Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bernard Z. Goldberg

By Christina Cobas (with Dr. Nora Lee Garcia)

Bernard Z. Goldberg
Bernard Z. Goldberg, former principal flutist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, is recognized as one of the world’s leading performers and teachers of the instrument. Among others, he has studied with George Barrere, Marcel Moyse, and Pablo Casals. Graduating from Julliard at the age of 19, he joined the Cleveland Orchestra, and became their principal flutist at age of 21. Two years later he accepted the position of principal flute with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and New York Lincoln Center “Mostly Mozart Festival” chose him as principal flute.  Throughout his tenure, he played all three Mozart concertos in Avery Fisher Hall. He has performed under conductors Fritz Reiner, William Steinberg, Pablo Casals, Andre Previn, Lorin Maazel, Enrich Leinsdorf, Victor de Sabata, Paul Paray and many more. 

Mr. Goldberg has toured extensively as a recitalist and with the Musica Viva Trio. He has given numerous recitals in New York, most notably at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. Among his recordings are releases with the Musica Viva Trio, the Audubon Quartet, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Casals Festival. Mr Goldberg is a member of the faculty of the Brooklyn College Conservatory in New York and has served as guest conductor for many orchestras around the world.

Goldberg’s determination and hard work propelled him to a highly successful teaching and performing career. His teaching techniques were acquired through experience and by observing great artists making music. He inspires many students through his playing, teaching philosophies and dedication.

Goldberg often remembers a quote from a conversation with Jean-Pierre Rampal:

“...if you want to have an audience you have to love the audience and you have to give with your full heart.”  Goldberg has added his own addition to this sentiment “There is no way that you can have a successful career or especially successful life if you hold back. When I give a master class I don’t know any of the students, but I try to give them all that I know I have. I’m interested in the students who try to learn to make music.”

Dr. Nora Lee Garcia, Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida, is a former student of Mr. Goldberg and comments about his teaching:
Dr. Nora Lee Garcia

“I was 12 years old when I heard Mr. Goldberg for the first time. It was at The Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, and he was playing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. This was an amazing experience to watch and listen to him perform. He was able to project across the orchestra or blend perfectly with any instrument.  When I was 19, I went to study with him at Brooklyn College for my Master’s degree. I remember the first lesson; I wanted to impress him so badly. I played the first movement of the Ibert Concerto.  When I finished he looked at me and said ‘Do you know that playing the flute is easy?’  We looked at each other and laughed.  From that lesson on, I learned not only music making but how music is built and the traditions that are behind it. 

One of my favorite stories from my lessons with Goldberg (that I always share with my students) involved an Altes Etude he has asked me to learn.  Mr. Goldberg studied the Altes Etudes with George Barrere, who in turn studied with Altes himself.  As a result, Mr. Goldberg knows Altes Etudes inside and out (in fact, he will play the second flute part by memory with his students). One week I was studying very hard for my Masters degree exams and didn’t devote enough time to truly learn the etude. So, I planned to leave my book at home and try to get through the lesson without playing it.  My lesson started as usual with Taffanel and Gaubert scales and thirds. Then Mr. Goldberg smiled and asked for the Altes Etude.  I went to my bag and began looking through it – with concern on my face.  I turned and said to him “I forgot my book at home -- I was practicing and forgot to bring it.” Mr. Goldberg looked at me very sternly and said ‘Play it by memory.’  I remember looking at him with shock on my face, and nervously, I started playing the first 4 measures.  All of a sudden, Altes became a new composition. I stopped, and he said to me ‘Next time when you practice so much – memorize it!’  I learned my lesson and always remember that experience with a smile.

I was always impressed by how he coped with such a busy schedule traveling from Pittsburgh to New York every week.  During my three years of study with him he never cancelled a lesson and never was late. He was always full of energy and gave 100% of his attention to all students in their lessons.

Mr. Goldberg’s expertise in performing the music of J.S. Bach is very unique. He studied with Diran Alexanian one of the world’s foremost experts on Bach’s music.  During my lessons, I learned many aspects of phrasing and tone color possibilities.

