SOUND AND GRAVITY

We flutists have something very beautiful to share with the world. Our sound. It is a personal business card and distinguishes us from other flutists. As much as we can try to imitate our teachers, mentors or idols, our sound will be unique to us. So let us spend some time to unfold its full potential. Today we are going to look at our sound in relation to gravity.

Sound and gravity



Our center of gravity
should be beneath our diaphragm. Have you ever thought about that? Where is yours? I am asking you, adding a new part to the total system (body and flute) could change its location. In other words, I often see my students shift it to somewhere in front of them. Therefore, they try to reach it by stretching their neck in the

direction of the music stand.

Gravity dance


However, the above mentioned shifting of the gravity center leads to poor posture. Especially the bending of the air column will negatively affect their sound quality. Therefore, I propose a unique exercise to get your center of gravity inside your body. Furthermore, it will be closer to your support and engine of your sound. After that, the imagination of it in the right place will boost your energy.

gravity danceIn order to do that we should align our center with our movements. This will automatically happen when, while playing you start kneeling down. Like a slow squad! However, do not raise your heals from the ground. In other words, the whole bottom of your feet should remain attached to the ground while you perform the controlled downward movement.

 

Are you able to do that without tipping over? Slowly and steadily bend your knees and do not stop playing. You might consider playing something you know by heart so you can concentrate on the sound, instead of reading the music. In fact, the sound should remain stable and steady. Continue to play beautifully smooth while you move.

This works best when you play a piece which has a lot of legato passages.

 

 

Defying gravity


We are not finished yet, my friends! Now comes the interesting part. When you are completely descended, still on your feet, you feel your back stretch and elongate. Moreover, you might feel your shoulder blades divide and make space. All this space can now be filled with air! Therefore, you have gained some liters. Be sure, you do not lose them in the front chest part though. In other words, feel your chest and abdomen expand against your knees. Feel the resistance and enjoy your energy.

Can you still play beautifully in this uncomfortable position? Just wait, until you can play comfortably again and see how much your sound improved! Slowly move up again and continue playing.

Can you hear and feel the difference now?

If this is hard for you, try the squad exercise without playing at first!

This exercise combines two important factors. Moving up and down you re-align your gravity center and learn how to stand in a stable and supportive position. Moreover, when you are at the lowest point you increase your breathing support and make more space for air and resonance.

Therefore, have fun dancing with gravity and defying it. You will learn to use the correlation of sound and gravity it to your advantage!

Going fishing – sound and gravity


Imagine throwing the bait into a still pond of water. The moment it hits the surface is a very precise instant when energy causes waves and the plumb goes further down.

Sound and gravity
This is exactly how a beautiful flute sound begins. Apart from rare cases where you wish to start in a tapering way, this image should be on your mind, when you study a clear, precise sound. It is the moment of change, between silence and sound. The moment when the lead attached to the bait changes its world from air to water. It causes even waves and energy to be carried away from the point. If the attack of the sound is not clear, the waves will be uneven and messy, the sound does not arrive pure and clean.

Throw your bait – start a sound


So what does that mean for us? Throwing the bait is an action you have to take before it hits the water. In the same way, we have to think about the sound first and prepare our support system. Our body has to be launched into the position of resonance and momentum. Only with a clean launch may a clean sound occur.

Never play without preparing. Your imagination and experience is precious, do not waste it on unclear playing. Therefore, either focus and play or rest and imagine.

But the fishing analogy has so much more to offer. Can you imagine the lead going down slower now, because the water puts up resistance, but its gravity is remains?

The core of a sound is like the plumb going down, emanating energy which is perceived as sound.

 

Set of pulleys – developing a sound


Now we have learned how to prepare a clean start of your sound. After that, we should think about how to develop and maintain it. To that end, it is very useful to imagine the plumbs decent in the water. But attaching it to a pulley and pulling something else up. However, the upward motion should only be seen as a result of the downward movement of the lead piece.

