Continuing discussion: Obsession with tone and technique while ignoring musicianship and communication

Throughout my career I have been struck by how much audiences and judges alike focus on how good a tone is and how fast and accurate is the technical output. For the young students we pedagogues need to teach the basics of how to achieve the best tone, how to change colors, instill the need to practice towards achieving a solid technical base via scales and pattern work. I ask the hive “When may we progress to the whole, to listening to the musician play with the wholeness of a performance, communicating the music as if speaking easily to an audience, as one example of overall success of a polished performance. I want to feel as if the music is bypassing the flute, the vessel of the communication, and going right from the expression of the player. 

Please comment as to what moves YOU. What transforms you as a listener into hearing the music’s intended feeling that transforms you you as you listen. Can you, can we, strive to bypass the urge to focus on, say, perfection of the notes or the perfection of the tone? My tone is what I simply play with as I perform but not to raise the awareness of the listener as to how great it is, for example. I practice passages to achieve the best ease and accuracy so as to play MUSICALLY those passages that are difficult. IF a piece is clearly meant to be a showpiece then, yes, work it!  These showpieces pieces titillate and inspire awe! So yes, go for all the elements of showing off! 

I feel fortunate to have reached a level and age that I am not being judged for how many right or wrong notes or whether my tone is the The Best. I like the tone I get, I do miss notes, I could practice more, but ultimately I enjoy playing for others, no matter what genre.


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