At the Galway Flute Festival, there are workshops every day by the guest artists. These are a great way to learn about how the artist teaches and thinks. Here are a few take aways from the workshops I attended:
French flutist Juliette Hurel has a beautiful approach to playing flute and teaching. She worked with several students and helped them in their thinking about sound, connecting it to both technique and musicality. She says that flute sound is like ”clay”- malleable! You use your air and ear to create a flexible sound that creates the music. Our sound is not like stone, but moldable to bring out the music in the best possible way.
Resident Artist Kersten McCall played the Boulez Sonatine on his recital. In this informative workshop he helped us understand the piece, showing us the tone row, and outlining the themes. He spoke about the history of the piece and how it relates to the other works on his recital program (Bach B minor Sonata and Strauss Sonata in B flat for violin). I really appreciate his scholarly and musical approach to this piece and found that it improved my listening experience of the Boulez.
Latin Jazz flutist Ernesto Fernandez gave a wonderful workshop on Charanga Flute 101!!
We learned about the history of Charanga- how it developed from the five key flute that French Haitian landowners brought to Cuba when fleeing the revolution in Haiti. The different types of orchestra’s Typical, and Charangas Francesas (18th-19th century) and it’s progression into the 20th century. I loved seeing how the Baroque music and flute morphed into something entirely new in the New World! We learned about the Clave rhythmic patterns and different types of dances including Chachacha, Pachanga, Mambo and more.
Brilliantly he introduced us to Charanga flute – and the flutists who play in this style and then we all got to improvise in the style as well. A mini lesson!! Fernandez is very clear in his teaching and by the end of the hour we all felt like experts!!
Attached are the slides from the class so you can learn Charanga too!
A wonderful workshop on improvisation! The concept is that everyone can improvise. Yossi handed out a sheet which had four lines of music. We played a line of the music together and Yossi suggested we play the notes in different orders, splitting the lines just playing a few notes at a time, all together. Next he invited one of us to improvise on the notes from the melody with the group holding one of the notes from the melody. A third of the flutists in the workshop actually improvised! I improvised and had a terrific and freeing experience, letting loose some stored up music.