August 2007 Convention
Albuquerque, NM

Pedagogy Offerings

The Pedagogy Committee sponsored two events for the 2007 convention in Albuquerque focusing on developing performance skills. The first event, “Skillbuilders Workshop,” provided many opportunities for audience participation. Three experienced NFA teachers each presented a 20-minute session on “Introduction to Double Tonguing” (Sara Tutland); “How to Improve Sight Reading” (Carla Beauchamp); and “Ten Tricky Trills” (Chris Potter).

Sara Tutland identified the problems in learning double tonguing and suggested several effective practice strategies. She recommended playing legato while double tonguing to focus on tone quality and air speed. Thinking of the tongue as a releaser of the sound as opposed to a creator of the sound is beneficial as well.

Carla Beauchamp presented an exciting way to improve one’s sight reading. She recommended beginning with preparatory sight singing exercises using numbered scale degrees, and then playing them on the flute in various keys. She provided a handout of simple tunes in many different keys and guided the audience through singing preparatory exercises, transferring to the flute and transposing to various keys.

Chris Potter stepped in at the last minute to replace Jennifer Lau. She provided the audience with an empty trill chart for participants to fill in. (Flute teachers know that things get better implanted in our memory when we have to write them down!) She discussed the correct usage of the RH trill keys for middle and high octave C-D and C#-D trills, as well as alternative options for high E-flat–F and high E–F-sharp trills. As the session ended, the room was abuzz with flutists asking each other about other difficult trills and options for clumsy trill fingerings.

The second event, entitled “What’s the Point? Etudes and Their Objectives,” was a masterclass taught by Claudia Anderson. The class focused on etudes and the benefits of studying them, and highlighted the Pedagogy committee’s Selected Flute Studies: A Graded Guide, which is available for sale on the NFA Web site.

Anderson picked etudes pertinent to 20th-century repertoire, or etudes that she asked students to modify to help with techniques encountered in contemporary literature. The first melody in the Moyse 24 Small Melodious Studies was modified to include vocalizations and harmonics. The McGinty 20 Etudes for Flute No. 4 had a melody and accompaniment structure that would be useful in preparation for working on Ian Clark’s Orange Dawn. The Genzmer Neuzietliche Etuden, Bk. 2 No. 15 had similar rhythmic and melodic motives to the Hindemith Acht Stucke, and the slow movement of his Sonata. The Casterede 12 Etudes can be helpful with the later French conservatory pieces such as the Sancan and the Dutilleux. Anderson talked about developing expression in etudes, double and triple tonguing and how to even it out, intervals and how to connect them more effectively, and how to use rhythm and articulation to give more character to a piece. Students performing in the class were Liz Smith, Kaleem Kheshgi, Rachael Vishaway, and John Wise.

—Holly Clemans and Chris Potter