Attending a fascinating Robert Dick flute lecture and master class

It was a real treat that flutist Robert Dick came to Pittsburgh to give lectures, master classes, and performances in town. He’s most known for being a pioneer in “extended techniques”.


Some interviews with Robert Dick before he came to Pittsburgh, thanks to Pittsburgh New Music Net:

Part 1

Part 2

Lecture and master class

I attended his lecture and master class held at CMU.

It was fantastic. I learned a huge amount about tone, articulation, expression. He began by talking about “throat tuning”. The most fascinating thing he said was that he found that when he was studying flute, he had problems with his tone and found out that when he went to France, he found that nobody had this particular problem. He concluded eventually that it was because American instrumentalists did not have vocal training like Europeans did! He became convinced that everyone should sing. Hearing him say this, and demonstrate “throat tuning”, immediately had me thinking that of course all musicians should sing, even if not very well, because instruments, especially wind instruments, are surely an extension of our built-in instrument, our body, as Dick said!

He made mention of various YouTube videos he recommended as supplements to his teaching. Check out his YouTube channel. An example: “Your first multiphonic”:

I went home and practiced this. Not because I necessarily want to play a lot of music with multiphonics, because the exercise really sharpened my awareness of sound, and of isolation of the upper and lower lips. Furthermore, his illustration of the finger that leads to the basic multiphonic of D and C immediately brought to mind how the C fingered on Baroque flute is this exact fingering and sounds “hollow”. Everything started to seem unified to me.

I learned from Robert Dick a huge amount, as a starting point for further investigations into sound as a science, and the flute in particular. Wow.

(Update of 2014-01-16)

This is an unfinished post that is one of many in the past two years that lay unfinished because I had originally planned to write a very detailed report but never got around to it. I decided that I might as well release all these unfinished posts rather than leave them completely out of the record.

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