Video transcript
Festival of Instrumental Music 2022 - Recorder repertoire - 01. Full webinar

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[intro music]

SUSAN SUKKAR: Hello, everybody. Thank you very much for joining us for the recorder live stream of our repertoire for 2022. We are so excited that we are coming back and very grateful to you all for taking the leap of faith and jumping in and being part of this revival of our music education in our schools, which is so sorely needed. So, thank you for joining us this afternoon.

Before we start, I'd like to acknowledge that this workshop is being streamed from the traditional lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation . And I'd like to pay my respects to Elders past, present, and emerging. Before we start, I'd like to acknowledge some of the people that are working behind the scenes for us today.

And sitting in front of me are 3 very industrious and clever people, Peter Hayward, Peter Copeland and Jack Tier and they are streaming this for us. Jack is monitoring all the chat, and will let me know about questions that come up from you from time to time during the live stream. I will endeavour to answer those at the end of the live stream unless it's very specific to a particular piece.

Of course, you know also that I'm a part of a team of the mighty music K to 8 team, which is Ian Jefferson, Sue Hill and Jenny Birrell as well. So, we all work together on all of our programs. So, that I work across the choral festival and the proms, and they work across my jurisdiction of the instrumental festival too. So, I thank them for all of the wonderful work that they do. We certainly could not do this without all of these people helping.

I'd also like to acknowledge our affected colleagues who are living and working in flood regions. And I know personally from some of you that you are working under extremely difficult conditions and that you're anxious for your communities and your schools and your children. So, I appreciate very much that you are able to be here.

Please be aware, though, that if you drop out or something happens during the live stream that this will be recorded and that you will be able to watch it back at a later date too. But thank you for joining us. And please stay safe and well. And we are thinking of you here in Sydney as you battle these latest hurdles.

The structure of the workshop today is that we will be looking at all 3 of the pieces that we're going to be performing in the opera house in the order that they will be performed. So, the first work is 'Cantata 147' by Bach. And the second work is 'Ballade of Anne Bonny' which-- yeah, I'll talk about that later. And then the third piece is the 'Swans of Lir.'

So, we will get started straight away on 'Cantata 147.' I just need a sip of water, so excuse me. OK. So, we have recorded a lot of this for you so that you don't have to just sit and listen to me talk endlessly. But, so what I'll do is introduce the pieces to you. Then you'll be able to watch some video footage of a recorder ensemble performing the works. And then we will go into some of the teaching points that we need to emphasise to you.

So, the very first thing that I want to talk to you about is I'd like you to imagine that concert hall of the opera house, which has changed. The stage and the configuration has changed. Not to a point where you won't recognise it, but certainly some of the staging there's much more sophisticated staging.

But the beautiful concert hall organ that hardly ever gets played is still in position. And that organ has thousands and thousands of pipes. And we're going to perform 'Cantata 147,' which is sometimes known as 'Jesu Joy' with the grand organ. So, that's going to be a really thrilling opening to the concert. And it would be spine-chilling, I would think, and for all the right reasons, I'm hoping.

So, in this work, there is a solo descant hand part, which you might have seen if you've downloaded all the music. And the solo descant hand is playing out the front of the performance with all of the children in the recorder ensemble playing what would traditionally be vocal parts. So, the solo descant part is relatively tricky. I'll just give you a little reminder.

[playing notes]

So, you recognise that tune a lot of you, I imagine. And so we will be calling for soloists, and auditions, and they will be via a YouTube link that they send in. And that will be around May. So, if you have some bright little bunnies in your classes that you think might be up to that, by all means, start them learning the part now.

And you'll be able to hear me playing it on the recording. So, you'll be able to know the tempo and the way that we would like it to be played. So, right now, we are going to play you the recordings that we made. And I'm handing it over to my digital team. Thank you.

My name is Susan Sukkar, and I work at the Arts Unit. And for 'Cantata 147,' I'm going to be playing the solo descant part.

HANS-DIETER MICHATZ: My name is Hans-Dieter Michatz, and I've been teaching at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and with Symphonia Jubilate. I'll be playing the descant 1 part.

MIKAELA SUKKAR: My name is Mikaela Sukkar, and I teach at Petersham Public School, Ashbury Public School, and Ryde East Public School, and I'll be playing the descant 2 part.

ALICIA CROSSLEY: My name is Alicia Crossley from Birchgrove Public School, and I'll be playing the treble recorder part.

TRACY BURJAN: My name is Tracy Burjan, and I work at Concord West Public School and Symphonia Jubilate, and today I'll be playing the tenor part.

DANIEL MURPHY: My name is Daniel Murphy, and I teach at Strathfield South Public School, and today I'll be playing the bass recorder part.

CATHERINE DAVIS: My name is Catherine Davis, and I play with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and I'll be playing the piano part.

