Saturday, September 11, 2010

Flute Diary

On my Vermont trip I got to hear Susan play the flute. Simply hearing her tone made me a better player. 

Back when she was here in Virginia I played either alto flute or keyboard with her on flute and Dr. Andy on cello, and I never got my soprano flute out of its case. Here in the past year or so I have played that exclusively and not the alto. Putting in all those hours made me a better player, but they also set me up to better appreciate Susan's tone in the sense of having a better proprioceptive insight into what she's doing. 

All the neuroscience talks about how making music tickles a lot of parts of the brain at the same time and in coordination with each other. What I'm talking about here is the interface between the part of the brain that appreciates hearing good tone and the part that tells the muscles what to do to get it. 

Susan's tone, especially in the low and mid registers can have a tactile, Dionysian power to it. A lot of flute players are more Apollonian in tone, and Susan can do that if need be, but that feeling she can generate that the flute's tone is getting traction on the listeners' emotions is what amazes me.

All that's not as well expressed as I'd like, but the point is, immediately upon hearing her for the first time in years, doors opened in my mind and muscles that are leading me to do all kinds of proprioceptive things I can't begin to explain, but which improve my playing.

Dave Wilken has a great post that got me thinking more about all this here

No comments:

Post a Comment