Hello, it’s your neighborhood workaholic here… to provide some updates.
First and foremost, I’VE GRADUATED WITH MY MASTERS!!!
That is supposed to feel exciting, but I am finding that I have more stressed out with what that means for the future. A lot of major life changes have been snowballing since April 2021 so let’s recap.
In the month of April, I started by preparing for my final Masters’ recital which was a major undertaking and thankfully all went to plan 🙂
However, shortly after that performance my childhood cat’s health was rapidly declining. She had just entered the Senior cat life state, and already had some pre-existing issues from earlier in the year. So with the high of the final Masters’ recital came the low of having to say goodbye to my best friend.
Then, only several days after that began the treacherous journey I am now with housing.
Halfway through my undergrad, my family moved into the house I have been staying in up to present. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, there tensions prompted some drastic life changes that bring us to present day.
I’ll be the only family member remaining in state – obviously I have new and old friends, colleagues, and support systems here – but it means that I have been navigating finding housing alone.
Which may not seem like a huge deal to most people – understandably so – in my case however, I have had to face what weakness I am bringing into rental applications as a recent graduate student, with minimal job experience, pending job, and I’m under 25. I think it is important to share this experience because I hear a lot of people say to me “just ask your parents” or “get a financial advisor” but this is with the assumption that I was in the privileged financial spot to begin with. Thus being the one that has to advocate for myself is a tough transition that I am currently navigating as I continue to search for a new home.
I have been working really hard to advocate for myself. I’ve been teaching, securing summer work, applying to job positions for the new school year, practicing when the stress isn’t debilitating, and if I’m lucky remembering to have fun or engage in self-care.
I hope to hear positive news in regards to housing and getting a full-time job for next school year would also be fantastic.
For now, I am just continuing the grind. For weeks I have been hearing people say “oh once you’re an adult things never settle, there will never be a good time so just keep… blah blah blah”. I am tired. They say that moving is the most stressful thing in a person’s adult life; however, the type of person I am is excited, but the hard part is just securing a place with the unfortunate position I am in. Things will settle, the work isn’t the challenge for me it is the instability of not knowing where I will be in 2 weeks or a month’s time.
Once I have gotten that stability as I know (or at least hope) they will I will be back to regular posting.
There are many works attributed to J.S. Bach that – present day – music historians unearth may not actually be written by Johann Sebastian; such is the case for BWV 1031 (or the Sonata in EbM) which is now more commonly linked to C.P.E. Bach, one of J.S. Bach’s sons. This is significant because of the differences in complex melodic, harmonic, and bass line material; as well as notation in the UrText edition. All of which become apparent the more one plays Baroque repertoire; however, at a first glance this work may seem to fit right in with the rest of the BWV catalogue.
In this analysis, I will primarily be focusing on the conversational element between the flute and harpsichord (piano). Additionally, referencing the structure of the flute line and recurring material.
I. Allegro moderato
Following a melismatic 8 bar introduction, the flute enters relatively independent. The steady eighths of the left hand provide stability as the right hand plays a contrary moving reduction of the flute line for the first several bars… with some similar motion (ie. stepwise vs. leaps). Generally, anytime the rhythm lines up the melodic material moves in the opposite direction.
By beat 3 in m. 11 there is a switch – marked by the sixteenths in the RH of the piano – to a conversation between the flute line and the RH. Of particular interest, m. 16-18 have contrasting material however the downbeats are moving in the same downward motion. With the flute playing C-Bb-A and the RH of the piano playing A-G-F (2 minor thirds, and the last an unexpected Major third). The use of 3s (a recurring motive) is common in Baroque and Classical music; generally, in performance practice, the structure of less, more, most is applied to vary each iteration.
Furthermore, the first time the LH of the piano breaks from it’s steady eighth notes is directly after this set of 3s in m. 18-20 where the eighth to quarter pickup is similar to the dance motive seen in movement 3.
The RH of the piano and flute are rhythmically similar again in m. 21-26 for a HC cadence on the downbeat of m. 26.
