Saturday, May 02, 2020

deep contemplation of a life spent fluting

Dear Flute-Lovers,
 With permission given by the authors, a reprint of a question and answer from yesterday's flutey conversations on the internet. Enjoy, Best, Jen
Head joints, embouchure cuts, metal alloys, metal resistance, weighed crowns, hard vs. gentle blowers, etc. - and it all comes down to one, most important aspect of flute playing - S O U N D.
I’ve being playing the flute - for nearly 33 years now and still have plenty of questions like: “what’s a great flute embouchure?” or “is there a way to consistently (!) have a good sound?”
One never really stops learning. Ever.
But seriously; what is the definition of a great flute sound?
Can you learn it, or can you only push your natural abilities so far?
Does the right choice (a thesis topic in its own) of a head joint metal and embouchure cut really make a difference? Or is it all a gimmick?
Why is it seemingly impossible to completely eradicate “bad flute sound” days?
At age 40 I can never yet say that I have come close to being a master flute player.  I guess some of us will never get there...

Thank you for your input. A
Howie (a flute teacher in his 6th-to-7th decade) answers:

Well, this is a great question, even though it's premise is wrong, I feel. Wrong, because it leads one to be unhappy and to developing unattainable desires. Ashkenazy (the pianist) said that to strive for anything in music other than
how a piece of music goes is a wrong direction.

In answer to your question more directly: let's concentrate on loving the music more deeply, loving our neighbors more fully, our partners, friends, family, world and Beauty, and you'll experience your sound becoming more expressive.

 Take part in health-supporting activities: Eating, sleeping, hugging and listening (to name a few) and your sound will become noticeably more beautiful.
Be devoutly generous and genuinely caring - care! - and your sound will reflect this, too.

Don't compromise this love
and your tone will become uncompromisingly loving.
Master flutist? Just be a loving, giving, caring, generous, healthy flutist.
This should be enough.
Love, Howie
______________end delightfully deep and light conversation

Jen adds; To wit: Here is a superb performance of the Schubert Octet (video)
These musicians are speaking from the heart of what they love about music:

PS. Update July 2020:
If you love the intensity and kindness of the players in this film of the Schubert Octet, then hold onto your hat, and check out this documentary about the cellist: Click on: Cellist documentary on DailyMotion.