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Daily Exercise Books, A Fresh Look

Patricia George | April 2012

   I bought my initial copy of the Daily Exercises for the Flute by Andre Maquarre after my first lesson with Joseph Mariano in 1960. The printed price on the book is $1.50. When Mariano asked me to buy the book for the next lesson, he remarked in a rather odd way that Maquarre and his brother had played in the Boston Symphony. It was a reference that was lost on me at that time because almost everything in the flute world was new to me, and I had not yet learned to look up what was unfamiliar.
   Mariano asked me to prepare the first of the two exercises that preface the seven exercises. Most books of seven daily exercises have seven eight-bar long melodies, one for each day of the week, which are played in all 12 major and 12 minor keys. The Maquarre book is unusual because there are two preparatory exercises at the beginning of the book, one based on the major and minor scales and the other on chromatic scales.
   Since most daily exercise books transpose an initial melody into all the major and minor keys, flutists quickly discover that a passage may be easy to play in one key, yet very difficult in another. By playing the exercise in an easy key first, the relaxation and control the flutist has achieved in execution can be transferred over to the more difficult keys. The idea of using transposition in every facet of practice is a valid concept. These type of exercises are especially good for developing the ear (through the repetitiveness of the same intervals from key to key) and for improving playing in tune.
   Like many novice flute students, I looked at the first preview exercise and saw that the one-line melodic sequences moved around the circle of the fifths alternating between the major and minor keys. I noticed that the exercise was written in 32nd notes, so I assumed I was to play fast. I thought this exercise must be about playing the right notes of each scale. I found several misprints in the score and congratulated myself for finding and fixing the incorrect notes. I practiced the exercise during the week and was able to play it perfectly (note-wise) for my lesson the next week. I followed the dynamic directions as written. At my lesson Mariano explained that I should not play the hairpin crescendo and diminuendo marks written under each set of eight notes because these hairpins were no longer in style.
   Then Mariano had me learn Daily Exercise No. 1. During that year, I worked my way through the Maquarre book. Mariano was especially fond of No. 3 which is based on the Robert Schumann Spring Symphony. When Mariano demonstrated this exercise, he played with a glorious full tone and molto vibrato, making this short eight-bar exercise sound easy and musical. When I played it, I felt cumbersome and heavy because I had little embouchure flexibility.
   Through the years, I became better at imitating Mariano’s style. No. 2 works on the wider intervals such as the fifth, sixth, and octave. No. 4 is based on lower neighboring tones. Maquarre suggests playing the neighboring tones with true fingerings and trill fingerings, but cautions to listen for tuning no matter which fingering choices you make. No. 5 is similar in content to No. 1, while No. 6 works on descending sequential patterns of scalar upper neighboring tones. No. 7 is based on descending diminished seventh chords that may be played six notes to a beat or two triplets to the beat. Mariano suggested choosing the two triplets per beat version to practice triplet tonguing. Mariano often said there weren’t enough tongued etudes in the flute literature, so he encouraged us to tongue every etude after we had played it as written.
   The next summer I began my studies with William Kincaid in Raymond, Maine. His approach to the Maquarre book was the opposite of Mariano’s. Kincaid had me use the book to memorize the exercises in C major and a minor and then assigned me to figure out the rest of the keys by logic and ear. Since I had been playing them for a while, they were already in my fingers. Learning to play them by memory came faster than if I had had to learn them by intervals. Kincaid used his forward flow (named by me) phrasing technique of 1, 2341, 2341 etc. for the Daily Exercises Nos. 1 and 5. This idea is based on the concept of how to phrase Romantic music, where the musical line is moving forward to a goal note. The first note was a solitaire or single note to set the tonality and then each 2nd, 3rd, and 4th note made a crescendo to the next 1. Kincaid had me play these exercises slowly, listening for the logic of the phrase and the quality of the sound on each note. This took patience.
   Daily exercises Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 explored the phrasing gestures of six notes per beat. Kincaid suggested grouping the six notes: 1, 23, 4561 for most instances. During that summer there was rarely a time when you couldn’t hear one of my student colleagues playing these exercises day in and day out. No doubt hearing these patterns over and over again aided in my memory work. After working through the Maquarre book that summer, I felt I had a better understanding of tuning, and I certainly had more control to actually play in tune. 
   A few months ago, I returned to the Maquarre book as I have many times throughout the years. Only this time, I read the instructions and found some golden advice. Maquarre writes: “By clean technique we do not mean a rapid fire of notes, but an even, slow passing over from one tone to another without a blur. For instance, in passing from B to C# two fingers must leave exactly together; if one leaves a hundredth part of a second after the other, you will hear a C natural in between. This is not clean…. The best way to test a clean technic is to try the flute part of a Mozart symphony; it looks easy, and must sound easy. Do not forget that, without a clean technic, it is impossible to become an artist or to play even the simplest melody artistically…. After a while you will be able to forget the difficulties of the flute and to think only how the music should be phrased; then you will have entered the path leading to finished artistry.” Maquarre goes on to suggest if a passage of even notes does not sound clean, practice the notes in the rhythm of a dotted eighth-sixteenth and then in the rhythm of a sixteenth-dotted eighth. He also writes that each exercise may be repeated six or seven times. What practical advice.
   Maquarre also writes four general rules for improved performance. The first suggestion, the one Mariano suggested I omit, was to crescendo on ascending notes and diminuendo on descending notes. Looking back I think Mariano wanted me to learn to play with a full, forte sound on the low octave notes and piano on the third octave notes. However, it would have served me well to practice these exercises using both Maquarre’s and Mariano’s instructions. Maquarre encourages flutists to breathe after the first sixteenth note of the measure in passages of all sixteenth notes, and if a passage of notes employs a variety of rhythms, breathe after the note with the longest duration. On fingering, flutists shouldn’t use the simplest fingering, but the one that is truest to pitch. Use the long B flat fingering rather than the thumb B flat. For trill fingerings he writes that the best trill fingering chart is in the Altes Complete Method for Flute. Maquarre also suggests that the player repeat each exercise six times, each time trying to play at a higher level. 
   Few teachers use the Maquarre book or one of the other Daily Exercise books in their teaching today because they are too difficult for most students. Likewise many public school programs no longer spend quality time on similar books for band such as the William S. White Unisonal Scales. Why are these books difficult for students? There is a simple answer: students cannot play all the major and minor scales. 
   If you decide to include these books in your curriculum, try innovative approaches to teaching them. Rather than playing all the keys of Daily Exercise No. 1, work only on the C major exercises from each of the Daily Exercises Nos. 1 – 7, and then on all the F major exercises. Once students can play the exercises in all the major keys, have them repeat the process with minor keys.
   Teach students not to play aimlessly through them, but instead to chunk the exercises by beat in performance tempo with a rest inserted between each chunk. Practice with T, K, TK or TKT, or Hah to each note. No. 2, which features larger intervals of the fifth, sixth, and octave, works well for counted or measured vibrato on each note.
   Explore various rhythms on these patterns so the students are not only learning the Daily Exercise, but by practicing challenging rhythms from other repertoire, they are laying the groundwork to improve every facet of their solo and ensemble playing. Teachers should play these exercises with students, as learning to play in unison is a first step in learning to play in tune. Some of the keys in each Daily Exercise lend to playing the exercise an octave higher. This drill will improve facility with high octave fingerings and will also help the student gain control of sound and pitch. If you are creative in your approach, these exercises no longer are drudgery but become a vehicle to seriously improve playing.  
   As Maquarre writes, “These exercises are good for a lifetime. Let them be your daily morning associate. You will always be able to improve your playing of them, for perfection is difficult of attainment. Do not forget that, without a clean, smooth technic, you can never hope to become an artist.”  



