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Paul Van Ross has flute lessons in Cuba

September 10. Cuba.

Had a great flute class with Evelyn. She’s showing me the roots of Cuban flute music in Danson & Charanga. She’s quite a character and we often share ideas. Her English is very understandable and I think that studying with her will be great. She’s performed on TV a lot here. She is good friends with the pianist I recorded with last week Alejandro Falcon (amazing).

Spent the day practising. Then went to Changuitos house with friend Nui, to say good bye, have a drink of rum, meet the family and take a few photos.

In the evening we went out for dinner. Fellow Aussie ‘Nui’ is leaving tomorrow. Had a fun drink with local Bata player from Chucho Valdes’ band and his amigo…..they are so funny. Hard to pass up a Piña Colada for US$1.25 so I had two or three or was it four???

We joked about the cafe in which we were drinking as it had pink painted walls with decor from 1960’s. we dubbed it ‘the pink panther’.

I find it so ironic because most Cubans are famous for dressing so well, yet the decor and buildings here are exact up the opposite….no style (or completely retro).

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Flute Center of New York

Late July.

Found myself on the 11th floor of a building near Colombus Circle – the flute center of New York, where there are flutes and headjoints a plenty…..mostly a little over priced.

Very easy to spend 4-5hours here, in the two roomed ‘apartment’.

Lets see, tried out all manner of headjoints: David Chu, Haynes, Powell, Burkhart, Williams, Arista…..silver, gold (rose, 14k, 19.5), platinum….a flute players candy store.

Oh….and then there were flutes to try…new & second hand…..

1916 wooden Haynes
Gold Goosman
Gold haynes
Platinum Powell
Louis Lot
Powell handmades
Lamberson
Arista
Emmanuel (probably my favourite)
And may more…….and the piccolos too.

Took a 14k Haynes headjoint to trial for a while…..it made my commercial model Powell (1976 year) 30% louder and had a modern tone.

Fun. Friendly staff too.

Got my Powell repadded and tweaked at Weismann flutes by Luke Panella. With a new set of Straubinger pads, no leaks and no more movement in the key work….. It plays like a dream 🙂

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Flute lesson with the great Keith Underwood

I was last in New York 17 years ago, for private music study purposes. It had been a long time between lessons. At the time my favourite teacher with whom to study was Keith Underwood – a flute specialist. He was extremely articulate in answering questions, always had sensational recordings to demonstrate his theories, was always complimentary in his approach, a master in the art of breathing for wind instruments, knowledgable in all players and genres of music, and treated me like all his professional playing students (despite the fact that I was a beginning “doubler” at the time).

He was constantly travelling to Brazil, Japan, in fact all over the world. I felt very fortunate to study with him.

Lessons with Keith were always inspiring.

Perhaps the most inspiring lesson I learnt from Keith is that he was always the ‘student’ too. Continually hunting down new resources to aid in instrumental playing, and always open to the source of the information.

In my 17 year absence I had managed to track down a few videos of interviews with Keith teaching. He was into new quality theories. I wanted to know more. I just had to got back to New York City.

So, today I got to experience the joys of studying with Keith again. Quality instruction of this level is rare. I felt like I was at University again. I was inspired. My eyes lit up. I wanted to be a sponge, and absorb all information.

An hour and a half lesson just flew by. I wanted to stay longer.

Another lesson next week, can’t wait!!!!!