Köhler: 22 Etudes d’expression, Op. 89 – No. 3

Here’s the next Etude of the Week post, one day late. I had initially recorded this etude on Friday but really didn’t like that take, so I planned to try again over the weekend. Holiday laziness took over and I didn’t end up recording until today, but that’s OK! This is the point where I would normally crash and burn with EOTW progress because everything isn’t perfect and on time, but in the interest of growth and improvement I won’t let that happen this time!

This particular etude was suddenly quite a bit harder than the first two in the book and took me a lot more time to put together. There are a couple spots where the fingers really didn’t want to cooperate that required a lot of slow metronome practice. It also feels incredibly long while I’m in the middle of playing it, and I think you can tell at the end of this recording that I was really ready to be done when I finally got to the last few lines!

Fortunately the next Köhler etude is a bit more fun to play, so I’m looking forward to working through that over the next few days!

Andersen: 26 Small Caprices, Op. 37 – No. 10

I had hoped to post an Etude of the Week recording today, but after my first several attempts went really badly, here’s some Andersen! I’ll keep working on the Köhler and post a better version of it tomorrow.

The big challenge in this etude in making it feel like a melody rather than just an interval exercise, though getting beautiful smooth intervals is important too. One thing I don’t love about this recording is my breathing- I didn’t quite breathe in the places I planned, so sometimes my breaths were shallower and noisier than I would have liked. Breathing more unobtrusively has been an area I’d like to improve for a while, so it’s definitely something for me to keep in mind as I move forward.

Number 11 is pretty tricky, so it’s time for me to get busy!

Andersen: 26 Small Caprices, Op. 37 – No. 9

Here’s a rare Wednesday etude video! This is my busiest teaching day and I don’t typically find as much time for practicing and recording. I had some gaps in the schedule, so it was time for some Andersen!

There are definitely some finger mistakes in this one- there are lots of double sharps and other accidentals and I just got myself all tangled up a couple times. I could have recorded more takes to try to smooth those spots out, but I was fairly happy with my sound and phrasing and didn’t want to sacrifice that. In the interest of keeping some forward momentum with the book, done is better than perfect for today!

Andersen: 26 Small Caprices, Op. 37 – No. 8

Here’s Andersen Op. 37 Number 8, a pretty little etude for your Monday listening. Not a huge technical challenge for the fingers, but this one is great for working on supporting through softer dynamics. There are also plenty of C sharps- opportunities to check on intonation! This was an interesting one to record, because while I was playing I didn’t feel great about it but upon listening back it was better than I thought. More proof that it’s important to record as much as possible, because your ears may deceive you!

See you tomorrow!

Andersen: 26 Small Caprices, Op. 37 – No. 7

Just a quick post this morning- I actually recorded this etude yesterday but forgot to post it! I’d been kind of stuck on this one for a couple days because Andersen’s dynamics and breath marks seemed really counterintuitive and I couldn’t really find my way into the piece in a way that made sense to me. Eventually I decided to just get through it, awkwardness and all, so here it is!

Köhler: 22 Etudes d’expression, Op. 89 – No. 2

Time for another Etude of the Week post! Here’s Köhler No. 2 in A minor, recorded in one take because it was too hot to keep the fan turned off for any further attempts.

There are definitely a few spots I would have liked to play more cleanly, and some spots where the intonation is a little suspicious. There are a lot of dynamic contrasts written into this one, and I felt like I was doing a pretty good job observing them, but they’re not apparent on this recording. Most of my recordings are done using an iPhone, but I have a nicer Zoom H2 recorder that I think I need to start using again. I also need to dig out the foot pedal so I don’t have pause at the page turn- fortunately in this etude it was already in a decent spot for a small break!

I hope to be back tomorrow for another Andersen etude! Happy Friday!

Andersen: 26 Small Caprices, Op. 37 – No. 6

Hello again! Here’s the next etude in Andersen Op. 37- this one was harder for me than the previous studies in this book. The challenge in this one was maintaining nice long phrases and trying not to sound too repetitive. This one also has a lot of soft dynamics, so trying to observe those while still providing contrast in the right spots was tricky as well. This one was a good lesson in finding the music in something where it doesn’t seem as obvious!

Andersen: 26 Small Caprices, Op. 37 – No. 5

Here’s a cute little etude for your Monday enjoyment! I did a very thorough (and tiring!) warm-up/scale workout for the first time in quite a while, so by this point in my practice session today I was feeling pretty good about my sound and overall flexibility. I do think I could have done a better job with dynamic contrasts but it’s possible that not everything I felt I was doing actually got picked up by the iPad.

My favorite thing about this etude? It reminds me of Baroque Hoedown, the music from Disney’s Electrical Parade!

Andersen: 26 Small Caprices, Op. 37 – No. 4

Two posts in one day! I wanted to keep moving through the Andersen etudes, but I decided I’d like to give each recording its own post moving forward.

This one was full of chances to fight my current big nemesis, the cracked note monster. It turns out that all those things I tell my students to do (roll out, make sure the flute’s in the right spot on the lip, think about where the air is going) work for me too! I’ve taken about a week off from really serious interval/harmonic practicing, so I’ll have to revisit this one when I’m not so out of shape to see if it’s easier to play cleanly.

See you tomorrow!

Köhler: Etudes d’expression Op. 89 – No. 1

It’s time to start a new book in the Etude of the Week group! This time the group voted for Ernesto Köhler’s Etudes d’Expression Op. 89, which was a book I hadn’t heard of. If the rest of it is anything like this first etude, it’s going to be a lot of fun!

As it says in the title, these studies are all about expression, so it was fun to play with different characters. There are lots of opportunities for dynamic contrast, but between the quality of my iPhone recording and the sound of the washing machine upstairs, I’m not sure how well that translated in this recording. One thing I noticed while practicing this was a tendency to use my vibrato to subdivide, so I’d like to work on varying its speed and making it feel more organic.

See you soon for more of the Andersen etudes!