The flute entrance in m. 32 is transposed up a fifth from the original (now in the Dominant – BbM); and the role of the RH and flute are very similar to the introduction. This changes in the pickup to m. 40 where the RH is playing the inversion of the flute line (rather than a M6 of Bb down to Db, the piano is playing a m3 Db down to Bb).
The remainder of the movement is much more conversational; in the image below notice the annotations for how frequently the flute and RH are either playing in rhythmic unison or alternating to form a composite of steady sixteenth notes.
A siciliano is a dance performers of the Baroque era were familiar with; the dance is marked by a slow lilting rhythm (commonly the dotted sixteenth, eighth, sixteenth), and while in minor is not ‘sad’ rather evoking a pastorale setting. This movement is in g minor – however, the tonic is mainly reinforced in the LH of the piano and not in the lilting flute line.
In this movement notice how the RH of the piano is ‘mechanical’ with the steady sixteenths rolling for the majority of the movement.
And perpetuating the conversational idea, every time the flute plays sixteenth notes the piano takes over the lilting rhythmic line.
Back to EbM, this movement combines dance motives from the 2nd movement with the conversational elements from the 1st movement. Aside from cadential points, the flute and piano create a composite of consistent sixteenth notes.
In m. 14-17 the piano prefaces the dance motive – which features a strong-weak relationship between the first and following notes; which the flute takes on in m. 24-27.
As far as the conversational elements: the sustained pitch in the flute on F5 in m. 33-35 is passed off the the piano 4 bars later m. 39-41 on Bb4. This sections the play with thirds/sixths inversions throughout; when the movement started the piano was above the flute (C6 above A6) while in this section the flute is now playing a 3rd above the piano.
What are your thoughts on this Sonata? Let me know in the comments below.
After your first year of undergrad, there is an abundance of time to practice (not). However, there is more allocated time to practice, and efficiently using this time to practice is a skill that is most useful post-grad.
In this week’s entry I will set a baseline for general practicing habits as a college student (from both the perspective of undergraduate and graduate) and then the transition to full time teaching whether that be private lessons or public school.
Collegiate Practice Time
As an undergraduate student, there is a fairly inflexible block schedule that your practice time has to fit into. Gen Eds, Core Requirements, Lessons, Ensembles, Electives….
As far as practice time goes, it is more or less built into your schedule as “free time”.
This time gets spent on lesson material (scales, etudes, repertoire), ensemble repertoire and chamber music. There isn’t much time for exploration and playing things outside of school music aside from part-time gigs.
Towards the last year of undergrad, but more so during graduate studies, there is A LOT more “free time”. Classes run into the night – if you are working part or full time that may vary how much time you have allotted to practice. However, this variability leaves a few open ended questions:
How much time do you need to practice? School material? Outside school?
What do you practice? What are you working towards?
Grad school is where you have the freedom to hone whatever skills you prioritize.
One of the secrets of adulting 101 that most graduate students and full-time workers will tell you is that you have to schedule a social life. The same becomes true for practicing. If you don’t make time for it, it can slip through the cracks and before you know it you have missed a week a practicing.
There is not set # of practice hours. Everyone is different: work/school schedules, physical and mental health, upcoming projects, etc. However, being consistent and seeing through that you practice when you tell yourself you are going to practice. As well as having a plan for what you want to get better at each time you play – or if you are playing for fun (set time aside for that as well!) – but those times that you are practicing to journal it and reflect every week or so on the small achievements you’ve made.
Post-Grad – Working Full Time:
When you are teaching, the freedom that you had in graduate school is altered. Life changes, workload, etc. However, the key differences is now you are in the driver’s seat. Without regular lessons, you have the freedom to decide how you practice and maintain your skills.
Preparing and planning lessons – ideally you would be working on the repertoire your students are doing, so any personal projects are put on hold to review and refresh for teaching.
Finding balance between maintaining personal goals versus teach goals can vary; and it is important to model a viable career that blends both teaching and personal growth.
How do you practice? Let me know in the comments below!
The week this post will be live is also the same week I will be performing Frank Martin’s Ballade for my final Masters’ recital. Given the priority of recording – over live rehearsals – I have been able to be much more detail focused on this piece than I could have ever been in ‘normal’ times. This is not an easy piece by an means; if you are not familiar with the work allow me to break down the sections and shed some insight on what I’ve learned over the past few months.
