We asked a recorder virtuoso to review James May's blockflute video

30 March 2015, 12:05

A video of the Top Gear presenter practising the recorder has already sent the internet into meltdown, so we thought it was time for a few pro-tips.

Two YouTube videos of TV broadcaster James May have recently gone viral. Here he is playing 'The British Grenadiers' from John Playford's dance books...

We of course encourage anyone's musical efforts, but thought we should enlist the help of one of the country's top recorder players to offer the broadcaster and woodwind amateur a few tips.    

Rising star recorder soloist and teacher Miriam Nerval applauded his efforts, but said the overall tone of his playing "wasn't always pleasing."

She offered some technical advice to the keen amateur saying, "it was great to see the difference in articulation between the two videos suiting the overall style of each piece."

Whilst I applaud his enthusiasm I would recommend reining in the tonguing at points during the British Grenadiers to improve his overall sound and finger coordination."

She suggested May should employ a softer front to the note such as a 'du' rather than 'tu' to improve the clarity of his sound.

"I would challenge James to next move on to double tonguing for the quaver figures (saying t-k-t-k inside your mouth), as perhaps this will solve the few coordination issues."

However, technical concerns aside, Nerval said it's great to see him sharing his efforts and that a student has already expressed their awe at a celebrity playing his instrument.

Although most famous as a TV presenter and journalist, James May studied music at Pendle College, Lancaster University, specialising in flute and keyboard.

Miriam Nerval studied Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is a current City Music Foundation Artist. She's an incredible player, just take a look at her in action here, playing something from Japanese composer Maki Ishii. If you take her advice, James, we expect to be seeing something like this from you very soon:

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