PIMFVirtual: Music Ed and Performance Prep Wherever You Need To Be

Music Education Through the Pandemic and Beyond
It’s been a wild ride this past year and a half, hasn’t it?
Since March 2020, PIMF students have been streaming their playing across cyberspace through PIMF’s virtual platform. While not a replacement for the human pleasure of in-person collaboration, it’s proven to be a very successful, effective, and much-needed adjunct with its own strengths and benefits, and has expanded PIMF’s reach as well as its offerings.
Can you remember life without Zoom? In the bewildering early weeks of Covid-19 closures and cancellations, PIMF quickly recognized the looming void for music students’ training and engagement and offered its first fully online Master Class, with Kimberly Fisher, PIMF co-founder and Principal Second Violin of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Young musicians flocked to the new platform for a first glimpse of what music education would look like for the rest of the year.
Live and interactive – and complimentary for students, music educators, and members of The Philadelphia Orchestra community – PIMF’s regularly-scheduled online Master Classes allowed music students across the world and across time zones to gain insights and inspiration from some Fabulous Philadelphians.
Pianist Jack Naglick performs for Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director, Yannick Nezet Seguin, at a PIMFOnline master class in 2020.
Featured musicians as well as audience members shifted their schedules to tune in for last summer’s incomparable PIMF Master Class taught by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra.
As added motivation, PIMF also worked to gather local press recognition for the talented young people accepted to perform in the Master Classes. El Paso, Texas, trombonist Andrew Grine’s participation in a class taught by Philadelphia Orchestra Co-Principal Trombone Matthew Vaughn, for example, was featured in a local TV storylocal newspapers and even by the city’s rock music radio station!
As the pandemic progressed, it became clear that online music study at PIMF wasn’t going to be just an alternative to in-person learning, but a new outlet for creativity and personal expression. The platform grew to include individual lessons and practice rooms, and was perfectly positioned to host a fully virtual Philadelphia International Music Festival last summer for over 100 students around the world for the first time in the camp’s history.
“We have to seize all of the opportunities that are available right now,” explained Jack Naglick. “Every virtual opportunity is a chance to learn something new that can inspire you to be better or give you a completely fresh way of looking at your music.”
“I most enjoyed meeting and connecting with new people,” Jack continued. “I was exposed to so many new ideas and ways of thinking about music. Faculty members were all inspiring and taught me so much.”
Like the in-person camp, the offerings of PIMF’s online sessions let music students delve into diverse areas of music study along with other students and last summer even allowed for full orchestra and ensemble work – even if the ensemble was video boxes across a screen instead of chairs across a stage. The day’s schedule even included much-needed chat rooms for socializing.
Faculty concerts in the evenings gave students a peek into how their future lives as musicians might look, as their teachers performed from their own homes, like Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Clarinet Ricardo Morales and his wife, Amy Oshiro-Morales, a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s second violin section.
On the heels of its successful online summer camp, PIMF’s Winter Solo Performance Camps over the holiday break offered more opportunities for far-flung young musicians to study with members of The Philadelphia Orchestra.
PIMFOnline also became the temporary home for PIMF’s semi-annual Concerto Competitions. The virtual format has attracted a global talent pool, from Houston to Hungary! PIMF has also garnered local press coverage for many participants in this prestigious event.
The pandemic accelerated many trends, and it certainly sped up the adoption of tech-centric ways to help young artists develop technique on their instruments, connect with experts they might not have otherwise had access to, and continue on their path to becoming confident and capable musicians – while still enjoying the camaraderie and satisfaction of collaborating with musical peers.
As the world continues to progress toward pre-pandemic-style interaction, there will continue to be a place for online programs like those at PIMFVirtual; as a complement to traditional lessons, as a convenient “portable” learning option from anywhere with an internet connection, and as access to some of the most admired performers in the classical music world – the members of The Philadelphia Orchestra among our esteemed faculty.
As PIMF looks ahead to our 25th Anniversary in 2022, we see a hybrid future for our music education programs. We’ll continue to innovate and offer both online and in-person options (as health guidelines permit) that challenge and delight young musicians wherever they choose to learn with us.
PIMF is holding two events this fall including a five-week Music Academy which will enable students ages 12 – 19 to attend hourly educational classes Wednesday evenings, October 6 through November 3, and two Weekend Solo Intensive “Boot Camps” designed to offer young musicians an opportunity to work closely with principal players and other members of The Philadelphia Orchestra in camp-style programming for three days in October and/or November.
For additional information on these – or other online offers from PIMF – click here or chat with us online at: PIMF.org.