Episode 55: Live playing, Q&A and Quiz!

Episode 55: Live playing, Q&A and Quiz!


This is Maria and this is Hester.
Together we are the LIVE Consort Counsellors! Welcome to our live session! As you can imagine,
this is a very exciting moment for us. First thing we want to say is: thank you all
for following us, for watching our videos every week, for sending us feedback… We are really happy
to have gone over the 1500 subscribers! We hope you find our tips useful! We want to start this session playing something for you, and we chose a Telemann duet that we use very often
in our sessions to explain stuff, playing little fragments from it. We thought it’s nice
to show you two complete movements. We can go right away into the second part
of this evening session, making room for questions you may have for us! OK, we have our first question in, by Natalie Lebert:
“What is the best way for an adult learner to progress?” I think it’s very important that you don’t stick to methods that are especially written for children, but pick a nice course of pieces. Start in a very easy way,
then progress so that inspiration comes from the music, music of a very high level and quality. For example, you can first play the themes in the collections of Van Eyck and then expand from there. In the meantime you can also do some cool technical exercises which might not be so suitable for children… Adults are much more patient, in general, and that is really nice to make use of! You are motivated to reach the highest possible level. Always stay curious for new things that you may learn. It’s easy, when you are practicing on your own,
to get into a sort of routine, a ‘circle’ that you keep repeating…. Any idea that you get – it can be from one of our videos,
from one of Sarah’s videos, from a teacher, a book… Anywhere! You find something new and you try it out:
this is something that I think helps you a lot to progress. I see that we have another question from Japan: “What’s your suggestion for people who can’t get lessons?
I can only use the Dolmetsch method these days.” By watching and by listening to good recordings
and to tutorial videos and online lessons you can learn to listen what sounds good
and what YOU think sounds good, and see if you are doing things well.
Of course, having a method, like the Dolmetsch method, is useful because it orders things in a systematic way
and that helps you getting further. Is there anyone in your area
that you may make music with? Even if this person is not a recorder player – for example,
you may find someone to play piano or guitar with you. This may also be super helpful to find out
if you are playing your rhythms correctly, if you are playing in tune… and you will have interaction
and learn a lot from each other. Using the Internet can also be a great way
to get online 1-1 lessons. Now we are chatting live, and we also both
have some experience teaching via Skype. It’s maybe not ideal but it’s very useful
to get some feedback. Using the internet to develop your aesthetics
is a very good thing, and your Dolmetsch method too,
so thank you for the question! From the Recorder Arcade – which is a great channel,
by the way, check it out! “How do you produce the best double tonguing? I grew up as a tuba player
and tonguing technique is very different on recorder.” Yeah, that’s true, I can imagine! Actually, my first teacher in Spain was also
first a tuba player, only later a recorder player. That’s something we have in common there! We made a whole tutorial about single tonguing
and about double tonguing. I don’t know the episode numbers by heart… If I think about you being a tuba player, maybe the movements of the tongue
are a little bit too big for the recorder. When you want to increase the speed of double tonguing, it’s very important to fix your tongue
against the back teeth, in the back of your mouth. Then you achieve
more stability of the tongue, otherwise it sounds a bit floppy.
María, can you show this? A sloppy sound? I’m very good at that! It’s because there’s movement, especially of the chin, or the tongue is moving too much. When you have the tongue fixed to the sides and the chin is rather high,
with the teeth not really “closed”, but almost… You can… …make the movement of the tongue very efficient. What you just heard from María is that she practiced
with this kind of rhythm [♪♬, ♪♬, ♪♬…], It’s a very good one, because it makes you move
and keep a sense of direction in the sound. Then, vary the pattern, combining freely ♪ and ♬. Always keep your air flowing,
otherwise your tongue will get “stuck”. These are some basic tips, but for sure I’d recommend
to check out our episode about double tonguing. Whenever you feel there’s too much pressure…
That’s also not a good thing! If you are pressing with your tongue against the teeth
or against the palate [shows] you get a rougher sound. You can relax! The next question is from Arvid Claassen. He says: “I have trouble to keep my right pinky
close to the recorder. It always goes way up when it does not cover a hole. Any tips to solve that?” It may be that the position of your whole instrument
is a little bit out of balance. If you, for example, are holding the instrument too low,
you will have to hold it. That probably means that when your right hand is free
it goes into strange positions. We always recommend to first have a good balance
on the right thumb and the lower lip. Then, make sure the fingers are aligned
on top of ‘their’ finger holes. Then, cover them and make sure they can move up and down,
and that no matter how far they go, they can go back. Then it’s a good idea to pick a piece of music
that you like and you know very well. Play it very slowly and concentrate
only on what that pink is doing. Imagine that we play:
[♪ Händel, Sonata in C Major, 1. Larghetto ♬] and all I’m thinking about is where my pinky is.
