POPULAR POSTS

Friday, December 21, 2007

Jerome Callet Master Superchops DVD

Greetings,

I have just finished watching (for the second time) the new 2-DVD set by Jerome Callet, advocate of the tongue-controlled embouchure and author of " Trumpet Secrets, Volume One."


The DVDs include
  • 3 lessons with Jerome
  • 6 testimonials, demonstrations, and round table discussion by professionals on trumpet, trombone, French horn and flute (Keith Underwood)
  • printouts of images, exercises, and more
It is very interesting to see and hear how each professional has used the information learned from Jerome.

For more information, or to purchase your own copy, visit Jerome's website.

Best,
Catherine

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Aralee Dorough, Principal Flutist of the Houston Symphony Speaks on Buzzing, Chopstick and Finding your Sound

Greetings,

The following video interview was recorded in the Houston studio of Aralee Dorough, Principal Flutist of the Houston Symphony, on September 22, 2007.
Aralee talks about:
  • benefits of practicing and teaching "buzzing" and "chopstick" (from Keith Underwood)
  • embouchure lessons she learned from Robert Willoughby --and from her horse!
  • finding and sculpting your tone
Many thanks to Aralee for sharing her experiences and her wisdom. You may visit her at her website, www.araleedorough.com.

Aralee, her husband, Colin (Houston Symphony oboist), and her father (famous jazz pianist,Bob Dorough), recently put out a CD, "The Houston Branch," with terrific Houston jazz sidemen. I enjoy this album often. You will find it here:


All the best,
Catherine
video

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Link for Keith Underwood Ghost Ranch Interviews on Buzzing, etc.

Greetings,

Many of you have been asking how to easily access all of the Keith Underwood Interview postings on this blog. You can find them by clicking on the label "Ghost Ranch" in the right column or by going to this url:

http://catherinelegrand.blogspot.com/search/label/Ghost%20Ranch

Thanks for your interest and I hope you find this information very useful!

All the best,
Catherine

Monday, November 12, 2007

Flute duo chopstick exercise

Bravo to both members of this duo who have studied the buzzing and chopstick via Skype and ichat.
Wow! What impovement!

Congratulations! Catherine

Monday, October 8, 2007

Interview with Keith Underwood, Part 9

Here is Part 9 of the August 18, 2007 Ghost Ranch Interview.

On Ideal Vibrato Speed
video


I am grateful for the information and inspirations I have received from Keith over the past 15 or so years, and have enjoyed sharing this video interview with Keith filmed on August 18, 2007 at Ghost Ranch, NM.

If you have found these posts interesting, I invite you to subscribe to this blog. Posts in the near future include interview segments with Aralee Dorough, Principal Flutist of the Houston Symphony.

Thanks again, Keith, for answering my questions, for this interview and throughout the years!

Best,
Catherine

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Interview with Keith Underwood, Part 8

Hello,

I have just returned from the Keith Underwood/Anne Waxman Workshop in Tannersville, NY. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from Keith, Anne (fabulous Alexander Technique teacher) and my fellow attendees. What a wonderful group of people and terrific flutists!

This is the ideal time to post Part 8 of the August 18, 2007 Ghost Ranch Interview:

On Creating an Open and Supportive Atmosphere video

Next week I will post Part 9: On Ideal Vibrato Speed

For more information on the Alexander Technique and its benefits you may visit these sites:
http://alexandertechnique.com
http://www.alexandercenter.com/
http://www.stat.org.uk/
I am grateful for the information and inspirations I have received from Keith over the past 15 or so years, and I am delighted to share this video interview with Keith filmed on August 18, 2007 at Ghost Ranch, NM.

If you find these posts interesting, I invite you to subscribe to this blog. Several readers asked if there is a charge for this blog. No, this public blog is free. Subscribe by clicking on "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)" at the end of the blog scroll.

To search for more posts relating to a specific topic, such as "Ghost Ranch" or "interview", click on the label by that name in the right column of the blog.

Thanks, Keith, for answering my questions, for this interview and throughout the years!

Best,
Catherine

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Chopstick Exercise": Practice "Bytes"

Hello,

As promised, this is my version of Keith Underwood's "Chopstick Exercise" which helps flutists learn to better organize their embouchures by playing with a chopstick in their mouths.

Very weird exercise, with wonderful results!

I use the exercise as a "prelude" to teaching buzzing, especially for advanced flutists who are beginner buzzers.

In the video I demonstrate the exercise in short Practice "Bytes."
More Practice "Bytes" are posted in the LeGrand Virtual Studio.

