Jaimie Lee Mendoes - flute expert

How to play play Mozart's Flute Concerto #2

Learn how to study Mozat's Concerto No. 2 for flute

In this video, Jaimie gives you an extensive lesson on how to approach and study the Concerto No. 2 K314.

Released on October 5, 2016

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hello everyone, this is Jaimie Lee Mendoes, the flute expert on virtualsheetmusic.com. Today we're going to talk about one of the most famous flute pieces out there, Mozart's Flute Concerto No. 2 in D Major. The reason why I chose this one instead of No. 1 is because I get, for some reason, I get more inquiries about this one rather than No. 1, which is in G Major. I guess more people like this one. Personally, I like the other one better, No. 1. Well, there are a couple of different reasons, but I like the melody in the first one better. It's a little more triumphant melody to me. Also, I like the fact that that one is the one that Mozart actually wrote for a flute. As many of you already know, this one, No. 2 in D Major, was written for oboe first and then later transcribed for flute. So I guess I have a little bit of a favoritism towards No. 1 because of that as well. But anyhow, nonetheless, this is a beautiful piece. You know that doesn't mean I hate this piece. I love this piece as well. I mean, in fact, Mozart is one of my favorite all time favorite composers. He's in my top two. If you're curious, the other one is J.S. Bach. So, yeah. So probably in this video, we won't be able to go through the whole piece, I mean, the whole movement for that matter because of, you know, the time issue. And also it's really difficult to get into every single detail in this kind of video setting. But, my goal is to maybe just point you out on major issues in the exposition, and so then with those ideas you can go through the whole first movement because it's pretty much the same thing.

So, as we...as I showed you just briefly last week, right off the bat we have a very long note in the beginning of the first movement, but before we get to that we have that beginning trill there. Now, I want you to play all of these trills...well, not all of the trills in the first movement, but most of these trill figures that you play after the same note. So for example here, same thing in the beginning. So, there's D first and then there's a D trill. Now, so, whenever you have these figures, I want you to play the trill starting from the note above. So in this case, it'll be E. So instead of playing... So starting the trill on the D... So start the trill on the E instead... Yeah? So, because that's the style from this particular period. Another thing in this passage I want you to watch out for is the C#. This is one of the things that a lot of flute players kind of neglect. C# is naturally a very sharp note on the flute. So no matter which piece you play, no matter how fast, slow the passage is, you have to watch out for the pitch, yes, because it just tends to be very, very sharp if you are not careful. So, you should intentionally bring down the pitch when even in this kind of passing passage. Otherwise, it could sound like this... I'll try my best to mess up... Do you hear this very sharp C# here? So instead...try to send more air down into the tube instead of just blowing it out there. Yeah?

And then we talked about that holding the long note last time, and there were a couple things, a few things that we talked about last time, so, work out, and then also try to evenly distribute your air. So, conserve your air, don't blow out everything in the beginning. Start small or limit your vibrato usage and then broaden your vibrato as you go so that you can fill out how many measures, here four measures, including the first beginning measure, so five measures of the melody there. So in this way, you're able to actually, this time, I was able to hold the breath from the beginning until the end of the whole phrase, which was measure, what is it, 38. If you are not able to do that, if you are a beginner, if you are an intermediate student, you can always take a breath after the long note...so, in measure 37 after the first D, so you can breathe there. That would be my choice. There are some people who breathe after A in that measure, so here. That's really not my first choice, but it's up to you. I just feel like if you were to breathe there it interrupts the flow of the whole phrase. So it's best to hold the breath maybe for the entire phrase until, what was the measure, 38, but if you can't, then I think the best spot to breathe is in measure 37 right after the first D.

Another thing in this phrase you want to watch out for is these As. Now you will see these figures a lot throughout this movement. In fact, there is another one in measure 39 as well, which is a repeating note, repeating quarter note. Whenever you have these, try not to play them detached, totally detached and kind of robotic way. So...it sounds kind of mechanical and emotionless, right? Instead, make it sound so that there is a direction, and plus bounce, bom pom pom, it has somewhere to go. So as you can hear, I'm vibrating each note, and I'm not quite ending the note, but I'm not quite slurring, I mean legato-ing the whole thing either. There is a slight separation, but I'm not stopping the air altogether. Yeah? So I just, we just passed the same passage in 39, Gs, the two Gs there, so think about, always think about direction, where you're heading towards.

Now I have to mention the measure 44 and 45 because this passage is one of the passages that students tend to get scared of, but there is really no reason to. A lot of students tend to focus on the high note, making the high note, so in the end it sounds kind of like this. So all I hear is the top note, dun dun dun dun, but really if you think about it, that's not the only important note. All the other notes are important, and in fact, you should be able to feel the beat even if we have these kind of off figures, which means that the beat is in the first note, ba da bum bum, ba da bum bum, ba da bum, bum. But that doesn't also mean that you should emphasize those first note of each group too much so that it sounds kind of dragged on, right? So this is wrong, a wrong example. Let me play a wrong example first. So this sounds kind of tedious, right?Yeah? So...make sure that you take care of these lower notes as well as the top note. I guess that's what I'm trying to say.

So, after that, we, in measure...which measure is this? So in measure 50, and also 53, and also 56, we have all of these trill figures. Same trill figures as the one we had in the very beginning. So same thing, all of these trills I want you to play from above, so from...starting from D...I mean, from B, I'm sorry. So instead of starting on A like this...start from the B. Same thing. Yeah? So same thing, I would suggest you to do the same in measure 73 as well. So there...yeah, same thing, start from above. And then, whenever you have these things, this is very Mozart particular shapes in measure, let's see, 80, for example. Whenever you have these little phrases, it's important to, of course, shape these little ones, but always think about these little ones in the big picture. So for example here...so yeah, this is one phrase here, but this is not just one separate group, it's part of a bigger group here. So it starts from actually two measures before. See, the phrase keeps going. Even if you're taking a rest there in measure 81, don't think of it as a total rest. Think of it as a continuation, because even if you're taking a rest, the orchestra, or if you're playing with a pianist, the piano, the music keeps going. So think about it always in the whole context, not just your flute mind, yeah.

In the very last part of the exposition, it's a very triumphant ending. I mean it's not the real end, but end of the exposition. Try not to rush so much. It's okay to, I mean we tend to get a little faster as we get excited on the stage, and that's totally fine, but try not to rush in terms of note values. So try not to cut all the notes too short, I guess that's what I'm trying to say, because then you might also, your fingers might get all jumbled together and then, you know, that's not what you want. Oh, here! So I don't have a C# trill key on my flute. When I ordered this...I play the Brannen Brothers flute body and then I have Lafin head joint. When I ordered my flute, I didn't order the C# trill key. Now I kind of regret it because it definitely makes your playing more convenient, but I mean that's not the end of the world. The reason why I didn't order C# trill key originally is because I was worried that it's going to actually weigh my flute down. At the time, I was having some problem with my right arm, so I didn't want to put any more weight, and I'm already so petite. So, but I think I could've, I could've managed to have C# key, so if you have one, lucky you. If you don't, that's not the end of the world so you can just trill as you already, probably already know, trill your thumb and then the first finger all together. So same thing here, trill starts from the above, so C#. Yeah? So, and then at the end, the same thing. Start from the C#, and then trill and then the end of the exposition.

I hope I explained a few of the main points of the exposition clearly. If you have any more questions on this part of this concerto or any other parts, any other questions that's not related to this piece, that's fine, always ask me. You can leave a comment on virtualsheetmusic.com below this particular video or you can email me through my website, mrsflute.com as well. I hope you have a great October and I will see you next time.
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