[music - Bach, 'Cantata 147']

SUSAN SUKKAR: Hope you enjoyed that. And we're going to play it again in a moment so that you can have a turn at home with playing through your part. So, if you've got your music up, it might be a good idea to be looking at that right now. So, the first thing that I wanted to just mention is that the descant, solo descant part needs to be a player that can play very legato and tongued with a 'doo' sound and also some child who has excellent breath control.

It's really, really long phrases. So, if they're stopping to take gasping breaths and it's breaking up the actual flow of the music, those children will not be ready to be able to perform this. So, the child also has to have a lot of self-possession about them, so that they're able to stand on a stage of the opera house and not be so fazed by all of the lights.

And they don't actually see the audience because there are lights in their eyes and they won't be able to actually see audience. But it's a pretty daunting prospect for most primary school children. So, even if you would like to send in an audition video just for the child's sake, you can do that too. Although you can just get them to send them to you and then just be judicious about which ones you send through for us to look at too.

I really wouldn't like to be seeing hundreds and hundreds of little children having a go at it, but I think we generally limit to 2 or 3 per school trying out for an audition. So, you will have noticed when I was playing that I was taking breaths on long phrases so-- and I was also

[playing notes]

So, it's 'doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo', not choppy. So, it's still tonguing, but making a very long phrase. The other thing that I thought you should have a look at and is really helpful when you're teaching this, particularly you're teaching descant 2 part is there are a lot of repeated phrases. So, you look at the first phrase. And then if you look through the music, you'll see that happens up to 4 or 5 times through the music. So, once you've taught those phrases, the 2 of them together--

[playing notes]

And then the second half of it--

[playing notes]

Once you've taught that to them, they've broken the back of the whole piece. So, it's not a huge effort for them to learn to play it. But having said that, a cautionary tale, we want long smooth beautifully spoken parts, played parts, but like you singing them. So, let's avoid this.

[playing notes]

You've all heard that in your schools at times. And so, that's a child just reading each note, playing each note. So, that can happen initially, but then we're working towards--

[playing notes]

--all on one breath. That's what you're aiming for. So, this beautiful flow of notes that just join all together. So, how about we play that again now, that video. And you play along at home and try and emulate that lovely legato cantabile sound.

[music - Bach, 'Cantata 147']

Now we come to the section where we demonstrate some of the tricky spots for you in 'Cantata 147.' And we're going to start with Hans talking about the descant 1 part and some general principles that you can apply to your recorder playing.

HANS-DIETER MICHATZ: Thank you, Susan. Well, this piece is really quite easy to play for you all. I just want to make a few points that make it even better when you try. You can tell that the piece is basically about making a good sound. So, I would advise that you don't blow too hard and try to make the best sounds you can, especially when you get to really extreme notes like the very low notes you have to play.

[playing notes]

They will not work if you blow too hard, of course. We all know that. And I'd probably say rather speak a 'doo' rather than a 'too' into your recorder so it doesn't 'chuff' too much and the sound just squeaks. Another one is at letter E, make sure that on the G sharp you've got that finger down here on the half hole because otherwise, it will be very out of tune. And then also at bar 54, there's a rhythm that's a little bit tricky because you have to hold the minim long enough.

[playing notes]

That's the main thing. If you need extra breaths, but you can have a competition about getting through all the phrases without breathing, if you need an extra breath, never breathe on the bar line but choose another note to breathe after. Especially the long ones are good because you can make them a little bit shorter and then breathe after it. That's it for descant 1.

MIKAELA SUKKAR: Now looking at descant 2. So, we have a couple of tricky spots. If we first look at bar 52 all the way to bar 55, we'll see that our rhythms are first minim crotchet, minim crotchet, and then it changes. We have a crotchet then a minim. So, just be careful there not to continue the same rhythm that we're used to, but to change it and first play a crotchet at bar 54 and then a minim.

If we look down at figure H, we'll notice that we no longer have the melody like we do at the beginning, and we now are playing a harmony. So, the descant 2 part can be really brought out there. It can be really strong and beautiful sounding, and maybe spend a little bit extra time learning those notes because they're new and we haven't played this tune before in this piece. That's it.

ALICIA CROSSLEY: For the treble part, most of the time, we'll be playing along the same sort of melody as the bass recorder part. So, if you have both trebles and bases, it's good for them to listen to each other because they're playing the same melody a lot of the time in this piece. For the treble recorder part, a good part to focus on is letter E. So, you'll see most of the play through this cantata we're playing F sharps.

In E, we now revert to F natural, so thumb and second finger on. And you also have your high A, which is the same as low A. Half thumb, make sure your thumb is not with the fingernail gouging in. We just vent slightly, and it shouldn't be off as well. So, for your high A there. And you want, just as Hans was saying before, a nice 'doo, doo, doo, doo' for the articulation on that little quaver run.

