North Bridge Flute Academy


North Bridge Masterclass
Fauré – Berceuse
Oginski – Polonaise
Fauré – Sicilienne
Telemann – Sonata in F
Marais – Le Basque
Quantz – Sonata in E minor – Vivace
Delibes – Morceau de Concours


Telemann Air a l'Italien
Donjon – Pan
Fauré – Morceau de Concours
Hoffmeister – Sonata in G – 1st Mvt, Allegro Assai
Gaubert – Madrigal
Rabboni - Sonata (No. 3) in E
CPE Bach - Allegro from Sonata in E Minor
Rabboni – Sonata (No. 8) in C
Gossec – Tambourin


Rabboni – Sonata (No. 7) in F
Roussel – Mr. de la Pejaudie


Roussel – Pan




GRADE 5, Lesson #7
Performance Video: Delibes - Morceau de Concours

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GRADE 5, Lesson #7
Teaching Notes Video: Delibes - Morceau de Concours

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This enchanting piece by Delibes mirrors elements of gentle folk music. It is also really quite simple, which of course in turn makes it more complicated to play well!

Matters are not made any easier by the fact that after a rousing two chord introduction from the piano, the second being a highly expectant, almost euphoric dominant 7th, the first note in the flute part is a bottom octave D, a note that has the potential not only to sound flat, but also deeply insecure and dull!

Bar 3. The first note needs to sound positive and in control. Your air has a long way to travel to reach the speaker key for a low D in the foot joint. In order to propel sufficient air through the tube that distance, there is a necessity to anticipate the energy required and the correct air speed, well in advance of a sound. You need to have the internal feeling of a controlled coiled spring and when the energy is released it must be followed through to make the low D speak well.

For a centred sound, the air column will need to be focused downward. In the process of aiming down, take care not to drop your head as well. This causes two issues. Firstly, the D is almost guaranteed to be flat and secondly, a dropping head may well over angle your air downwards and miss the target completely!

Be careful to use a good articulation for this first note. T or even D might well be too explosive and if over emphasised will simply split the note upwards. The vowel sound that we make after the initial consonant has a profound effect on the quality of the note. Try ‘DAAH’ (as in Darth Vader!), but push air through as you do, thus allowing the vowel to ‘carry’ the note more.

Another major challenge in the first few bars of this simple melody is that of having to negotiate a range of different harmonics in a short space of time.

In the first three bars of the flute line it is necessary to travel from a low D to a 3rd octave D. This feat in itself requires great skill and once again the concept of knowing where you are going before you get there is crucial. Your flute is a very unruly creature and in this instance it is necessary to take complete control.

Clearly the airspeed should change and at times rapidly throughout these three bars. Look ahead and be aware of and impose these changes. Air passed through a flute in correct quantities equals the life of sound. Anything less has a tendency to make everything sound dull and exhausted.

Bar 4. Unless care is taken, there is a high chance that as we are approaching it from the D beneath, the A at the beginning of the bar will sound flat and under nourished.

The second beat of Bar 3 should be the ‘spring board’ to this note. Therefore, more energy than you might imagine is necessary for both solid pitch and positive life.

The following repeated staccato notes should have an element of laughter to them and gradually lead to Bar 6. You might like to make each new one fractionally longer, to give that sense of direction. However, be careful not to overcook this idea, as we don’t want them sounding like doughnuts!

Bar 7 through to 10. This is another dangerous passage as notes at the lower end of the second octave can sound dull and out of tune if lacking in the correct amount of energy.

They are first harmonics and as such need a more positive and active approach. With these continuous semiquaver runs, be sure that energy exists between the notes. This will help to glue them together and thus create an overall more legato feel.

Bar 11. Now in the relative major key of F, you can play with more optimism. This continues from Bar 19 onwards and takes us to Bar 27 and once again in F major, a beautifully flowing melody.

Bar 23. Staccato notes should come with a government health warning! We are often too heavily influenced by what our eyes transmit to our brains. We see staccato and we don’t think about musical expression, we think it’s time to load the pistol and engage with rapid fire!

These seven staccato notes should be elegant and almost dance across the page. Any over articulation will undoubtedly kill them off.

However, even after this, there is no chance to relax just yet. More troubles lie ahead!

Between Bar 29 and Bar 30, we are presented with a massive leap downwards. The air direction needs to drop down quickly, but also evenly and smoothly. Try saying ‘EE-AWE’ and bring your top lip forward for the ‘AWE’. This might help to make the transition from the upper B flat to the low G easier.

Bar 35 to 40. These repeated groups of A to B flat and back again cannot just all be played in the same way. There should be a sense of urgency in each group of two, increasingly anticipating the climax at Bar 41.

Once again, in Bar 43, don’t make the staccato notes too short or mean. They must be played with charm!

Bars 54 and 55 are highly unfriendly on our left hand 4th finger. In both hands our 4th and 5th fingers are infinitely weaker than other digits and they require constant work, to keep them strong enough to grapple with the demands of music written for the instrument. Most composers aren’t so bothered with our physical weaknesses, they are correctly more interested in creative writing! It is our job to come up with a sufficient technique to meet any of their demands.

An exercise which makes the finger repeat the downwards and upwards motion will be a help. Of course, there are many exercises available that do just that, but invariably they tend to be on the dull side. Any such exercise has to be played with musical expression and to get you going on this journey, you might like to try’ The 28 Day Warm up Book’, available as either a printed or digital download version at: (

In Bar 74 there are repeated A’s with accents. Once again, an accent (certainly in this instance) doesn’t mean ‘spit as violently down your flute as you can’! We are approaching the end and as such these accents should sound almost ‘heavy’ or even ‘bell like’.

Finally, in Bar 76 there is an A in the second octave, which lasts for three and a half bars. In other words, quite a long time. This is near the end of the piece, so there should be an impression of fading away, indicated by the diminuendo. To this extent, any vibrato should be narrow and gradually lessen, so that at the very end, the solo flute note in the last bar is still or tranquil and disappears whilst also being in tune.

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