Let’s start with the composer: Frank Martin. He is a Swiss composer who lived from 1890-1974 and he studied piano and composition with J. Lauber. Early on he was influenced by French composers – in the early 20th century, the distinct impressionist style of French music such as by Faure. Around the 1930s he also studied with Arnold Schoenberg; the culminating of these contrasting composing styles finally came together in the late 1930s. Gerhard Braun’s notes in the Universal score put it best, “these compositions blend twelve-tone technique and functional harmony, frequent use of ostinato and pedal point, the incorporation of perfect major and minor triads and exploitation of the melodic and harmonic tensions generated by the leading note and the tonic.”
Frank Martin’s Ballade was originally written for flute and piano when composed in 1939; it was composed to be premiered at the Geneva International Music Competition of that same year. Several years later, in 1941, the Ballade was adapted for flute and orchestra.
Before getting into the piece, and honorable mention is Paula Robison’s Masterclass: Frank Martin Ballade pour flute et piano. This book – as the title would suggest – workshops the Ballade and is a great resource for anyone who either loves to listen to the piece or intends on performing it. I won’t recap much of what she says within my own analysis because I think Robison writes so concisely; however, the use of medieval poetry (speech patterns) is something worth looking into when studying the Ballade.
The first question is: how do we section the Ballade? Generally the tempo markings indicate a change in texture, timbre, or color; the ones that I regard as significant are as follows:
What interesting is that when broken up into 6 sections of similar lengths the form resembles in a warped mirror.
Like an: A B C-C B’ A’
The material from the Allegro ben moderato returns at the very end in the Meno mosso – slightly distorted; the material in the Molto Vivace comes BEFORE the Meno mosso with a varied version of the original Vivace motives. The Cadenza and the Lento / Con moto sections act as the mirror or the axis for the larger A and B themes to reflect.
A: Allegro ben moderato (m. 1-43)
The work opens with the conversational eighth note motive. There is no real tonal center – a la Schoenberg – however, this is NOT a tone row either… so what is it? There are three 2 bar sets within the opening: (1) G A Bb F#; (2) F# E# G# A (3) B# B A# Gx. The only discernible pattern is that each time there is a move upward by a half step such as from G to G# to Gx.
The cyclic eighth notes are broken by a register change – which is another trademark of the piece. And you will notice that following that break that the beaming changes from 6 to two groups of 3. Where Martin is setting up the 2 v 3 (and 3 v 2) between the flute and piano early on. In measure 11, there is a ‘new’ beginning on new pitches, however, this does not proceed the same way we heard it the first time because another set of two groups of 3 interrupt the motive and propel the flute line into a syncopated, extreme interval idea.
One more time we get a ‘new’ beginning, this time a half step higher than the last (m. 11) and now the roles are reverse where the flute is playing the 2 while the piano has 3.
We get more intervals mixed in with short 2 bar snippets of the transposed opening motive before our first set of sixteenth notes ascends to the climax of the opening which falls down with syncopations into the Piu Tranquillo. The piano is back to playing 2s (more of a 6/8) while the flute is playing in 3/4 on a single note that is syncopated, maintaining that conversational element from the very opening of the section.
B: Vivace / Half = Dotted Half (m. 44-153)
This next section is interesting, mostly because of the Half = Dotted Half section which is simultaneously stable and unstable. At first glance it may seem odd to roll that section into B however it juxtaposes the section to create this contrast to the high energy; the calmness/song-like line of the Half = Dotted Half is like a delayed echo to the abundance of material the Vivace throws at us. This echo is reinforced too, by m. 147-148, which is a transposed version of the Vivace‘s m. 62-63.
Both the tempo and rhythm contrast the opening A section. The tempo increase is initiated by the piano and then the flute spring boards with new (small unit) rhythms. Compared to the A section which heavily used eighth notes, the B section as sixteenths and an abundance of triplet figures.
The Half = Dotted Half section may seem calm (notated ‘dolce cantabile’) compared to the first half of the B section; however the 2 over 3 (flute in 2/4 and piano in 3/4) is just a small sample of Martin playing with polyrhythms.