[playing notes]

So, nice and smooth. So, we don't want it staccato. Nice and smooth as if we were singing it.

TRACY BURJAN: With the tenor part, let's have a little look at letter H. As in the descant 2 part, we have minim, crotchet, crotchet minim. And remember to always breathe after the minim because our tenor part has some quite long phrases. And we need a little bit of breath, extra breath to play the tenor. At the very end, we have a C sharp. So, for C sharp, it's like A, but take your thumb off to play that C sharp. So, that little ending goes--

[playing notes]

And that's it for the tenor part.

DANIEL MURPHY: And in the bass part, if you have a look at letter A, we're starting with a low G up to a high F sharp. So, we've got an interval of the seventh. That same thing happens again at letter C. At H, it changes. We're going from low G to high G. From low G to high G. The second last part just, like the tenor, we have a C sharp. And on base, that's 1, 2, 1, 2, and a half at the bottom. That's it for the bass.

SUSAN SUKKAR: Thank you, everybody. That was really terrific. So, this piece generally needs to be very legato and cantabile, which means in a singing style. So, long phrases and beautiful sound, that's what we're aiming for. I hope you enjoy it.

OK. So, our next piece is 'The Ballade of Anne Bonny.' And this is an original work that I commissioned from Andrew Robertson. And he's an old friend of our program. And he's a jazz musician as well as a music publisher and player and composer, and he does a lot of great things.

So, my brief to Andrew was that I said that I want the hero of this piece to be the descant 2 so that the descant 2 has the main part to play in the piece. And he came up with this great work. So, the first thing you're going to notice is that there is no treble 1 and 2 in this piece. And that's because the treble part is so straightforward that we don't need to differentiate between the treble 1 and 2 that they can play together.

And so the instrumentation of this piece is a combination of a solo violinist who we may draw from this string component of the festival. I'm not quite sure whether there will be any children of the standard that we'll need to play that part, but I'm seeking some advice from my colleagues who have a lot of expertise in that area.

And it has also a keyboard, upright bass, accordion and a drum set. So, it's going to be a fantastic addition to the piece. And it's a real earworm. So, once you listen to it a few times, you'll be going home like trying to get it out of your head. So, we're going to now cut to the introduction and the playing of the piece for you.

'The Ballade of Anne Bonny' was commissioned by the Arts Unit from Andrew Robertson who is a composer and jazz musician. And this piece features the descant 2 as the star of the show. And it is based on a tale about Anne Bonny who was an 18th-century female pirate who sailed the seas of the Caribbean and did the things that pirates do. So, we also have words written to this song, which you will hear sung later on. So, to perform this piece, I'm going to introduce the ensemble to you.

HANS-DIETER MICHATZ: Hello. I'm Hans-Dieter Michatz. I teach at the Conservatorium of Music and with Symphonia Jubilate. And I'll be playing the descant 1 part.

ALICIA CROSSLEY: My name is Alicia Crossley from Birchgrove Public School, and I'll be playing the descant 2.

SUSAN SUKKAR: I'm Susan Sukkar, and I'll be playing the treble part.

JOANNE ARNOTT: My name is Joanne Arnott, I work at the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music, and I'll be playing the tenor part today.

DANIEL MURPHY: My name is Daniel Murphy, and I teach at Stratford South Public School, and I'll be playing bass.

[music - Andrew Robertson, 'The Ballade of Anne Bonny']

SUSAN SUKKAR: What a cracking little tune that is, isn't it? Now, I would like you to have a look at the music up on the screen that I have-- the descant 2 part up on the screen, just to familiarise yourself with the phenomena of a first and second time bar. This happens twice in this piece. And so on the screen, you'll see a circle around the first and second time bar that I'm talking about.

So, this is where a piece of music has a repeat, but at the end of the repeat, there are 2 different endings. So, it saves a composer writing the whole thing out again with the second ending. So, the way that this works is that you start playing at the beginning and you play through to the end of the first time bar. And you will see a repeat sign there, which is the 2 lines and 2 little dots.

So, then you go right back again to the beginning, play all the way through. But the second time, you jump over the first time bar and play the second time bar. Now, children might find this quite confusing initially. So, it's a really good idea to explicitly teach that to them and have them listening to the music, either the track that I've made that you've been sent or even watching the video of it and following along with their finger so that they come along.

And they come along and they play the first time bar. And they zip back to the beginning, they play and play and play until they get down to that spot where they jump the first time bar and play the second time bar and then carry on with the piece. Now, I know that lots of you will know that. But I thought that there may be some of you that haven't learnt about that yet. So, it's a good idea that you familiarise yourself with it as well so that when you're in a rehearsal, you're not going to get lost trying to negotiate all of that.