Bon appetit!
Catherine

Monday, September 17, 2007

Interview with Keith Underwood, Part 7

Here is Part 7 of the August 18, 2007 Ghost Ranch Interview.

Tongue-Controlled Embouchure and Support video

Additional segments of this interview coming in September and October:

• On Ideal Vibrato Speed
• On Creating an Open and Supportive Atmosphere

I am grateful for the information and inspirations I have received from Keith over the past 15 or so years, and I am delighted to share this video interview with Keith filmed on August 18, 2007 at Ghost Ranch, NM.

I invite you to subscribe to this blog to be the first to read future interview segments.

Thanks, Keith, for answering my questions, for this interview and throughout the years!

Best,
Catherine

Monday, September 10, 2007

Breathing Coordination Website: Carl Stough

Breathing Coordination - Home Page

This page provides 4 photos from the animated video Carl Stough developed after years of research. This animated video which shows the function of the diaphragm and associated movement of the ribs is highly recommended by Keith Underwood.

I suggest having a look at this website while working with the Interview with Keith Underwood, Part 6: Timing and Sequence of Events for a Breath. The website will help you visualize how the sequence of the Breath looks on the inside!


Here is a quote from the website:
"The concept of Breathing CoordinationTM was the result of ten years of medical research started in 1958 by Carl Stough and elaborated by Reece Stough in 1964 for advanced researchers in the international respiratory field. Every physical and emotional problem, to some degree, is the result of an insufficiency of oxygen. The diaphragm works to achieve a maximum exhale. This is necessary in order to maintain a low residual volume of carbon dioxide in the lungs. The diaphragm, which is a primarily involuntary muscle-organ, is the foundation for the entire respiratory system. It affects the two other main systems of the body, the circulatory and nervous systems. The term Breathing Coordination is the name given to the exact way the respiratory system is designed to function at maximum efficiency with minimum effort."

Another page gives information on self-help for developing good breathing coordination and specific help for people with asthma.

I have been told the video was withdrawn from the website pending the settlement of Stough's estate, but this page gets the idea across. If you know someone with a copy of this video, I encourage you to have a look. I certainly hope this great tool eventually reappears on the internet!

Best,
Catherine

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Interview with Keith Underwood, Part 6

Here is Part 6 of the August 18, 2007 Ghost Ranch Interview.

Timing and Sequence of Events for a Breath video

Additional segments of this interview coming in September and October:

• Tongue-Controlled Embouchure and Support
• On Ideal Vibrato Speed
• On Creating an Open and Supportive Atmosphere

I am grateful for the information and inspirations I have received from Keith over the past 15 or so years, and I am delighted to share this video interview with Keith filmed on August 18, 2007 at Ghost Ranch, NM.

I invite you to subscribe to this blog to be the first to read future interview segments.

Thanks, Keith, for answering my questions, for this interview and throughout the years!

Best,
Catherine

Monday, September 3, 2007

Interview with Keith Underwood, Part 5

More Buzzing Exercises, Lip Vibrato, and Tuning video


Additional segments of this interview coming in September and October:

• Timing and Sequence of Events for a Breath
• Tongue-Controlled Embouchure and Support
• On Ideal Vibrato Speed
• On Creating an Open and Supportive Atmosphere

I am grateful for the information and inspirations I have received from Keith over the past 15 or so years, and I am delighted to share this video interview with Keith filmed on August 18, 2007 at Ghost Ranch, NM.

I invite you to subscribe to this blog to be the first to see future interview segments.

Thanks, Keith, for answering my questions, for this interview and throughout the years!

Happy Buzzing!
Catherine

New videos in the LeGrand Virtual Studio

I have just added the following video tutorials for LeGrand Virtual Studio subscribers:

"Fingers Ahead" Exercise

"Miss America" Exercise

In Flutorials™, “From the Start”, a new series (for teachers of beginning flutists):

Episode 1: Two Common Misconceptions about Flute-Playing

Headjoint: First Sounds

Adding the Tongue: “Hit” or “Hid” Inhale Exercise

Physical Orientation to the Flute
Part 1: Balancing and Assembling the Flute

Physical Orientation to the Flute
Part 2: Bringing the Flute to You and Playing “B”

Adding “A” and “G”

Party Favors 201: Embouchure


Here is an excerpt from the episode, Adding the Tongue: “Hit” or “Hid” Inhale Exercise, from the "From the Start" series. video

Best,
Catherine

LeGrand Virtual Studio Group Subscriptions!

Now available (as requested):

An annual group subscription rate to the LeGrand Virtual Studio of only $25/per student is now available to the students of any subscriber (private studio instructors, classroom teachers, or ensemble conductors).

