August 2006 Convention
Pittsburgh, PA

Pedagogy: Junior Masterclass II

August 13, 2006

On Sunday, Takeaki Miyamae (MD, PhD) conducted the Junior Masterclass II featuring repertoire from levels G-J (Selected Flute Repertoire: A Graded Guide for Teachers and Students). Miyamae, currently researching the physiological aspects of a vocal quality sound, firmly believes that if flutists understand the basic principles of flute dynamics and can produce a vocal-like quality sound, then the muscles become balanced and all aspects of playing become easier.

Travis McDade, Ashley Smith, and Dondi Ellis

Travis McDade, Ashley Smith, and Dondi Ellis

Travis McDade opened the masterclass with the first two movements of Handel’s Sonata in E minor (Hallenser) (level G). Miyamae encouraged him to obtain a resonant singing tone by practicing tongueless bouncing staccatos in all registers. This technique will help one to perform with a singing, rather than conversational voice, and will “bring together the balance of inhalation and exhalation.”

Ashley Smith performed Theobold Boehm’s Elegy, Op. 47 (level H), the last piece Boehm wrote before his death in 1881. Miyamae suggested to her that performers need to consciously be aware of 1) conveying the rhythm of a slow piece to the audience, and 2) adhering to a basic law of nature—that we must take time when we have big leaps between high and low registers.

Dondi Ellis finished out the masterclass with the third movement, “Bossa Merengova,” from Mike Mower’s Sonata Latino (level J). Explaining the physiology of how our muscles stretch to attack, and relax to release, Miyamae worked with Dondi to get more bounce to his sound and taught him to “release his resonance.” Miyamae concluded the class by reminding these fine young performers that one must use two different ears as a performer: the physical ear (what we hear) and the psychological ear (what we think the audience hears).

—Cynthia C. Stevens (reported by Holly Clemans)