Monday, October 05, 2015

Being James Galway (documentary)

Being James Galway - A 1 hr. documentary

Very interesting to watch; lots to think about. (video

Best, Jen

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Jacot wins ARD - view videos

Dear Flutelovers,

If any one was able tune in Sunday morning/afternoon, one of my fave flutists played online, livestream: Sébastian Jacot. He of lightest arms and most divine phrasing and style. He played a wooden flute for the CPE Bach in the semifinals and then a gold headjoint on a silver flute for the contemporary piece. Then he played the Finals, Reinecke Concerto, with the gold headjoint on a wooden body.  Amazing dexterity of lip.  (I just found the link to the video replay, so see the Semifinal and Final round by Jacot for yourself!)

Replay of all ARD Competition Videos.

Note: Scroll down to FLUTE FINALS - Jacot.

My feeling?
The man *is* music.

Watching the semifinals again (and now the Reinecke which stunned me!), of all the competitors in the semi-finals, he was the only one who played the  contemporary piece for solo flute in a rhythmically fascinating way. He used freer air-sculpting and then long arcs of continuous pulse. He performs to the live space, and fills it with his fascinating ideas; so well thought out; so many ideas!  But most moving was his use of both human rhythmic pulse as well as nature-sound rhythms. (Ex: the almost random rhythms of birdcall, followed by connected phrases within a slow beating pulse). No other player seemed to do that; they played without pulse over long phrases I found and became disassociated quite quickly. (the contemporary "squeaks and squawks with no dramatic direction" problem).

 So, here is a fellow who listens to his world very closely and embodies it in time and space to make the acoustic space come alive for the audience NOW.
Amazing man with amazing ears. What a musician! Can't wait to hear him play again.
Interesting to see the five microphones used for the contemporary piece. Fascinating to know that we need those to play the quietest end of the modern flute (faint-wind, hiss and key-click sound effects).

Replay Jacot Semi-finals video.

Update 10 am (Pacific time), 

Dear Flutists,
This just in, Jacot has won first prize for Flute at the ARD competition in the Final round with the Reinecke Concerto.

If there will be replays of the Finals for Flute (the Reinecke), then I believe they will appear at the Replay link below, later today. Be sure and scroll down to FLUTE and then Finals when you arrive:

Replay of all ARD Competition Videos. (Finals were posted Sept. 14/15)

Meanwhile, you can see and hear Jacot and the other semi-finalists on replay.

Replays of the videos of the Flute semi finalists

Scroll down to find Flute (there is also Trombone/Voice etc.) when you arrive;
there's a big blank white space at the top.  Scroll, scroll, (sings: " scroll in zee hay......." an obscure Young Frank- Terry Garr quote). (ha ha.)

Hear Jacot wooden flute on CPE Bach then gold headjoint/silver body on Sciarrino:

Replay Jacot Semi-finals video.

All flute participants and read results for three rounds;
Read:  Participants Flute.

ARD website

Best, Jen (last update Sept. 14th)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Barile plays Khachaturian... whoa: 8va!!!

Bravo Claudio!!!!

Claudio Barile plays Khachaturian (video)

Up the octave, by memory and at 1000 miles an hour.
Stunning! Goosebumps! Loved it! Genius!

Best, Jen

Friday, July 17, 2015

How to Get Started on the Flute

Dear Flute-lovers,

In the five years that I've been selling Roger Mather's "The Art of Playing the Flute", I've had five adult beginners write by email and order the book, telling me "I'm a complete beginner; I hope this will help."
I always write back and say: "Roger Mather's "The Art of Playing the Flute" book is for teachers and more advanced flutists who already know how to play, but want to improve the higher skill levels and teach them clearly to others."

However, inevitably, the adult beginners who order Mather's brilliant three volumes on Embouchure, Breathing and intricate flute skills, are still incredibly curious and want to read the Mather book (I can hardly blame them, it's that good!)
So if you too are a beginner who hasn't yet begun, and you're searching around about how to get started on the flute, here's my advice that I wrote this morning for a recent book-buyer who wanted to know:

How to Get Started on the Flute

If you're a complete beginner and don't yet have a flute, here's my best advice:

1. Singing is the closest thing to flute playing. So if you don't have a flute yet, there's nothing stopping you from singing and listening to music. It gets the chest open and the breath flowing and the ears working. Feel free. Even if you're not a great singer, (or you even think you're tone-deaf), you still need to move the air stream. So sing away.