If you are a subscriber and wish for your students to have access to these resources, please contact me at groupsubscriptions@catherinelegrand.com for more information.

I hope you and your students will take advantage of this offer!

Catherine

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Interview with Keith Underwood, Part 4


"Please provide a Buzzing 101: Syllabus…"

Here is the fourth installment of the interview. video

Additional segments coming in September and October:

• More Buzzing Exercises, Lip Vibrato, and Tuning
• Timing and Sequence of Events for a Breath
• Tongue-Controlled Embouchure and Support
• On Ideal Vibrato Speed
• On Creating an Open and Supportive Atmosphere

I am grateful for the information and inspirations I have received from Keith over the past 15 or so years, and I am delighted to share this video interview with Keith filmed on August 18, 2007 at Ghost Ranch, NM.

I invite you to subscribe to this blog to receive future interview segments short enough to post here. Longer segments will be posted at my website and I will announce the postings in this blog.

Thank you, Keith, for answering my questions, for this interview and throughout the years!

Sincere best wishes to my readers,
Catherine

Interview with Keith Underwood, Part 3

"What if our lips get numb?"
video

Here is the third installment of the interview!

I am grateful for the information and inspirations I have received from Keith over the past 15 or so years, and I am delighted to share this video interview with Keith filmed on August 18, 2007 at Ghost Ranch, NM.

I invite you to subscribe to this blog to receive future interview segments short enough to post here. Longer segments will be posted at my website and I will announce the postings in this blog.

Thank you, Keith, for answering my questions, for this interview and throughout the years!

Sincere best wishes to my readers,
Catherine

Interview with Keith Underwood, Part 2

"When will we hear improvement from buzzing?" video

Here is the second installment of the interview!

I am grateful for the information and inspirations I have received from Keith over the past 15 or so years, and I am delighted to share this video interview with Keith filmed on August 18, 2007 at Ghost Ranch, NM.

I invite you to subscribe to this blog to receive future interview segments short enough to post here. Longer segments will be posted at my website and I will announce the postings in this blog.

Thank you, Keith, for answering my questions, for this interview and throughout the years!

Sincere best wishes to my readers,
Catherine

Video interview with Keith Underwood: Benefits of Buzzing for Flutists


Greetings!

I have just returned to North Carolina from the Keith Underwood Flute Masterclass at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, a week filled with tangible learning in an open, warm, and supportive atmosphere. Thanks to Nancy Laupheimer for organizing a great class, and thanks to my classmates for sharing their learning processes.

I am grateful for the information and inspirations I have received from Keith over the past 15 or so years, and I am delighted to share a video interview with Keith filmed on August 18, 2007 at Ghost Ranch.

I have posted the first installment of the video interview here. video
All segments will eventually be posted at my website.

Catherine LeGrand interviews Keith Underwood
Ghost Ranch, NM, August 18. 2007:

• On Benefits of Buzzing for Flutists
• When will we hear improvement from buzzing?
• What if our lips get numb?
• Please provide a Buzzing 101: Syllabus…


Additional segments coming in September and October!

Catherine LeGrand interviews Keith Underwood
Ghost Ranch, NM, August 18. 2007 (continued):

• More Buzzing Exercises, Lip Vibrato, and Tuning
• Timing and Sequence of Events for a Breath
• Tongue-Controlled Embouchure and Support
• On Ideal Vibrato Speed
• On Creating an Open and Supportive Atmosphere


I invite you to subscribe to this blog to receive notice of future postings of interview segments.

Thank you, Keith, for answering my questions in this interview -- and throughout the years!

Sincere best wishes to my readers,
Catherine

Monday, August 13, 2007

Coming Attractions!

Coming in late August!

At www.catherinelegrand.com:

Video interview and tips from Keith Underwood!

For Virtual Studio Subscribers:

“Miss America Exercise”
“Fingers Ahead Exercise”
New additions to the Flutorials™series
From the Start: Step-by step videos to assist band directors in beginning flute classes

...and more!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Greetings from NFA in Albuquerque, NM!

Hello all!

Day 1 of the annual NFA convention is well under way. I am finding that there are so many interesting events this year, it is very difficult to choose which ones to attend!

HOWEVER...if any current, former, sometimes or wannabe students are at the convention and would like a lesson, consultation, or equipment evaluation, leave me a message at the Hyatt or email me and we'll find some time to get together.

I am at the NFA convention until Monday morning. I hope to visit with many of my cherished colleauges, students and friends!

