Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT

On Monday, Dave Kee  and I visited the flute studio of Janet Arms.  Hartt School of Music has a proud tradition of a fine flute studio, and this is what we found: a strong, supportive group of students, dedicated to being the best they can be.  Janet Arms is a whirlwind of energy and good will toward all.  An amazing flutist, playing at the highest level of the New York freelance scene, she is absolutely dedicated to each student and their individual needs and concerns.  From repertoire, to flute selection, to the perfect outfit for the student repertoire class, she is involved.

What I truly love: the Technique class at 8:15 AM,  which meets every Tuesday and Thursday.  Wow!    Where was this in my undergraduate years?!!? 

So I challenge all of us with a studio:  set up a technique class on a twice-weekly basis, invite all students to attend, and raise the technique bar for all!!

But back to Hartt:  the rep class I observed was one in which all present were expected to contribute comments  either writing or verbally.  All initial comments were positive.  Constructive criticism came next, in terms that were honest and clear. Then the flute faculty made comments on the same basis:  clear and honest appraisal after a statement of what went well.

What a great model!

Earlier in the day, we had lunch with David Chu and his wife Karen.  They are both flutists, flute makers, and flute technicians.  David is the maker of the fine wooden headjoints we carry in the shop.  We had a lovely time talking about the flute making world, techniques, teaching approaches, and music.  What better way to start the day?  I have found that a fine headjoint is a great teacher, and I have learned a great deal from David's.  Each one is unique, and each one has a different point of view.  Generally speaking, the darker the wood, the darker the sound, and it is great fun to play them in color chromatic order.  Please feel free to come in to the shop and try them for yourself!

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