Woodwind masterclass hits the right note

Woodwind masterclass hits the right note

24 June 2021

Woldingham’s advanced woodwind players enjoyed a masterclass from Andrew Webster, Professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, on Saturday 19 June. Ten students, all working towards grade 8 or above, had the opportunity to play for Andrew, who has played guest Principal Clarinet with all major UK symphony orchestras. They benefited greatly from his expert guidance, as flautist Leila describes below.

Leila, Lower Sixth

 I played Hungarian Pastoral Fantasy by Doppler, a piece that is focused purely on dynamics and stylistic representation of the notes. In his feedback, Andrew explained how I should follow the architecture of the notes by understanding the patterns presented on the page and using the corresponding dynamics to them. If the note leaps, I should crescendo, and lower notes on the stave have a quieter dynamic.

 Another key point that Andrew explained to all of us was to focus on air. I always knew air was a key part in playing a woodwind instrument, but I didn't realise exactly how much air was used. I learnt that a clarinet is only a piece of wood, a flute a piece of metal, and what makes the sound is the air that goes through the instrument. And the support used to make sound is evident through expression and adds character to the piece itself.

 This was a really interesting masterclass that taught me a lot, even though the instrument Andrew Webster played was different to my own.

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