Edward Laut, cellist and music professor at the University of Kansas, recently hosted a master class at Washburn for aspiring cellists.
Five students participated in the master class. Laut listened to each student play a single piece and then helped them to improve within a 30-minute time span. Before offering his own suggestions, Laut asked the students first what they would like to improve in the performance or technique of the piece.
Laut’s own passion for music came across from the beginning to the end of the two-hour master class
“I’ve been played cello for 62 years,” he said. “I’ve made my entire living off of wiggling my fingers.”
During the class, Laut did not demand for the students to completely perfect their playing. Instead, he had the students add simple adjustments to a few parts of the music, which improved the pieces substantially. He offered advice paired with humor to every student.
The five students performing that night ranged from Washburn students to others still in high school.
“Music is unlike any other subject,” Laut said to one of the students. “You know it first, and then you learn it.”
Laut and Washburn strings professor Erinn Renyer worked together to make the class available. Laut was Renyer’s music teacher in the past, and they remain good friends. Together, Renyer and Laut own E & E Publications, a music company that produces cello music for both beginner and advanced music.
Renyer said that Laut “has an infinite amount of knowledge” about the cello and she is sure that he has helped to improve the students that played for him.
“It’s important that [the students] hear things in a different way,” Renyer said.
She believes that even the audience learned something about the cello.
“He is so positive with his instruction,” Renyer said. “To him, the end goal is music.”