Larry Krantz Flute Pages: Averil William's FLUTE list postings
Averil Williams FLUTE List Postings

Over many years Averil Williams posted a number of helpful and entertaining messages to the FLUTE list. Many of those postings have been extracted from the FLUTE List Archives and are published below.

Date: Mar 3, 2015
From: Averil Williams
Subject: 'Freedom'

Greetings

Wissam: It feels as though there is a danger of an either/or approach to technique and expression. Developing one's technique, including every possible scale/pattern/excercise surely is a path to freedom of expression, and freedom for the imagination. This is not to neglect depth, meaning, Soul, passion etc. but in order to help LIBERATE the inner musician.

My twopennyworth
Best wishes
Averil Williams
Professor of Flute
Guildhall School of Music & Drama


Date: Nov 1, 2012
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Thank you Larry

Larry - what a wonderful and great contribution you have made in making FluteList a mine of riches. You have given so much of your time to make this whole thing work as a worldwide resource. Thank you for your passion, dedication and commitment. Enjoy the time ahead!

Averil Williams
Guildhall School of Music and Drama


Date: Oct 6, 2012
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Low register strength- Prokofiev!

I have not seen all the postings on this subject but am reminded of how many different approaches there are to technique. For what they are worth here are a few thoughts of my own:

The low notes of the flute are the most demanding of all because having a good embouchure is a critical requirement. The air speed gradually diminishes as one descends the flute and the aperture needs to enlarge. A full strong bottom note needs a lot of air going slowly and this is quite against one's instincts! So for strength one needs to think more of largeness of dimension rather than 'brute strength'. This takes a lot of learning. Adrianne Greenbaum suggests folding the lower lip back over the teeth. This is an excellent idea, though my image is different - I think of the lower lip like a drawbridge (as in castles), hinged at the bottom, (where it is pinned down by the flute) and drawing the bottom lip inwards right in the centre helps enormously at the bottom of the flute. This is a MICRO movement though. Although it helps I think to have big images, ultimately the movements are infinitesimal but critical.

Not only does this help to open out the aperture but it uncovers the embouchure hole which raises the pitch and counters any natural tendency for flatness. The upper lip needs to stay in its plane, exerting or releasing pressure, with the lower lip moving in relation to it. In addition it is important not to blow straight down into the flute with this configuration of the lips, but to blow up and over. The lips will do the rest. Playing into the high register the drawbridge movement of the lower lip in the opposite direction will allow it to cover more of the embouchure hole, with all of the opposite advantages of the previous manoevre, helping close the aperture, as well as keeping the pitch down.

Mastering this embouchure technique can lead to tremendous agility with barely perceptible movements. Moyse use to say "playing strong low notes is rather like hugging a very large old lady - you have to be very gentle, but you get something very big!" (A rather borderline politically/socially correct statement these days!)

My twopenny worth.......

Averil Williams
Professor of Flute
Guildhall School of Music and Drama


Date: Mar 5, 2012
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Patterns of Learning

Greetings.

It has been interesting to read the postings of Trevor and Adrianne about how we practise and how we learn. Some years ago someone said something immeasurably useful when I talked about a difficult student. He said "maybe it's her pattern of learning". This student often rebelled or argued against what I said, but subsequently it became clear that what I had said had not only been heard but had been taken notice of, and brought back to me integrated into her playing. Thinking about'Patterns of Learning" for each individual, means to me not being formulaic, but challenges my capacity to attune to each individual, as well as holding onto all the ideals of where their development might go over time on their flute journey. In my experience as a teacher there are certainly times to 'enforce' things from the outside, insist on correct fingerings, suggest technical work, but in facilitating, helping someone develop things from the inside lies surely the essence of teaching. It is a more 'costly' way in which to teach because one often has to dig deep in helping overcome certain resistances or blind spots, but is often immensely rewarding as most change endures and doesn't just disappear when the teaching stops. It tests my creativity, is much more interesting, AND the teacher(me)! goes on learning.

