Great teachers can hand one the path to one’s destiny! This was the case with my French flute teacher, the wonderful Alain Marion. As with so many of his students, Alain became my guru-not just for the flute, but for living, for appreciation, for art, for food, everything. From Alain & Jean-Pierre Rampal, I learnt that the flute- with its vocal inflections and possibilities of colour-represents the human voice in so many ways.
Flute lessons with Alain Marion were filled with conjured-up imagery-I was shown how to paint pictures with my sound, how to express everything through music, to tell a story and follow the vocal line of the music ( belcanto flute)-and always with an affection for the flute, the listener and myself the player. Alain encouraged great technique but also tenderness and love within the sound. By way of his philosophy, his passionate flute teaching and his way of of playing to the student, he could turn an average, disconnected student into a good flute player within just one flute lesson. Above is an early photo from an era when-unlike now-it wasn’t cool to take lots of photos- no such thing as a selfie back then- we prided ourselves in remembering the moment in the minds eye! Taken by my friend and colleague, flutist Sheryl Cohen (author of Belcanto Flute the Rampal School), alas it’s one of the few I have of myself with this remarkable man, whose joy for life and music emanated through every note of his flute playing, every minute of his flute lessons. What a gift he was!