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High School Piece: Telemann Suite in A Minor
First excerpt: Ouverture measure 1-15 ( ends after 2nd beat).
Work for dynamic contrast. Make sure the difference between piano and forte is very noticeable. Be sure the tone and intonation remain consistent. Regarding the style, this is a French Overture and it is customary for performers to double dot the dotted notes. If you are familiar with this performance practice, you can do this, but you will not be penalized if you don’t do it. Be sure your rhythm is steady and accurate, and the trills should sound regal, not like a fire alarm.
Second Excerpt: Overture: last note of 44-76 (ends after 5th beat). The C naturals tied over in measure 54, 55, and 56 eliminate A LOT of applicants. The rhythm must be perfect and the tongued sixteenths must be clear. First practice it slowly in 6, and gradually, over several weeks, shift into 2. You should strive for the printed tempo, but only play as fast as you can play cleanly. This excerpt needs to have a lilt which highlights the 6/8 meter. Practicing lots of scales and arpeggios double tongued in 6/8 will help you get up to tempo.
Third Excerpt: No.V Meas. 13, 3rd beat-33. No RUSHING. Correct articulation. Try not to tense your hands in any of the sixteenth note passages. Beginning in meas. 27, be sure the lower notes have a nice ring to them. Strive for the marked tempo.
General notes: Don’t wait until Thanksgiving week to start recording yourself. If you record yourself one or two times a week starting now, you will be able to correct more things, and you will be more comfortable with the process when you do make your official recording. You don’t need fancy equipment: a cell phone, tablet, or computer is fine. As always, the metronome is your friend.
All-State Scales: Play them every day, especially the full-range chromatic scale. If you get bored of playing the same scales everyday, practice different speeds, dynamics, and articulation. When you record, play them exactly as specified.
Jr. High Piece: JS Bach Suite in B minor
First excerpt: Polonaise. Beginning to measure 12. First repeat only. A suite is a collection of dances. Yes, people actually danced to this music. Why repeat? DYNAMICS. Work for dynamic contrast. Be sure tone and intonation remain consistent: don’t overblow in forte and don’t underblow in piano.
Emphasize the first beat of each measure: 1,2,3. Don’t hurry the grace note in the first measure. Most flutists play this grace note ON the beat. Trills should be a light flurry of sound. Even though this is marked an eighth note = 120, it should sound and be felt in 3. Practicing it in 3 ,at a quarter note = 60 will help. Be sure the staccatos are short and full of life. The accents are not harsh. Think of them as just leaning on the note to emphasize it. Trills: measure 4 is F#to G natural. Measure 6 is B natural to C# ( a lot of people miss this one). Measure 12 is D natural to E natural. Did you know that you should be pressing down the first finger in your left hand for this, part way, for D-E trills in the staff? Yes. You SHOULD be pressing the first finger in the left hand about half way down for that trill. All the way down is too much, all the way up is too little. Your ears will tell you the right amount.
Second Excerpt: Badinerie, all, no repeats. The word “Badinerie” in French means, “ a pleasantry.” Here is another definition: “Badinerie (French: teasing) indicates a piece of music of light-hearted character. The best-known badinerie is the lively last movement of Bach's Suite in B minor for flute, strings and continuo.” That’s what you’re playing! Since there is no tempo marked, players have a bit more freedom in preparing this. Go as fast as you can play well. THAT means: perfect rhythm, NO rushing, crisp articulation, clean trills, and good dynamic contrast. Speaking of trills, measure 8 is D natural to E natural. Meas. 10 is F#-G#: same with m.26. Meas, 31 is G#-A natural. 43 is E natural -F#. 46, is F# to G natural. 48 is E natural to F#. General notes: Don’t wait. Start recording now. Even once or twice a week will help you correct things, and you will be more comfortable with the process when you make the official recording. A cell phone, tablet, or computer is fine for this. The metronome is always your friend.
All-State Scales: Play them every day.. If you get bored of playing the same scales everyday, practice different speeds, dynamics, and articulation. When you record, play them exactly as specified.
While there is no substitute for practicing, and we all try our best to get it done, sometimes we just don’t have enough time. Here are some things you can do in rehearsals that will help improve your playing on the spot:
1: Assemble the Flute Correctly (make sure the head joint and foot joint are in the BEST spot for you every time)
4: Use good posture
5: Breathe Well
6: Make your best sound
7: Keep fingers close to the keys
8: Count! (always)
9: Play the correct dynamics and articulation
10: Finger difficult passages quietly while the conductor is rehearsing others or during long rests