Averil Williams
Professor of Flute - Guildhall School of Music & Drama


Date: Jan 12, 2012
From: Averil Williams/Ian Clarke
Subject: 'Within' and Extended techniques

Hi Natalie & Listers,

As I don't regularly look at the list, Averil drew my attention to your question and suggested I might illuminate :-)

Words are so much more clumsy than demonstration but I will try. First of all when I am able to demonstrate this then I have been able to show just about any group of flute players how to do the 'choo chi cha ke choo ke chi cha' ... this is not a brag :-) I say this because when approached a particular way it becomes easier than you imagine ... much easier.

There's lots you could write in a dissertation about what's going on in the following but throw out all thoughts of academics, physiology etc (or keep them to yourself for the moment at least). So ...

1) Say 'choo chi cha ke choo ke chi cha' without flutes .... several times ... have fun ... say it loudly and softly ... use a stage whisper .... again loud and soft.

If there is still shyness or stiffness then jump and down a bit, laugh, shout, shake a few arms and legs .. whatever ... then return to the simple task of scatting the rhythm.

2) Ignoring the flute put the flute on the lip and say the same thing but DO NOT MAKE A FLUTE EMBOUCHURE!

Many of the group will make a quasi embouchure .... the most prone to this are the most experienced players .... including the teacher!!!

3) Alternate simply stage whispering the phrase, and then putting the flute as a passenger on the usual lip/chin position. Do this until the baggage/expectation of forming some clever pseudo embouchure disappears.

4) Finally experiment with the different dynamics of stage whisper with the flute in place and perhaps some subtle changes of flute angle to catch the breath sounds from the flute.

Essentially that's it! By this point the body's apparatus will be released into a free energised state. It's all natural stuff.

Supplementary-

1) Individual explosive "Ke's", "Che's", "Sha's" etc can be explored to discover how energised and loud they can be. Again just let the flute be a passenger with perhaps some minor angle experiments. This can be done in conjunction with loud Haka type "Ha's" and "Hu's" ... The Haka is a something done by the All Blacks ... New Zealand Rugby team ... I'm sure you can google it.

2) Panting enthusiastically like a big dog and Jet Whistle panting scales (simple one octave low C or D major would do). The Jet Whistle technique is used in my piece 'Walk Like This' and it has been commented by others that this has improved their students "support" and energy in regular playing.

Both the above if approached with fun can energise and make available the natural abilities and energies of the blowing apparatus and throw out inhibitions. It feels good ... and relates directly to the mental and physical state of playing conventionally well.

"Breath sounds" ... otherwise known as residual tone.

This is a different technique to above and occurs in the opening section of 'Within...' in all parts except flute 1 plus opening sections of 'Zoom Tube' and 'The Great Train Race' and other works not by me of course.

This is more tricky to put into words and whilst not perhaps as straightforward as the above it should not be thought of as difficult ... just different ... quite different from the normal embouchure position. So it may take more exploring and is not necessarily something that can be mastered in a few minutes ... although some will ... some will take a little longer. The speed of mastery is not connected to your level of virtuosity. I have done this with eminent flute players who can find this a longer process to master than more inexperienced students ... everyone can get there and there is no competition to get there first. However, this is not long process even for those who find it initially elusive.

Method one (Something described a bit, but not exactly like this, by Wil Offermann's in his Contemporary Etudes book) Play a normal note and imagine the flute is glued to your chin. Slowly take the flute directly forward away from your face but follow the flute with your jaw and lip as if it were glued. Keep blowing the note and keep allowing your face/jaw/embouchure to extrude forward ... as if you were Pixar/cartoon character who was quite happy to assume odd eccentric positions. As the flute finally begins to depart from the its embouchure position you will be in a huge pout with lower jaw in an under-bite position ... sort of in the shape or a super pout or duck billed platypus :-) (don't put the head forward). The flute sound should by now have degraded into just residual air sound. Shortly before the glue can hold no more the position you have found is pretty close to an effective position for producing the pure breath sound .... which actually has a pitch component but no actually conventional flute sound. Critically it is also possible to keep the size of aperture small ... important for air efficiency over the long phrases and airspeed/energy coupled with decent blowing support. It is easy to let the embouchure hole open too much thereby reducing phrase length and mpg.