So, again, we're going to play the piece again now for you to play along with. And as you listen, I would like you to-- and play-- I'd like you to just observe how the quavers are being played. And there will be an explanation about that in the teaching part of the video later on. But listen to the quavers and observe how they're being played and play along with them. All the parts they play the same quaver rhythm at the same time.

[music - Andrew Robertson, 'The Ballade of Anne Bonny']

I hope you enjoyed that piece. Now, we're going to talk about some of the small challenges that you might have and teaching points. So, first of all, I'd like to say, as a general thing that the quavers are swung. So, this is a jazz arrangement, and so one of the conventions of jazz is that you play quavers in a swung fashion, which only just means that they're played unevenly. And you'll notice that we did it, and you will pick it up very quickly when you listen to the track too. For instance, letter C, we're all playing--

[playing notes]

So, a swung version of the quavers. Secondly, you'll also notice that there's no treble 2 part. So, that's deliberate because the treble part is very straightforward and everybody should be able to manage it. It stays within a range of about 5 notes. Just be aware that you're always playing F sharps, 2 fingers, no thumb at the back.

And the other thing that I'd want to point out to you is the first and second time bars. So, that can take a little bit of work with your children explaining that when we play through at the repeats, you play the first time bar for the first time and the second time bar for the second time skipping over the first time bar.

So, you might need to sit down and just work that through yourself to be sure that you understand how that works, the first and second time bars. You pay the first time bar the first time, the second time bar the second time, leaving out the first time bar. Thank you. And I'm going to hand over to Hans now to talk to you about some other things.

HANS-DIETER MICHATZ: Other things being the descant 1 part. There's not that much to talk about in here but a few tips. For example, while the piece is generally quite legato and at smooth, you want to make a few notes a bit shorter than others like for example, the first note in the third bar--

[playing notes]

--would be nice to be a little bit shorter to give a little bit of a mark there because it's also quite unusual. You will feel quite lonely in some places descant 1s because you're holding notes for a very long time when other people are playing something different. For example, the end of the first frays, make sure you really hold it, hold long A, 4 or 5 beats here. So--

[playing notes]

And then be very careful with all the C sharps. So, these are your C sharps. If you play very loudly--

[playing notes]

--they sound very bad. But you can make them sound quite sweetly and then they will be in tune. So, I don't overblow them at all. The other places that you need to watch is where it says melody. So, make sure that you breathe well and that you play with a beautiful sound--

[playing notes]

--in those places with melody. And then in bar 43, that's a little bit of a challenge for you.

[playing notes]

Note that the B is absolutely not important in this, but the notes are.

[playing notes]

And you just play the B--

[playing notes]

--in between. The rest is just counting well, watching the rests on the first beats.

[playing notes]

So, I gave you a breath on that, and it's probably a good idea to breathe every time you've got that rest so you can play in time. Enjoy.

ALICIA CROSSLEY: For the descant 2 part, as Susan mentioned before, we have the melody for most of this piece. So, you need to have nice confidence when you're playing, even breath, and a nice 'doo, doo, doo' except for like when Hans was mentioning before, on our third bar, the first note of the third bar where you want a little bit more of a 'teh' to make it a little bit shorter and give the note a little lift.

And just as in the descant 1 part, so a lot of the time we end our phrases counting 5 beats for our notes, except for we have a high D. So, we need to make sure that we're playing it softly because high Ds are notorious for being out of tune, particularly with descant 2s. So, we need to play nice and gently.

Even though you have the melody, I still want you to play that nice and gently so we don't have a really out of tune note or play with a crescendo going [crescendo sound] to end the phrase. So, we don't want to be doing that. So, we need to end our phrases nicely. The other part you might have is you've got an E, F sharp G, which is your up beats in around, for instance, the upbeat to 33.

[playing notes]

Because you've got the swung rhythm, the F sharp comes quite quickly.

[playing notes]

So, you might want to practise just getting that. So, it's nice and smooth, not sliding your fingers down, making sure you're alternating from E to F sharp, middle finger staying in this correct position.

JOANNE ARNOTT: For the tenor part in the 'Ballade of Anne Bonny,' it's good to mind at letter A where we have dotted rhythm. And then in bar 3 of letter A, the dotted rhythm slightly changes where the crotchet is the first one in the bar. So, it sounds like this.

[playing notes]

So, just watch that rhythm, and make sure that you play those correctly. Just towards the end of letter A section, right at the end of the second time bar, there's a high D. Now, the other parts are playing a really beautiful soft note here, so resist the temptation to play a really loud D just because it's high and fun. So, we don't want--

[playing notes]

We don't want it to stick out like that. Let's play it really soft 'doo' tonguing.

[playing notes]

And then skipping down to bar 44, we have a little bit of a tenor solo. So, in the bar before, the descants play that melody. And then the tenors have it by themselves in bar 44 and then again over in bar 82 towards the end. So, this might be a part that requires a bit of extra practice.