In other words, as you throw the bait and push down the plumb drop, automatically your airflow moves upwards in a controlled and productive way. As gravity pulls down, energy rises. Moreover, this concept helps you to activate the support and air system as a natural result. By imagining a gravity center of lead that pulls down, air will flow up, but you can control it and no longer waste any of it.

Don’t forget the new space that is created by the actual sound and gravity squads and use all of it when developing your sound.

Perls on a string – finish a sound

 


After attacking the sound and maintaining it we also need to close it in the same precise way. The center of the sound should be with a downward drive, heavy small center made of lead, that expands and sends rays of sound that have the power to carry far in a distinct and organized way.

pearls in sound and gravity

After that, we need to round them up and finish in an equally organized and clean manner. As a result, we will be creating perfect little spheres and be back in silence.

However, those powerful lead spheres can also be imagined as pearls on a string with the silence being the line on which those pearls are ordered.

In conclusion, this image is another very powerful tool in your mental preparation.

Improve your sound with gravity


Each one of the above described exercises with the correlated images is on its own an effective trick to unfold the full potential of your sound. However, you are free to add your own or change and embellish the provided ones.

Furthermore, you might need to adapt the ones provided to different situations, especially when adding dynamics. Sound and gravity is a useful image in providing a pearl necklace of sound to your audiance, but it doesn’t cover the aspects of transitioning through the range of dynamics that the flute offers.

Should you be interested in improving the quality of the very effective expression tool that is dynamics, you can read our correlated article here.

It provides other powerful images that you can use to have more cards in your hands. Above all, you should choose images that have a strong impact on you so that it will transform your posture and support system the most productive way to create a beautiful sound.

 

Let your color palette vibrate


Another special element that you can use when it comes to sound quality is vibrato. So far we have written two articles on the topic that you can find by clicking on the following links.

vibrato 1

vibrato 2

If you found this article helpful and enjoyed reading it, please share it with your friends on social media by using the buttons below!

In addition, we would be very interested what your ideas are on sound and gravity. What do you imagine to create a clean start and finish of your notes? How do you maintain your energy coming through your air flow? What do you imagine to control your airflow?

Please share your answers in the comment section below! They might help and inspire other users of topflute.

Thank you!

Jana

topflute

sound and gravity

FLUTE EMBOUCHURE TIPS FOR DYNAMICS

One of the most important tools for expression and interpretation of a classical musical piece are the use of dynamics. But with no obstacle to verify our air speed, it is also one of the hardest as a flutist. Having no external feeling for the air resistance, we need to create it in our own body and by adapting our embouchure. Here are some flute embouchure tips for playing different dynamics on the flute and get to the next level of flute playing!

 

Flute embouchure tips for dynamics


Most flute players do not use the full dynamical range that the flute offers. Generally, they say that the flute has a limited range. But this is true only if you don’t use its full potential! So to stand out as a flutist, other than good intonation and sound quality, controlling your dynamics is key!

How do we play loudly or softly?


The volume measured in decibel depends on the air speed with which we direct our air stream towards the border of the lip hole. They say that the flute can produce over 100 db to the player easily, but doesn’t have such a wide range. Just for a comparison, human speech usually doesn’t exceed 40db. Depending on the culture….

How do we control air speed?

The velocity of our air flow depends on the pressure that we apply and the volume of the air that needs to pass. Moreover, we can control the diameter in various checkpoints on the way out. The last is known as the embouchure, which is the way we place our lips on the lip plate and control the opening between them.

 

How involved is the embouchure in playing different dynamics?


Following Geoffrey Gilbert’s teachings, the embouchure should change mostly for dynamic reasons and not so much when playing in different octaves. The more smooth the transition between the registers on the flute and the less the embouchure is involved with that, the better we can than use it to control dynamics.

So the following flute embouchure tips for dynamics should not be abused for other purposes. They cannot and should not replace good and adequate support. To train and stabilize your support, you can read our other article HERE.

 

A good breathing technique is fundamental to be able to control your air flow.

That being said, we can say that the embouchure needs to adapt to the volume we wish to play.

 

Playing loud


Having a good support it is generally considered to be easier to play loud than soft on the flute. That is because in the first years to produce any sound we use the air speed that is needed to play anywhere between mf and f. But we are not yet controlling it.

