Refreshing and insightful. These are the two words I feel best describe the special masterclass
given by Marco Granados back in January. Scheduled to play second on the program, I was excited to see what I could learn from such a versatile flutist.
I played the first page of the Demersseman Grand Air Varie, a showpiece with a fiery introduction and lyrical theme that is followed by a set of flashy variations. We worked on the introduction and theme specifically addressing the resonance of my sound in relation to my set up. We addressed my aperture first, Granados suggested that I relax it more and let it follow the airstream across the registers rather than trying to control it too much or micro-manage.
He also talked about the pressure of my fingers on the keys of the flute. He demonstrated how the sound changes when there is excess pressure on the keys by playing a note using a lot of finger pressure and then gradually lightening his finger pressure. There was definitely a difference in the sound, a subtle one, but one that was noticeable; the high-finger-pressure sound was a bit tighter and pushed while the other was a bit more open. This, of course, wasn’t the first time I had heard a teacher stress the importance of using light fingers on the keys, but it was a great reminder of this simple notion.
Granados reviewed these ideas with all of the masterclass participants as well as expounding on them and presenting new ones that were specific to each student’s playing. After the masterclass, Granados gave a presentation and recital of Latin American music which was a nice change of pace. I participated as the percussion section in parts of his presentation, clapping and making other sounds with my hands to further illustrate the complex rhythms in each of the pieces he was talking about. I was glad that I had the opportunity to play for this fine musician and I hope that the AFS brings in more guest artists in the future for periodic masterclasses throughout the year.