Percussionists in the Ladue Horton Watkins High School music program had the opportunity to learn from Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra percussionist Alan Stewart on Dec. 2 and 3.
Stewart, co-principal percussionist with the SLSO, held a pair of virtual masterclasses attended by 22 students over the two days.
The hour-long classes focused on a variety of topics including technique for playing snare drum and marimba, rehearsal strategies, summer music opportunities, and the importance of studying music and how it can positively impact other aspects of life.
Erin Elstner, associate director of LHWHS and LMS bands and a percussionist herself, helped make the classes possible.
“The classical percussion community is fairly tight-knit in St. Louis, and as such, we all tend to know each other in these circles,” she said.
“Last year, Alan reached out to me to volunteer his time to come to Ladue…to provide a masterclass for the high school percussion students.”
Their original plans for in-person classes were postponed by the pandemic, but Elstner and Stewart agreed virtual classes this school year would be a great alternative.
The two classes were a valuable addition to the students’ music curriculum this semester.
So far this year, LHWHS percussionists have met twice per week via virtual learning; they are able to work on technique, etudes, scales, drum rudiments, and audition material for the upcoming St. Louis All-Suburban Honors Band auditions.
Exciting opportunities are on the way for the middle school as well: upcoming guest presentations will include a series of workshops on African and Afro-Cuban drumming and jazz drum set playing.
“I am committed to bringing the best possible musical education and musical opportunities to our Ladue students, in-person or remotely,” Elstner added.
“Our music program is one of the top in the state, and it is driven by the desire on behalf of our students to evolve and excel in music and our staff to provide top quality instruction. Our Ladue high school band students work hard, are dedicated and deserve these kinds of opportunities!”
To learn more about Alan Stewart’s career and the SLSO, click here.