experience where pupils were able to play the grand piano that was used for the soloist performance at last year’s BBC Proms. Later, pupils also played on a Spirio, a self-playing piano that is capable of playing music from a large library of recordings and can also record and playback new live pieces.

The School is now looking forward to choosing their own pianos with pupils during a trip to the Steinway factory in Hamburg in April.

13 February 2020

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