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Fantastic flutes

2 months ago

Jane Dennison

Educational Content Manager

Liz Childs with the Bedfordshire Woodwind Academy Flute Ensemble

Back in July we took part in Flutewise Live – a fantastic event in London for over 50 young flute players, teachers and parents. The day included workshops, presentations and performances from some brilliant flautists and teachers – Abbie Burrows, Gareth Davies (LSO Principle Flute), Claire Jefferis, Gareth McLearnon, Ana Pucihar – as well as composer Blaz Pucihar, whose music features on our new Flute syllabus.

There was also a focus on exams, provided by flute player, teacher and ABRSM examiner Louise Matthew and our Chief Examiner, John Holmes. Sessions on the new Flute syllabus repertoire, coping with nerves and encouraging progress at the right pace were complemented by workshops on the exam itself. John busted a few myths about exams and examiners, providing reassurance, guidance and top tips. There were loads of great questions and a few mini examiners in the making! He also presented The Wrong Exam – a comedy moment with some serious messages. Top players at the event gave their all to acting out how nerves, lack of preparation, and all sorts of other factors can affect an exam. Sadly, it didn’t end well for the Chief Examiner, as the last candidate was Darth Vader… !

It was also the final of the new ABRSM/Flutewise Flute Choir Competition, with eight choirs performing in two categories. In the Open Class, Bedfordshire Woodwind Academy Flute Ensemble won 1st prize, followed by Classic Flutes from East Sussex (2nd), Glasgow University Flute Club (3rd) and Chichester Flute Choir (4th). In the School Age Class, Hampshire Flute Choir received 1st prize, followed by Loughborough Flute Ensemble (2nd), Yorkshire’s Les Six (3rd) and Funky Flutes from Hampshire (4th).

Liz Childs, director of the winning Open Class choir and also an ABRSM examiner, told us a bit more about her ensemble. ‘The Bedfordshire Woodwind Academy Flute Ensemble, or BWAFE, began life over 10 years ago and meets every Monday in term time. The only qualification required is an enthusiasm and passion for playing the flute. Most players in the ensemble are adults returning to their flute playing having learnt at school. We’ve recently started a Junior Ensemble too as we feel passionate about promoting the whole experience of playing the flute.

‘To be the winners of this competition was just such an honour. We never ever expected to win but were just out for a fun day with fellow flautists. Our prize was a Guo G Treble flute donated by Just Flutes. There’s lots of fun to be had with this and it produces a gorgeous, sweet and mellow sound, really beautiful.’

Many congratulations to all the competition participants!

The day finished with a concert of Flute syllabus repertoire ending with an incredible performance from Gareth Davies of Faure’s Fantasie, which now appears at Grade 8.

So, it was an inspiring day for all which Liz Childs sums up so well: ‘Thanks must go to Liz Goodwin, Director of Flutewise, for the huge amount of energy she put in to making this day happen. Truly remarkable and what an important and totally worthwhile organisation Flutewise is!’

Find out more about Flutewise.

Find out more about the Bedfordshire Woodwind Academy and their flute ensembles.

 

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