Best,
Catherine

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New video series: Flutorials™

"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity".
--Charles Mingus


"Flutorials™" is a new series of progressive video lessons for novice flutists, intended as supplemental material to enhance what the student is learning in flute lessons or band class.

Lesson 1: "Hot Cross Buns," now posted in the LeGrand Virtual Studio, presumes the student already knows how to make a sound on the headjoint, how to assemble and hold the flute, and how to play the low notes: B, A, and G.

Students are often overwhelmed with a task that seems too large, complicated or, even, amazing, to approach. The video lesson guides the student through some small, manageable steps to learn the complete song.

Teachers, I hope these Flutorials™ help you with your teaching, too! The art of simplifying is one of our most valuable teaching tools!

Look for more Flutorials™ in September!

Best,
Catherine

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Feeling "Over-Exposed?": Piccolo Fingering Charts

















One of my readers asked this week where to locate good fingering charts for the piccolo on the internet. Coincidentally, the topic came up this week in FLUTE LISTSERV as well, making this an extra easy blog entry to write. Thanks to listers for their ideas. you can read their responses at Archives of FLUTE@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU .

One source others mentioned that I have used before is The Woodwind Fingering Guide/Flute.
Be sure to scroll down to the Alternate Fingering Chart for Piccolo. The listed "basic" fingerings for high f-sharp and high g-sharp are actually the ones I use in normal circumstances.

Christine Erlander Beard is a recognized piccolo specialist. Her website listed a number of online sources for piccolo fingerings on the page entitled Pedagogy (that means "teaching").

I second Jennifer Cluff's suggestion on the LISTSERV to wear earplugs when trying out all the high fingerings on piccolo! No joke. Those of you dusting off your marching piccolos, get yourself some good earplugs for your summer practice!

Jennifer's website also has a fingerings page with a vast list of fingering sources and topics for both piccolo and flute.

"A Basic Guide to Fingerings for the Piccolo" by Steven Tanzer is comprehensive and has helped me out in a few difficult situations. This book can be purchased from Van Cott Information Services, Inc.

Hope this helps!
Catherine

Friday, July 13, 2007

Flute Embouchure: A Rather “Square” Subject


For many years I have taught that a good flute embouchure has 4 corners: 2 corners by the upper cheekbones, one by each nostril, and, the 2 corners on the chin, below the lower lip. The location of these muscles forms a square on your face.

The exercise I call “Tongue Sandwich,” activates the Levator labii superioris (Rabbit Face muscle) and Depressor labii inferioris (Lizard face” muscle) at the same time, drawing the lips away from the tongue and encouraging an active embouchure without jaw tension.

Think of your upper and lower teeth as the pieces of bread for your sandwich and the tongue as the very generous serving of your favorite sandwich filling.

(See Dataface website, mentioned in a May post, for illustrations, descriptions and video of these muscles at work.)
http://face-and-emotion.com/dataface/expression/muscles.jsp

I have posted a video of the “Lizard Face” and “Tongue Sandwich” exercises in the LeGrand Virtual Studio for your information and amusement. “Rabbit Face” Exercise video can also be found there.

Here is a Blogger Beta trial of an embedded video. Let me know how this works.

video
Good Tongue-Controlled Embouchure spit-buzzing technique, as advocated by Jerome Callet and Keith Underwood, creates a rather “boxy” feel in the embouchure—a "box " INSIDE the “square,” creating an active, yet flexible, embouchure.

Spit-buzzing encourages the use of the orbicularis oris muscle (the ring of muscle around the lips) to engage by curling gently inward creating compression of air with the wide, forward tongue.

This is also a type of “sandwich.” Try thinking of it as 3 layers of Tootsie Rolls:
  • Top layer: upper lip curling downward (feel with your tongue the thick tube-like band of muscles on the inside of your upper lip).
  • The middle layer--the forward, thickened and widened tongue with downward trajectory.
  • The lower layer—lower lip raised slightly by the mentalis muscle and curled slightly back over the tongue to support the tongue position.
I hope these ideas are useful.

Hmmm…all this talk of sandwiches...Time for lunch!

Catherine

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Alexander Technique with Glenna Batson











































On June 30, several studio members participated in an afternoon of individual Alexander Technique lessons with Glenna Batson, PT, MA.

Glenna is an internationally recognized teacher of the Alexander Technique (qualifying in 1988), and is in residence at the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. A graduate of Hahnemann Medical University in Physical Therapy, she received her doctorate in clinical neuroscience in 2006.

I am grateful we had this opportunity to receive her wise guidance, and, also, that I was invited by all concerned to observe and videotape these sessions. I look forward to future opportunities to learn from Glenna.

