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McCaskill and Gilliam: The Flutist's Companion

Updated: May 11, 2021

I found this book peculiar when I first received it because it seemed as though there is an abundance of everything while, at the same time, there isn’t. The book begins with reference pages for the usual musical and flute basics, while the last pages of the book contain “Representative Literature” with one piece each from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Contemporary repertoire, and a brief guide to each era.


The middle pages of the book are either focused on a single key or single musical idea per page (like F Major, sixteenth notes, staccato vs. tenuto, etc). With one idea per page and only two or three brief exercises to reinforce these ideas, it moves quickly, which means supplements are required!* Mostly in my teaching, I have used this book for the adult review learner or the student who “doesn’t want to work out of a method book” – and then I supplement with plenty of repertoire. In the middle sections are items of note including tone studies, a whole page on vibrato, and references on interpretation/phrasing and scales. There can be a lot of reading, as well as examples, making this a great book for the start of good conversations regarding gray areas like interpretation, or retaining the basics. Scales in the normal form and in intervals also appear in this book just before the repertoire.




Highlights

· Range of notes: C1-C4

· Order of notes: B1, A1, G1, C2, F1, Bb/A#1, Bb/A#2, F#/Gb1 F#/Gb 2, D1 D2, E1, E2, C#1, Eb/D#1 Eb/D#2, Ab/G#1 2, Db/C#1, C1, D3, D2, D1, C#/Db2 C#/Db1, Eb/D#3, Eb/D#2, Eb/D#1, E3, E2, E1, F3, F2, F1, F#3, F#2, F#1, G3, G2, G1, Ab3, Ab2, Ab1, A3, Bb/A#3, B3, C4

· Rhythms: Whole notes/rests, Half notes/rests, Quarter notes/rests, Dotted half notes, Eighth notes/rests, Dotted quarter note, Sixteenth notes/rests, Dotted eighths, Triplets, Syncopation

· Other: Repeat signs, Staccato/tenuto, D.C. al Fine, D.S. al Fine, 1st and 2nd endings, grace notes, trills


· This book clearly marks what is to be learned on each page at the top.

· Focuses on one idea per page such as a key signature or rhythm.

· The exercises are brief, and supplements are suggested.

· Large section at the beginning outlining assembly/care, position/balance/posture, embouchure/breathing, headjoint and articulation, musical terms (dynamics and tempo)

· Ample reading near the beginning of the second half with examples for interpretation/phrasing/vibrato and other things.



The Flutist's Companion Cheat Sheet
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*I will be looking at some supplemental books of repertoire probably this summer. Stay tuned if you’re interested in those or need some help supplementing this book.

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