And the B section ends with a return to the primary material – the eighths [rest] sixteenth figure – that leaps to the high E6.
Cadenza (m. 154-193)
The cadenza restates the resonant E octave leap that ended the B section. A similar style reminiscent of the A section is recycled in the initial ‘moderato’ – this time playing with the interval of a half step reinforced as a sort of palindrome (reinforcing the mirror analogy).
This introduction intensifies and then suddenly steps back at the second ‘moderato’ with a contrasting piano dynamic a tritone lower than the opening E6. This new section is a sort of ‘haze’ or smoke and mirrors – at least in a tonal sense – as Martin reinforces the pedal Ab as well as (one half step down) G while altering the subsequent pitches. The pitches held on fermatas may indicate some type of stabilizing the tonal center, however, it is an illusion – as Martin does not feature one area for too long. One of these illusions is the recurring A – C – F:
As you can see from the score, this instances are fleeting.
C: Lento / Con moto (m. 194-272)
If you thought Martin may finally resolve to F… you’d be close, he choses to start the Lento on F#… but then of course if you refer to the piano score he writes a G# (a M2) to shatter any tonal security.
This is all new material both the Lento and Con moto contrast everything from the A and B sections by providing a moment of stasis in the music; and this works – or at least is able to hold interest – because of the diverse array of pitches he is using in the flute and piano lines. And corresponding, once the tonal center is more stable, Martin returns (briefly) to the A material where he expands the eighth note patterns in several ways (1) articulation patterns (2) intervals and (3) rests/syncopations.
This section ends with lively triplets (used in a different way than they have been in the B section) as they are constant, in a chromatic pattern rolling upwards to a high C7 on the downbeat of the Presto.
B’: Presto / Molto Vivace (m. 273-323)
The piano responds to the high energy, before scaling back and bringing us around to the reflection of the mirror B’ or the Molto vivace.
The first difference is the flute entrance in m. 287-290 on the tied notes and with the graces. Then, Martin alters the articulation pattern for the triplets and abridges the pattern so that the climax arrives at the peak of the energy of the triplet section.
And this climax is amazingly simple – just B Bb and A – in different rhythms.
A’: Meno mosso / Presto (m. 324-358)
Finally, the B Bb A resolves to a G# continuing the downward half step trajectory; and after a brief sequence, the introductory theme comes back in a new ‘key’ with the transformative elements from the C section of articulation and intervals. In the ‘animando’ Martin blends the triplets from the B section into the texture continuing to play with intervals. Again, we see the tritone – Ab to D this time.
What do you think of the Ballade? My recital will have a live premiere on Sunday April 18th at 5PM – feel free to stop in to hear the Ballade which is on the first half of the program!
Have you ever thought of why the flute is included in the woodwind family? Of course, there is a history of flutes made partially with wood. The real answer though is much more interesting: the woodwind family is actually classed by the way sound is produced an excerpt from WWBW “the way they produce their sound which is by splitting the player’s air stream on a sharp edge, such as a reed”. When looking at flute specs – especially for younger students – often you are dealing with a cheaper silver – usually nickel. Here is a comprehensive list of both flute specs and flutes for students:
There are so many variables with it comes to manufacturing a flute, this is no way a fully complete list (since there are a vast amount of custom variables), I have divided these specs into 6 common categories:
C foot v.
Open holed v.
Inline G key v.
Offset G key
Gizmo key (foot)
Bb side key (body)
C# trill (body)
Split E (body)
C# roller (foot)
D# roller (foot)
Brossa F# (body)
Nickel silver – sometimes with silver plating on the exterior
Coin silver OR Sterling silver
Gold – How many karats?
Combination of metals
ie. a sterling silver body with gold keys; OR a coin silver body with gold interior wall.
The riser is part of the embouchure hole and can be any metal (ie. silver, gold).
The wall thickness can impact the color of the tone (and the weight of the instrument).
Also as mentioned, the inner wall of the flute can be made of a different metal than the outer wall.
The thickness of the tube is important because flute players will often upgrade their headjoint (since it is less expensive than buying a whole flute) and the diameter of the tubing MUST match the body of the flute.
