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March 03, 2007

Solo Flute Recital

Today was Renee's solo flute recital, at Lake Oswego High School. Hundreds of kids from all over the area converged on L.O.H.S. today to perform and be judged. I didn't want to make her more nervous than she already was, so I didn't take my camera to the event. Instead, I snapped a few pictures of her wearing her solo outfit, one of which is now in the banner.

She chose a piece called "Allegro" by Mozart, which is short, bright, and a little bit challenging. She's been practicing it for days now. We arrived at the high school nearly an hour before her time slot, as perr the directions of her flute instructor, Denise Westby. We went to the practice auditorium, where a couple dozen soloists and duets were each practicing their pieces at the same time. Cacophany reigned supreme.

Eventually, Renee's time neared and we wandered over to 'Flute 2', one of presumably two rooms devoted to examining flautists. We entered near the end of one exam, after a young woman had performed her piece. The judge was walking her through various drillls, and giving her advice. It was fascinating to watch, even though I'm completely uneducated in formal music. This young woman was obviously quite advanced, and the judge took that into account, pressing her to do more and more. Eventually she let her go, and it was time for another young woman.

This young woman had picked a piece that was clearly beyond her. She hit sour notes, missed beats and generally had a difficult time. The judge was kind, and came up to walk her through some of the issues the young woman had been having problems with. The judge asked her how long she'd been playing, and though I can't remember the particular answer, it was for significantly longer than Renee has been studying.

Next came Renee's turn. She was obviously a little nervous, but she handled herself quite well. She introduced herself, and her piano accompanist, Miss Davis, who is also her teacher in band class at Hazelbrook. Then she launched into "Allegro", suddenly quite confident. I have untrained ears, but she sounded perfect to me. Apparently the judge agreed, as she said she really liked it and wished it were longer.

Then the judge began probing Renee on her techniques, trying to find out what she had been exposed to, and what she could make her flute do. The judge took out her own flute (something she had not done for the other two young women while we were there), and began giving Renee some tips on various techniques, illustrating them on her flute. The demo on harmonics was really neat. She was playing Reveille and Taps solely using harmonics (keeping her fingers in the D position and changing notes only with mouth shape and air pressure). Renee attempted to duplicate her, and did a pretty darn good job.

"How long have you been playing?", asked the judge.

"Around seven months."

The judge was amazed and pleased. She asked Renee how old she was, and where she studied. Renee told her, and the judge said "I started at your age, and took private lessons too. It's really the only way. In band, a teacher cannot hear if you flub a note, because there are forty other students there."

As we were leaving, Renee asked the judge how she did. The judge looked up and said "One Plus!"

Posted by dpwakefield at March 3, 2007 03:43 PM

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