"It's not very brilliant, I think"

Lessons with Mr. Takahashi can be a real trip. It's phenomenal to see myself reverting back into my student self - someone who may have been scared to exert my musical ideas in favor of being a "blank slate" for my teachers. That's a luxury you can't afford when you're teaching. You have to be decisive. But it does make me more compassionate to the students who seem to be intimidated by me and not want to take chances. It turns out I'm one of them!

There are no other flute students here right now. (I thought there would be) Apparently the last one graduated in March and Mr. T didn't like any of the applicants so he just didn't accept anyone! Ha! Now, tell me that's not intimidating.

He also told me that the reason he doesn't care for any of the big flutists right now is because none of them can take "catch" breaths (or at least not the way Marcel Moyse did - barely opening his mouth and taking most of the air in through his nose).

Although he is very demanding he is also quick with a smile or a laugh and an anecdote. That's why I tend to not be offended when he makes statements like the one in the title or yelling "piano, piano, piano, piano" when I've gotten too loud.

We'll see how the Chaminade goes with him. I have actually studied the piece before so it won't be the aforementioned "blank slate" the Tulou was. When Mr. T studied the piece with Moyse he spent 30 minutes on the first 2 measures. (It took them 2 hours to get through the whole piece) He told me he taught it recently and spent more than 4 hours on it total. I shudder to think how long I'll need.

But, that's why I'm here. There is no one alive today who knew and played with these French composers/flutists (except possibly Louis Moyse but that's a whole other kettle of fish) so it's interesting to learn what the performance tradition was at the time. (Much like we do with Baroque music) It seems like only in Japan could you find someone so faithful to one way of playing and to devote his life to carrying on that legacy.

It's unlikely that I'll agree with everything that he has to say, but I'm really glad I have the chance to hear him say it.