FLUTES – General Names to be aware of
Beginning Brands (can also be used for outdoor playing/marching band)
Conservatory Brands (get through Undergrad)
Azumi (by Altus)
Amadeus (by Haynes)
More specific – general specs and pricing
Beginner (Grades 4-6)
Selmer – FL711 Prelude
Gemeinhardt – 2SP
Intermediate (Grades 6-12)
Pearl – PF 500
Yamaha – YFL 222
Pearl – PF 505 RBE
Yamaha – YFL 262
Conservatory (Grade 10 upwards)
Yamaha – YFL 577(H)
Powell Sonare – PS 601
Muramatsu – EX
Azumi – AZ series (1, 2, or 3)
Trevor James – Cantabile OR Virtuoso Voce
What are your favorite student flutes and specs? Let me know in the comments below!
The eager high school musician, accepted into music school, may want to come into university with a new instrument that is up to the standard they feel is necessary for this transition in their life/career. Here are some considerations for these students and their family to ponder before diving in blind.
Most students will not have the same primary instrument teacher from high school to college. There are A LOT of changes that takes place within the first year of being a music major: embouchure changes, posture changes, sound production, reviewing basics and establishing a strong foundation for the next 4+ years…
All that being said BEWARE buying a flute before consulting this new teacher. Equipment is important, but it is not everything, if you have an instrument that is reliable and consistent then hold off on the expense until university. If you need to upgrade, consult with this new teacher and maintain good communication. Trial instruments, get feedback, and ask questions (it’s okay to not know everything there is to know about flute manufacturing and your teacher will have had an array experience in this area).
Changes and control
Similar to the last point, change is inevitable – especially if you plan to improve. Most student flutes require less work to manipulate factors like tone, focus, and color; many flutes with higher specs require work to really master control of these elements (albeit the sound is often better balanced and blended) which is another factor to consider. As a music major the technical demand will increase, and the decision to get a new instrument at the same time there is more of a demand to be musical may be a road block.
The Importance Of Trials
If you have the opportunity to trial flutes rather than just do a quick test in a store take it. You can get more opinions on instruments and better weigh your options when you have more time to spend with the instruments and learn how they work over a several days.
Just Another Flutist, Joanna, is a partner with the Flute Center of NY and has a concise video on setting up trials and how to structure them to get the most out of the experience:
There are a lot of options and things to consider when making a flute upgrade:
New or Preowned
Inline or offset G
Open or close holed
Silver… what kind: coin, sterling?
Mixed – interior walls, plated, riser, etc.
C or B foot
Foot joint roller keys
Thickness of wall
Having a repair tech in house or having a trusted one to go to after purchase
Do you have any advice for soon to be music majors? When did you upgrade and what do you think is important to know about the process?
For information on the composer, Sergei Prokofiev, and the general overview of the entire flute sonata (Op. 94) you should check out my analysis of the first movement before reading through the analysis of this movement. Understanding the background – including the conditions – Prokofiev was writing under will help inform the analysis of this movement:
IV. Allegro con brio (♩=112)
This is the final movement of the sonata, and comparatively has much more diverse and virtuosic material. The general form is a rondo (which can be more specifically narrowed down to Sonata Rondo form) which I’ll break down more in depth later. The main characteristic of a rondo is the repetition and recycling of the ‘A’ material. Generally speaking, a rondo in its most simple layout can be reduced to ABACA. The development of the ‘A’ section is up to the composer and in this case Prokofiev demands more virtuosity from the performer with each recap of the ‘A’ section.
Let’s compare what sonata rondo form looks like (generally) as well as how Prokofiev adapts this form in the fourth movement:
The key difference between these two models if Prokofiev’s repetition of the A and B before the C section is stated. However, remember that in Sonata form the Exposition can be repeated; sometimes you may see this when the length of the exposition is shorter than the combined development and recapitulation. I regard Prokofiev’s decision to include the A’ and B’ sections before the ‘development’ or C was used to this effect especially considering the slowness/major character shift that makes the C section feel much longer than the lively allegro ‘A’ section we hear interspersed throughout the fourth movement.
