Matching your flute with your exam book…

By | September 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm | 2 comments | Gradeone-athon

After having a summer pretty much free from any flute playing, I realised the autumn season was upon us and the deadline for entering the Associated Board exams only days away.. my mum, who is a piano teacher, pointed out that you cannot actually request dates for exams, only the week and even then you don’t always get what you ask for.. Before I shot off an email of complaint I remembered that of course the ABRSM are not really expecting people in their 30′s in full-time employment with only a spare hour here and there to be entering.. not Grade 1 at any rate! So armed with a credit card, I bit the bullet, chose a week when I’m not on tour and entered. Was as easy as shopping online, except I won’t be getting a lovely parcel from DHL in two days time.

I bought myself the yellow grade 1 exam book (clashes with my pink flute though) and a flute fingering chart which I don’t really understand right now, save that the hand model on the cover had a “sports manicure”. On first flicking through the exam book in Barbican Chimes music shop, I excitedly saw a piece entitled, “Lupin, the pot bellied pig” which really appealed to me. Sadly it was next year’s exam book. (Green cover too which would have gone nicely with the pink.) Shame, I definitely would like to have seen if I could announce that one without laughing. I utilised the most musical way of picking my exam pieces – opted for the shortest ones.

On tour in Graffeneg, during his pre-concert warm-up, I cornered Principal Flautist Gareth and asked him to share his technical expertise with me. I needed to know how to play up the octave without just blowing harder (and therefore sharper). He kindly demonstrated a “sticking out the jaw” action which I ended up doing through the concert during the rests. Apologies to anyone in the audience who thought I was looking particularly aggressive that evening…


  1. Yeema (1 year ago)

    Do write and let us know how u are progressing! Miss hearing from u and your anecdotes on your tours!

  2. Paul Davies (1 year ago)

    Maxine – good luck with the flute exam – please do keep us informed . . .


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