Lectures Master Classes
Janet Packer


Janet Packer is pleased to offer the following lectures and lecture/demonstrations, which have proven popular with general audiences, professional and pre-professional musicians, string teachers, and students.

1. Premiering New Music: Elucidating Oft-Elusive Styles

Drawing on her many years of commissioning and premiering works by major composers of our time, Janet Packer shares her insights into the methods used by composers to communicate their musical ideas, both verbally and through the written score. She uses her own recordings and autograph scores to illustrate how a performer can develop an interpretation that is individual, yet consistent with the composer's conception of the work. This unique, behind-the-scenes view is intended to stimulate collaboration between composers and performers.

2. The Evolution of the Violin Bow: 400 Years of Bows and Bowing

Using bows from her own collection, including the long and short Baroque bows, transitional Classical bow, and Tourte bow, Janet Packer explains and demonstrates the fascinating interdependence of technology, musical style, and bow technique in music from the seventeenth to the twentieth century.

3. Mastering the Baroque Violin Bow

Using examples from works of Corelli, Handel, and J.S.Bach, this introduction to baroque violin bows demonstrates how their properties, and the bow techniques associated with them, relate to the sound, articulation, tempi, and voice-leading of music of the period. Working with participants in a class environment, Janet Packer demonstrates a unique sequence of bowing exercises and techniques for facilitating the transition from modern to baroque-style bowing.

4. Elegance and Expression in Classical and Early-Romantic Bowing

Describing and demonstrating bowstrokes characteristic of the string music of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert, Janet Packer provides clear instruction for achieving the articulated, singing tone and musical nuances so prized in this period. Contemporary evidence is examined, including the role of G.B.Viotti, etudes by Mazas, Kreutzer and Rode, Baillot’s "The Art of the Violin," and the evolution of the Tourte bow. Exercises for the development of period bow techniques are presented.

5. Preparing Confident Performances

This comprehensive guide to concert and audition preparation is based on years of experience as a concert soloist. With humor and wisdom, Janet Packer addresses both the details of preparation and the larger context of musical communication. She offers a unique timeline of preparation that guides the performer in studying music, improving technique, arriving at a satisfying interpretation, and developing a positive psychological attitude toward performance.

6. The Pyramid Approach: A Tool for Efficient Practicing

Every musician has wondered how to optimize precious practice time. Janet Packer offers a unique "pyramid approach" for organizing all aspects of practicing into a coherent whole, enabling musicians to focus their attention more effectively during practice. The pyramid provides a schema for productive and inspiring practicing, from a base level of body awareness and balance to the pinnacle of the performance experience, through levels of basic and applied technique, internalization of rhythm and intervals, analysis, interpretation, and memorization.

7. Selecting Repertoire To Motivate Students

When a student falls in love with a new work, enthusiasm often motivates practicing and stimulates progress. Janet Packer, in this survey of violin repertoire taught over thirty years to students of diverse backgrounds, ages, and levels, explores the art of finding the right piece at the right time for each student. She provides a method for assessing the technical, stylistic, and emotional content of music in relation to students' stages of development, and offers advice on guiding students' study of works in a logical order to invigorate the learning process.

8. Amy Beach: American Composer and Role Model

Designed to complement a performance by Janet Packer of Amy Beach's masterpiece, Sonata for Violin and Piano, A Minor, op. 34 (1896), this lecture serves as an introduction to Amy Beach's remarkable life: her birth in late Victorian society, her career as a concert pianist and self-taught composer, and the professional obstacles and prejudices overcome as she introduced her works to the public in the United States and Europe. Although late in her life Amy Beach (1867 - 1944) was regarded as the model of a successful woman composer, her music fell into neglect after her death, and has been revived only in recent years, as the full measure of her musical accomplishment has become universally acknowledged.