To make sense of what we are seeing in the diagrams let’s break down what defines each section – in particular look at the model for Prokofiev’s adaptation in dark grey we see one of the links to sonata form is the use of sections with the A and B parts: primary (1) theme, transitional theme, secondary (2) theme, and closing theme.
‘Exposition’ – A: primary and transitional themes
The first theme spans m. 1-16 and is in DM (both the first movement and fourth movement are centered around the same tonic, D). It is characterized by a pickup of four 32nd notes that has an upbeat, lively rhythm such as the arpeggiated 16th note triplets – as well as the other 16th triplet figures – eighths and embellishments (such as the one 16th two 32nds and the dotted eighth sixteenth).
While the opening is in DM, 6 measures in the theme is transposed down a whole step into C – however, Prokofiev quickly takes a detour in m. 8 (the 3rd bar of the transposition) which takes us to this G#-G-G# 16th triplet figure. He does so route us back to D Major; in m. 9 we are still in C, but by oscillating between G-G# he is able to fill in the Major 2nd (a whole step) back to D as he finally does in m. 12 on beat 3. He gives as an exact copy of the opening theme to springboard us into the transitional theme.
The transitional theme spans m. 17-29, still in DM and ends with a HC – AM (V). This theme presents a new rhythm with the driving 16th notes especially in the ta di-mi rhythm on a low D4 which appears first in m. 17 and then again in m. 21.
We also see a return of the 16th triplets.
And we see ambiguity to the tonal center. In m. 25 Prokofiev begins his DbM arpeggios on sixteenth notes, by m. 27 we have some dm arpeggios, and then a sequence of descending Major and minor 3rds which end with the half cadence on A.
‘Exposition’ – B: secondary and closing themes
The secondary theme spans m. 35-39 and is in AM (with some tonicizing of the new dominant E). This theme is completely new material the syncopated rhythm (SLS) with large intervals and arpeggiated grace notes.
The closing theme is a bit of a misnomer since similar to the primary theme it does a recap that is reminiscent of ternary form. This theme spans m. 40-53 and starts in f#m (the relative minor to A) and ends in AM. There are steady eighth notes with four 16th notes that pickup into the next phrase group.
We can establish the f# more solidly when we consult the piano score:
Repetition of the Exposition – A’ and B’
Prokofiev made the choice to extend the ‘exposition’ of this sonata rondo form with truncated versions of the primary theme, transitional theme, and secondary/closing theme.
What is absent from A’? The D Major 16th triplet arpeggio in m. 60 into 61 is in a bar of 2/4 (NOT 4/4) and does not take us into C as the opening did. We are taken directly to the transitional material sans the grace not flourishing, this version goes straight into the 16th triplets, DbM arpeggios, and descending 3rds.
And what about B’? There is just one subtle difference in the flute material which is the final sixteenth of m. 71 being changed to a G-natural (originally a G3) as the flute transitions down to F rather than up to A.
The transition into the development is set up by the piano’s eighths that establish the new key – originally the piano is giving us downbeat Fs in the left hand before leaning into the instability with first inversions (A-C-F) with A being the lowest note in both hands.
‘Development’ – C
The material being ‘developed’ is very clearly the material from the B theme – characterized by the steady eighths and the group of 4 pickups – Prokofiev uses various techniques to make the theme more robust/complex such as varying rhythms, new tonal areas, and adding piano interjections.
There can be many arguments made for what Prokofiev is tonicizing/modulating in this development however there are pillars that I think are solid (and would generally be recognized) these are as follows:
F – m. 87
Ab – m.107
F# – m. 116
In the diagram at the top of the post, I gave some further tonal areas that I believe Prokofiev plays around with:
F – m. 72-86
(C) as the dominant of F there are short motives interspersed throughout the C section
g which is the dominant of c, with a lowered 3rd… however this could be argued to be an extension of the C/dominant
A – a whole step up from g, as well as, the 3rd of F
m. 92-94 – plus the pedal C is used to modulate into other tonal areas with that common note
(C) again m. 95-97
And a combo of both C and G (the dominant and secondary dominant)
Ab – m. 107-110
Db – the predominant which is leading us up to when Prokofiev changes the key to reflect D (however he is using it in it’s parallel minor b)
F# (mostly likely being used a dominant within bm to end in a HC before the recapitulation)
From key change to bm, F# is already being established as the dominant m. 113-121
‘Recapitulation’ – A” B” A”’
When A” is restated there is a demand for more virtuosity – the sections of the primary theme are transposed up an octave. Likewise parts of the transitional theme are transposed down an octave. Rather than ending solidly there is a slow quarter note ascension to the secondary theme in the tonic (D Major). A” spans m. 120-143.