Is it moving, did it go away…? When you notice that it happens, then you know:
“Aha! my pinky is moving away! I’m gonna gently put it back in the right place
and keep playing my sonata… Like this you develop a sense of when it happens
and you can correct it. If you feel that your pinky is moving because
other fingers are moving – the muscles are connected – try to change your position so that the fingers have the
possibility to move freely and feel more relaxed. We get a tip from Jane Mallinson:
“As a learner, I found it very helpful playing with more advanced and very supportive players.”
Exactly! This supports our previous tip. OK, now a question from Iván de Miguel:
“My brother plays the double bass. Do you think there’s any nice combination between recorder and double bass to play together? What size of recorder would fit best? Thank you!
Yes, of course, that’s a great combination! I’m sure you can come up with all kinds of music to play. I guess which instrument will fit best
depends on the music you play. I can imagine it’s very cool to have two large instruments
playing together, two basses. I can imagine you playing some jazz
or folk music in this setting, it will work very well. On the other hand, if the bass takes a bass role
and you play on a high recorder you have this very beautiful game of opposites
and that can also be really great! I’m thinking more of the modern, folk and jazz sounds,
rather than early music, but anything is possible! Yes! I would also recommend to start improvising. Discover how the instruments sound together.
You can do this with really easy means, it doesn’t need to be very elaborate. Just a couple of plucked notes together with your
bass recorder, on the same pitch and then lengthening them a bit… See how the colours mix and match.
It could be also very cool to do some basso continuo with the plucked bass and a high instrument.
It can be so nice to think out of the box! I would say: go for it go for it! And send us the result,
we want to hear it and see it! “Will there ever be a joint video with Team Recorder?” We had some collaborations. There’s one video about
the sub-contrabass recorder in B-flat, in which I play the instrument and Sarah is presenting. Sarah also made a video about The Royal Wind Music
at the Open Recorder Days Amsterdam. These are our collaborations so far,
but a real joint episode has to belong to the future. “How do you recommend practicing
when I frequently play seven sizes or recorders?” That’s a very good question.
We are familiar with this phenomenon: At a certain point, any recorder player
has more instruments at home that they can play daily. To go with your own intuition and motivation
is always a good thing to do. If you have set goals on specific instruments,
work first on that, but as a warm-up or as a nice closure of your session, take a different instrument, every day something else, whatever you feel like on that moment.
Improvise a bit or play one of your favourite pieces. In that way you keep the feeling and the memory
of that specific instrument and you also develop the intuition to change very quickly from one recorder to another without any problems. What I like to do sometimes is: I play one piece on as many sizes of recorder as possible. Like this you really learn to adapt to the size of the holes,
of the bore, the amount of air, the mouth position… All with the same piece. I find it a very good exercise,
also because sometimes, in concerts, we may need to change from contrabass to sopranino,
which is always the most scary moment, I find. Your fingers are ‘fixed’ in a broad position and suddenly
you have this tiny instrument… This we need to practice at home! From Heller Elias: “Can you recommend some
systematic exercises for improving the sound of the recorder, similar to
the exercises by Moyse for the Böhm flute?” To be honest, I don’t know of specific studies
that are focused in sound only. I think the best material is scales and long notes.
Play them focusing on sound. We have given also some tips in previous episodes,
about looking for the limits of your instrument and then finding a nice “core” in the sound, vibrato… You can do that with scales and long notes most of all, and also with “cantabile” repertoire, so to say….
With Renaissance vocal parts, for example. See if your sound, your internal tuning
and your playing are beautiful enough. This music is technically not very demanding,
therefore you can give all your attention to sound, the shape of your lines
and the expression of certain intervals. If you use that kind of repertoire, exercise with
the position of your tongue, cheeks, throat and lips. If you put tension on them or relax them,
it makes a huge difference. If my throat is lowered, my C is like this… If I close the jaw, and my throat, it sounds like this: This kind of realisation is very helpful.
