At our studio retreat this year, one of our coaches showed the students a video of flutist Amy Porter performing. I was completely awed by her stage presence, musicality, tone, and the way she connected to the audience.
But at the same time, I wondered: Why the heck can’t we do that? What’s the difference between her performance and ours?
So I watched the video again to observe every detail of her performance to figure out her secrets. I looked at her body language, posture, facial expression, tone colors, phrasing, etc… Even the way she walked onto the stage. Everything!
Then I decided to have my students do the same.
Ask your students to watch recordings of virtuoso performers on their instrument and see what they discover.
Share their written comments with the studio. This assignment will not only increase their knowledge of the repertoire, but also encourage them to articulate what they’ve observed. By expressing what they viewed as “amazing,” they’ll create their own performance goals.
Now I say to them, “What would Amy Porter do?” and we all laugh and try harder.
Sample Student Comments
Even on the fast runs I can hear every note.
All of the moods work wonderfully and I can hear the thought put into them.
The slow parts sound like flowing water.
Even before she plays a note I can tell she is confident.
Every time she plays the main theme I feel I’m hearing it for the first time.
When you hear her tone, it is as if you’re flying above the clouds.
Her body language mimics the music
Listening to her makes me want to be a better musician.”