Method two

Close the jaw and push both the jaw and lips forward. Close the jaw until the teeth touch or ideally almost touch whilst, as I say, gently pushing the jaw forward; as in method one into an under-bite that doesn't hurt of course. Closing the jaw will kill the resonance (I'm sure I heard Matthias Ziegler say just those words once when describing this :-)) thereby killing the usual flute sound. Again do not to let the aperture open too much so that you can still use the air efficiently and with energy.

When you begin to find something that works then you can experiment and culture this position. Trying different tongue shapes inside the mouth may help. Certainly experimenting with angle will help pick up resonances in the flute.

N.B.

The basic coverage of the embouchure hole by the lower lip should remain as per a normal note. Otherwise the residual/breath tone will be sharp and make the 1st flute sound flat. An opportunity to see how the this works through experiment ... and an opportunity to culture a heightened awareness of how critical this coverage is with respect to more conventional flute sounds. Physics is physics :-)

I thinks that's enough .... I would much rather show you :-) Congratulations if you'd read this ... now get your flute out :-) !!

!

Best wishes,
Ian (Clarke)
(& Averil Williams - thought you might hear this from the horse's mouth!)


Date: Feb 17, 2011
From: Averil Williams
Subject: When is a tear drop too big to play flute?

My thoughts from past experience echo those of Robin Jakeways. A TINY tear drop can be a great bonus, beyond that quite a hindrance. Playing to one side is an option. However when the tear drop is pronounced it's all but impossible to play successfully. Manoeuvring up and down the flute, even if a good basic sound is achieved is very difficult. The bottom notes are easiest. What I remember more than anything is the struggle and frustration of the those with this impediment, and Yes it is an impediment for playing the flute. It would be much kinder maybe not to put someone through this struggle, with all the obstacles and limitations, and propel the student towards another instrument where their creativity can flourish.

Averil Williams
Professor of Flute
Guildhall School of Music & Drama


Date: Jul 29, 2010
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Orchestral video

Greetings List

The players in the clip of the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (with London Symphony Orchestra from some time ago!) are Paul Edmund Davis principal, Martin Parry second flute, and Frank Nolan piccolo. None of these players is with the LSO currently - Paul Davis is co-principle of the Philharmonia Orchestra and MP and FN are freelancing.

Best wishes
Averil Williams


Date: Aug 28, 2008
From: Averil Williams
Subject: BFS Convention

Greetings

I would like to add my thanks and appreciation for such wonderful experiences at the BFS convention. It truly was a feast of great and interesting playing. The standard of performance was so high that one felt at times 'how can anything surpass that?' but then it became clear that it was not about surpassing anything, but about difference and individuality, and also possibilities of hearing fresh repertoire too. Inevitably one had preferences - I certainly did, and it was interesting as to which performances lingered in the memory, - for me not necessarily those that contained great gymnastics.

There was so much on offer in this jam-packed few days, but I found it very enriching on so many levels, including having a grand catch-up too with friends and colleagues. The ambience and atmosphere was warm and Congratulations to Trevor Wye, John Rayworth, Atarah Ben-Tovin, Julie Wright and all that were responsible.

On Monday I got up early and drove back to the Presteigne Festival in Wales in time to hear an 11.30am concert with Adam Walker (who had performed for the BFS) and harpist Sally Pryce. This was another substantial and interesting musical offering. We are surely going to hear lots more of Adam in the years to come. Thus ended a wonderful 'Flutefest'.

best wishes
Averil Williams
Professor of Flute
Guildhall School of Music & Drama


Date: Mar 2, 2008
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Bb fingering

Greetings

I havenıt followed all this correspondence re the Bb fingerings, but in this batch of messages nobody is mentioning the technical advantage of being able to use the Œlongı Bb (what I think you in USA call 1/1/?) Using the long Bb follows the French style/system of playing where there is ONE fingering for each note, and every note is available as on a keyboard. The Œshortı Bb (thumb) is much easier but Œcovers overı the B natural. For a really facile technique, using the long Bb ergonomically makes sense, even if one is capable of thumb-shifting wizardry! The long fingering is difficult to master but NOT if you start and grow up with it, and then later start using the Bb thumb or incredibly useful RH lever. If one teaches beginners the long Bb then you give them a gift. There is absolutely no doubt that the short fingering is acoustically correct and the tone superior for anything sustained, but there are endless difficult technical passages where being able to use the long versions make something 'playable/easy' rather than 'unplayable/fiendishly difficult'. Eg Martin Ballade, Leibermann Sonata, etc.. not to mention Flight of the Bumble Bee!

