Alexa’s Music Box – Now with a duet!

This week was fairly busy for me, and so I unfortunately didn’t have time to arrange anything new for my Representation Remixes series. However, yesterday, one of my young students helped me sort out a very simple duet for “Alexa’s Music Box” by Jean Coulthard. I want to stress how simple this duet is–I basically took the remaining notes from the piano arrangement and tweaked the octaves slightly–but simple’s better than nothing, right?

flute-Coulthard-Alexa’s Music Box-Optional duet – for (slightly more advanced) flute

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Representation Remixes: Alexa’s Music Box, by Jean Coulthard

I’m back again this week with another arrangement to fill out the holes in the flute (and hopefully later piano) repertoire! This time, I took a look at Canadian composer Jean Coulthard‘s piano piece, “Alexa’s Music Box.” I found the piece in Music of Our Time, published by the Waterloo Music Company, Ltd.; it would be ideal for flute students playing at a Grade 1 RCM level.

flute-Coulthard-Alexa’s Music Box – Part for solo flute.

I’m looking into adding a very simple teacher duet part, also for flute, but I need to road test it with one of my flute students first. I’ll be sure to update the post if it turns out to be a worthwhile addition!

Representation Remixes: Skipping Rope, by Yelena Fabianovna Gnesina

Over the past half of a year, I’ve been making a real effort to expand my music collection to reflect the composers I’ve featured in my History Hunt series (and hope to continue to feature when time and health permit!). It’s been a real challenge, though, especially with my flute music collection. There are real gaps–so much so that I recently had to apologise to one of my students for only giving her music by white men to play so far when neither of us fit that bill.

So I’ve started to do some very simple arrangements to fill in the gap a little. Normally, I keep my arrangements as a perk for members of my studio, but addressing the incredible imbalance in core flute repertoire is something I feel very strongly about. So, I’d like to make these arrangements generally available.

The first one I’ve completed is “Skipping Rope,” by Yelena Fabianovna Gnesina. It’s found in the Grade 5 Royal Conservatory of Music repertoire book; the arrangement should be suitable for flute students playing at a Grade 1/2 RCM level.

flute-Gnesina-Skipping Rope (Flute and Piano parts)
flute-Gnesina-Skipping Rope-flute part (Flute part alone)

I hope you all enjoy, and please feel free to send me feedback! I don’t arrange music as often as I should, and so I could do with some constructive criticism.

Happy Birthday, Bach!

It’s J. S. Bach’s 330th birthday today! In honour of his–wait a minute. Doesn’t this sound a bit familiar?

Bach’s birthday technically can fall on two different dates, depending on how you look at it. At the time of his birth, Europe was in the middle of making a switch from one way of marking the years (the Julian calendar, put into place by Julius Caesar) to another, more accurate one (the Gregorian calendar, put into place by Pope Gregory XIII). Though the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582, it took a long time for it to be adopted throughout the world. In fact, the last country to make the switch was Turkey, in 1927!

So, if you go by the Julian calendar, Bach’s birthday is on March 21. If you go by the Gregorian calendar, his birthday is today, March 31. Pretty lucky of him to have two birthdays, eh?

As for music to honour his birthday (again!), here’s the final movement of Bach’s Sonata in B minor for flute or recorder and harpsichord, Presto. This version uses flute, but there are also recorder versions available on Youtube for anyone who’s curious.

Happy Birthday, Bach!

It’s J. S. Bach’s 330th birthday today! In honour of his birthday, I thought I’d share the first movement of his Partita in A minor (BWV 1013). This is one of the pieces I performed when I was doing my Bachelor of Music Education.

I remember enjoying the piece as I learned it except for one thing: it seemed to me at the time that Bach didn’t know flute players need to breathe!

If you’d like to hear the full work, you can listen to all four movements in one video below:

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Maria Ramey playing a double contrabass flute

A Flute of Epic Proportions

Hearing about a really awesome upcoming flute concert via the Canadian Flute Association when I was looking after my studio’s Facebook page reminded me that today I wanted to share a bit about a very different sort of flute. The double contrabass flute (pictured above) is the most massive member of the flute family–it stands eight feet tall and uses just over eighteen feet of tubing! So much for flutes being portable!

Listen to the double contrabass flute (and the slightly smaller subcontrabass flute) being played in the video below.

Do you know the song she demonstrates on the double contrabass flute? Tell me the answer in the comments!