To play loud on the flute we need higher speed. As said in the beginning we can augment the speed by increasing the pressure and volume while slightly decreasing the diameter of the air flow.

In other words we need to fill our lungs with a lot of air, down to the bottom and in the back as well.

Do not forget the space below your arm pits, as your sides can contain a lot of air as well and the ribs are quite flexible.

This way the air pressure that wishes to leave our body augments considerably and we can control it by hindering it. So the actual way to direct the air out is by an inner downward motion. Imagine the air going down, side wards and backwards.

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Do not keep the air inside by closing your throat. Imagine to fog up a window!

This is the kind of air we need, warm air. Try it against the palm of your hand, you will be surprised!

Have a look at this young lady expaining how to play loud:

 

Playing soft


To play softly however we need to decrease the air speed. But this doesn’t mean to use less support. It is even more difficult than controlling the air flow with high speed. Furthermore, we need to produce a steady air stream, stable but slow.

This needs a lot of practice and muscle memory of the limits when it cracks.

As we use less air at lower speed we need to direct it much more efficiently.

Moreover, it shouldn’t encounter tensions or obstacles as you can easily hear the “bumps” in the sound. So it will be a smaller diameter as well, but with less air in continuous flow. The slower air will be colder, as it has more time to adapt to the surroundings. Those are usually less than our body temperature.

To some flutists it helps imagining the air as warm for forte and cold for piano.

Embouchure tips to enhance dynamics

and play in tune


When studying to enlarge our dynamical range the first risk is not that the sound cracks. We can push those limits with exercises. But the highest risk is playing out of tune.

Forte – flute embouchure tips for dynamics


When you leave your embouchure in the position of mf and push through more air at higher pressure and speed you will be sharp.

To contrast this right from the start we can use a number of measures. One important tool is the inner space of our mouth and the position of the tongue. We can control this delicate balance of volume and pitch by lowering our jaw (as in imagining dark vowels like “o”or “u”) and lowering our tongue with it. This enhances also the range of harmonics produced as it functions as a resonator. Furthermore, those rounder sounds are perceived as more in pitch, as long as they are sustained well.

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Forte is not the opposite of playing piano!


Rather, it is an expression that you achieve when you think of your whole body. Expand your abdomen and torso when playing loud, creating an opening feeling, big and strong. Like an Opera singer! Use your whole body and head and get a lot of energy and momentum going to your flute. The biggest part of your instrument is not the flute but your body!

But the most effective tool is your embouchure. Change the angle of your air stream by blowing more air into the flute. This way your upper lip becomes more prominent and more in control of the direction and the lower lip relaxes a bit. However, keep the hole between the lips focused to not waste any air and keep the sound in timbre.

The hole you form with your lips is the last check point you possess to control your air stream and dynamics, also your pitch. When all the other check points, diaphragm, lungs, chest, throat and mouth have done their work correctly, the embouchure is the most powerful tool to fine tune and freely express the musical phrase.

In short: lower your jaw, like for a yawning feeling. Relax your lower lip with it, without losing focus. Use your upper lip to direct more air inside the flute (angle goes down).

Piano – flute embouchure tips for dynamics


Provided all the good practice of support and air stream control through the various checkpoints we can now enhance and tune piano playing on the flute with our embouchure.

If we don’t, we will be low in pitch. So we need to raise the air stream by pushing our jaw gently forward. The lower lip is now in control and the upper lip follows its movement. Keep the lip hole focused and small to control the slow and cold air stream.

Soft playing is slowing down air speed, but if you do just do that, you lose control of the sound. Furthermore, the ending will not
be very well controlled. So we need to adapt the embouchure to raise the
air stream and close the lips slightly. Increase your support. Don’t allow it to collapse.

Moreover, don’t get too tight in your embouchure. It is about having control, airspeed reducing and support following it.

In your mouth you can imagine the air flowing through an ideal straw, concentrated and steady. Place the imaginary straw in the upper part of your mouth and accompany it with your tongue. Remember to keep the air flow through your throat open. Your lower lip comes forward.