* * *

Andre Maquarre

   Andre Maquarre (1875-1933) was born in Brussels where he began his flute studies with his father, Clement Maquarre. He continued his studies at the Paris Conservatoire where he studied composition with Jules Massanet and won the first prize in flute in 1893. In 1893 he became principal flutist in the Boston Symphony, a position he held until 1918. From 1909-1917 he also served as conductor of the Boston Pops. In 1918 André followed his brother Daniel as principal flute in Philadelphia until April 1921 when conductor Leopold Stokowsky fired him during a rehearsal. Stokowsky then offered William Kincaid the position. Andre moved on to principal flute in the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a position he held for the next seven years. He then returned to Paris.    
   Andre Maquarre’s younger brother Daniel, who was born in Brussels in 1881, also began his flute studies with his father Clement and continued his education at the Paris Conservatoire in Taffanel’s class. Daniel won the first prize in flute at the age of 15 and began his career playing in the Lamoureux and Colonne Orchestras before joining the Boston Symphony Orchestra
in 1902.
   Daniel departed rather abruptly from the Boston Symphony after he was arrested for marrying the wife of the second oboist. (Now I understand Mariano’s strange remark about the Maquarre brothers playing in the BSO.) He went on to play principal flute in the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1910-1918, in New York from 1918-1924. Like his brother he returned to France in 1930. (There were two other Maquarre brothers, both trombonists, who won first prizes at the Paris Conservatoire.)



Kincaid’s Seven Day Routine for Scales, 3rds, 6ths, and Maquarre

William Kincaid (1895-1967) is considered the founder of the American Flute School. He served as principal flute of the Philadelphia Orchestra and was flute professor at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. This was written at the beginning of my Maquarre book in 1962. Note: capital letters are for major keys, lower case for minor keys.

Scales: C, E flat, F#, A
Thirds: D
flat, E, G, B flat
Sixths: D, F, A flat, B
Maquarre No. 1

Scales: Db, E, G, Bb
Thirds: D, F, Ab, B
Sixths: C, Eb, F#, A
Maquarre No. 2

Scales: D, F, A flat, B
Thirds: C, E
flat, F#, A
Sixths: D
flat, E, G, B flat
Maquarre No. 3

Scales:  c, e flat, f#, a
Thirds: d flat, e, g, b flat
Sixths: d, f, a flat, b
Maquarre No. 4

Scales: d flat, e, g, b flat
Thirds: d, f, ab, b
Sixths: c, e flat, f#, a
Maquarre No. 5

Scales: d, f, ab, b
Thirds: c, eb, f#, a
Sixths: d flat, e, g, b flat
Maquarre No. 6

Maquarre No. 7

My Favorite Daily Exercise Books

Georges Barrere: Flutist’s Formulae (G. Schirmer, ©1935)
André Maquarre: Daily Exercises for the Flute (G. Schirmer, ©1923)
Matthieu Andre Reichert: Seven Daily Exercises, Op. 5 (Various)
D. S. Wood: Studies for Facilitating the Execution of the Upper Notes (Cundy-Bettoney, ©1966)
John Wummer: Daily Exercises (International, ©1974)