I was not taught the long Bb until I went for lessons with Geoffrey Gilbert and it took some years to be comfortable with it, but boy does it make a difference. It is also amazing how many professional players donıt use the RH lever and barely know what it is for! My approach is to be at home with every alternative and have the best of all worlds.

Along these lines, I could always flutter tongue easily with a rolling, but when playing with the late Sebastian Bell in Milhaud's "Le Creation du Monde", well his flutter tonguing on low notes was magnificent, and it turned out he was using a throat flutter. Learning this technique too, for low notes and quiet notes (eg Messiaenıs Le Merle Noir) was of tremendous benefit.

Best wishes
Averil Williams
Professor of Flute
Guildhall School of Music & Drama


Date: Jan 9, 2008
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Please come or donate to Fund-raising event for dedicated 'Geoffrey Gilbert Flute Studio' at the Guildhall.

Greetings Flute List

This is to let you know of an important and interesting concert and fund-raising event at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at 7.30pm on Friday February 15th. We flute professors (who will all be performing) decided we would like to have a dedicated flute studio in the Guildhall and to name it in honour of Geoffrey Gilbert, who taught at the Guildhall for many years before moving to the USA. Through his playing and teaching Geoffrey's influence became pivotal in the the development of flute playing in this country. The English-German style was then prevalent but Geoffrey, after studies in Paris, introduced the silver flute and taught the French method. One by one the established principal players changed their wooden flutes for silver ones, and the style which emerged was an amalgam of the best of both influences. He taught many great players, most notably William Bennett and Sir James Galway.

In the studio we will have a grand piano, music, recordings, hopefully some pictures too, and create an inspiring teaching space. We need to raise £10,000 in order to be given this facility (ca $20,000). We feel it would be a very appropriate way of honouring and acknowledging Geoffreyıs enormous contribution. His influence of course extended far and wide and many present-day flutists in many countries will be 'grandchildren' or "great-grandchildren' of flutists taught by Geoffrey Gilbert. Are you one of these?

The evening will consist of an interesting flutey concert compered by Edward Blakeman, interspersed with thoughts and reminiscences, followed by a glass of wine and get-together. We are hoping that all the flute world that isn't performing elsewhere that evening will join us. No ticket is required. HOWEVER if you are not able to come it would be wonderful if you felt able to contribute by sending a financial contribution. Any contribution however small would be most welcome and your name will be added to a list of contributors showing in the room. If you have a special reminiscence of Geoffrey, then you might like to send it to me by e-mail. Larry Krantz has kindly set up a very easy link on his web-site. For details of the programme and how to make a donation please go to http://www.larrykrantz.com/.

Do join us! We look forward to seeing you or hearing from you!

Averil Williams
with Professors of Flute: Ian Clarke, Philippa Davies and Sarah Newbold


Date: Aug 29, 2006
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Congratulations

The Flute List is a remarkable forum for the exchange of information and for discussion on flute issues, and has a great educational role for all of us. It is so well run and I would like to add my congratulations to Larry, John and Nelson at the ten-year anniversary, and also to Helen Spielman whom I had the great pleasure of meeting in Manchester. We are lucky. Thank you.

Averil Williams
Professor of Flute
Guildhall School of Music & Drama


Date: Aug 29, 2006
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Gurre-lieder

The most demanding thing to play in Gurre-lieder is for the piccolos, who overlap high sustained top B's pp. It is possible to get a small pipe (bird-call pipe)? to play instead and infinitely easier. These have been picked up in Japan (Pat Morris tells me from BBC SO)but maybe they're to be found in the USA too. Sometimes one piccolo takes over responsibility for the high B although it's written on two parts. It's a wonderful work and I've played it several times and recorded it with Boulez and BBC SO but been spared that part! Good luck Dianne Winsor

Averil Williams
Professor of Flute
Guildhall School of Music & Drama


Date: Feb 5, 2006
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Wings & butterflies

