Teacher / Pianist / Consultant
Portland is fortunate to have Mark Westcott... Van Cliburn Piano Competition bronze medalist, mentor, and friend... among us. As a supporter of Portland Piano International (PPI) festivals and piano series concerts, where Mark Westcott has appeared in past years, I find his Master Class presentations at Classic Pianos to be ranked right up there with the best workshops of visiting PPI concert artists and clinicians from The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, Peabody Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Eastman, and other world-class institutions. I highly recommend Mark Westcott Master Classes for piano students, teachers, pianists, and anyone wanting an in-depth study of the masters.
Member of Mark Westcott's adult class / Area professional
Playing the piano well is difficult work, but Mark helps his students take pleasure in the journey of musical progress. Mark personalizes his approach to each student, helping them address their limitations and capitalize on their strengths. He allows students to achieve their personal best by giving them essential technical tools, deepening their musical understanding, and conveying the passion at the heart of each piano masterpiece. By sharing his considerable expertise, he encourages students to go beyond merely playing notes accurately. Mark helps students understand the composer's intent, and to take personal risks when interpreting the score so that the music comes alive.
Portland-area piano teacher
I find these master classes to be consistently illuminating and inspiring. Mr. Westcott has an uncanny ability to communicate precisely what needs to happen to take a person's playing to the next level. His teaching has helped clarify for me numerous basic principles of pianism: melodic shaping, stress-free technique, rhythmic structure, memory, balance, pedaling. The classes have profoundly improved both my playing and my teaching and I recommend them highly to anyone wanting to make a similar positive change in their life.
Doctoral Candidate, studying with Dean Kramer at University of Oregon
Mr. Westcott's knowledge of both musical and technical issues is vast, and he has an exceptional ability of communicating his ideas and suggestions in a way that is beneficial to the student. I remember coming into lessons having worked on difficult passages to no avail. Mr. Westcott was quickly able to diagnose the problem, offering suggestions, and the problem was solved. Beyond his expertise in piano technique, however, Mr. Westcott excels in his knowledge and understanding of musical and stylistic issues. In his own playing Mr. Westcott demonstrates a wonderfully expressive sense of rhythm; I believe this to be one of his great strengths as a pianist. Further, Mr. Westcott helped me to develop a professional sound at the piano. His command over his own sound at the piano is stunning, and he is able to produce seemingly endless shades and varieties of tone. These are just some areas in which he is able to offer his students great insight and instruction.
During the years in which I studied with Mr. Westcott he was able to guide and develop my musical inclinations and solidify my technique. After several years of study, under Mr. Westcott's tutelage I was playing not only like a professional, but like an artist. In 2006, as Mr. Westcott's student, I won the MTNA Oregon State Young Artist's Piano Competition. Mr. Westcott had the opportunity of studying with some of the world's greatest teachers. It is this legacy that he brings to his students, and I consider myself fortunate to have studied with him.
Teacher / Pianist
To study piano with Mark Westcott is to place oneself under a veritable fountain of unerring musical wisdom, aligned with a deep passion for accuracy in every detail, intelligent use of appropriate stylistic expression, a masterful approach to technique, and an underlying sense of authentic artistry.
In his monthly Master Classes Mark intersperses student performances, and his on-the-spot feedback, with planned and impromptu discourses on a wide range of pianistic and musical topics. Classes, like private lessons are packed with artistic insight, practical development, and personal challenges helping students to rise to rise to their potential
Always planning the student's next step of development, he explains with precise clarity the reasons for each correction needed in a piece, demonstrating when needed, and revising his own advice if necessary, until it "works" for the student. This is the essence of brilliant teaching.
Mark knows exactly what each student needs to work on, and while demanding one's best focus and effort, he also gives his all with patience and good humor. For the dedicated, teachable student of any age, such a Master Teacher is a rare opportunity not to be taken lightly.