Watch this lady explain how she does it:

 

A little lip theater – flute embouchure tips for dynamics


For mf you can imagine sending a kiss or blowing out a candle. To play piano you can imagine blowing the air into your nose!

Sometimes, to not cover too much of the lip hole in the lip plate and have the right angle we need to turn the flute a little outside. Especially, when the sounds end. This helps keeping the pitch when the air is finishing. But it is just that, a help if nothing else works! Don’t move your flute inwards and outwards all the time and make those movements subtle and gentle.

Try to not be tight around the lips, but have control of the reducing air speed. Let the embouchure follow it!

The trick is to use your support first and let the embouchure follow the air stream.

This is the hardest thing on the flute, especially in the higher octave. It takes a lot of practice, but it can be done!

Once you master your dynamics and play in tune you will rise above the crowd of the mp – mf flutists. Actually there is one more difficult thing and that is the following:

 

Transitioning between dynamics


Better known as crescendo and decrescendo.

The best way to practice and gain muscle memory of the transitioning between the two is with long notes. You can vary your exercise from pp to ff, or just pp to mf. And back of course. Also, on one breath. Try to stay with your natural vibrato and go to the limits in both directions.

Be sure to practice transitioning slower and faster and to start and end the sounds in the desired dynamic!

I usually put my metronome to 60MM or slower, play the C”’ on the flute for four from ppp to mf. Then, still on one breath I connect in legato the C’ (two octaves down) and reach still in crescendo the fff. In the four beats on the lower C I start to go back to mf and switch still one breath, still legato to C” (middle C) where I go back to finish in ppp.

Something on C sharp and going up the chromatic scale to C””.

This combines multiple exercises and you can chunk it down to smaller parts. I created it to tackle my weaknesses. You should find out yours and practice to overcome them. Some of my students were able to start ppp and finish ppp very well but couldn’t start clear and clean in fff. So they need to adapt this exercise to their needs. Which I obviously did for them.

In the following video you can see another version of this exercise:

Don’t hesitate to write your actual limitations in the comment section as I will be more than happy to design an exercise that fits you and helps you overcome those. Don’t forget to mention your strengths as well!

 

Staying motivated


This will also be of incredible help to stay motivated. We tend to remember our limits and feel bad about them. But we’d rather not address them. Overcoming them is such a motivational boost! Don’t deprive yourself of the free possibility.

Inscribe to our newsletter. Comment and ask below our articles.

Really, the most important thing to stay motivated is to reach out and ask. Surround yourself with a study group, virtual or personal and ask, discuss and share your victories!

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It feels so good when you overcome your obstacles and makes it easier every time you encounter a new one.

This is the best way to stay motivated: To improve! The longer you stick with it, the more it becomes a natural part of your life. Furthermore, you know now what it takes and working on yourself gives you strength. However, it is true that this is only possible when you admit to flaws, but as soon as you learn how to turn them into strengths you will look for more of them for yet another motivational boost!

 

Exercises flute embouchure tips for dynamics


  • Other than the above mentioned exercise you can practice dynamic changes on harmonics. That is very helpful as it makes it harder in the beginning (less freedom of the embouchure when playing a certain harmonic), but easier on the basic sounds.
  • Try to start and finish the sounds tapering, with a little whisper as a natural transition from silence to ppp. This is also very useful for your muscle memory. Every note has a specific version of your inner cavities and your muscle memory can recreate it if it has repeated it often enough.
  • Do note bending series, work on moving in between the extremes and don’t get stuck in them. Especially effective are note bending exercises up.

You might want to check in with your tuner. But only to get a feeling for the right pitch and develop your inner ear!

  • Practice attacks and endings as well and check out your limits. Don’t be afraid of cracking! You need to know where those limits are.
  • Imagination helps a lot, but the best thing is to develop an inner muscular understanding so that you can focus on the music.

To link your exercises to your actual pieces that you study, watch this young lady explain how she does it

 

To make an impression, use flute embouchure tips for dynamics!


