This is a report of the interview with Professor Barbara Gisler-Haase who has been teaching flute at Universiteat fur Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, and has published many flute manual books for public.
---Interviewer: Talking about Universiteat fur Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien where those studying music long for - it is know as a highly competitive university. What do you usually advise to your young talented students who passed the entrance exams at the beginning of your lesson?
Gisler-Haase: Majority of students are around 17 to 20 years old and have already studied how to play flute for about 10 years. As you mentioned, they are already high-level flutists at the point where they pass the selection process of admission exams.
Notwithstanding, I spend a lot of amount of time to teach the basics at first. Posture, breathing, embouchure. The most important thing in common among these three above is to have a sense of balance of muscle strength. I want young flutists to acquire suppleness and flexible muscle strength like a rubber band. Mastering how to use muscles of the face thoroughly will allow you to create expressive sounds and to obtain solid techniques.
I believe that I ought to cultivate this sense of balance all through my life as well as deepening interpretations of music compositions. Thus, I keep getting back to basics on a daily basis.
--- Could you explain a little bit more about what you specifically advise to your students as a daily practice rutine?
G H: Basically, with your best sounding-note, tonal quality exercise, dynamism, intonation, articulation, tongue and finger techniques are needed to be practiced everyday. We should design an effective exercise to pursue these basic skills.
All these daily exercises will help us get musical inspirations when playing Etudes, Sonatas, Concertos and so forth. It is a tremendous pleasure to perform compositions written by great composers on one hand, we should bear in mind that big responsibilities attach to it on the other hand.
--- I understand that it's very important to go back to basics constantly. I remembered that you touched upon the significance of learning French other than flute lessons, didn't you?
G H: Yes, actually, I have an idea that learning French will make a difference although it is not proved. There are many consonants in French that do not exist in German. It would be able to give us more varieties of flute techniques by learning these special sounds and shapes of mouth in pronouncing them.
Students of the university come to study from many different countries and they use different mother tongues. It is not that easy for us, professors of the university, to understand all of the features of their languages.
--- I agree with you, indeed. As I am a Japanese speaker, it is actually difficult to master French which has much more unfamiliar sounds within. It feels like that it is completely different from Japanese as to how to open my mouth, how to use my tongue and muscles around the jar.
Lastly, we really appreciate your interests and using our 24K flute for many years. Some flutists mention that the 24K flute is too heavy compared to other models. What do you think about this comment on its weight?
G H: Well, that is true that people would feel it is heavy when you hold the 24K flute for the first time. However, it will take no longer than three weeks to get used to it. It won't bother you afterwards. I believe that it's only the 24K flute that can create exquisite sound beyond compare.
--- Thank you very much for your time and having this conversation.
7.April.2006 in WIEN.
Interviewer Yuka HONDA, Sankyo Flute