'The Big Picture': Alto Flute Etudes
The talented and upcoming composer Emma Rogers (Monash University, School of Music) is completing a set of creative alto flute etudes titled, 'The Big Picture.' At the request of Peter Sheridan these pieces for students grades 5-8 are targeted at inspiring young players to seriously take up the practice and study of the alto flute, just as one would the piccolo or the English Horn. Many may think the alto flute is too large an instrument for young players, though when taught the correct hand position and body posture, many students age 12-18 could readily play this size flute.
The four etudes are titled: Awakenings, Dynamic Whispers, Speak and Unspoken Words. The idea behind the titles are explained in the composers words as follows, "if you string the titles all together you'd get 'The Big Picture: awakenings (of) dynamic whispers, speak (gently of) unspoken words.' Emma states that 'it can be broken down [even] further as each individual title is also connected to its study.'
Here are brief qualities of the musical characters of each etude.
Awakenings - a lyrical, study aimed to awaken the students interests in playing the alto flute, designed to help them get a basic sound out of it.
Dynamic whispers - looks at breath control, dynamics, left hand coordination, etc.
Speak - Is slow with a focus on the extremes in range aimed at making the flute sing or for want of a better word 'speak.'
Unspoken Words- is still uncompleted at point of writing this article.
Emma herself is also a fine flutist, so the problems that appear in each work are real and calculated, if you will. One can always tell when the composer writes from the sound to the page. Gary Schocker is one such composer. The lines he write come straight from the instruments soul and definitive character. This approach to problem-solving can make the whole composition work well. Ms. Rogers is developing the same gift and her hard work will be of great benefit to the International low flutes community.
This composition is her third work for flute. Her second work is a fine 12 minute piece titled, 'Roses: Potpourri of Pain,' which is set for large flute ensemble and will be recorded by the Monash Flute Ensemble in June 2013 on the MOVE Record label.
Emma performs with the Monash Flute Ensemble and is preparing for her AMusA certificate through the Australian Music Examinations Board. Her compositions have been performed throughout Melbourne and in regional Victoria.