Among the many gifts to education come via the internet–inexpensive books both used and new, sharing teaching resources, resurrecting forgotten books, and on and on–perhaps the greatest has been the ability to watch master classes and lectures. Everyone has enjoyed an eye-opening class or perky book which has piqued his interest in a topic, but there is something electrifying about a lecture in which you can see the erudition just pouring out of the speaker, the years of study now effortless bounty, summoned at will. Likewise the sight in a master class of a virtuoso tweaking a superb student's efforts into the beginnings of mastery, seeing the crossing of that threshold is inspirational.
Such education is the highlight, and perhaps if you'll permit me some uncharacteristic optimism, the redemption of YouTube. They contain not facts which could be reproduced in books or papers, but a profound and often intangible sense of the joy and greatness of the endeavor. Confining this list to the strictly musical variety, here are my Top Music Lectures and Master Classes.
Andras Schiff, on the Beethoven Piano Sonatas [YouTube]
- See also, Schiff's lectures on the sonatas
Pinchas Zukerman, on Violin performance [YouTube]
John Tomlinson, on Singing Opera [YouTube]
Robert Levin on Composing Mozart [YouTube]
Carlos Kleiber, in Rehearsal [YouTube]
John Eliot Gardiner, Bach Cantata Pilgrimage [YouTube]