As per sonata form, the recapitulation is solidly in the tonic/home key (both A and B sections, whereas in the exposition the B section is a new tonal area). That being said, B” presents the secondary/closing theme in D major – transposed up a m6. Prokofiev also switches up the order that he presents this material: rather than starting with the syncopations and grace note arpeggios, he starts with the steady eighths and pickup four 16ths and THEN goes to the syncopation and arpeggiated graces in DM. B” spans m. 145-160.
The final statement of A”’ begins in m. 161; has a fake out opening that like A” is partially transposed up the octave before repeating and moving into completely new material that is mainly flashy flourishes to demonstarte ultimate virtuosity.
What do you think of this final movement? And what do you think of the Sonata as a whole? Let me know in the comments!
Whether you’re a parent searching for a student flute, upgrading to a new flute, pursuing high education, looking for a backup flute or just want to make a nice lamp, how do you really find a quality instrument?Look at the bottom of the post for curved flutes for young flutists!
In the video, Gina shows off both the wave flute and the curved flute as well as provides specific models from the Flute Center of NY for young flute families to look into.
Small flutists will want to play an instrument that allows them to:
Keep their arms closer to their body – prevent injury, tension and promote good posture
Support the weight of the flute (again easier to balance when closer to the body)
Like a regular flute it is ILL-ADVISED to shop on Amazon for any flute. Even if you are purchasing one for a young child, you risk loosing money if the instrument is damaged and needs repair. Whereas rented or purchased (new or preowned) flutes from a reputable seller will have warranties and Amazon’s variety of flutes is a much lower quality – and repair technicians can not work with the vast majority of them because of this fault (meaning you would have to buy another flute from Amazon OR buy from a reputable vendor).
In this post we’ll be looking at exercises that can be used for the individual flute student – particularly useful during remote/hybrid instruction. The levels of student have been split into 3 sub sections; since this is directed towards students enrolled in traditional band programs there is a standard of Western musical literacy that is expected:
Beginning: Minimal musical literacy and/or minimal or developing flute sound production and technique.
Advanced: Established musical literacy (full range, all basic music reading, articulations, dynamics, etc.) and/or developing flute tone, vibrato, musicianship, technique, etc.
These are just generalized levels – not necessary for students in a specific grade level; supplementing materials for material to be more age appropriate such as having a beginning high school student may be necessary…
Drone – Matching just ONE pitch. Whether that be a B (Bb) A or G.
Provide directed questions to optimize student achievement: Is that note higher or lower than the drone? [Reset] Play your note in 3 different spots in your room/house, which would sounded the best?
Listening/Rhythm – Depending on the level of musical literacy of the student there may be more set up on your end for them to be successful.
Either create or find rhythm cells [isolated patterns] for whichever level the student is at; one example is this Talking Rhythm: Counting 101. If the student is developing musical literacy you could provide them with a sample of the rhythm to read alongside the recording.
If the student is young or struggling to grasp certain patterns; varying instruction such as providing words for rhythms/telling stories with a set of familiar rhythms; or making a game out of rhythm call and response could successful.
Air/Breathing – Air direction is just as important as breathing well, especially for beginners.
A very “Suzuki Flute” concept is spitting rice this is invaluable because it achieves many skills: routine, tongue position, air direction, and air volume/force. Likewise it requires less explaining and more letting the student figure out how to do, definitely worth looking into for long term success.
A simple game you could have beginning flute student’s do is have them figure out “how old they are in flute years”. This can be done on the head joint or on any one pitch; basically, the student will time (either count or have someone count for them) how long they can hold a pitch and see if they can match/exceed their current age.
