Ever think that the piccolo doesn’t get enough respect? It’s the little woodwind caught somewhere between the ocarina and the flute that’s not terribly difficult to learn yet sounds great. Now youth 9 to 15 years can learn how to play at Perfect Harmony Piccolo from 5 to 7 p.m. through May 22 at the Palmdale Playhouse.
No prior experience is necessary for the class, which will teach the basics of a capella scales with professional vocal instruction. Classes will also focus on performance skills and musicality, culminating with a live show at the venue.
The piccolo has a respected history in classical music. During the Renaissance era, it was sometimes called the fife—a small cylindrical flute—with six holes and ends protected by metal rings. Sometimes it was called the Swiss flute, but historians generally trace the piccolo to around 1700 when it was first used in an orchestra. Handel’s “Rinaldo” of 1711 included a piccolo, as did Bach’s “Canata 103” from 1725.
Beethoven is generally believed to be the first composer to include a piccolo, writing separate parts for it in his Fifth, Sixth and Ninth symphonies. By the mid-18th century, the piccolo was a standard in most orchestras, when it had become a relatively sophisticated instrument with several keys. By the beginning of the 19th century, however, it became a more simple instrument with only one key but this application didn’t last long with the invention of the “multi-key” piccolo by Michael Janusch, a Prague music teacher, in 1824.
While today’s orchestras routinely include the piccolo, its most familiar role is its place in a marching band; it is common to hear one in chamber music ensembles.
The cost of the course is discounted to $80 for Palmdale residents. Register at www.cityofpalmdale.org/playpalmdale and search for “Perfect Harmony Piccolo.”
For more details, call the Palmdale Playhouse, 38334 10th St. East, at (661) 267-5684.