Thursday, August 4, 2011

Breathing and resonance

A few months ago I found the great videos on with Gustavo Núñez from the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

This week they have put a new video up from Berlin Phil veterans oboist Hansjörg Schellenberger and flautist Emmanuel Pahud.

The download of the first video from Schellenberger (Breathing and Blowing) is free (you have to also have the player installed from the site though you can watch a free preview). Both he and Emmanuel Pahud make some points on breathing that I have never heard before and that I found amazingly helpful.  Always easier “said” rather than put into practise and done of course, but in this case it had an immediate impact on my playing.

It never ceases to amaze me how one player sounds like him or herself on whatever make of instrument they play on.  In the search for an easier life we try Heckel, Fox, Moosmann, Puchner, Bell, Soulsby, Adler, Mollenhauer and so on (though I have yet to try a Leitzinger bassoon!). Also endless reed scraping and crook changing has led me to a set up that feels comfortable with a wide dynamic range. But at the end of the day I sound like Tom playing the bassoon. Even on a Chinese Lark. Which for all of us is actually a good thing as it is our individual voice.

But some of Emmanuel Pahud’s comments on resonance (especially an analogy he makes and a comment on how to open up the sinus and nose area) go a long way to explaining to me why this would be. And a practise session after watching this video was VERY fruitful (and fruity in the “resonance” department!).

So in the interest of improving sound/projection/tuning/comfort/endurance and dynamic range have a look and let me know if you agree or disagree with them and what you get out of it! I’m sure there will be as many viewpoints as there are players but either way there is something to be gained from this video.

Hats off to founder  Adam Simonsen  (clarinetist playing in The Royal Danish Orchestra, educated from the Juilliard School of Music, and founder of Play with a Pro) for creating this site and getting these videos done!