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Back-in-the-day when I needed to study some orchestral music, I’d jump on my bike, ride to the Oberlin Conservatory library, sign out an LP at the desk and take it into a listening booth to enjoy.
Fast forward. I park my SUV, pull my phone out of my pocket while walking across Texas Avenue, insert earbuds, and search YouTube for a performance of the piece we’re about to rehearse with the Houston Symphony.
Living with my son has kept me from being TOTALLY out of it when it comes to the information super highway. Since about age 10, YouTube has been an incredible resource to him. He’s learned about everything from carnivorous plants to architecture to professional lawn care.
Add to that what I’ve learned from my mentor Keith Underwood—for years he’s been teaching how to learn by watching—not just listening to—videos of great flute players like Julius Baker and and Jean-Pierre Rampal. and now you can watch Keith’s own playing and teaching online.
All this has made me want to get in on the fun and see if I can effectively share some of my outlook on flute playing through videos and photos online. Taking a cue from my observation that the most enjoyable and informative YouTube videos tend to be simple and low tech, I’ve decided to start by posting this impromptu, STROLLING, performance of “Syrinx”. While I walked and played, my son Corin followed me closely, filming with an iPad. I love the effect this created, with the audio, rough as it is, matching the visual literally step for step.
Syrinx has long been one of those pieces I keep in my back pocket, ready to play whenever someone says, “Play us something”. Family gatherings, weddings, street corners—sometimes I think these occasions are where one forges the conviction to play music—NOT the concert hall, the audition, or the music lesson.
This week the Houston Symphony will be playing in high schools and community centers all around the city. I will also be playing my flute alone, in children’s hospital rooms, as part of the Arts in Medicine program at the Texas Children’s Hematology Center.