The fall semester has begun, so it’s time for my students to buy their required recordings for the semester. This semester I wanted to address a few glaring gaps in the library my students have built so far:
The oboists don’t have anything Baroque yet.
The clarinetists don’t have anything by Weber yet.
The bassoonists don’t have the Mozart concerto yet.
The saxophonists don’t have the Glazunov concerto yet.
I think I found some great recordings to fill those voids. As a diversity bonus, three of the four are talented women, and one of those is a native Israeli.
At this year’s NFA conference, I had the very cool opportunity to be part of a discussion panel about woodwind doubling. The panel was organized by Florida flutist and doubler Tereasa Payne, and moderated by my Delta State colleague Shelley Collins. The panel consisted of me, Tereasa, Hollywood studio great Jim Walker, and David Weiss, who is the ethnic flutes soloist for Broadway’s The Lion King. It was an honor to be included in a group of such stature!
We spoke to a surprisingly large and enthusiastic crowd. At one point Shelley asked for a show of hands by the doublers in the audience, and we were blown away by all the hands that shot up. The audience asked great questions, and many stayed afterward to talk some more. I was delighted to meet several of you personally who read this blog or who have communicated with me by email or on Twitter.
In advance of the panel, Tereasa had prepared some questions for the panelists to think over. I took some notes to organize my thoughts, and I’m providing them here in an edited version. This isn’t a transcript of the live panel, but it should give you an idea of what was talked about, and of my thoughts about some of those topics. Continue reading “NFA 2011: Woodwind doublers roundtable discussion”→
This year was my first time attending the National Flute Association‘s annual convention, held this year in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I’ve been to conferences of all the other major woodwind organizations in the US (IDRS, ICA, NASA), and here are some things that I think the NFA did exceptionally well:
Organization and planning. From what I could tell, nearly everything ran smoothly and according to plan.
Engaging younger players. There were a number of competitions and masterclasses for high school and college students, and a Saturday “Youth Day” for flutists aged 8-13.
Engaging non-professional flutists. My sense is that the NFA has a stronger amateur contingent than the other organizations, and that they are working to ensure its future.
Appealing to broad musical interests. In my opinion, the NFA is doing a better job than anyone, including NASA, of integrating jazz into their convention in a serious way, and is integrating historical instruments at least as well as the IDRS. Ethnic flutes also got some good representation. Thursday night’s big feature concert was Baroque flute, and Friday’s was world music. Saturday’s concert was more standard concerto fare, but with a strong jazz representation. Kudos to the NFA for acknowledging that there is life beyond conservatory repertoire lists, and to its members for seeming to genuinely embrace and enjoy the varied offerings.
If you’re interested in learning to do some pad replacements on your instrument(s), saxophone left-hand palm keys are a good place to start. Here’s why:
The palm keys don’t have any dependencies—they don’t move any other keys and aren’t moved by any other keys. So replacing a palm key pad won’t set off a chain reaction of adjustments you have to make to the instrument’s mechanism.
The palm keys are sprung to sit closed when you’re not pressing them, which means that the spring will help you get the pad seated, instead of getting in your way. It will also press the pad firmly against the tonehole, overcoming small imperfections in your padding technique. With keys that sit open on their own, the padding has to be extra skilled so you can use a feather-light touch when you play.
The palm keys are long, so you’re less likely to burn your fingers.
When you’re playing, the palm key pads take the brunt of the condensation from your breath, so they need relatively frequent replacement anyway. I bet yours could stand replacing.
I’ll walk you through this. I perhaps should confess that I am not NAPBIRT certified or anything fancy like that. You undertake this at your own risk, etc.
First, remove the key by unscrewing the pivot rod and pulling it out.