Using all your colors is one of the most difficult things to do in practice and therefor we can stand out if we work on it and develop a wide range. With exercise we will not only control dynamics but control the tone and its consistency in doing it regularly. To enrich your view on the subject of sound quality, have a look at our newest findings at topflute.

Don’t get discouraged in the beginning.

Transition between the two extremes and use note bending exercises. Don’t forget about phrasing and sound quality, use your natural vibrato and don’t exaggerate. Dynamic range on the flute is not very great, so we need to work on it and develop it. One of the most expressive tools we have along with vibrato and general phrasing.

However, consider upgrading your flute if you have reached the limits or your study flute.

To know more about the best options, click here!

So that in the end you can focus on the music and your muscle will find the right movement on their own.

Wishing you all the success that you deserve,

Stay safe and sound,

Janie

topflute

flute embouchure tips for dynamics

14 DAYS TO THE MAGIC FLUTE – HOW TO PLAY THE FLUTE IN 14 DAYS

Would you believe it? Only 14 days from a total beginner to playing an actual melody from Mozart’s Magic Flute! In addition, even while you travel the world’s most famous concert halls! Come and enjoy 14 days to the magic flute and learn how to play the flute in just 14 days.

You can follow the course on Facebook

or stay on topflute.com to find the single lessons with the PDF files I show you during screen sharing.

 

14 days to the magic flute – how to play the flute in 14 days


14 days to playing the fluteAre you tired of the same boring routine every day? Do you have a flute lying around somewhere in the house? Then this is the thing to do: Stand up and play!

Add some sparkle to those days and learn a new skill, how to play this beautiful instrument in just 14 days.

While not moving from your home you can travel the world with me and visit one famous concert hall after the other.

Every day is going to be exciting and different. In no time will you have the skills to play a famous melody of Mozart’s Singspiel “Die Zauberfloete”- Magic flute it is!!

All it will take of your time is just 5-20min a day!

Plus it is totally free of any charge. So no excuses, come on a journey with me.

Let’s get started and move to Berlin for

Day 1

of 14 days to the magic flute

In this video I will show you how to assemble and handle the flute. An overview of the keys and how to put the three pieces into the flute case. As a result, headjoint, body and footjoint will become familiar names to you, but best of all, I will show you all of this from my favorite Concert Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie. Have fun and start getting to know this beautiful instrument!

Day 2

of 14 days to the magic flute

In lesson 2 from 14 days to the Magic Flute, beginners will learn how to produce three sounds from the headjoint. Furthermore I am going to share with you everything to do and to avoid in the production of a good sound on the flute. But best of all, these teachings come to you from the Scala di Milano!

Day 3

of 14 days to the magic flute

This is for you if you are a total beginner and just starting out! Have you seen our first two lessons? You also need some fun and travel while learning how to play the flute? Well, today we are in the Carnegie Hall. Yesterday we were in Milan and the first day in Berlin. Why not come and join us on this journey to learn how to play the flute in 14 days!
Today I am going to show you how to tongue a sound on the flute and how tongueing in general works. We will not only play the headjoint, but put the whole flute together and play a B.
So bare with us, have some fun and learn how to play the flute in no time!

 

Day 4
of 14 days to the magic flute

In this lesson we are going to explore the right breathing technique for playing the flute. We use both chest and diaphragmatic breathing for the best result, more control and to avoid dizziness.

For follow up and more information please read topflute’s article about diaphragmatic breathing.

Furthermore watch this short video below and enjoy the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein!

 

Day 5
of 14 days to the magic flute

In this lesson you are going to learn the tongueing and fingering of your first 3 notes on the flute!

The beautiful concert hall that I am speaking to you from is no other than the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Enjoy your lesson and be sure to come back for lesson 6!

Day 6
of 14 days to the magic flute

Lesson 6 will show you notes and rests, so how to start and how to finish them. But today we will emphasize the right posture when playing and also the cleaning of the flute from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Moreover, today we prepare to play our first little piece tomorrow!

