video series

New video series: What's On My Stand

Hi, everyone! I wanted to give you all a heads-up that I’ve started a new weekly series about what I’m practicing called What’s On My Stand. It’s just short videos explaining what I’m currently working on (it’s not always bombastic or amazing, sometimes we just plod along in our practice rooms…). The most recent one, above, is about practicing the flute solo from Brahms' Symphony no. 1.

I’ll always have more detailed information in the video’s description, too. For example, here is the text from the description of the video above:

Brahms wrote beautiful solos for the flute and horn in the last movement of his first symphony - but it's really quite a blow and requires projection and beauty of sound so the flute can match the horn in intensity.

I practice quite a bit with a tuner, both via long tones and individual notes in context, and practicing this excerpt with my tuner showed that I needed to lift the pinky finger on the high E natural every time except the last statement. The high F# on my flute is stable, so I used the regular fingering (with the third finger on the right hand). If the F# is in tune, you will have more power and projection with this fingering than you would if you used different ones.

Vibrato is tricky with this solo - it's all about individual taste, and not everyone agrees. To me, it's easy for things to get overwrought, and I'm not particularly in love with every note that I recorded in this practice session. I like keeping my vibrato inside the tone, not letting it get too wide or too slow. Don't wait to find great vibrato until you suddenly have to work on an excerpt that needs it. Practice finding Brahmsian vibrato every day - or Debussy vibrato, or Mozart vibrato, etc. - they should all have different qualities!

I hope you will subscribe to the channel and also let me know what YOU’RE practicing! Maybe we’re actually practicing the same things sometimes and I can make a video that relates to what you’re doing, too. See you on YouTube…