|the Larsen Flute Studio||
It's been WAY too long since I blogged. A lot has happened in the past year. The SWFLSO survived AND has come out on the other side of its struggle to exist as a leaner, meaner organization. The band almost closed its doors a year ago in July. Since then, the office staff reorganized, moved to a better location, paid off its debts, had a very successful 2013-14 season, chose a new Music Director (Maestro Nir Kabaretti), AND refilled its endowment fund to the tune of $2 million dollars, with some monies left for operating expenses.
In the meantime, the Larsen family has had a very successful season as well. The summer has been equally interesting. We met up with several former students as well as had a great dinner with Maestro Leif Bjaland and Emil DeCou. The musicians of the SWFLSO put on a fundraiser in the month of July. Beth and I, as well as Sherrie Mangan and Darbi Elliott performed the quartet arrangement of Debussy's Clair de Lune. Beth and I did a jazzy duet by Mike Mower, and Tom Kracmer, owner of Cadence Music and the tubist with the orchestra played a duet by Walter Hartley. Beth and I also performed a trio with bassist Alex Albanese.
On November 15th, I will have the distinct honor and pleasure to perform Vivaldi's Concerto No. 3, the "Goldfinch" with Maestro Bjaland conducting. I have written my own ornaments for the second movement and intend to write a special cadenza for the last movement, but at the moment, connecting my ideas has proved elusive.
Beth and I will be performing for the Florida Flute Convention on January 30th. Chris Abell (of Abell flutes) and his wife and flutist Kate Steinbeck will be attending. We are just setting up our program now. Details to follow.
We are so fortunate to have wonderful students with which to work! Teaching is a natural balance to performing. When we teach our students, we are also finding new ways to address our own musical (and emotional) issues. We need to put into words what we do to make a pleasant sound, accomplish rhythms and phrasing. By doing so, we have a deeper understanding of what we do and how we do it.
We would like to congratulate our All-State 9th and 10th grade students:
Megan Burkhead & Libby O'Connor
and our All-State 7th and 8th grade Honor Band Student
You are all outstanding flutists and students.
Bill & Beth
This is a video of our performance in April 2013. Dr. Thomas Smith is conducting the Edison State College Wind Ensemble.
Check it out! Now you can download a scale and arpeggio pattern sheet that has two octaves, with the correct rhythm and articulations in two octaves.
ALTHOUGH, we do want to remind you that you can not take the scale sheet into the audition. You can click on the button below, or go to "Important Flute Downloads" page from the Media menu.
Best of luck,
Bill & Beth
What gives music its character and flavor? There are of course, many possible answers to this question, but one has to start somewhere. How about articulation?
Remember your favorite teachers? They had a gift with words, but also how they delivered those words. They used good consonants, but not too edgy, unless they meant to wake you up or underscore an important word or phrase. The vowels separated those consonants, but never were left by themselves. To be articulate is to be well-spoken. That's what we need to bring into everyday flute playing.
So, how to do?
1. The KISS principle. If articulation becomes obsessive, it overwhelms the music and becomes boffo or clownish. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Make similar articulations sound similar. If there is a change, try to keep the quality of the articulation within the context of the piece.
2. The air stream is much more important than the action of the tongue. In fact, you can articulate quite nicely without using your tongue at all. The tongue adds only an edge. No accent, unless it is asked for.
3. Which brings us to this point. NEVER TONGUE HARD. It is musically destructive. The excessive gesture merely opens up your embouchure and creates an unfocused sound.
4. The articulation is part of the music. It should add character and flavor to the musical line.
5. If it doesn't add character or flavor to the musical line, it is wrong. Even if the ink on the page asks for it. Listen to a bunch of recordings while reading the score. Again, the articulation should be within the character of the musical line.
6. Articulation should not alter your intonation.
7. Vibrato should not interfere with your articulation. In general, do not vibrate or vibrate at a barely perceptible level during technical passages.
As always, this information is given with the best of intentions. It is by no means complete and exhaustive. Its just a starting point. If you want more, go read "Sound in Motion" by David McGill.
We have posted the scale patterns for the middle school All-State auditions. Check out "Flute Related Downloads" on our media page or hit the button below.
The school year has certainly begun, and with it, Beth and I are confronting some of the usual frustration of our students and those that we coach. Beth has decided to address the issue of how to help remember the upper register notes and produced a document to that effect. You can download by pressing the button below:
Here it is! Your opportunity to ask a question about the flute or any music related topic.