[playing notes]

And you'll notice that after that bar of quavers, in bar 45, there are 2 separate notes. So, you can choose to play a low E, or if you're feeling adventurous, you can pinch your thumb at the back and play a high E. And that's it for the tenor.

DANIEL MURPHY: In the bass recorder part, it's fairly straightforward. There's a bit of a couple of notes we need to look at, and that's the high A. So, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 fingers and half a hole at the back. We just gently drop our thumb. And in bar 84, we have our high B. So, it's not in any other pieces. It's 1, 2, 3, 4 and our middle finger with our thumb venting at the back. So, just make sure our high B is this fingering.

SUSAN SUKKAR: Now to help children learn to play the melody, Andrew has written words for the song. And so Mikaela is going to actually now sing that for you so that you can teach the children to sing the song that goes with the piece. As a general rule, as recorder players, we encourage this cantabile beautiful singing style.

And if children imagine that they're singing while they're playing their recorder, that promotes a really legato connected sound. And so it's much easier for them to transfer from the singing into the playing. So, enjoy this little performance, Anne Bonny, the female pirate who plundered the seas.

[music - Andrew Robertson, 'The Ballade of Anne Bonny']

MIKAELA SUKKAR: (SINGING) Fiery red hair from the island of green

Oh who can she be, this lass of the sea?

Nineteen years old when she started her spree

And plundered the Car'bean sea

Anne Bonny, Anne Bonny, a pirate she be

And no man in a red coat her captor he be

Anne Bonny, Anne Bonny, a pirate of old

And her story shall ever be told.

SUSAN SUKKAR: Hello, everybody. Now, we're coming to our final piece for today. I think you're going to get a little early mark from this professional learning, which I'm sure you'll be happy to have. So, I'm going to now introduce you to 'The Swans of Lir.' and that's our combined piece that we're going to be playing with all the strings.

So, if you're new to this whole program, another visual for you. It's hundreds of recorded players up in the choir stalls in the boxes and 200 young string players on the stage all playing together. And it is a beautiful thing. And it's the final piece of the opera house concert, and it lifts the roof off the stage as you can imagine because everybody is so enthusiastic about hearing nearly 1,000 children playing together.

So, this piece you will notice in the recorder parts, sometimes they sound a little bit sparse and that's when the strings are taking over and having their moment in the sun. So, we do need to be sensitive about when we are taking the lead role and when we're accompanying the strings. But you'll be able to hear that when you listen to the piece through. And so I'm sure that you'll be able to adjust what you do with your children.

So, this piece was commissioned in 2015 from Stephen Chin, who is a string composer and arranger, but who did a lovely job with the recorder parts as well. And because it was so popular, I thought it would be nice to revisit it. So, firstly, you need to know that this piece goes in 2 sections. So, the first section, is-- 'The Swans of Lir' is a folktale and it's about children who've been turned into swans and who are sailing around on a lake.

So, the very first section is very long and flowing and legato. And then-- and I do say this again on their recordings so apologies that you're hearing it twice-- there's a wicked witch. The wicked witch turns these children into swans. And predictably in the middle, they get turned back into children, and that's the rejoicing section. And that takes off at a rate of knots.

So, what we decided to do for this recording was that we would play the rejoicing very slowly, in fact, half speed so that you could practise that with your children because that's very frustrating when you're trying to play along with a recording and it's just too fast for the children to keep up with. So, we'll introduce ourselves at the beginning of the video that you're about to see. And then you'll hear the rejoicing at half speed.

We're going to play now 'The Swans of Lir,' which is a piece that we originally played for a festival a number of years ago and it was a real favourite. So, this piece is actually written for recorder ensemble and string ensemble by Stephen Chin. And we are using it again to teach for this year. So, in 'The Swans of Lir,' I'll be playing the descant 1 part.

MIKAELA SUKKAR: I will be playing the descant 2 part.

HANS-DIETER MICHATZ: Here's the treble 1.

JOANNE ARNOTT: And treble 2.

TRACY BURJAN: And the tenor part.

ALICIA CROSSLEY: And finally, the bass recorder.

CATHERINE DAVIS: And I'll be playing the piano part.

SUSAN SUKKAR: So, because this piece takes off at a very cracking rate halfway through, we're going to play a very slow version of it for you. But just as a little bit of background, 'The Swans of Lir' is a folk tale about a group of children who are turned into swans and who are sailing-- by a wicked witch, of course.

There's always a wicked witch in these stories-- and they're sailing around on a lake. And then predictably, they're woken up and they turn back into the children that they once were. And that's the second half of the piece. So, that's the rejoicing.

So, we're going to play the rejoicing now at a very, very slow rate. In fact, half the speed that it will go eventually. So, you'll hear that it sounds a little bit-- loses a little bit of its character. And we may find it dragging a little bit. But this is just a slow version for you to practise along with with your students.