He was able to teach music in even the simplest of melodies.  I watched him teach a master class on the 24 Little Melodies book and by the end everybody in the room was in love with the book.  The younger generations of flutists don’t necessarily know these types of books and Goldberg and others are doing a great job of bringing these treasures to life.

Goldberg studied at the Marlboro Music Festival with Marcel Moyse, and has many stories to share.  In one master class, Goldberg played one of the 24 Little Melodies for Moyse and the class.  When he was finished, Moyse asked the class, ‘Do you know the composer of this piece?’ And many people replied with many different answers.  The correct answer was, Moyse did!  Moyse proceeded to explain to the class that the flute player needs to learn how to play a simple melody and as many variations as possible.  This stayed with Goldberg through all of his performing and teaching – and is still with him today.”

Bernard Z. Goldberg is currently on faculty at the Brooklyn College Conservatory and maintains a private studio as well as an active masterclass schedule.  Since his retirement from the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1993, he has served as flute coach for the Asian Youth Orchestra and spent eight years as Conductor and Musical Director of the McKeesport PA Symphony (1993-2001).  He loves to read and always is learning new music and scores.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Grenadilla Headjoint

By Tammy Evans Yonce

Tammy Evans Yonce
I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to try (and then purchase) a wooden Powell headjoint. I was interested in experimenting with the different color possibilities that I could get with the headjoint, and I haven't been disappointed. Having studied Baroque flute for a short while, I was curious if the headjoint would allow me to create that warmer wooden sound with so many subtle color variations that are possible on Baroque flute. 

Dr. Yonce in a recent recital with the grenadilla headjoint.
Not only are there a lot of color possibilities with this headjoint, but I've been really happy with how well it blends with other instruments. As a flutist who plays a lot of chamber music, it's nice to have a few headjoint options so that it is possible to choose the one that blends best with the particular instrumentation with which I'm playing. 

I've used this headjoint quite a bit in my daily practice as well as in recital since buying it earlier this year. It has been a flexible, useful addition to my Powell collection. 

Find Dr. Tammy Evans Yonce on the web:
Powell Profile:
Personal website: 
Twitter: @TammyEvansYonce.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Teaching Our Teachers...

Leone Buyse
Thinking about some of the most influential flute educators of the current day, Leone Buyse has made a lasting mark on the landscape of flute teaching.  In 2010, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Flute Association and has enjoyed an illustrious career performing and teaching around the globe.  Ms. Buyse paid tribute to her first major teacher, David Berman, in a wonderful post on her blog.  Below is an excerpt, highlighting his pedagogical style and memorable advice she noted in lessons...

