After such a busy day yesterday, it was good to get back to practice and let some of Wibb’s comments and ideas from the masterclass sink in. For some reason, I found that I got a lot more out of this masterclass than the last one we attended – maybe I was a bit better prepared for Wibb’s teaching style this time? Here, in summary, are a few of the key points that I took away:

– The flute is like a voice, and Wibb tends to express things in vocal terms when talking about both rhythm and tone. Almost every key phrase was given a set of lyrics, which helped to guide the performer’s emphasis or encourage them to correctly show the meter. There were also a couple of favourites that kept cropping up: “el-e-phant” for triplets, and then “el-e-phant’s bum” for a triplet followed by a less-important crotchet. For tone, the performers were asked to sing a phrase “like a baritone” or “like a soprano”, which showed how different vibrato and tonal concepts can give us such a huge palette of colours to play with.

– A Moyse quote, related by Wibb in a lovely French accent: “syncop take accent”

– I was impressed by how Wibb managed to related everything back to either Moyse’s De la Sonorité or his 24 Melodic Studies. The exercise would always start out simply, gradually adding steps so as to arrive at the sort of phrase he had found in the piece. It really did bring home to me just how fundamental expressive phrasing is, and prompted me to practice my tunes with renewed awareness this morning.

– Love final notes in phrases, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that vibrato is needed.

– Composers, even really good ones, often make mistakes with slurs. The phrase is always more important than slur marks, and so we should edit in a way that bring out the melody rather than always trying to respect every single marking on the page.

Hopefully I’ll be able to incorporate some of this wisdom into my practice in the coming days.

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