[music - Stephen Chin, 'The Swans of Lir']

OK. Now, you might have noted that sounded a little bit plodding and lost some of its character, and I'm quite aware of that. But when you're trying to rehearse and learn those sections which are a little tricky for the children, it's important that you start at a slow, achievable speed and work up to full speed.

And as I said, it was half speed. But we may actually modify that little bit in the opera house too according to how the group are handling the speed. And remember, that there's 1,000 children playing this piece almost virtually. So, that could make a little bit of a difference.

So, I just wanted to mention that the very first section-- really, really nice idea to have a mental picture for the children of the swans sailing around on the lake and being very smooth and moving in a very legato fashion. And that needs to contrast with the rejoicing, which is much faster and choppier with the children working on this sort of phrase.

[playing notes]

It sounds as though it's simple. It's actually really difficult to control a recorder and play legato like that in a smooth line. The breathing needs to be correct, the tonguing has to be very accurate. And so that's a hard thing to achieve. And once children can achieve that, they're well on their way as a musician.

And remember that all of these skills that they're learning now on the recorder are transferable to any other wind or brass instrument and even to string instruments to an extent. But remember that the skills that you learn playing the recorder will transfer very easily to the flute, to the clarinet, to the oboe, to the bassoon, to the saxophone. And so children that play recorder well make a very smooth transition to those instruments as well.

And of course, I-- it wouldn't be Susan Sukkar's livestream if she didn't mention the left hand on the top. And I haven't even said it. I haven't had to say it much for a couple of years because you've been all very-- spent a lot of time making sure that the children do play with the left hand at the top of the instrument and the right hand in the bottom.

And I know that some teachers threaten their children and say, if you play with the wrong hand on the top, Susan Sukkar will find you, spot you, and put a spotlight on you, and you will be so embarrassed. And that's actually quite true, because I could spot a right hand on the top of an instrument from 100 miles away.

And I will correct it because it's incredibly off-putting and you're not doing a child any service at all if you allow them to play with their hands back to front. And it's very easy if you've correct it immediately and consistently from day to day. Swap, swap, swap, swap, that's the only word I ever need to use, and I will guarantee you in 2 or 3 weeks, you won't have the problem anymore. But you need to be watching out for it. OK.

So, now we're going to listen to another recording, but this time we're going to play the whole thing up to speed. So, if you've got your recorder out and ready, you can play along with this recording. So, enjoy the whole piece at speed.

[music - Stephen Chin, 'The Swans of Lir']

So, for the descant 1 part in 'The Swans of Lir,' everything goes along swimmingly and we are playing in unison with the descant 2s quite a lot of the time until we get to section R, and that's quite tricky. So, from R to S, we're playing up in the high register of the recorder and playing a line down quite quickly and also C sharps.

So, I'm just going to play that section for you because this section should be isolated and practised in isolation to all the other parts and slowly for the descant 1s. So, this is letter R, and I'll do it slowly.

[playing notes]

F sharp.

[playing notes]


[playing notes]

So, you can give that section to your students as a practice point and give them the challenge of learning that and perhaps even recording themselves playing it back to you for reinforcement of those high notes crossing the break from the high F sharp to E to D across here.

[playing notes]

A bit tricky. The children should be able to manage it, but it will need special practice. Also at letter M, that's when we start introducing the high notes. So--

[playing notes]

--high G, high F sharp, high E. Always remembering to vent the back hole, not pinch. Just open the back hole the smallest little amount, tongue firmly, and those notes should speak quite well. Good luck.

MIKAELA SUKKAR: Now looking at the descant 2 part. As Susan said, we are playing in unison a lot of the time with the descant 1s. So, one thing that we can be careful about is to not overblow. There's no pressure to create a lot of sound from the descant 2s because we have the support of the descant 1s as well. So, yeah, one thing to really focus on is not overblowing.

We will also look at R because that's a tricky spot. Similarly to descant 1s, we have syncopation here. So, we are starting with a quaver beat on the downbeat. So, that's a little bit tricky. And one way to teach it to your students might be through aural learning, so clapping the rhythm and singing it rather than talking too much about the theory behind it.

It's good just to get a sound of it in your ear and teaching it that way. So, I'll play that for you. And if we just look carefully at the third bar of R, we have an accidental C sharp. So, that's like an A, and we take our thumb off. So, have a listen to R.

[playing notes]

And other than that, everything's very repetitive. So, once you learn something once, it comes back many other times, which is really helpful for teaching our students.

HANS-DIETER MICHATZ: Thank you, Mikaela. Treble 1 part, it's quite difficult in terms of achieving a smooth breath. So, you need to be very careful, A, of course, to get everybody to sit still and to breathe well, to hold the breath all the way through those beautiful phrases.

