Vocalist Emily Eagen joined us for class to talk more about singing, since that’s a skill so connected to our flute playing. We started with physical warm ups, mostly stretching with our hands overhead to lift the rib cage and encourage that upward length. Beginning with some purely speaking exercises to get the energy going for projection, Emily then led us in some vocal warm ups, accompanying the singing with physical gestures and movement to better connect with the voice. We talked about keeping the ribs expanded when singing/exhaling, just like we do in our flute playing. A fun portion was when we sang a round; we started by echoing Emily, then singing together, then doing the round in pairs, then as individuals, and finally in a hocket style with each of us singing one single pitch (this last part was deceivingly difficult).
Emily also shared about the balance between upward and downward tensions; for example, when singing an ascending glissando, we would move our hands down and think of “lowness”, which is something I’ve often heard in regards to flute playing. It’s a helpful visual (and physical movement) to maintain a full, unstrained tone for high pitches. This also was discussed in reference to chest and head voice and moving between the two. An analogy Emily made was about milk and coffee: the head voice is milk and the chest voice is coffee, but you always have at least one drop of milk in your coffee or one drop of coffee in your milk. Another visual is to think of your body as an elevator shaft; the space remains open even when the elevator isn’t on a specific level, with the levels here referring to the head or chest voice.
I played Flying Lessons 3 for Emily since it has some singing and playing. Her most helpful comment was to create more mystery between singing and playing, to strive to play and sing in a more melded fashion. Practically, I was able to better achieve this by changing the vowel sound in my mouth, but not moving my lips to reflect that vowel sound. It was a vast difference in sound and color possibilities.
- My Saturday morning alarm was a band across the street playing upbeat polka/jazz music as part of a marathon
- I got to explore rainy Manhattan with flute friends Allison and Yeji from Boston University; we walked through Central Park, had pizza, and saw Gustavo Dudamel conduct the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela playing Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie at Carnegie Hall. I guess we did all right
- I bought some hand sanitizer because the combination of flu season and subways make me nervous
- Made my own French fries (to go with a black bean burger recipe) and they turned out surprisingly good #garlicsalt
Until next time!