Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Flutorial: Blow it Out! Exhaling fully to create bigger breaths.


This video demonstrates exercises to help you take bigger, more efficient breaths using excerpts from Faure's Sicilienne.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Wisdom from flutist Moshe Aron Epstein

Moshe Aron Epstein

I just read an impressive interview with Miyazawa artist Moshe Aron Epstein: soloist, chamber musician, and Professor of Flute at the Hochschule (Academy) of Music and Theater in Hamburg.
My favorite quotes from the article:

The most valuable lesson I learned from the flute is listening. Listening not just with the ears – listening with all senses – sight, smell, taste and touch, listening with the soul, listening through feeling myself and others, listening to the world, listening. Listening made me observe tone quality, intonation, dynamics, rhythm, style. It brought me to understand how others are playing and being able to imitate at least parts of their qualities. But moreover: listening in its widest meaning makes it all meaningful, worthwhile…
Excellence requires an inner need to always find more about yourself, the composer and his piece, a need for a continuous development and to purify the means of performance. It often demands to forget yourself and let the playing just stream through you. Excellence is achieved in the rare moments, when the triangle: player-composer-piece makes a new entity summing all three parts up. The result is very personal, even intimate, often mysterious.

Playing a musical instrument, the flute included, is a rare discipline that combines technique, spirit, body and soul. I have been teaching flute for almost 42 years (a frightening figure, isn’t it?!), from beginners through professionals. I spend endless time and effort on the physical side of playing: from posture to breathing, from intonation to finger technique, dynamics to sound quality and of course to shape, style, and musical phrasing etc. But above all I look for the special encounter between the player and the composer and the message to be delivered through musical means. I put an emphasis on the fact that we should serve the music - be like a vessel through which the great music is flowing. The better the technique, the more subtle it should become.

Keep a good, healthy and true balance between the outer demands of the modern world and your own inner voice, soul and spirit. In a humorous way, with some Yiddish flavor it would be: In spite of the fact that you are, or want to become a flutist, be a MENSCH!

Read the entire interview here. Thanks to Miyazawa for this enlightening post!

You can find Professor Moshe Aron Epstein on Facebook:


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Duke Voice Care Center "Care of the Singing Voice Workshop: How to Make Your Voice Last a Lifetime"


This post is intended to supplement the linked PDF of the Powerpoint presentation used at the “Care of the Singing Voice” Workshop presented by Duke Voice Care Center at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh on 4.14.12.

The pdf of the presentation was provided to me to share with you by Leda Scearce, MM, MS, CCC-SLP, at the Duke Voice Care Center. It is full of great information on this topic!

I bolded pages to major topics to serve as an index and included highlights, referenced videos which won’t appear on the PDF, and some additional notes and comments [in brackets].

Thanks, Leda! It was a great workshop! Thanks, also,  to Yuri Yamamoto for organizing the event.

I hope you find this useful! Please let me know!

Best always,

Highlights, Additional Notes, Comments and Referenced videos
“Care of the Singing Voice” Workshop presented by Duke Voice Care Center at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh on 4.14.12

Page 9-17: Normal Voice Production
In human voice production, lungs are the actuators of the power supply.

Page 12
Excess, prolonged pressure on the vocal folds causes damage to the vocal folds.

Page 15
The consistency of healthy vocal folds is like Jello.
Video of healthy vocal folds:

Page 17
Stroboscopy: video of female vocal cords at high and low pitch:

Page 18-30: What Happens When Things Goes Wrong?

Page 21
Caffeine, alcohol, smoking and second hand smoke are all harmful to the singing voice. Drink LOTS of water all day! At least eight 8 oz. glasses of water each day!

Page 31-55:  Management (Behavioral, Medical, Surgical)
Page 33
Vocal Hygiene: The things we do to keep the voice healthy
·      Taking care of the body
·      Using the voice well

Page 56- 68: Vocal Pacing
Page 57
Vocal Pacing Golden Rule!
Warm up your voice before singing, cool down your voice after singing.

Page 67
Special Considerations for Music Directors/Choral Conductors

•Warm up your voice before rehearsal

•Use amplification for your voice during rehearsal

•Use printed signs or hand signals to communicate messages that you say over and over

•Minimize using your voice to teach the music

Recommended use of:
Spokeman Personal Voice Amplifier

Page 69: How will I know if I Have a Voice Injury?

Page 72-81: Singing Styles and Techniques
·      Mechanics of Singing  (General, Classical, and Belting)

Page 82-89: Acoustics of Singing/ Physics of Sound

Page 91:  Speaking and Singing Voice Exercise
Emphasis of proper skeletal alignment and good body use. [I recommend study of the Alexander Technique and/or Feldenkrais to improve ease and quality of singing and playing!]

Page 86
Referenced video: Joseph Callejo: Nessun Dorma

[I prefer this perfermance: Jussi Bjorling "Nessun dorma" Live 1958]

Page 87
Referenced video: Adele: Rolling in the Deep 

Page 90-111: Vocal Exercise for Singing
[Lots of great suggestions. We spent 30 minutes in the workshop practicing these.]