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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sir James Galway at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention

I had the pleasure of meeting Sir James Galway after an "informal conversation session" at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention yesterday.

He delighted the many attendees with his witty responses, personal stories, and opinions and advice in response to questions on flutes, recording, warm-up routines, and flute pedagogy.

Here are a few of the things I learned:

• Sir James uses top-of-the-line Neumann microphones for all of his audio and video recording.
• In response to a question of maintaining physical flexibility, Sir James proudly announced his age, 68, and suggested shoulder stretches for range of motion, forearm and hand self-massage, and, when nothing else works… just keep playing and enjoy the music!
• He practices studies regularly from the Moyse’s De la Sonorité and advocates practicing scales and patterns always with the best tone and musical expression and style. He pointed out an obvious, but seldom considered, fact: if you practice scales and patterns in a boring, unmusical, way, not only is practicing boring, but you are actually practicing to play boring and unmusical music (music is largely created from these patterns)!
• He also advocates practice of the Boehm Caprices and Andersen Etudes, in particular, to develop a fluid technique and legato while maintaining tone and musical expression.

I encourage you to join to Sir James online forum, Galway Flute Chat (Yahoo group) and to watch the videos posted at http://www.thegalwaynetwork.com/ for access to Sir James’ teaching and thoughts.

Many thanks to Sir James for reminding us that joy and expression give meaning to music-making--and to life!


I also attended the fine Valentine’s Day evening concert performance by Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway with the San Antonio Symphony. They performed the Cimarosa Concerto in G Major for 2 Flutes and a lively encore, an arrangement of “Rondo Alla Turca” from the Mozart Piano Sonata, K. 331. They clearly had great fun together on stage!

After intermission, Sir James performed “The Pied Piper Fantasy” by John Corigliano, attired in festive costume and joined by dozens of local young flutists performing with Sir James while parading on stage and following him out of the theater. Quite a spectacle!

Sir James’ final encore, Badinerie from the J.S. Bach Suite in B Minor, BWV 1067, brilliantly played, was a rousing ending to an evening celebrating the love of music-making and flute-playing—perfect for Valentine’s Day.

I will post more notes from other clinics and events I attended at the TMEA Convention later this week in the LeGrand Virtual Studio.

Best,
Catherine

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Catherine, thank you so much for posting this.
What did Galway tell about his vibrato?
Did he try to convince you that he is far the best of all fluteplayers in th world and if so, did it work?
Kind greetings from Monaco,
Celmar Semoy

Anonymous said...

"hand self-massage, and, when nothing else works… " ... what a great idea of Sir James. I do this for very long now and it works great, just great.
Greetings, Roland Lietzenmayer, Monaco.

Catherine said...

Dear Celmar,

Sir James did not talk about vibrato; in his explanations he demonstrated his signature lively tone and vibrato, advocating playing with "life" in the sound.

He also spoke with candidness and humor on many subjects to an audience charmed by his efforts.

Catherine

Anonymous said...

Dear Catherine,

very interesting, thank you.
By the way, the picture from you with Jimmy is very nice ... keep it for your website ;-)

greetings from a cloudy Monaco,

Celmar

Rossa said...

Keep up the good work.