Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Interview with Raffaele Trevisani - Part 2

Raffaele Trevisani
In this second installment of September Payne's interview with Raffaele Trevisani, Mr. Trevisani discusses his recommended studies and the successful application of these exercises.

September: What’s the most important advice you have for flute students?

Raffaele: Learn the Basics! They are the foundation to be able to express music. Without proper technique you can’t say what you want to say through your instrument.

September: What kinds of books or exercises do you recommend?

Raffaele: Marcel Moyse’s De la Sonorité is the only real book you need for tone, tone color, tone volume, embouchure flexibility and intonation.  Moyse’s idea about sound is: once you get one good centered sound, you connect the second sound with the same characteristics (centeredness, volume, richness, intonation). In addition, the sound must connect smoothly between the notes as you switch fingerings. Seems easy but it is not. Think about it-you only have one chance to make it right, the same, but you have 1,000 chances to make it wrong! It’s cerebral! However, I don’t mean meditating. Don’t zone out while playing these exercises like it’s some religious experience! You must be flexible and attentive to any change you may need to make-from one note to the other and not remain rigid. The embouchure is not the same from the top to the bottom of the registers and the air should be dynamic as one moves from note to note. Moyse wrote more than one book about flexibility! Flexibility was central to his teachings and life’s work. And, just because you own a Marcel Moyse tone book doesn’t mean you have Moyse tone.

Going back to my statement about Jimmy’s (Sir James) tone being more precise than Rampal’s,  means (for me) the sound is more active, alive, powerful, yet always beautiful. As a teacher Jimmy (Sir James) is always trying to get the best sound out of students. It’s like as you {September} know personally, Moyse’s was doing the same thing in his teaching, always demanding more precision and insisting on it when he would say “Again! Not enough, why do you play this way?  Go further with your tone, go deeper.  Express something”! MOYSE Sonorité is active sound.

When you practice the Sonorité book, start with the first page of semi tones, then move to 2nds, 3rds, and finish with the examples of intervals that go wider. Next, practice Moyse scales, slowly with attention to the sound on each note and the connection from one note to the next. Every scale is a piece of music, Sonorité!  Always play with nice focused sound and apply yourself. If you find your tone isn’t working in your pieces, come back playing Sonorité, slowing down the connection between notes.

Of course another important piece of the tone puzzle is the position of the lips. One can play one hour of Sonorité without a good embouchure position and you become tired. This is a dangerous way to practice. People tell me they don’t like playing Moyse scales because they are difficult and too tiring. If you are losing your embouchure after a few scales you are not flexible but tight and not doing it right! I often get asked how I can play all these virtuoso pieces for hours –so many notes from top to bottom with huge leaps and not miss the sound and hardly ever crack.  My advice is don’t squeeze the middle of the embouchure, don’t press so much with the lips. Relax, don’t be tight, and keep the corners of your lips down and no smiling embouchures! This is almost impossible to learn without a teacher because it needs constant adjustment in the beginning until you get it. It’s better to do less amounts but very well done than play all the scales with uneven sound. These are my ideas I learned by myself and following Jimmy (Sir James).

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