Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Yamaha concert

Yamaha make musical instruments, amongst other things.  I played on one of theirs for several years when I was starting to learn the flute, but graduated onto other brands as my playing improved.  This is a common enough story, but probably represents a nightmare for Yamaha marketing people.  Many people perceive their instruments to be great for beginners/intermediate players but not for professionals.  Yamaha do also make top quality instruments played by professionals, but perhaps brand loyalty doesn't work in the same way as it does for, say, motor bikes.

My local flute repair shop is L'Atelier D'Orphée in Le Mans, and I have had my flute repaired and serviced there a few times.  They are a Yamaha dealer.  (The boss, Gérard Klein, is a flute player.)   I'm on their mailing list, and I was surprised a few weeks ago to get their email telling me they had 47 tickets available for a free concert in Paris, transport laid on, sponsored by Yamaha, first come first served.  I was delighted to get a couple of tickets for us both to go.

It was last night.  We bundled onto a coach at Le Mans at 4:30 pm, about 3 hours' drive into the centre of Paris where we were dropped off just outside the Theatre des Champs Elisées.  The concert was given by La Musique des Gardiens de la Paix, i.e. the Paris police harmonie band.  Good they were, too.  They started with Sibelius' Finlandia, and moved onto some lesser-known composers, and featured solo performances on flute, trumpet, and a clarinet duo who were extraordinarily good.  A fabulous concert.  And if Yamaha took the opportunity to point out that certain musicians, including some high-powered international musicians, play on Yamaha instruments, well, who can blame them.

A bit of a late night.  Coach at 11pm, Le Mans at 1:40, in bed at 2:30.   Some people apparently, came from much farther away.  I'm sure they thought it was worth the trip, too.


Tim Trent said...

How do flutes progress from the basic starter instrument to the delightfully toned soloist's instrument?

In my naïve way I think of a flute as a tube, probably of metal, with holes and pads that cover/uncover them.

I half understand the clarinet, with choice of wood, choice of mouthpiece and choice of reed, but have no understanding of the flute

Mark In Mayenne said...

Hi Tim,
There's not much difference between a beginner instrument and a professional one; it's mostly down to how they are played. But the pro instrument will generally be better made and will have a mechinasm with a much lighter feel, and that will move more freely. Beginner instruments feel clunky by comparison. Most of the tone difference is down to the speed of airflow and lip strength, both of which improve with practice.

See also http://acorneroffrance.blogspot.fr/2012/04/this-is-my-flute.html


Tim Trent said...

So it is quality of engineering, not so much choice of materials. Thank you. I've wondered for a while. Tone is most assuredly down to technique on any instrument.

CherryPie said...

It sounds like a fun evening, especially as it was free :-)

Mark In Mayenne said...

It certainly was!

James Higham said...

No sound of motorbikes at all?

Tim Trent said...

Ah, James, you must be thinking of The Suzuki Method of violin teaching. That sounds dreadful!

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