PIFR Blog: Day 5 – “Excellence is never an accident”

30th  June 2016

#pifr2016 Day 5

Quote of the day from Aristotle:

Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.

It was a quiet start to the day – everybody was basically exhausted (physically and emotionally) from yesterday.  But after Heather’s class, it was amazing how everybody perked back up again.

Heather’s workshop

We learnt more about compassion, including self-compassion.  The first exercise was to find a neutral state in our bodies and Heather got us to imagine a ball in our bodies that massaged us from the inside and that flowed throughout us.  This had a very calming effect on the group.

We then talked about our morning and evening rituals- things that we do before waking up and falling asleep.  We learnt how vulnerability is a strength and how to embrace that using our “I ..” statements.  These affirmations of identity and self can help us with confrontations in orchestras or with nerves.    Heather gave a nice quote about breathing and its metaphor for life in general:

Every time I take a breath, I am not giving and receiving; I am giving, giving, giving

We then talked about the archetype of musicians and how understanding the “board game” rules, we could find common ground with other flute players or musicians by looking at what we want to achieve as artists, even if we may disagree at a more specific level.

Moyse 24 Studies class by Wibb

Today, no.5 was revisited and Wibb suggested some variations to help find good lively sound and rhythm.  Wibb’s strive for excellence and details really struck a chord with everyone.

The quality of Eb2 was discussed and Wibb taught that if the flute is too far rolled out, the harmonics become out of tune and we hear a note that is between a B and a C.  Eb2 needs more focus and be more covered.

For no.6, Wibb suggested this study is by Verdi and harmonized the flute part on the piano, giving the study more drama.  The aim was to find a dramatic sound – not loud, but penetrating.

Lorna and Gaby’s class

Another great class combining the masters of flute and Alexander Technique.  Lorna used some great imagery for the breath.  For example,  letting the sound go like throwing a javelin-  don’t hold it, just let it go.    There was also an interesting concept of blowing out into the in breath, which enabled the in breath to be more automatic and without force.

In the Martinu sonata (2nd movement), Lorna demonstrated how we can trust our airstream to get us over large intervals without involving muscular tension.  “Trust your airstream” is something that will stick with us.

She also talked legato and compared the airstream to great violinist’s bow arm, never losing the connection.  There was a further comparison to molasses – thick and sliding between the notes.

In more animated sections, Lorna talked of igniting the sound and bouncing the air.

Lorna’s technique class

Lorna talked of the dangers of grasping (mentally and physically) or end-gaining  and balance.

An artist should not treat himself like an enemy  (Delacroix)

Once we accept our limits, go beyond them (Einstein)

We worked on harmonics, crescendos and diminuendos and scales- all requiring the supple movement of the lower lip.   At all times, we undertook the exercises with ease and spaciousness.

Thanks for reading and Happy Fluting!



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