Crumb a la Kathleen


Some notes from my lesson Saturday:

  • Be wary of everything coming across mf – when singing and playing, you have to reduce to just one or the other to be properly pp, and the sfzs need a really extreme blast (don’t be afraid to overblow);
  • Take the time for breathing spots – barreling through the Vocalise without spaces makes contrast and dramatic intention difficult to discern;
  • Furthermore, make sure the 3 & 5 second fade-outs are distinguished from each other – no two should be the same even if both 3 seconds;
  • Finger click tempos should vary;
  • Wild and energetic and more grotesque – make it confronting, even to listeners familiar with the piece;
  • On the pause marks, are they resting points? or the destination/high point of the phrase?;
  • Acciaccaturas should be more percussive, and more in the style of an Indian flute, strongly differentiated from the other notes and also amongst themselves;
  • Quavers are really long in a piece marked dotted semiquaver = 64 – really rest on the E in the descending slide;
  • The syllable ‘ah’ is actually far more effective in creating a strong sound than the more nasal syllable I’ve been using (which sounds bigger to me because it resonates in my head rather than shoots through the flute and away from my ears) – ‘ah’ also feels much safer for my vocal chords, although for the high B I need to start in the nose and move to ‘ah’ for the safest option, without risk of cracking;
  • What are you doing with the rits? Save them up for the very end, don’t give away that you’re going to slow down – instead rest in the spaces;
  • When aiming for a ‘pale, wan’ colour, really reduce air pressure, and just put the finger down for that last A (don’t ‘play’ it);
  • Breathe l o t s in the Mesozoic;
  • Watch those soft high F#s – there definitely should not be an audible gush of air at the end!;

Lessons with Kathleen are going to be useful indeed!


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