New Video posting: Glenna and Bruce J. allowed me to post video excerpts from Bruce's lesson, focused on improving his breathing, in the LeGrand Virtual Studio. (I apologize for the moments the camera was not on the tripod...)

I hope this info is helpful. Let me hear from you! Feel free to post your blog comments for others to read. We are a small and friendly community.

I had a lesson at my desk with Glenna, who is also an expert in treatment and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injuries, that day. I learned how to use my desk chair to provide constant feedback to keep my spine flexible during the long hours I now spend at the computer producing content for the LeGrand Virtual Studio, and, also, how to approach my computer mouse by leading with the outside of my fingers to reach the mouse without tightening my pectoralis muscles or raising my shoulder. I have lots of opportunity to practice these new ways of thinking. I am doing it right now!

Integrating lessons from the Alexander Technique into daily activities is a great way to improve your music making as you replace old habits of movement with ones that work better.

For more information on the Alexander Technique or to find a teacher in your area visit http://www.alexandertechnique.com/.

Life is a process.

Catherine

Monday, July 2, 2007

Summer Jammin': Adventures in Improvisation

In a May post I encouraged you to try out new activities and approaches this summer. Several of you expressed the desire to work on improvisation or to learn how to play jazz.

Here are some great resources to help you along your way:

Flutist and composer Nathan Zalman has published a free online tutorial for improvisation entitled Unleash Your Inner Flutist! which encourages us to use patterns we already know and put them together in new and interesting ways to express a palette of emotional qualities. He identifies improvisation as a simple three-step process: feel; choose; and, play.
  1. Identify a feeling you wish to express—happy, sad, meditative, lonely, peaceful, curious, mischievous, surprised, etc.
  2. Choose a vocabulary to embody the feeling—scales, keys, rhythms, or a non-musical inspiration such as a poem or story.
  3. Play, allowing the music to come out. When you improvise, there are no mistakes, only ideas, intention and creation.
I attended the workshop Nathan presented for the Raleigh Area Flute Association in November, 2006, and truly enjoyed his creative and well-thought-out presentation. He is living his passion, as he says--a model to us all. You can learn more about Nathan, his interesting life and music at his website.

A good improvisation resource for learning jazz is the Hal Crook Play-Alongs page from the Stan Getz Library at Berklee College of Music. Entries, listed in ascending order of difficulty, include a pdf leadsheet and mp3 accompaniment track . I like "Taught 'em keys" --usually known as "Autumn Leaves."

I am gradually working my way through the DVD teaching series, "this is the Way i do it" by amazingly fluid guitarist John McLaughlin (of Mahavishnu Orchestra fame). I encourage you to visit John's official (and highly creative) new website to search for this boxed set while exploring and enjoying his virtual territory.I encourage you to include improvisation in your daily practice. I enjoy beginning my practice day with an improvisation, acknowledging and expressing my feelings before turning my attention to advancing the art of recreating music created by others.

Try something new every day! Life is waiting to be discovered.
Happy exploring...

Catherine

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Alexander Technique: Use In A Marching Band Setting













This excellent article by Lindsey Richelle Gore addresses the subject of correct use of the body providing physical relief for members of marching bands.

In my experiences as a clinician with marching bands, I have noticed other huge bonuses of correct use (or even improved use!):
  • Good body mapping results in economy of motion for more precise and better unified movements-It looks sharp!
  • Good body balance allows for better breathing and air efficiency, resulting in better tone and intonation
  • Morale of the ensemble quickly rises due to the noticeable improvement
I encourage band directors planning their Fall programs and shows to include Alexander training and reap the benefits.

Happy summer!
Catherine

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Keith Underwood and Jerome Callet video



This video of Keith working on Bach Sonata in B Minor, BWV 1030, with tongue-controlled embouchure expert Jerome Callet. The focus of the session is articulating off the top of the tongue.

It appears that Jerome uploaded this to Google video.

Please visit Jerome's website for more information on his teaching and more previews from his soon to be released teaching DVD.

Great stuff!

Catherine

Monday, June 18, 2007

Helen Spielman Performance Anxiety Workshops


Dealing with stage fright in a class setting is ideal since you can practice in front of your classmates! I encourage you to attend one of Helen's workshops--whether before or during the National Flute Association Convention in Albuquerque in August 2007, or at another future workshop.

I attended Helen's workshop "Performance Anxiety from the Inside Out" at the Raleigh Area Flute Association's Flute Fair in November 2006. The information was well-organized and well-presented, sprinkled with personal anecdotes and warm humor. Each attendee went home with some personal strategies for taming their brain chatter.

