Zen Flute for beginners – wood or plastic sound samplings and more from class 1

so we’ll start right in and what we’re gonna do is I’m going to start you know what I’m gonna get a little closer into the micro to the camera here cuz that camera is a little too far away for you guys yeah so first of all I’m going to suggest to you if you do not you don’t have to have a flute right now but be helpful if you did the simplest way to get started is to work with a soprano first and I want to point out that I started with a I started with a $2,000 soprano recorder not through my own personal choice but because that’s what Morgan had left me and so the very first thing I did was I got myself a plastic recorder so that I wouldn’t risk the $2,000 wood recorder without knowing when I was doing this as it’s very tricky there are things you need to know before you play a wood recorder a plastic recorder if something goes wrong with it you can throw this into the dishwasher not just anywhere in the dishwasher the top part of the dishwasher you know where the delicate stuff goes and you can actually wash these things out in your dishwasher and get rid of all the gunk in there so I found several types of plastic recorders and I read a number of articles I read about Oh probably two or three dozen articles on the care and feeding of recorders one of the things that everybody agrees upon is that a plastic recorder until you get to the level of about a thousand dollars a plastic recorder is perfectly adequate it will do the same job as a recorder that is worth two hundred three hundred four hundred five hundred dollars and so forth the exception to that is if you have a recorder available to you that cost less than a thousand dollars that actually has that high quality sound which is why I have obtained pearwood recorders at only four hundred dollars but you have to realize that that is a very unusual recorder you have to be able to select your recorder from a variety of recorders that are available to you so that having been said I started with a $2.00 recorder it’s a beautiful little recorder that’s only it’s not two dollars I think it’s four but it means you know four or five it’s it’s it’s it’s I call it a $2.00 recorder because it’s really G it’s Alliance Lyly ons are fifty and it comes with a cleaner and a case and it’s a three-piece recorder oh my god you get me new what can you do better than that for the you know ridiculously small amount um here’s the case it comes with genuine plastic case and doesn’t have a little plunger in it – yeah a little plunger yeah a little stick how do you use it while you put something in it like a piece of flannel one of the things that you never ever do is Ram even in plastic you never Ram anything up the mouthpiece like this because you will actually destroy the mouthpiece even in a plastic instrument so you have to actually respect that lab ium it’s called which is lip right here this is a little thing there and then up inside there there’s this thing’s a little chuck in there that you don’t want to hit it when it’s wood it’s horrible you’ve destroyed the instrument let me see if I can get some sound out of this thing you know all that having been said maybe I can’t even get sound out of this first thing I’m going to do is cover all the holes and try to get a sound now if I blow too hard I get that if I blow –

softly I get that so I’ve covered all the holes that all I’m gonna do now is just go up and down these are gonna move my fingers off of the holes and I’ll show you how to do that in a minute what you’ll notice I’m doing is I’m playing with the holes to discover what the tuning is this is very important for recorder I would have to know how to get perfect cruci I’d have to know how to get a perfect C sharp C – now that’s actually not a C – but how to get flats and sharps how to get in between the notes that’s what that means flats and sharps are positions between the notes so there are certain things you’ll never need to know with Zen flute that’s one of the things you’ll never need to know it’s just that you should be aware that those things do exist you now I’m gonna play the two-buck Chuck which is the Lions little Lions are fifty to two dollar instrument or $4 $5 whatever it is it’s cheap the cheapo instruments to buck chuck so I’m going to play a little bit of it here and let’s just see how far I can get with this here in terms of intonation now watch listen carefully I’m gonna just play it the way you would normally start out okay now it’s a piece of plastic recycled dinosaur this has been on the planet for at least 250 to 500 million years at least sitting underground in an oil reserve and it got processed through a plastics plant petroleum plant first obviously and then as a petroleum by-product it got turned into this beautiful little totally recyclable recorder or Zen flute it is recyclable it might take a few billion years but I guarantee that four and a half to five billion years from now this will no longer be in the condition it’s in it’s just a question of time everything recycles it’s just a question of time so I’m going to play it now and see if I can get a little intonation into it let’s go to the next register you agree that a $2 a two buck chuck

