Monday, October 12, 2009

Debost, locking pinky, and fan mail

Dear flutists,
An interesting view inside a dedicated music school's flute department with Debost speaking about his flute class.

It's great for incoming performance majors to see the other students of the flute on film, performing on stage and in masterclasses. It helps you to see the dedication and hard work that go into preparing for a music career.

Also of interest in the above clip:

Do you notice that the student playing in the first clip on stage is using a thumbport! Yahoo. Now I'm not the only one with a big black plastic rectangle showing on film.
The student playing in the studio with the gold headjoint, has their keys tilting backwards (mentioned in other blog posts as a sure way to create tuning problems as the flute rolls backward unexpectedly) and has a a very stiff pinky finger on the right hand.

Right after watching the above short film, I received this email:

Dear Jen
You changed my life! For the last couple of years I've been getting "locking pinky" syndrome. It was becoming quite an issue and I was getting worried about doing some real damage. Anyway, checked out your site, where your advice was to move the right hand thumb back..worked like a dream! No more locking pinky. Your technical advice is always right on the money.

So I thought, wow...I've been getting lots of "out of the blue" fan mail lately, I must share it!!

Dear Jennifer Cluff,
Please forgive me for writing out of the blue. We haven't met. My name is G and I am principal in the orchestra of N. of France.
I just want to take the time and thank you for all the WONDERFUL information and advise you have put out there for us fellow flutists. Your advise has helped tremendously both my students and I !

Dear Jen
I recently, thanks to you, ordered The Physical Flute and I just love it. Again, this will be of great help for my students and I. Without your site I probably would have never found out about this amazing book.
Anyway, many thanks again and please keep it up ! I admire you for having the patience to type all that !.

Dear Jen
Though not a flute player myself (I teach instrumentalists music theory at a college), I'm a big fan of your blog and have recommended it to many flutists. In my opinion, it is one of the most practical and useful sites available for any instrument......

I wanted to let you know that all of my flute students are following your blog. We actually had a conversation about it in my Career Perspectives class (50 students). I’m having all the students read 5 blogs throughout the semester. Some were complaining that they couldn’t find a single useful blog for the instrument. And then the flute players chimed in about your site and how much they love it. Just thought you’d like to know….

Wow. This feels terrific!!
In almost eight years of having this site and blog, no one has yet written in to say my advice was not working for them.
Plus, when I see the students and teaching of other big name teachers and players, I still feel there's so much to learn.
This keeps me engaged and fascinated about the flute and its teaching.
Thankyou to everyone who is as thrilled with this instrument as I am, and thanks for those who make films and share all the information they know.

Best, and happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian readers,
Comments (6)
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved this video! What a wonderful way to get a peak at Mr. Debost's flute studio. As a current undergraduate student at a different institution, it was really interesting to see how Oberlin Conservatory's studio class is conducted/received by the students. It gave me a lot of good ideas to suggest to my flute teacher. Thanks so much for posting!

Saturday, October 17, 2009 1:10:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Exactly! "a peek inside a studio".
Love it. It really teaches us. Thanks for saying that. J.

Saturday, October 17, 2009 1:54:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For some reason I only recently discovered your flute blog. (Partly due to my teacher's,David Cutler, advice about how important blogging is.) I am hooked on you site now! Every few days I go through a few more of your blogs, all of which I find interesting. Where else is there something about James Galway's calouses?! I went to the ladies room during a concert at this past flute convention. When I came back he was sitting in my seat so a sat next to him. I should've looked at his hands! lol
Thanks for all your advice!

Sunday, October 18, 2009 1:16:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Wow, thanks Caitlyn.
The Galway callouses blog post is very recent; you'll see it on the right hand side bar here, or here:

I personally don't believe in callouses, but it's debatable.
So glad to har your feedback.
Best, Jen

Sunday, October 18, 2009 3:09:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also read your previous post on locking pinky, and I thought it was SO helpful! I've noticed every now and then for as long as I can remember that I have a problem with the way I hold my pinky finger. Until now, I didn't know how to fix it. I tried out some of your solutions, and, with time and practice, I'm sure my problem is going to go away.

Monday, October 19, 2009 7:57:00 AM

Blogger jen said...

Dear Anonymous,

Locking RH pinky can also be caused by having an Eb lever that is sprung to tightly, and requires too much finger pressure. Have you had your Eb key lightened by a good flute repair technician? Only takes a minute, and is likely a free servie (lightening the spring means unhooking the metal needle, bending it slightly, and replacing it to lift the Eb key again---don't try this yourself unless experienced; you don't want to break off the spring.)

Monday, October 19, 2009 8:47:00 AM


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