Her one-hour presentation "Performance Anxiety from Inside Out" will take place at the NFA convention on Thursday August 9 at 3 pm.

In addition, she is giving a full day (10:00 am - 5:00 pm, with one hour break for lunch) pre-convention workshop entitled Performance Anxiety from Inside Out on Wednesday July 8 in a location within walking distance to the convention center.

Learn how to replace negative perceptions and behaviors with affirmative ones that heal and build confidence. If you struggle with stage fright, you can gradually silence the self-defeating patterns that block your music. Learn highly effective tools to transform yourself from a fearful to a joyful and free performer, able to play optimally and let your music soar.

To register for one of Helen's workshops or more information on Performance Anxiety from Inside Out visit Helen's website.

Kudos to Helen increasing public awareness of performance anxiety and possible avenues of relief by presenting workshops on this important subject.

Catherine

More on Overcoming Stage Fright: Jennifer Cluff's Fluteloops

Fluteloops03to05
&
Fluteloops Radio Shows 6 & 7

Wow! A five-segment series by Jennifer Cluff on her Flootloops Radio Shows on overcoming stage fright including interviews with leading authority Michael Goode (author of Stage Fright in Music Performance and Its Relationship to the Unconscious).

Topics discussed include: strategies for avoiding the negative effects of prior bad experiences; ways to overcome the behavior and energies of "psychic bullies"" in ensemble settings; the value of "flow"; and the power of intention in preparation and performance.

Episode 7 is Jennifer's excellent summary of the series and includes references to these additional valuable resources:
William Pleeth (Jacqueline du Pré's teacher) book Cello
reminds us that there is no point in practicing technique if the emotion of the music itself is not our primary intent.

Robert Caldwell: Performer Prepares, a long-term project for overcoming stage fright in workbook form --perhaps a good summer project?

Kenny Werner(jazz pianist): Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within

Thanks to Jennifer Cluff for putting this collection of resources together-- for reminding us we CAN be joyful and free in our music-making and we contribute to the well-being of our colleagues and audiences through our sincere efforts to perform in "flow." Thanks also for the bloopers which wonderfully illustrate the art of graceful recovery.

Catherine

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My New Website
















I was prompted by the many questions I receive about my unconventional teaching techniques and exercises to create a website to efficiently share information and video examples with other flutists, wind and brass players, vocalists, and music educators.

The original idea for this website has morphed into a multifaceted site with a variety of free online resources on breathing, music performance and pedagogy, creativity, and flute-playing.

The site is also the new home for www.in1breath.com where BreathBuilders and Rebreathing bags can be purchased.




The website publicly introduces the LeGrand Virtual Studio which offers two services via the Internet: 1) LeGrand Virtual Studio Subscription with video and audio podcast lessons, interactive blog and other resources, and 2) live, interactive coaching sessions via the Internet.

The first lessons I taught via Internet were in 2002, and from the very beginning it was a useful way to keep in touch with former students living on the other side of the world. The tools required to use this interactive service have become more widely available and more affordable.


At the website, I also invite you to visit me in the Studio, Classroom, or Concert Hall. The Library hosts numerous free resources, including articles and video demonstrations on using the Breath Builder and Rebreathing Bag, other video and audio podcasts, and useful links.

For a little inspiration visit the Gallery, subscribe to the blog, or spend some time exploring the Playground featuring links to a variety of interactive artistic activities for “kids of all ages.”























Be sure to check out the Musical Infirmary where you can learn about some common physical, mental and musical ailments affecting performance and practice: their symptoms, causes, suggested cures and preventative prescriptions. All with a huge dose of humor!

I hope you find this website useful and FUN and will visit me often in my new virtual space!

Have fun exploring!
Catherine

Friday, June 8, 2007

Flutist Robot - ROBORAMA.info

I wonder how accurate his Body Map is?

I always considered it a bit rude to wear a hat during a performance, except when performing in costume or marching band.

Can't say much in favor of the robot embouchure, either.

Enjoy!
Catherine

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

How to Assemble Your Flute (to avoid repairs)

Younger students who are away from the watchful eye of their teachers for a time this summer would do well to view this video by Jennifer Cluff on assembling the flute.

Hope this helps you avoid getting in bad habits that could damage your instrument, requiring expensive repairs.

Jennifer has posted lots of other useful articles and information at her site. www.jennifercluff.com

Best,
Catherine LeGrand

Friday, May 25, 2007

Barnstable Buzzing with Keith Underwood



May 19, 2007

West Parish Church in Barnstable, MA

I got the feel of it at last! The approving look of Keith Underwood!