will work right okay I just wanted to mention that I wanted to show you that because I don’t want you to give me an excuse that you have a two buck chuck and that’s why it sounds so lousy it isn’t the instrument it’s you now I have here in my hands not to buck chucks these are $50 beautiful $50 plastic recorders they’re almost exactly identical in terms of sound but this one looks like olive wood and this one looks like rose wood they appeared to be trimmed in ivory which is exactly what the originals were they were trimmed at ivory but this is not ivory this is what is called plastique this is a fancy French word for plastic recycled dinosaur I’m going to first play this one which is the Rosewood style very nice sounding isn’t it and to be sure it does sound better than the two buck chuck doesn’t it you could hear it it’s got a better resonance to it as a better quality to it this is the olive wood this is my personal favorite and I’m gonna show you what this sounds like so we’ll do a little bit of note bending that the other instruments will not do now your ear is kind of tuned you’re kind of getting used to hearing this and I’m going to give you a benchmark to work toward the benchmark is the sound that I can make with this and I’m going to give you that as a challenge as a goal for you to get to and I realize and you should realize that you cannot get there with your two buck chuck now I’m going to use a my I’m going to use my pseudo olivewood it is a Yamaha now listen carefully to the sound gonna go to the higher register keep that sound in your memory I’m now going to play Alvin Hoonah Rosewood three-piece soprano $2,000 instrument actually now there are $2,700 the same instrument this is handmade and it is the equivalent of a Stradivarius in terms of the quality of sound

now the higher register this is where it makes the biggest difference okay can you hear the difference for those of you who have played the alte for you briefly just to introduce you to the sound hi register so and this is a pretty interesting instrument it started as a yamaha it’s a lot heavier it weighs about three times the what the other one weighs and so forth now what’s the difference between the alto and the soprano first of all the soprano has higher tones you notice that now if you hear an alto singer and a soprano singer doesn’t the soprano singer have a higher voice right so there’s a soprano alto tenor baritone bass soprano actually does more than soprano the sopranino which is even higher than soprano but we’re not gonna go there because it’s like a dog whistle soprano is a beautiful instrument soprano flute it’s beautiful instrument and it’s easy to place a lot easier to play then the alto the alto is a little tougher but the audio I think is a more pleasing instrument because there’s so many rich tones that you can get out of it and it goes with a lot more things this is the Harewood alto and i think this is the sweetest most beautiful sound this side of $1,000 you get a difference between this in the plastic I hope so

now to go further a little bit further because I want you to understand what you’re dealing with here I’m going to demonstrate to you $1,000 instrument this is the lowest level ordinarily except for the pair this is the lowest level of wood I would even bother with and actually if you want a professional instrument it’s going to cost you between two thousand and eight thousand dollars just as it would if you are buying guitar or if you’re buying a bass or if you’re buying a piano or you’re buying a trombone or or a cornet or a saxophone you’re going to pay two thousand two eight thousand dollars for a decent instrument not a great one a great instrument sure guitar a great guitar a hundred and fifty thousand to three hundred thousand dollars a great violin between three million and fifteen million dollars well how are the world that people do the way they do it is the way that juries dad in which is that you get some doctors dentists lawyers architects to back you they buy your violin they buy your instrument for you and then you are a corporation and so most of the first violinists are actually corporations corporate souls corporation souls and they actually issue stock in themselves and then they get jobs in the great orchestras and that is shared among the people who are who owned them through the instrument in many cases for instance in his case he he owned a violin bow that was worth more than most people’s homes just the bow the case itself was could put a kid through college just the case and the violin itself you could buy a downtown business building office building for the same amount of money just realize so I’m going to play for you $1,000 which is a low-end wood instrument this is box wood and it is the lowest end that I would even consider other than the pair wood the pair wood is great because it actually is a wonderful breath regulator for sound this is the instrument you want I’m kind of touching on a third register there’s a third register on this little sucker is it’s it’s got more reach than the other ones have still it’s not really there I have other instruments that I’m not going to tease you with because the other instruments would cost you between 2000 and $8,000 I’m just not going to tease you with us they’re meant for professional use I use them professionally and I don’t recommend them for casual use $1,000 for an

instrument is an awful lot unless you’re using it in a very serious way this has gold keys on it the reason it has gold keys on it because gold doesn’t oxidize therefore it it wears better when they do begin to go the simplest solution is to take it off send it into the factory they remake one for you and send it back they like to actually have the entire instrument sent to them and then they they just remake one for you that’s your little foot it’s called a foot and it gives you your half and it depends on what what it’s tuned to the flutes that I use are tuned to 440 a meaning that there are there’s a number of definitions of the of the the note a and all of the notes following the note a there’s ABCD efg and of course the note H which nobody can play and so 440 a is the modern standard in the West is it the standard everywhere not at all 4:12 424 431 there are a variety of frequencies those are called frequencies that are denoted as a and it depends on whether you played Baroque music which I hate or modern music which are equally detest or Zen music which I love which is whatever and that’s it for if I played at 440 I recommend 440 there’s a variety of reasons why that’s nice one of which is you can play with other instruments whereas when you have a totally baroque instrument you can only play with other baroque instruments which means you have to know people who typically spend their evenings reading Chaucer in the original Middle English which I do but but only on occasion I’m talking about every evening this is a tenor and the reason that the tenor is so nifty is because it’s really nifty and this is a lot harder to play it takes a lot more breadth to play this and it’s the sweetest sounding instrument this side of heaven here we go hi register little heart what you have to do is play it a little while about 15 minutes into it in the high register starts to kick in it’s too dry for the high register but anyway that’s the tenor and it’s a very sweet instrument beautiful low instrument of course there’s also baritone and bass some of the bass instruments are actually 20 feet tall what you have is a piece of plastic that is a two buck chuck pretty much some of you have better instruments than that many of you got the thing I recommended for beginners which is the double set but you have a soprano and an alto so so far all we’ve done is examine the instrument and see what it sort of does there yeah that’s funny I can see it after I do it because a little bit of lag there I’m

