Well, Spring is officially here and it has been a gorgeous one so far. This month we are fortunate to have Alexandra Opsahl leading us for the monthly meeting. Alex is the Music Director of Tesserae, an Early Music group here in LA that specializes in music from the early 17th century. Please welcome her.
April is also the month that the OCRS Bylaws specifies that we select 3 members for the Nominating Committee who will select and present a slate of officers at the June meeting for next year’s 2017–2018 season. As you know, OCRS is an all-volunteer organization that depends on its members for our continued operation. If you have interest and want to help in either the Nominating Committee or as an officer for next year, please see the announcement in this newsletter briefly describing the duties of officers and let a current officer know of your interest.
Also, don’t forget that at the May meeting we will again be having BYOB (Bring Your Own Band) to showcase members playing. A number of people have already expressed interest and if you are please let me know.
As I continue in my quest to learn to play Bass recorder, I like many, have a problem quickly making the switch from a C to F instrument and from treble to bass clef. Anne Timeberlake (www.annetimberlake.com) a member of the ARS Board and noted recorder teacher and performer has recently written some helpful hints on developing flexibility in making these switches and I pass these on.
“Flexibility is an important life skill. It’s also an essential part of playing the recorder. We frequently move between fingering systems, switching from C instruments to F instruments, G and D and beyond. And we toggle between clefs- treble and bass to start, and often more. It’s a great mental workout, but it can also be frustrating. You pick up an alto but your fingers are still playing a tenor. Or you’re trying to read bass clef and your mind slips back into treble.
“How do I deal with switching instruments?” is a question I’m asked frequently at workshops. There’s no easy answer, but there is an answer: strategic practice combined with a simple technique for orienting yourself to new instruments and clefs.
It might seem obvious, but the first step is to get as comfortable as possible in each mode (clef or fingering system) in which you play. If you’re not comfortable in bass clef, for example, spend a little time each day reading in that clef. There’s no “trick” to clef reading, but it does get easier with practice!
Rather than picking up a new instrument and plunging right in, take a moment to breathe and go through a three-part checklist:
Ground yourself physically by placing all seven fingers and your thumb on the instrument, as if you were playing its lowest note. This will help accustom your body and mind to the new stretch.
Say the name of the lowest note in your mind. See the line or space to which the lowest note corresponds. Imagine yourself playing that note.
Taking the time to orient yourself, both physically and mentally, will pay dividends when you start to play.
Switch it up
We get better at what we practice, so why not explicitly practice switching? One exercise I often give students is to take a multi-part piece and, working either up or down, play each of the parts in turn. It’s a great way to practice, deliberately, the flexibility you’ll want during workshops and performances.”
See you the 14th, —Win Aldrich