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We dive into ornamentation for a slow movement with Johann Joachim Quantz’s help. Quantz left us an example adagio constructed from basic building blocks. For each building block there are several possible ornaments given that we can learn by heart. Here is a video explaining Quantz’s general approach:
Lessons will take place online, through Zoom in a small group setting. Each 1,5 hours lesson, the student will prepare with a little practice piece, an accompaniment file and a few ornaments to be learned by heart. Students come together in the lesson, learning from each other’s versions by listening, and learning to solidify by playing for others in a friendly and encouraging environment. Each lesson a new building block will be introduced. Each practice piece incorporates previously learned building blocks as well, so we keep reiterating things we have learned before.
By the end of each lesson you will have practised your ears, learned a few ornaments, had fun improvising for each other and grown the desire to practice more for the next time 🙂 ! By the end of the course you will be able to ornament simple slow movements on the go.
I’m organising two versions of the course in the coming month. One course will run weekly from April to June (see below for dates) and one course will be condensed into one week, July 1-8. I’m thinking about 10 am Amsterdam Time but this will depend on you and the other students. If you can’t make all the dates, but are dying to start, please still apply and perhaps we can figure something out.
Johann Joachim Quantz’s Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (Berlin, 1752) is a treasure trove of information about the performance of music in the 18th century. Few other books go into this much detail and no other book gives such a pedagogical approach to building up your abilities to improvise ornamentation. It takes a while, but it’s worth it !
Although his ideas are most applicable to German Baroque music, he also informs us how to use ornamentation in the French and Italian styles.
I think students at any level can learn about ornamentation. A good test is being able to play the Adagio at MM=60. You can see it here on the left. Let me know if you need it transposed or in another clef.
This is most obvious on any melodic instrument and for singers, but could also work on polyphonic instruments like keyboard or lute (there are a bass and chords as well).
Both courses currently available include 8 lessons and materials and cost € 200 euros. Do get in touch if you cannot afford the lesson / for student rates. My ultimate goal is to reach as many people as possible. To be paid through Paypal ideally, but I have a webshop as well.
Who am I?
I am Robert. You might know me from The Scroll Ensemble or our YouTube channel. If not, in short: I have improvised in various styles in classical music for the last 20 years and teach improvisation at all levels. I teach improvisation at the Conservatory of The Hague, but have also traveled around teaching in various places in Europe and even Texas!
Beside this I have taught many courses designed to teach amateur musicians to learn to improvise and even worked with small children with the starting points of improvisation.
What is important for me, and what I receive most as feedback: Everyone feels safe in my class to experiment, make mistakes and learn together.