Drone – Depending on the student you could have them match anywhere from a Perfect 5th or a full octave (you could also break this up into several weeks on the first tetrachord and second tetrachord).
You can use the same directed questions from the Beginner drone warmup. You could also ask which notes against the drone sounded better/worse; if any of the intervals reminded them of songs they know. Try to engage them in active listening, extending to connecting music they know to the music they play.
Listening – Building student’s ear training you can provide them short excerpts (2-4 measures) to learn by ear.
There are books (ie. Funky Flute series) that include CDs that has a limited range that would be suitable for chunking, combined with range and simple rhythms for beginning-intermediate students. [Optionally, you could record a short excerpt on a keyboard for all instrument groups to work on by ear].
Rhythm/Musical Literacy – Both without and with the flute – it’s important for the students to be able to reproduce the rhythms/read away from the instrument so they can have an easier time transferring knowledge that is most likely very foreign to them.
Building upon common rhythm patterns; adding in rests would be the next step. Again recording rhythm cells/using words to represent rhythms/movements to go along with rhythms students can engage with music in a multiple ways.
Air/Breathing – Reviewing and maintaining solid breathing is the foundation to air support and developing a good tone.
You can continue to build on the beginning flute warmups such as the “How Old Are You In Flute Years?”. While also encouraging a more refined, focused tone. Listening should be incorporated in tone production – by presenting the students with a clear model to emulate they are less likely to get that airy/wide sound.
For fast passages – or passages that require a lot of articulation – your first spot to check may be the fingers. HOWEVER having the students turn their head joint upside down (still in playing position) so that the student’s air gets caught in the lip plate and creates a snake/hissing sound; when students are having issues with their air they can actually HEAR the difference between achieving or not achieving the hissing sound.
Drone – Expanding the intermediate warmup, you can have the students practice scales or pieces with a drone of the tonic.
The important thing is active engagement/listening. Having the students close their eyes – taking away one of their senses to focus on listening – can be useful early on as a way to get student feedback. The students can play a scale against the drone and have them only move to the next note after getting the one before it in tune with the drone.
Advanced students can also work on vibrato width against a drone. John Wion‘s website is fantastic because it has examples of famous flute player’s vibrato in notable works at tempo as well as slowed down.
Listening – Some advanced students will continue to struggle with ear training so keeping them on the chunked excerpts from intermediate warmups is not doing a disservice to them.
However, for students with a more keen ear you can provide extensions for them with either longer excerpts – even better if it’s a piece they have interest in learning on their own. You can have them compile a list of performers/recordings to reference and work on learning the piece by ear.
Rhythm/Musical Literacy – Again, it is still important to build this skill with and without the flute.
More advanced students can develop their literacy in music theory. Reviewing the Circle of Fifths and looking at chords and their functions.
The rhythm cells can still be useful for advanced students for reviewing learned rhythms as well as learning more complex ones as well as polyrhythms.
Air/Breathing – Reviewing and maintaining solid breathing is the foundation to air support and developing a good tone.
You can continue that fast and/or articulated passage practice strategy with the flipped head joint.
Also, at this point the students will be developing their independence in self assessment/student direction so standard flute tone exercises such as the famous Marcel Moyse long tone exercise from De La Sonorite can be used routinely.
What type of warmups have you been utilizing with your flute students? Do you use any of these? Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments!
I’ve started to incorporate my teacher training into my warmups by doing ear training/ memorization/ listening to the repertoire. With the isolation of the ongoing pandemic this has been a great way to spark active listening when warming up.
Moyse Gammes et Arpeges
I’ve been working through this book gradually since late-2020. I’m somewhere in the mid 250s currently, in the harmonic minor section of the book. I like to practice this in combination with other scales.
Taffanel and Gaubert
A staple. Currently, I’ve been using exercises #1 (5 notes, Major), #2 (5 notes, minor), and #4 (all Major and minor scales) intermittently during my warmups.
Karg Elert Caprices
Working through these with a new mindset after my Suzuki teacher training. Currently reviewing #4 with small steps/goals per practice session. This slower approach to these caprices has helped solidify technique that otherwise would have been (tbh) subpar if I was multitasking and running through for the sake of running through.