2. Book: The cheapest and best book on how to begin flute playing is $10 and is also in the public library; HOW TO PLAY THE FLUTE by Howard Harrison.
It uses the musical terms used in the UK (Crochet instead of quarter note.) but it has everything you need even if you later use different nomenclature. Great tunes; great advice; big print, illustrations and quality ideas.

3. Rent a flute: The cheapest way to get a great flute to start on is to rent a Yamaha 200 (closed hole C-foot student level flute) from a flute shop. It costs about $25 or less a month.
You will learn (from the Harrison book) that you start with the headjoint only, learning to blow the air at an angle to make a good sound. This is the technique for the first two weeks of playing the flute; head-joint ONLY.

4. Old flute: If you are using an old flute that was given to you, take it to the repair shop first, before you struggle with it. Flutes typically suffer from leaking pads (the soft cotton part that closes the key firmly, and gives you each new note). If you have an old flute that hasn't been to the repair shop in a year or more, then this is a necessary maintenance that cannot be avoided.
If you play a flute with leaking pads you will be frustrated very quickly. Check this out. Terribly important, even in a rental flute (where they will fix the rented flute for free, or give you a better one.)

5. Lessons: The fastest way to progress is with a teacher.
We like to think that we can do it all with a book and some concentration, but it's too three-dimensional (actually more dimensions than that!) like gymnastics, and you would never think of becoming a gymnast without a teacher; too many angles and fine points for you to guess at just using a book! So get a teacher. Even if you only take ten lessons, you will save yourself up to five years of fruitless effort.

6. Playing Duets: The fastest way to get music into your life is to find people to play with.
This motivates and engages. Without people to play with or to talk to about your music, you can become isolated, which erodes your enthusiasm.
Get involved in duets with your teacher, and eventually duets and trios with your fellow adult-beginner students; then you'll be swept up in the incredible beauty that you used to dream of, and you'll be learning in a real and true way; by having excellent quality music being made around you and with you everyday.

Hope this helps.
More adult beginner flute links at

Comments welcome (just click the comments button)


Monday, July 13, 2015

Underwood - Flute Fundamentals (for doublers esp.)

Dear Flute-lovers,

A fantastically interesting video for your summer viewing interest:
Keith Underwood—Flute Fundamentals
(especially of interest for flute doublers)

The brilliant Keith Underwood explains an incredible amount of detailed infomation about forming the flute embouchure. Such great information; lots to try. Lots of the tips work immediately.  (Video)

Thanks to the interviewer. See at host's website - read bio.

Also of interest: Keith refers to a number of Julius Baker videos on youtube:

Here is one mentioned.

Shost 5 - Baker - Bernstein

If any of the avid super-flute-nerds (like me) have time to find more links to more Baker videos where one can see the Baker lips in action, please put the links in the comments. That would so excellent to put them all here. Thanks if you can help!

I am also a super huge fan of all the Keith Underwood Masterclasses that I've viewed online.
Advanced flutists will find them endlessly interesting:
Underwood masterclasses 
(you can pay to watch online all previous ones).

previous blog post on Underwood has even more "how-to" videos where Keith specifically demonstrates each of his concepts.


What I've been up to lately:
Thanks for all the kind emails I've received about my blog being quiet, while, secretly, unbeknownst to any silent readers.......
 my house is full of flute noise day and night,
because I'm working on my book full-time over the spring and summer.

Going great. Thanks for not emailing too often. :>)
 I really appreciate the time to do good work.
Super fun being had hopefully by all! :>D
Happy days.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Watch Lorna McGhee teach

Dear Flute-lovers,

Wonderful teaching by Lorna McGhee! Brilliant!
Enjoy! Best Jen

1. Lorna McGhee Flute Master Class (video)

2. Lorna McGhee - on releasing the air during articulated passages (video)

3. Lorna McGhee on Legato playing (video)

4. Lorna McGhee teaches Commitment to the sound and phrasing (video)

Comments welcome!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Watch the Prague 2015 Flute Competition

Dear Flute-lovers,

Here is the Prague flute competition on video.
Check it out. You may spot the next J. Galway, but at age 18 (!)
Prague Spring Competition 2015

Stunning; fascinating...
And I've *never* seen fingers like THAT before.

Watch on youtube:
Part 1 with Joséphine Olech and Yubeen Kim (video)

Part 2 with Hélène Boulègue and Sunghyun Cho (video)

Winners announced at: Fluteview

Enjoy! And hey, honestly, don't do that with your fingers unless that's the only choice you have. :>)
Comments totally welcome.