Greetings

I have a Cooper Alto flute (an absolutely wonderful instrument) and Albert Cooper put what he calls 'butterflies' on the gold lip plate. They are actually quite chunky at the outer edge. These two wings of silver were put there to help channel the air. At one point I had them taken off but then put them back on again. As this operation can't be done quickly it is very difficult to know how much they help, but I like the look of them aesthetically, including the 'silver-on-gold'. They are definitely additions and not part of the basic lip-plate. I thought I'd add Cooper's 'butterflies' to the terminology.

best wishes
Averil Williams
Professor of Flute
Guildhall School of music and Drama


Date: Dec 8, 2005
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Projection

Greetings

It has been interesting to read the posts on projection and your latest contribution Trevor, especially as you begin to touch on the 'Art' and the 'Science' of projection. The physics and acoustics of projection only get one so far. One can look at the 'content' of a sound and try to analyze it - but how helpful is it? This becomes a sort of 'vertical' analysis and for me projection comes out of a feeling-attitude, intention, reaching out, wish (determination) to communicate (even in pp). This means that an energy is being employed in the service of throwing (iacto/iacio - to throw, cast, fling energetically) the sound/music forward (pro- forth, forth from). This is the instinctive element of projection and all the scientific analysis in the world won't make this happen unless that particular feeling-energy is there. It can be an ingredient I think in all sorts of sounds. It might be useful tomeasure what these sounds have in common, but to search for projection without the feeling is like trying to find a good embouchure that will give you a good sound. (!)

best wishes
Averil Williams
Professor of Flute
Guildhall School of Music and Drama


Date: Feb 3, 2005
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Walk Like This!

Dear Amy and List

Ian Clarke, published by Just Flutes has written some ensemble pieces which include some extended techniques. Try "Walk Like This" which is not too difficult for students of your age range, good fun, but also enough of a challenge to start making a bridge into extended tecniques. It includes singing and playing, bending notes, jet whistles, - vocalizing (i.e. shouting!) and is variously rhythmically conventional or jazzy. It's not long, about 3/4 minutes? and has four parts (concert flutes).

We did it at the end of a summer school course in Portugal and started it in a rather novel way. Someone programmed the rather jazzy motif into their mobile phone. At the concert the group of about sixteen stood in a circle ready to begin, and there was a respectful silence in the filled auditorium, and then the mobile phone went off in the pocket of one of the male flautists. All around there was a sort of gasp of embarrassment. He took the phone out of his pocket and looked at it in 'amazement' as it delivered this jazzy tune, and as if inspired by it, sang it, and with a sort of "why not? that's great" they played their piece (without conductor). They ended it with a Yeah! (written) and piled into a cheer-group cluster, flutes aloft. This was a slightly extended technique version to the original! It was really good to play because it could include younger and less advanced players who were helped to learn it by the advanced performers, and it's an enjoyable piece for everyone. Ian has written other ensemble pieces which I presume are all available from Just Flutes.

Averil Williams
Professor of Flute
Guildhall school of Music and Drama


Date: Fri, 07 January 7, 2005
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Haynes Flutes and Cooper Scale

Having just read Trevor's contribution regarding the evolution of the various scales, I think I can cast some light on how Deveaux at Haynes developed his scale.

You are right Trevor in that Albert Cooper was always open and generous with information. Haynes resolutely refused to make any changes to their scale but did eventually agree to make me a flute with a Cooper scale, and Albert provided the measurements for this, for which he charged me a nominal amount. I can't remember the date (late 70's)? and I'm not at home to try to look it up. The flute arrived with an "S" marked on the strap high up to indicate 'Special.' It was an extremely in-tune flute but with no other endearing qualities or intrinsic warmth, and in this way was rather the opposite of 'normal' Haynes flutes. Changing the headjoint did little to help. I never used this flute professionally and I sold it about six years ago through Just Flutes. I handed over the papers for the flute when I sold it and believe it went to someone in Scotland. The scale information from Cooper must have been extremely convenient for Haynes, which is something of an understatement.

