Masterclass with James Galway

March 10th, 2014

Last weekend I enjoyed the opportunity to travel to Boston to attend a masterclass by Sir James Galway. The event was hosted by the Boston Flute Academy, and sponsored by Nagahara Flutes and Haynes Flutes.
I was joined by a few of my friends/colleagues from Piping Hot Flutes!. We came away with a few valuable insights, and a fun experience! The classes were very engaging. While Sir James takes flute playing very seriously, he has a great sense of humor, it was great fun.

The performers were quite impressive. It takes a lot of bravery to participate in a masterclass. For those who haven’t encountered one before, a masterclass is essentially a private lesson on stage. You work with a highly accomplished professional on a piece that you’ve prepared. The instructor provides constructive criticism and advice…. all in front of an audience of your peers (who are often also very accomplished themselves.) It’s extremely courageous to put yourself in that kind of vulnerable situation.
The flutists we watched this weekend handled it beautifully. One of the performers was just 17 years old and was very talented. She has a bright future ahead of her.
The last performer we saw was absolutely incredible. There wasn’t a single flaw. We were all waiting to hear what James Galway would say to him. There wasn’t much improvement to be made! His name is Adrian Sanborn and he’s a student of New England Conservatory.

This platinum flute looks similar to the one I tried.
The one pictured here was made by Brannen. Fancy!

During breaks, we also had fun checking out the vendors who attended the event. The fanciest flutes you could ever imagine were there for us to try. For example, I tried a platinum Nagahara flute with 24k gold keys. How crazy is that!! It was absolutely beautiful, but honestly I didn’t get a great sound from it. It just wasn’t right for my style of playing. It was very heavy too. I also tried several gold flutes and determined that (fortunately for my bank account) they also weren’t for me. In all the brands I tried, I liked the traditional silver metal the best. In fact of all the flutes I played that day…. Though the craftsmanship of the mechanism was far superior in all of them, I like the sound of my own above all the rest.  Maybe I’m just emotionally attached, or maybe my flute and I… we’re just a good pair.