With my students before the final concert

One thing has stayed the same during the past five years, and that is my traditional winter masterclass in Mikkeli. When I count all my masterclasses this is already the 11th I am teaching (in addition I have taught two summer masterclasses in Mikkeli, three masterclasses in Pärnu, Estonia, and one in Texas). I had five talented students come from Finland, the US, Switzerland and Poland this time, and we worked hard for six days. During this time we held four evening sessions with the faculty pianist Taru, five orchestra rehearsals and two concerts, one in Ristiina and the other in Mikkeli. In addition we spent a lot of time together sharing lunches and dinners, talking about music and life, and practicing giving our toasts (another tradition of mine). The program was all Nordic - Grieg, Rautavaara, Sibelius, Nielsen.

It is no secret that I really enjoy teaching conducting. I think, having had so many great teachers it is my duty to try to pass on the knowledge and experience I have acquired. I always welcome everyone on my masterclasses regardless of what kind of groups they conduct - whether it is a kids' string group or a professional symphony orchestra. And I applaud the courage of people who come, especially if they are no longer students. To me it is wonderful that people who already are experienced and working out there want to update their knowledge and learn new skills.

Did you attend my masterclass during past five years? What did you think? I am curious to see if my students have noticed some trends or special emphasis in my teaching. You can comment below.