March 6 to 12, 2000
I am approaching this project from a vocal point of view. I place heavy, continuous stress on understanding the human hearing apparatus and the brain it is attatched to. Our ears respond to CHANGES in air pressure. No changing, no responce. Fortunately, the ear is so sensitive it will acknowledge the slightest difference. The good singer understands that his job is to generate the most change possible on a continuous basis. He takes each note and uses it for something. That something is not to be found or even hinted at in the composition and requires that the performer take a kind of time that is actually at odds with the time built into the piece. To do this something can only result from an individual CHOICE to look for possibilities beyond the score. How many times I've heard the complaint," I've worked and worked on this! I can play every note and every dynamic at the indicated tempo, but it still doesn't sound good." Between the score and the machine,(flute), there are so many distractions that one can only focus one's attention on sound for its own sake by consciously turning to it and away from correctnes. It is a fact that we do not have enough wiring to think both ways at once. I trust my students to get it right. That is a relatively easy thing to accomplish. As the student plays, I keep up a steady stream of vocal encouragement and reaction, sort of like a cheering section at a ball game. In this way the student hears me respond to something they did RIGHT WHEN THEY DID IT, rather than the typical play-and-critique-after-approach. After a while they realize that what I reacted to was a choice they made, one of thousands per second, that come from their brain and nowhere else! A couple of things to remember about sound: it is chaotic by nature, the frequency is never more than 12.5% of the total, and sound always consists of onset, peak, and decay, no matter how short. These are facts, not my opinion. Something to consider next time you're faced with an intonation or balance problem.
I welcome your remarks and promise to reply.