I use a technique which I call the stunned mullet technique, which is you take a very quick breath and you hold very still. And from that stunned mullet moment, it's very easy to actually breathe out calmly. So, when you get to the first part--

[playing notes]

--it should be easy to get through. One point for breathing, after letter B in the fourth bar, which is bar 16, I prefer to breathe after the first B.

[playing notes]

So, you make that note a little bit shorter and breathe after that. The same would happen after letter J. The rest is fairly straightforward. Make sure that you don't play the notes full length, especially if there's a minim after a crotchet rest. For example, at letter E, 1.

[playing notes]


[playing notes] 1.

[playing notes]

So, again, it pays to actually take a breath on that crotchet. For the solo after letter G and also for the fast part, the rejoicing, when you get those low notes-- those high notes to play, sorry-- then make sure that you-- yes, you bend the thumb, but absolutely do not press the front fingers because then you won't get the notes out. If you keep the fingers really loose almost as if they are leaking, it's very easy to play--

[playing notes]

Whereas if you squeeze--

[playing notes]

--they're really hard to get. OK. For the rejoicing, mainly what we are dealing with is repeated notes. So, it's not a matter of moving your fingers fast, but moving your tongues fast. So, you basically play--

[playing notes]

And then you repeat--

[playing notes]

If you just think of the slower version where you hold a low E and then go to these notes, B, A, B, then it's much easier to do. Also when you get-- and remember the loose fingers-- to the high D in bar 31--

[playing notes]

--I would practise

[playing notes]

--before you play all the notes. You probably saw me opening my mouth.

[playing notes]

Which is good to keep smooth and relaxed. But you then speed it up.

[playing notes]

You can play really beautifully tongued fast notes without getting tense, and that's the main problem here. The rhythm at R needs a bit of attention.

[playing notes]

Again, the syncopations work best if you don't play the notes too long so that you don't drag--

[playing notes]

--but keep it nice and relaxed and short. That's it for treble 1. There's a lot of challenges in there, but don't be afraid. Play the repeated notes as long notes, and they won't be half as scary.

JOANNE ARNOTT: And for the treble 2, lots of what Hans said actually for treble 1 applies to treble 2 also. So, when you've got some faster notes, some quavers at letter C, for example, it's a good idea to practise those as longer notes as well before adding your tongue in.

At letter E, there is a section at letter E where we have a C sharp accidental, which on alto is these 2, these 2. And we need a half hole down here just for tuning. So, when you get there, watch out for that C sharp. And then in the following bar, it turns back into a C natural. So, just keep an eye out for that.

And then in the rejoicing, I wanted to mention that in letter N where we have 2 bars rest and then some music, we're actually playing with the descant 2 part. So, listen out for the descant 2s and they will be playing with you, and there's a nice swapping thing that happens there with treble 1 and tenor and treble 2 and descant.

There was one more thing. So, we also have that rhythm in the second half of R. So, at bar 57, we want to make sure that we've got a quaver on that first beat in that syncopated rhythm. So, that might be a good 4 bars for the treble 2s to practise by themselves.

Other than that, in the last couple of lines, we have lots of repeated notes. So, when you have repeated notes that are quavers especially, just separate them a tiny bit just so we can hear the rhythm. So, from bar 81--

[playing notes]

--just that little bit of separation. So, we're not accenting them like a staccato. We're just separating those notes a little bit so that we can hear that they're different notes. And that's it for the treble 2 part.

TRACY BURJAN: In the tenor part in the rejoicing at letter P, we have a part where we go from A up to high E. And this also happens at the end when we go from E to B. So, just be careful just to roll your thumb back like that so that makes that nice, that transition from our top E to A-- or top E to B, sorry-- top E to B nice and smooth. And you could practise that very slowly.

[playing notes]

Or from the E to the B.

[playing notes]

And it's just a very nice gentle roll there. You get the melody tenors at letter Q, so make sure you practise that part. That's really nice for the tenors to get the melody for a change. And we do have the question and answer part at letter N, which is really nice. So, you get the answering.

And also at letter F, you get the melody. And I think that part's with the descant 1 as well. So, just remember that C sharp fingering that we've all been talking about. Looks like A, but take your thumb off. So, make sure you learn that part at letter F because that's a really nice legato section. And that's your little feature. So, enjoy it.

ALICIA CROSSLEY: And then for our bass part, your lungs are going to get a good workout with all of your long notes in especially the andante section or the first half of this piece. And I want you to try and aim to see if you can hold your breath and play a 4-bar phrase without taking a breath.

So, definitely don't take a breath on each bar because then you're going to find that it starts to sound choppy because you've got a very long melody line. So, if you start breaking up every note, it's not going to make sense. So, first try and see if you can get through 2 bars in one breath, and then try and aim to get through 4 bars in one breath when you're playing.