Averil Williams
Professor of Flute
Guildhall School of Music and Drama


Date: Sep 8, 2004
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Elaine Schaffer

Dear List

I went to a recital by Elaine Schaffer in the QEH (Queen Elizabeth Hall London) not long before she died (late 1960's 70s?). It is an event which I have never forgotten and that I have mentioned to students in teaching. She played six Bach sonatas. Her playing was rather mannered, her flute sloped downwards rather much and she moved quite a bit. Her playing seemed musically unconventional for Bach, was extrovertly expressive and romantic and did not have an 'academic' flavour (trills etc..). However I also noticed that I didn't have one moment of boredom. It was a very powerful message, even if it was also confusing one, of the power of communicating music in a way that one totally and confidently believes in. In general at that time Elaine S came in for quite a bit of criticism from flautists but my thought then was 'well, who could do that?' It was refreshing.

Averil Williams
Guildhall School of Music and Drama


Date: Apr 13, 2002
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Far From The Madding Crowd

Hello list

During the film Alan Bates plays the flute (an old boxwood flute - can't remember if it had any keys) on two occasions, once at a feast and also in the market square. These two solo tunes were recorded initially in a studio by Wilfred Smith who played a wooden flute. (He also wrote some orchestral study books which were very useful until the John Wummer appeared, though his Daphnis excerpts are still the most comprehensive). It was then decided to record the market-square music live, on set, but just off camera. Wilfred was not free and I was the lucky person that went down to Devizes in Wiltshire. The market square had been turned into the film set and there were stalls and straw on the ground etc.. and everyone around was in costume. This included many of the locals who were roped in to provide authentic country faces. It was an extraordinary experience - very much like walking back in history. I was shown into my daytime base in a pub on the square (The Bear Inn)?which I shared with Alan Bates and Peter Finch. Alan and I had to practise our tune together to get a good synchrony. He had been working very hard and having lessons with Wilfred to learn this early flute and get the right fingerings.

It took two days to film the sequence and the playing outside was very difficult. It was November and bitterly cold and there was a very strong wind which sometimes deflected the air stream before it reached the other side of the chimney. My lips and fingers were blue. Afterwards I had quite a bad chill. Whilst I was playing I was aware of a photographer taking pictures of me, I presumed for the film records. However when I was being driven back to the station in chauffeur-driven car, the driver said "I'm very surprised you are going. I thought they were going to ask you to play the part of a seamstress!"

It was such an interesting experience for my twenty-something self to have done this 'work'.

Greetings
Averil Williams
Professor of Flute
Guildhall School of Music and Drama


Date: Mar 22. 2002
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Vibrato

Dear List

Just to add a few thoughts about vibrato - all types. If one thinks of vibrato as a way of colouring sounds, then I agree with Daniel Kirchner that the more technique and flexibility one has the better. I have never heard of throat vibrato being recommended as a general way of playing and can only think there is a cultural language difference.

Maybe what is being referred to is 'vibrancy' - a very fast oscillation generated around the throat/mouth area which produces an 'excited' sound and the oscillations are so rapid that the result can actually be very near to a straight sound. However not to use the diaphragm also for vibrato is unthinkable. What about all the lovely pastoral solos for the flute? My understanding of vibrato is that the ear 'hears' individual vibrations up to 16 cycles per sec.. - faster than that one moves towards vibrancy. A throat vibrato per se is what I know as 'nanny-goat vibrato', and is useful for very short notes - for what Moyse calls a 'vibrating pizzicato', but not useful in melodic playing, although I think it used to be widespread.

Waves
Averil Williams
Professor of Flute: Guildhall School of Music and Drama


Date: Feb 21, 2002
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Washing headjoints in soapy water - story, longish

Greetings all

Some years ago I had an unfortunate experience with my two then best 'Rolls Royce' flutes (two Powells with Cooper headjoints etc.). This was before Powell Flutes produced the Powell-Cooper, though Cooper had re-tuned one of these flutes and it is still my main instrument. I always took every precaution against losing them, so when I left the house I used to hide them inside the washing machine, balancing them on the black fins inside the drum - they were more or less invisible........