gonna use I should use the two buck chuck for this but it I’ll use this guy here which is the close to the two buck chuck as I have anymore I’ve given away my to buck Chuck’s to folks who are in dire need some of whom are sitting here still in dire need but they have a to buck chuck now so this is a plastic device it’s a plastic tube and all it is don’t forget as a pipe it’s a piece of plumbing now I want you to notice something about it that like ordinary plumbing it’s a PVC pipe basically wait I’ll wait the wooden flute you get from me if you want a wooden flute talk to me tell me what kind of wooden flute you want in a few minutes I’ll demonstrate if you like I can demonstrate wow I can do let’s do it let’s let’s pull the other foots out here and I’ll demonstrate tomorrow over here I’ll do it this is the most amazing flue this is a this is to lift wood it’s called tulip wood and finding a piece of wood big enough to make this is apparently a significantly difficult task and this is the I’ll play the tulip wood for you now this is significantly different it’s clear it has a beautiful rich tone it is a $1700 instrument it’s a strange wood grenadiers it’s kind of like an olive wood very hard very heavy very rich toned and this one I have to warm up really significantly this is actually the most expensive recorder I would ever consider buying I didn’t consider buying it I wasn’t going to buy it at all and then I realized that magically speaking I had to because I wanted to produce some pieces that were extraordinarily different and that required a specific type of vibration this produces exactly that kind of magical vibration but you’re talking $3,000 $4,000 $5,000 for these instruments depends on how what you want you it depends on the configuration of these things they come in different configurations it’s a $4,000 instrument is it worth it no it isn’t worth it unless you are recording specifically or performing in vocational music where you must have a certain vibrational level and that is what this does I’ll put this together for you I don’t play this very often and I eat it with the utmost care and respect

the three greatest recorder artists described this instrument as the greatest recorder ever made in history bar none bar none that’s whether it was made in the 16th century 15th century 17th 18th century bar none this is the best ever made this is the kit that I recommended and it’s made by Poulos and this kit here is about I don’t know 75 dollars I think this is what this is here with all the shipping and everything it’s probably about that and it has an alto and soprano in it this is the Ellis soprano okay I just wanted to demonstrate that if you want a wood a wood device then you need to ask me to find out for you to give me a price figure that you’d like to pay and I will find you the very very best flute I can find at that price okay tell me what you want to spend I will find something for you that is absolutely as gorgeous as you can possibly get I will test it out if it works to my satisfaction I will then clean it send it on to you and it’ll be yours okay simple as that I don’t want you to go out and range around and try to buy one of these things because there’s no way in the world that you know what you’re looking for because it’s not just the sound of the flute it is also the feel what happens when it puts the breath back into your body that’s what happens you blow into these things you get back breath it goes back in did you know that like back EMF back electromagnetic force same thing this then is I’m going to give you your assignment for the next week and what I’m going to have you do is it’s gonna sound awfully stupidly simple but I believe me you’re gonna be very challenged just to do what I’m asking you to do here it’s a discipline and it’s a discipline if you lose one day you’ll lose a whole week not now but but when you get into it if you lose a day’s work it’s like losing a week right now it won’t hurt you but it will eventually so I want you to get the discipline of playing five minutes every day let me hear you one more time here for 10 seconds ready I’ll tell you when to go not yet and take a breath not a deep breath but do take a breath before you blow out before your exhale take a breath breathes in ready go okay good now once again in closing I’m going to leave you with this thought

I think well on that and that is your goal that’s where you’re going to so you actually can you have to but at the at the foot of the mountain right now you’re at the bottom of mountain and you’re looking up but you could at least see where you’re going you know where you’re going you know where you’re starting from and it’s just a question of getting there from here okay all right next week Jerusalem