Monday, 9 February 2009

Sweet sound of success

Last week I sent an eleven year old home with instructions to persevere. She had been unable to get a sound out of her flute in her first lesson and was rather despondent. She came back this morning complaining that she hadn't been able to get a sound out of the instrument. There followed the reasons that I love so much. The flute needs a polish. The head joint is dirty inside and we've lost the cleaning rod.

We began trying to make a sound. Each out-breath was followed by at least a minute spent telling me that she couldn't do it. We tried various positions to no avail. We made sure the air was being directed in a narrow stream. Eventually I realised that the child was exhaling so slowly that her breath wouldn't have misted a mirror on a cold day. It was like a kettle on the stove, just beginning to make a sound but nowhere near whistling. When I asked how hard she would blow to extinguish the candles on a birthday cake we made a breakthrough. And then we'd run out of time but there was relief and smiles all round.

She came back at break (recess), full of enthusiasm, so while I waited for my next student I taught her her first note. I'm looking forward to hearing how much her tone has improved after the half term holiday.

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