One day I went to do a load of washing and the machine seemed not to take so much as usual I thought 'that's odd - it usually takes more than this'. I then closed the door and started the wash - there was a sort of clonking noise, and I thought' It doesn't usually make that noise, but does otherwise seem to be working OK.' Then I started to do some hoovering, the noise went on and I thought 'I ought to be a bit more responsible about this noise', stopped hoovering and walked towards the washing machine. Suddenly the awful truth dawned on me and I nearly passed out. It's not easy to stop a washing machine mid-stream when it is full of water and open the door.Yes, the flutes and cases were totally wet and speckled with white undissolved soap powder. Frantically I dried them, firstly with a towel and then - bright idea - with a hair dryer. The awful thing was that I had rehearsal and performance later in the day of Bach's St. John Passion, obligatos etc.. Fortunately I did have a third flute, an unusual instrumen then - (a Haynes flute made to a Cooper scale, a one-off which they had made specially - Albert Cooper had provided the measurements). I knew that there were parts of the flute, rods etc.. which might rust, so with much embarrassment I rang a flute repairer, Les Eggs, who told me to bring them round straight away and he would dismantle them.

Apart from the odd pad needing replacing the flutes themselves survived pretty well, though apparently I should have given them a good rinse before drying them. Soap powder and pads are not a good mix. The flute cases were ruined. The one that I dried in the open position would not shut, and the one I dried shut would not open. When I realised how expensive replacements would be I overcame my shame and rang the insurers. I told them they would not believe what had happenned. 'Oh don't worry - we've surely heard it before' they said, and offered a few possibilities, none of which matched, and they roared with laughter when I told my tale. I duly sent in my claim. 'This is the cleanest claim we have ever dealt with!' they wrote.

The moral of this tale is - if you have to wash your headjoint in soapy water, then do do it under the right conditions, (see important posting from Brian Burgess yesterday) and don't forget to rinse it well afterwards. (!)

Yours detergently
Averil Williams
Professor of Flute: Guildhall School of Music and Drama


Date: Apr 10, 2001
From: Averil Williams
Subject: High A-B Trill

For Phoebe,

Another fingering for this trill - it is not easy but it has a good tone without too much harmonic flavour:

T -2-/1- - 4

T1-3/-2x (on first trill key)- - 4

Start with A- then play B with first trill key and keeping little finger down, then Trill LH 2 & RH 1. It is particularly useful in exposed playing as in the Prokofiev Sonata, and e.g. a solo Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, where it is often taken over by the piccolo because of the difficulty on the flute.

best wishes
Averil Williams
Guildhall School of Music and Drama


Date: Mar 30, 2001
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Beethoven's Spring Sonata

Hello List,

As a recently joined member of the Flutelist I am aware that particiption is predominently from the US, so I thought I would let you know about an event yesterday in the UK - Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Every term I hold a 3.1/2 hr performance workshop with 6/7 students who each perform a complete work. It is not Master Class, and it is about developing performance stamina - the whole work is taken into acount, interpretation ensemble, balance etc.. Everything is recorded so everyone gets a term-by-term collection of a great deal of repetoire as well as their own. Most importantly, we have a visiting flautist, yesterday it was William Bennett. The visitor helps feed back about the performances, but most importantly has to perform at the end, which I can assure you is a really demanding thing to do. It has a tremendous impact on the students hearing these peformances, (and seeing everything is action) in a studio at very close quarters. Yesterday WIbb played his transcription of Beethoven's Spring Sonata in F with Robin Bowman. I have not heard this on flute before, - it works very well indeed and was a most moving performance. You could have heard a pin drop. It made me think that if only Boehm had come along a little earlier, and that the flute and flute playing had become more developed to match the flexibility and versitility of the string instruments - well we might have had more great works from the great composers in our repetoire. There have been posters recently about Wibb visiting the US - do ask him to play the Beethoven!

Greetings
Averil Williams
Guildhall School of Music and Drama


Date: Mar 22, 2001
From: Averil Williams
Subject: Offset v. in-line G

Vanessa Jayne has to a certain extent answered her own question. There is a difference, and a very important one for her, in that there is a physical difference in the holding and balancing between one and the other. Personally I prefer in-line for aesthetic reasons and also to keep the flute light. Luckily I have rather large hands too. I don't know of anyone insisting on one or the other, and the word 'insist' is not one that I associate very easily with teaching, though others may have differing views on this(!)

Averil Williams
Guildhall School of Music and Drama

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