David Berman had taught at Ithaca College for only three years when I met him as a 12-year-old flute student.  In the three decades that followed he made immense contributions to the Ithaca College School of Music and also to the greater Ithaca community through his annual solo recitals and numerous faculty chamber music concerts each year.  He played in the Ithaca Chamber Orchestra and the Ithaca Woodwind Quintet, and was both a conductor and member of the Ithaca Opera Orchestra. At Ithaca College he built a vital flute studio and while teaching flute, music theory, and music history mentored untold numbers of students who now serve our profession as performers and teachers.  As a faculty leader he developed and headed the chamber music program and chaired the committee that instigated such major changes in the music curriculum as making chamber music a requirement, requiring diction classes for all singers, and offering a 4.5-year program that combines music education and performance.  In addition, during the three years that Berman served as Assistant Dean he instituted many improvements to the physical plant of the music school. He justifiably takes pride in those accomplishments, but above all, he is most proud of all his students, saying, “Students are your teachers.”  How true!
How exactly did Dave Berman’s teaching make such a difference to me and the many students whom he mentored during the course of his professional life?  In re-reading notebooks that contain his comments from lessons more than four decades ago, I’m continually struck by the life wisdom that was shared in those hours—lessons that always included a balanced diet of scales, etudes, solos, and assigned duets.  As an example, here’s my entry for July 24, 1962:
Start competing with unseen competitors.  
Aim for Carnegie Hall.  
The USA is only one country in a huge world…
Plan to practice 3-4 hours daily.  
Budget your time.
Immediately following those motivational words comes the practical, technical advice that I clearly must have needed:
While playing Taffanel Gaubert exercises, stop on a note and listen to your tone.Try to maintain brilliance in the upper middle register when going down.Don’t make the embouchure hole too wide for your lowest notes because too much air will escape.Try to get a good low tone before vibrating; vibrato is a camouflage.
Here are just a few other sample comments from other lesson entries:
Practice without stopping before hard passages in an etude.
Don’t think about your teacher’s possible reaction—Just play!
View criticisms in proportion.
Point the tongue for a clear staccato.
Practicing whistle tones requires a relaxed embouchure and good support.  This will help develop tonal placement and embouchure strength. 
In exploring tone and articulation there are never-ending complexities, deeper and deeper shades and details.
These quotes offer only a small glimpse of the spirit that made David Berman’s pedagogy so meaningful.  He was demanding and he was honest; he was able to get to the heart of a technical or musical problem and help a student improve.  How often he tried to help me achieve a sense of musical freedom, especially in music that had an ethnic quality, such as Bartok.  At those times he would often ask me to sing, which I dreaded. (Not any more—I now sing all the time while teaching!) Most important, he possessed a well-honed sense of how and when to push or encourage, and he understood how each student’s background might affect his or her ability to approach and solve an issue.  He was intuitive, kind, and effective—a winning combination of attributes for anyone in the teaching profession.
*The full text of Ms. Buyse's post, titled "Honoring David Berman," may be found on her website at

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Paul Edmund-Davies on Breathing

Paul Edmund-Davies says, "If you have air, you have a voice."  What exactly does this mean?  Well, breathing properly is critical when playing a wind instrument, and Mr. Edmund-Davies elaborates on this in the video lesson below.  He says that it is important to understand the workings of the lungs and how to control air.  He discusses "types of breaths" that he has observed over the years and compares the "shallow breath" with the much more substantial "diagonal breath."  Musical examples featured in the lesson include Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Mozart's Flute Concerto No.1 in G Major, K.313, and Bach's Flute Concerto in G Minor, BWV 1056.

Click this caption to watch the Paul Edmund-Davies video lesson on breathing.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Healing Powers with Royalton Music_Update

We had previously posted the article below about Royalton Music Center's music therapy program, lesson program, and summer music offerings.  We realized that the numbers and options had probably grown since we last spoke with Royalton Music Center's COO, Lauren Haas Amanfoh, so we caught up with her to see what was new.  The last paragraph has certainly changed from our previous post!  You will see that the number of students in their lesson program has grown (by 100), the early childhood Music Class program is now seven times per week (was three just a year ago!), and there are three new summer offerings. 

Lauren Haas Amanfoh at Royalton Music Center
Many local music retailers have had long-standing relationships with the school districts in their communities, but there is one particular retailer that has expanded its programs to fully serve the diversified populations in its community -- Royalton Music Center.  Located in North Royalton, Ohio, the store opened its doors 48 years ago and has remained a thriving, family-run business for three generations.  Owner and Chief Operating Officer, Lauren Haas Amanfoh, recalled that her grandfather, Richard Eleck, opened the store to serve the greater musical needs of the community.  Mr. Eleck was a band director at St. Albert’s Parish School and opened the store with the help of his wife, Ida.  Lauren is now the third-generation owner of the store and spoke to us in-depth about one program in particular that is very close to her personally – their music therapy program.