Wonderful buzzing classes with Keith on Cape Cod May 18-20.
Video excepts of my classes are posted in the LeGrand Virtual Studio.

More soon.

Catherine

Sunday, May 6, 2007

"Life on the drawing board"


When I wake each morning, I pretend I know nothing.

The world is waiting to be discovered...again and again...

More about the day I took this photo.



The academic year is winding down and I am looking forward to having time to reinvent my playing, once again.

To assume I know everything is to automatically limit myself, and exploration is a precursor to discovery.

Those of you know me personally, know that I have an enormous repertoire of ways to work on things--to work on that difficult passage or to view a problem—and that I find great joy in new insights and discoveries.

As I allow myself to try a new way of doing something or to immerse myself in a new context or challenge, whether it be cultural (travel to an exotic place), work-related (music festival or new performance venue or repertoire) or home surroundings (even rearranging the furniture), I learn new things about myself; what motivates me and what fulfills me, and how I can best inspire others to discover their best selves, both as individuals and as artists.

I invite you to try out some new ideas this summer, whether in your music-making, or in your life. Check out the Library portion of my website for some inspiring resources, and visit the Playground for fun, creative play to encourage connecting your thoughts in new ways.

Life (as is art) is a process.

Happy exploration! I welcome hearing about your discoveries.
Catherine

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Patricia George's "Flute Spa"


On Sunday, April 15, at Meredith College, Raleigh Area Flute Association hosted Patricia George, Professor of Flute at Brigham Young University, to present her workshop , "Flute Spa," 3 solid hours of teaching jam packed with useful exercises, thoughts to ponder, and stories about the legacy and icons of flute playing.

I found almost everything she said meshed with my experiences as both flutist and teacher, and ignited my own creative thought process. She provided us with a useful booklet from the clinic with:

  • Warm up exercises and routines
  • Body Mapping Check List and images reprinted with permission from Barbara Conable's Book, What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body, published by Andover Press (Amazon Link in Library).
  • "Octave Variations" (quick thoughts to remember high note fingerings)
  • "Short Scales" (a quick tour of the high octave of the flute moving through scales in the circle of fifths)-SUPER!
  • Useful pattern variations for practicing scales, including advocacy of "chunking" groups of notes in order to learn patterns faster (less practice time) in short, manageable sections. (I call these "bursts of notes".)
  • The "Flute Spa" menu concludes with Patricia's 2-page "Ideas on Phrasing 2007" which simplifies the vast, comprehensive subjects of phrasing and expression into well-explained individual elements.

Thanks for reminding us that practicing is a joyful process, one in which we can experience and celebrate measurable improvement!

I highly recommend attending a class with Patricia George. If you are using any of her materials, please credit her with their creation. I removed the document from the Library at my website after Patricia reported her materials had been plagiarized.

Also, check out the article:
"Using the 17 Big Daily Exercises for Flute by Taffanel and Gaubert, Published by Leduc" By Patricia George

Happy Practicing!
Catherine

Monday, April 9, 2007

Flute Alignment or How To "DeClaw" Flutists

In my "ABC's of Wind Playing" this topic belongs in Category C: Physical Orientation to the Instrument.

Many tonal and fingering difficulties experienced on the flute can be attributed to less than ideal alignment of the instrument and/or inefficient physical orientation to the instrument. Improving alignment of the instrument can eliminate many of these problems which can distract us from what is important, the enjoyment and satisfaction of playing beautifully.

I often say, “One of my missions in life is to declaw flutists.” The meaning of this statement is twofold; flutists tend to squeeze their flutes with their thumb and index finger combos on both hands (their “claws”) causing unnecessary tension and wasted air, and, also, I don’t well tolerate “catty” comments or thoughts about other flutists, especially among my students—we’re all in this together!

It is useful to think of balancing, rather than holding the flute; to avoid squeezing the flute, be sure that the instrument is properly balanced on the inside of the top joint of the right thumb and the area just above the lower knuckle of the left index finger while also lightly touching the chin area below the lower lip. (for good placement on lip, please see my “Lip Line and Lippies” video:
http://www.catherinelegrand.mobi/audiovideo/070204lippies.mov

If the flute is properly balanced, it will not roll backwards toward the face. Squeezing with the “claws” is usually caused by expending energy to prevent the flute from rolling backwards. If the keys are slightly turned forward (rods almost pointing to the ceiling) the flute can balance with stability, improving finger dexterity and musical performance. In order for the head, neck and jaw to be comfortable and for the embouchure to function properly while the keys are somewhat forward, the headjoint will need to be turned in some. I often suggest aligning the inside edge of the embouchure hole between the rods, though this varies some depending on the physical height and finger lengths of the individual flutist.