You had a little C sharp that pops up in letter E, so make sure you are putting down, so 1, 2 on the top pane, 1, 2 and half. So, try and make sure that this finger comes down because as we mentioned before with both G sharps or C sharps, depending on what instrument you're playing, it does make the instrument go out of tune if you don't put that finger on.

So, you've got C sharp to B. So, it is a little bit of moving there. Don't think you need to take that finger off to go down to the B. It slides down. So, you've got C sharp, B. So, that's in the third bar of letter E. So, that might be one little fingering there that you need to look at.

And finally, just on your articulations. For letter P, you have (SINGING) A, E, A. Make sure that the E doesn't pop out too loud because it's easy because it's a nice comfortable note to make it loud. So, keep that nice and soft so it doesn't stick out. And then you have accents on letter R, which is where we want to play nice and strong, but it's on your weakest note on a B. So, you might think of a nice strong tongue, but don't emphasise it with your breath because it's just going to make a crackle or a squeaky sound. So, yeah. So, control your breath all through that.

And when you're taking a breath, make sure your diaphragm or feel like your tummy is coming out when you take a big breath. If your shoulders come up, we're not using the right part of our lungs. So, when you take a breath, and this goes for everyone, feel if your tummy is popping out. And then we know we're taking nice deep breaths, and we're not going to get all tense in our shoulders.

SUSAN SUKKAR: We hope that these teaching points have been useful for you, and that you use these videos that we're making to reinforce your teaching with the children. The children will be able to look at them themselves at home too and play along with the teaching of these pieces. And we really look forward to hearing your feedback about how you're going with teaching this music to your students. Thank you very much.

Thank you very much for attending our professional learning. We are now finished with plenty of time for you to go and make your dinner. So, I'd just like to give you some small pieces of information before we finish. Firstly, we'll be sending out the offers for the concerts later this week. All of the recorder schools have been able to fit into one of the concerts, and so I don't think anybody will be disappointed, and we are able to accommodate all the students that you want to bring.

Having said that, the non-refundable participation fee of $37.00 will be debited from your school accounts before the 30th of June. There's also the rural and remote subsidy is $27.75 per student. So, this money will be debited by the 30th of June. So, if you have had a reduction or even an increase in the number of students, please let me know and Sue Hill and we will adjust the system.

In the event of a COVID-19-related school withdrawal from the performance, schools will be refunded 50% of the participation fee. And you will need to understand that participation fee is not just for the concert, but for the whole of all of the repertoire that we produce: the commissioning, the copyright, the T-shirts, the administration and the organisation of the concerts. So, it isn't just coming to the opera house. So, if you are in a position where you need to request a refund, it will be 50% of the participation fee.

So, final thing to say is that I will be sending you an evaluation later this week. And in that evaluation, there'll be the necessary descriptors and the standards for you so that you can log-- I would suggest 3 hours of elective professional learning with NESA. That would account for our workshop and also the time that you've spent preparing, practising music, looking at the challenging parts and just preparing yourself for this whole concert.

Somebody's actually asked me whether there's a cutoff date for numbers. I would say that by the end of first term would be safe. But maybe just after Easter would be even safer. So, you've got a few weeks to practise and to stabilise your groups. But we do understand that sometimes there is some sort of movement in those groups. And so, just send us the final number as soon as you can.

When this letter of offer comes, it will state the actual numbers that you've requested. So, if you know that straight away that you've got some shift in that, just come back to us as soon as you can. But historically, we don't generally take that money from the accounts until later in the financial year.

I'm not sure if there are any other questions. No, we're finished. So, Thank you so much for being with us today. I hope that you've learnt a lot and don't hesitate to contact us if you need any assistance. One thing that I didn't mention-- I just need a bit more water, sorry-- is cluster rehearsals for country schools.

We've got preliminary rehearsals here in Sydney, but if you're a country school, I'm going to do my very best to get out to as many clusters as I can. So, if you're very remote and there's no schools close to you, please just request a cluster and I will do my best to come to you. We are very cognisant of the fact that your groups have been decimated and that you're rebuilding and that you might need some assistance.

So, even if it's a Zoom that I come in on with your children to just motivate them a little bit and give them a short tutorial on one section of the music. And if there are one or 2 schools together, I will try and get there for a cluster rehearsal. So, I would love to hear from you.

Just send me an email and let me know where you are and what sort of time you would like in terms of-- in the term what dates. And I'll do my best to get out to you and work with the children. I'm bursting to play, to be involved with the children again and to actually get my hands dirty and get in there and listen to children playing. So, I'll be very happy to come and visit you.

So, thank you very much for attending again. All the best to our flood-prone colleagues. And we hope that it all settles down and that you are able to get back into schools and doing what you love and what we love to see coming out of the schools too. All the very best and stay in touch. Thank you, everyone. Bye-bye.

End of transcript