Lauren’s mother, Sheri Eleck-Haas, began the music therapy program at RMC fifteen years ago.  At the time, Sheri was the second-generation owner of the family business and greatly believed in the value and proven benefits of music therapy programs.  She recognized that through music therapy and the application of musical methods, many clients with disabilities were able to achieve other life-changing goals as well.  For example, songs help Alzheimer’s patients recall memories.  Other participants who may have never spoken before utter their first words through singing.  Lauren emphasized that music therapy is so powerful because the goals are not just musical – the changes affect the lives of participants and their families – which Lauren witnessed first-hand recently.  In 2009, Lauren’s mother, Sheri, was fighting breast cancer and receiving inpatient treatment at the Cleveland Clinic, ultimately unable to sit-up or talk because of her condition.  She was in constant pain, for which she was connected to a pain pump machine to receive pain medication, and constant oxygen.  Lauren remembered coming into the room to visit her mother at the hospital one day, and she could not believe her eyes:  her mother was sitting with a music therapist – sitting up by herself in a chair – and singing Barbara Streisand songs.  Sheri always loved music, so music therapy was extremely beneficial to her personally, psychologically, and physically.  After this particular session, Lauren recalled that her mother was free of pain for 30 to 45 minutes.  Lauren said, “I always believed in music therapy, but seeing its effect with my own eyes, with my own mother, was unbelievable.”  She mentioned that she had seen the changes with other clients, but stated, “Seeing it work for my mother reaffirmed my beliefs and devotion to music therapy because it made a difference for my mother when nothing else did.  It really was life-changing.”

Sadly, Lauren’s mother passed away later that year on Christmas Day, but Lauren is grateful that her mother was able to personally benefit from a program that was so meaningful to her.  The music therapy program at Royalton Music began with one client, and the store’s program now serves about 35 to 40 clients per month.  RMC works with three music therapists: one for adults with brain trauma, and two for children with conditions such as Down Syndrome, Autism, and speech delay.  All three therapists are board certified and offer 30, 45, and 60-minute sessions.   Program sessions are offered on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and as Lauren shared, “the therapists get booked up pretty quickly!”  She says that the program is not heavily promoted, but rather has grown “organically” (by advertising on their website, in the store, and by word-of-mouth).  Participants also have the opportunity to cover costs through funding subsidized by the county – similar to flex spending offered by some medical insurance plans.

Participants in RMC’s music therapy program enjoy sessions in a dedicated music therapy room at the store.  This space is equipped with a piano and other traditional instruments as well as adaptive instruments (including guitars, keyboards, and percussion instruments).  Those in the program also have the opportunity to perform in recitals, much like students in Royalton’s private lesson program.  Recently, music therapy and private lesson students performed on integrated recitals, which Lauren said have been very well-received. 

Royalton Music’s support of music therapy programs is not limited to their own space, however.  Lauren shared that she works with other programs in terms of sponsorship and instrument/equipment donations.  Recently, she had the opportunity to assist a college student travelling to Ghana – which also happens to be Lauren’s husband’s home country.  Lauren told us that the students in Ghana had so few material goods but were so happy simply to have “$1 kazoos” from Royalton Music.  “Seeing a group of children with these simple kazoos with our logo stamped on them  -- happy and making music – brought me to tears,” she said. 

Royalton Music Center’s music therapy program is one of several educational offerings at the store.  Lauren explained that there is “the educational side of the store and the retail side of the store.”  On the retail side, they have grown and expanded, offering sales, rentals, and displaying at trade shows throughout the country.  On the educational side, there are programs for everyone.  Royalton Music offers The Music Class for infants to 5-year-old children who attend with their parents.  This particular program is now offered seven times a week.   In addition to their private lesson program which is comprised of over 40 instructors who teach more than 600 students each week, Royalton Music also provides group lessons, summer music camps, and ensembles – including a jazz band, rock band, a Montessori-based wind band, group guitar, and group ukelele.  One of Royalton’s latest summer offerings is an “originals” rock camp where students write and record their own music in a professional music studio.  We can only imagine how many lives have been enriched by their programs.  This remarkable family business will undoubtedly thrive as it approaches its 50th anniversary in 2014, bringing music into the lives of those who seek it – and those who may once have considered it only a dream, but never a reality.