It goes for all body parts affecting the air stream. They influence the sound. Change their position
and evaluate for yourself how the sound changes. See if that’s the best sound for you, if you like it best,
maybe record yourself… I did that systematically to check what is the best sound
for each instrument. Well, good luck! Great! We’re gonna take one last question:
“I have several recorders: alto, tenor and soprano. I am an adult beginner. Should I stick to one
to get the basic skills or is it OK to use all of them from the beginning? It’s difficult to give one answer that is good for everyone. I would say that the advantage of recorder is that,
for example, soprano and tenor use similar fingerings (in C) and the great bass as well – even the sub-contrabass!
When you are starting to learn how to read it may be, as a beginner, that you feel more comfortable
learning the C fingerings first, using soprano, tenor, great bass, any size… And then, when you feel you’re far enough,
you start with all the F- fingerings and finally you have built it all up. Then again, some people may like to combine
both systems right from the start. When I’ve worked with adult beginners,
usually we started with the alto and F- fingerings. Sometimes they combined alto and bass, and then later,
after six months to a year, they started C-fingerings. This was all right, so some construction like this
may work well for you as well. I think exactly the same! OK! We are really happy about all your questions…
But we are very excited to move on, because… It’s QUIZ TIME! We are so happy that you are with us tonight
and every week, that we have a special price for you: The second ever-made travel coffee mug
of the Consort Counsellors! We will send this mug together with a CD of your choice
by Seldom Sene, signed by all of us. You can choose between “Taracea”,
“J.S. Bach – Goldberg Variations”, “El aire se serena” with Spanish music
and “Delight in Musicke”, English Renaissance music. You will have to answer four questions! We are going to read them for you. Listen to the answers
and then make up your mind: What is the right answer: A, B, C or D? It’s multiple choice. I’m going to take the first question:
In last week’s episode about John Dowland, we spoke about the “tear motive”,
which is a series of four descending notes. In music theory, what is the technical name
for a set of four notes? A) Trichord B) Pentachord C) Tetrachord D) Harpsichord Question 2: I’m going to name four people. Please choose the only one
who was not a recorder maker as far as we know. A) Denner, B) Ganassi, C) Stanesby Jr., D) Bressan We go on with the third question!
This one includes a demonstration by Hester! What is the name of this technique? A) Flageolet tone, B) Multiphonic, C) Tremolo, D) Fluttertongue The last question! As far as we know, in which of the following musical forms did
Johann Sebastian Bach include assigned recorder parts, parts that are specifically written for the recorder? A) Suites and sonatas, B) Canons and ricercars,
C) Sonatas & partitas, D) Cantatas, passions, concertos Hopefully you have all four answers right!
Put the series in the chat and press enter! I’m going to put the names of people who got them right
into our Random Prize Winner Generator while Hester runs you through the correct answers! First question: the sequence of four notes.
The right answer is a TETRACHORD (C). Then, the next question: we named four people
and there was only one that was not a recorder maker as far as we know.
The right answer is Sylvestro Ganassi (B). He is famous for his books
but he was not a recorder maker, but a great player! The third question was about contemporary technique.
I played a FLAGEOLET TONE (A). I hope it was audible for everyone!
The other options were: A multiphonic, this sounds like this: Tremolo: And fluttertongue: Those were the other techniques! Then, the last question
about J. S. Bach writing specifically for the recorder. He did that in his cantatas, passions and concertos.
Maybe the tricky answer was “Sonatas and partitas”, unfortunately they were all written for the flute or the violin. Congratulations! A lot of people got them right! I have entered all of your names in this list.
I have here this beautiful wheel of fortune! I’m going to spin the wheel
and we will find out who the winner is! The winner…. is Jane! Jane Mallinson!
You are the lucky one! I will make a nice package and send it to you! Yes! And for the rest of you: we are very sorry
that you couldn’t win tonight, but we hope that soon we’ll reach 2.000 subscribers and
have another good excuse to give you more presents! If you have friends who may like to join our channel,
please tell them about us! We will see you on the 22nd of April again
with a fresh and new episode. Thank you all for watching and joining us today!
It’s nice to see that the Consort Counsellors community is growing and growing! Thank you very much,
see you on the 22nd of April! Bye bye!

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