While searching for online resources on this topic to share with you, I came across an excellent article by Canadian flutist Jennifer Cluff, complete with historical background, diagrams and photos:

http://www.jennifercluff.com/lineup.htm#align

For those of you with right pinky issues, this is her footjoint alignment discussion:

http://www.jennifercluff.com/footturn.pdf

I welcome your questions and comments.

Catherine

Saturday, March 17, 2007

On “Stage Fright”


This weekend my NC flute students are participating in a adjudicated event. They have all worked hard on their music and are well prepared. Each student was coached with piano in their lesson this week and performed their music for peers in a masterclass/concert.

The focus on performance preparation this week has reminded me of some things I wish to share.

We all have some level of nervousness when we perform, whether music, dance, drama, athletics or public speaking. Adrenaline—the natural chemical we produce under stress—elevates heart rate and respiration. This can cause some people to feel very hot or to sweat in performances. It can also cause the heart to beat so fast and hard that it is more difficult to count rhythms and rests.

This same adrenaline can allow us to accomplish great things under stress, such as great athletic achievements or actions of super human strength in the face of emergency, such as lifting a fallen tree off a loved one. Some adrenaline is certainly useful in musical performance (and can even help a performance be the best we have ever done), but too much is problematic; managing its release is very useful. Here are some suggestions, based on my years of performing experience, for managing the release of adrenaline.

Literally ground yourself: feel the floor supporting your skeletal structure--feet, legs, hipbones, torso, and head. Unlock your knees and ankles and release your tailbone.

Breathe deeply, allowing your spine to lengthen as you release your breath. With each inhalation or “inspiration” imagine the entire phrase of music you will perform with the air you are taking in, then recreate the phrase as you release your breath.

Remember you are in control. Take time to compose yourself before you begin, and, most importantly, remember that you chose to be there. You are not a victim! Be joyful that you have the opportunity to study music and have a chance right now to do something that you really enjoy doing.

Think large rhythmic units to keep your place. Always be where you are now, not where you were when you made that small slip. A mistake is so unimportant if the flow of the music continues afterward. Graceful recoveries from errors are truly appreciated by your audience.

The art of music performance is a process, and presenting music gets easier each time you do it. You are taking a positive step toward overcoming stage fright simply by performing.

I am proud of each of my students for their hard work and for the individual ways they distinguish themselves as they grow, both musically and personally.

Catherine

Sunday, March 4, 2007

“Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.”


“Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.”
James Bryant Conant (1893-1978)

I was waiting at the gate for an early flight on February 15 (the date my new website was scheduled to publish). Most of the seats were occupied by the usual assortment of business travelers wearing their morning masks. I noticed a somewhat nervous looking young woman and smiled in her direction. She responded by asking me, “When do I know when to board the plane to Houston?” I answered her question and she proceeded to tell me her story: From a small community in a remote part of NC, she had never flown before, or even traveled out of state by car. She had awakened before 2:00 a.m. to make the 3 hour drive to Raleigh for the 6:15 a.m. flight. At least she had not been sleepy en route because she had been so nervous about the trip! She had a long day ahead of her, since she was to change planes in Houston (another new experience for her) and fly on to Portland Oregon, far from home, to visit a friend. She was not dissuaded from her intention to visit this friend by any of her fears.

I acknowledged her fears and sincerely congratulated her on her courage. Then I informed her that she now had a new ultimate scary experience which to compare all future events—a new benchmark.

As we deplaned in Houston, she seemed more confident and ready for the next phase of her adventure.

Once upon a time, my “ultimate scary experience which to compare all others” was driving an unfamiliar rent car in an unfamiliar large city to attend an orchestral audition. That was later supplanted by performing at a National Flute Association Convention, then by--the to-date ultimate scary musical experience--sightreading the piccolo part in Richard Strauss’ Elektra on opening night with Christoph Eschenbach conducting.

Publishing a new website, a long, drawn-out process of concept, creation, collaboration, and evaluation, does not compare to the immediate stress level of the Elektra experience, but it is a benchmark experience, nonetheless. Putting one’s ideas forward in such a public way calls for both clear intention and courage in the face of uncertainty.

I hope the information provided by the new website reaches those who need it.

I am grateful for the process of website creation and for those who have helped me along the way, especially Judith Gadd of Star WebWorks who has been an ideal cohort and navigator.

Catherine

"I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
Pablo Picasso

“Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful; yourself.”
Alan Alda