Friday, June 20, 2008

How to Really Bomb a Masterclass

Dear Flutists,

Hilarious reading; "How to Really Bomb a Masterclass" by Richard Miller (Voice Professor, Oberlin College of Music.)

This is an extract from Miller's excellent, pithy book "On The Art of Singing". It's copyright, so I'll leave it up only for a few days. But I need your input! :>)
PLEASE help me write an even more hilarious one for flute players. Just click on the COMMENTS button below to add your own.
For example:

How to Really Bomb a Flute Masterclass

1. Choose the most challenging pieces in the flute repertoire, and change your mind often. Two days before the masterclass, ask everyone you meet whether you should play the Ibert, the Jolivet, or the contemporary piece with tape that your teacher has never heard you play before.

2. Give in to the impulse to appear as professional as possible: wear a strapless formal ball gown and arrive at least two hours early to see what everyone else is wearing. Swan around the hallways stopping each participant and asking whether "these shoes GO."

3. Tune onstage for at least five minutes. Go over to the piano and bang notes out, and suggest that the upper register is flatter than it should be. Ask whether another piano could be made available.

4. When the visiting master suggests you play a scale, narrow your eyes, and search for your teacher in the audience to visually confer that this master is an obvious idiot.

5. If the master tries to stop you to speak, keep playing. He really can't know your style until he hears your fabulous cadenza.

6. If you usually play with your headjoint pushed all the way in, refuse to move the headjoint no matter what the master teacher says. Same holds true if you're a Baroque specialist playing a old wooden flute. No matter what the prevailing pitch is, leave your headjoint where you are used to putting it and brook no argument. (note: Thank you A.F.)

7. Practice an "air of superiority and defiance" while onstage, because you never know when someone at a Masterclass will spot you and make you a substantial cash offer to become a famous Conductor.

8. Blame most things on your accompanist, and be sure and send them a subtle message by walking offstage without thanking or acknowledging their piano playing. (thank you P.M.)

9. Pay no attention to the sessions of the people before you, especially the things about them that the master changes (i.e. playing position, amount of dancing around the stage). When it's your turn, play with all of the same idioscynracies only much more exaggerated. ( note: thank you M.R.)

10. Ask the masterclass leader to help you assemble your flute because you can explain, you've had problems previously. (note: thank you A.S.)

11. If the master teacher starts ambling off-topic, droning on about form or rhythm or something really boring, hint that they need to re-focus with a few sotto voce air-riffs on your flute, alternating with blasting the water out of it and shaking it.

12. Question everything. Don't record the session or take notes: Instead, since it's all "LIVE", take the opportunity to minutely question every suggestion that the master teacher makes. For
emphasis even argue a few points.

Add more tips here...........

This list needs YOUR input. Please write more! :>)

Best, Jen :>)
Comments (5)
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is hilarious!!
If I can be witty and think of any I will be sure to post them, but thanks for the fun read. :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008 9:50:00 AM

Blogger Sheila said...

6. Bring 2 pieces to the stage and discuss loudly with your pianist which piece you should play, being sure to highlight all the negative reasons why not to play both.

7. Tell them your braces all broke off and you can't play.....oh wait. That one's been taken already. :D

the mind has gone blank. :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008 8:23:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Hahahhahaa!! I really like "highlight the negative reasons why not to play both."

Very funny!! :>)


Saturday, June 21, 2008 9:30:00 PM

Blogger djtex said...

8. Begin your piece; vary your tempo unpredictably and glare repeatedly at your accompanist; as soon as you badly blow (literally!) a hard phrase, stop as though it was the accompanist's fault and insist on beginning again over the objections of the clinician.

9. Play the first movement of the JC Bach Unaccompanied Sonata in A minor. Play it perfectly and with just the right degree of precision, passion, and brio. On the last thrilling ascending arpeggio, underblow the final high A so that you can see the master clinician, as well as the rest of the class, in their expressions of agony and pain. (I tried this one all by myself!)

10. Streak across the stage as the master plays. Make sure that you are generously endowed. (Rampal, Southern Methodist University master class, about fall of 1973 or spring of 1974; he never missed a beat as his flute rotated to allow him to visually track the young lady.)

Friday, August 10, 2012 5:45:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Thanks Tex.
We'll never forget the '70s streaking craze (and probably neither did Rampal!) Jen

Saturday, August 11, 2012 10:00:00 AM


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