 

 

Day 7
of 14 days to the magic flute

Today we finally play an actual little piece of music and learn where to breathe in between notes and where to keep playing instead. Our venue for this one week accomplishment is no less than the fantastic Boston Symphony Hall with world class acoustics. It is actually listed in the National Register of Historic Places in the United States of America. So enjoy your first piece of flute music!

 

Day 8
of 14 days to the magic flute

In lesson 8 we discover slurs as opposite to tongueing the second note to the first. We will play in a precise tempo: 4 quarters and even slur all four quarters. A childrens’ song will be our goal for today: Mary’s Lamb. In addition we are learning all these new things directly from the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires!

Day 9
of 14 days to the magic flute

What a wonderful day it is! We will stay outside for our lesson and learn to read notes on the staff. Lesson 9 is about three new notes e f# and d, with fingering chart and staff.

We will be introducing faster notes than the fourths that we already know: eighths. And all of this in the wonderful climate of Tenerife Santa Cruz.

Lesson 9 b-d fingering and staff reading

Its famous Auditorio is said to remind one of the Sydney Opera House. What do you think?

Day 10
of 14 days to the magic flute

In the wonderful Bolshoi theatre you will be introduced into a Rossini Ouverture and be able to play the most famous excerpt from Guglielmo Tell!
Lesson 10 of the 14 days to the Magic Flute also features new duration and pauses: halfs and rests. You will learn to become faster with your tongueing in a playful way, without even knowing it! Even on the low notes. So join us and have fun!

Lesson 10 Guglielmo Tell excerpt

 

Day 11
of 14 days to the magic flute

Lesson 11 is coming to you directly from the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles!

It opened in 2003 and is the home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The structure of the concert hall is a compromise between the arena seating configuration that we found on the first lesson in the Berlin Philharmonie and the classical shoebox design like in the Boston Symphony Hall and the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. Fascinating choice and well worth the long period of adaptation for the Symphony Orchestra.

Today we introduce a new note, the c! We will read single eighths and eighths rests. Also you will understand the difference between slurs and ties and it will be like a piece of cake because we will learn those things with Elsa’s song from Frozen “Let it Go”. So have fun!

Lesson 11 c, ties, Let it Go

 

Day 12
of 14 days to the magic flute

Lesson 12 has been filmed in the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing! Not really, but it would have been nice… In this lesson in China we will start playing the first part of our final song, the aria of the bird catcher from the Magic Flute by Mozart.

To be able to do that we need to be able to play the d in the second octave of the flute as well. So you will learn this huge jump from the lower to the middle octave of the flute. It will be fun, because it is immediately introduced with the allegro dotted rhythm of Mozart’s song.

No worries, just playing and finding things out in the NCPA Beijing, China.

Lesson 12        d2, dotted notes, Birdcatcher Melody part 1

 

Day 13
of 14 days to the magic flute

Lesson 13 will introduce sixteenths, and not just one, but four of them in a row! You will learn how to slur them even to the next quarter to be able to play the bird catcher’s call. We will treat this as a game and just not yet read the notes written out. Have fun running up and down the G Major Scale in front of another famous scale: The cerimonial entrance of the Operà Garnier in Paris.

In its catacombs is where the novel of the Phantom of the Opera is set and it has later inspired the famous musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Day 14
of 14 days to the magic flute

Lesson 14 and we are home. Back in Berlin, where we started two weeks ago! I am speaking to you from my favourite concert hall in Berlin, the Konzerthaus Berlin.

Today you will be introduced to the concept of upbeat and downbeat and finally play the whole melody of the brid catcher song from the Magic Flute, a Singspiel by W. A. Mozart.

Lesson 14 sixteenths, upbeat, breathing, Mozart Magic Flute

14 days to the magic flute – how to play the flute in 14 days


 

So, it is true! It is only 14 days to playing the flute. Moreover, 14 days of fun and travel, excitement and news from famous conThanks for watching!cert halls. Why would anyone want to miss out on this?

Do you have any questions or comments? I will be more than happy to answer them from the comment section below. If you do not yet possess a flute, have a look at my recommendations for beginner flutes and textbooks.

You had fun following me around the world and learning how to play the flute in just 14 days? Please support me by buying through my links (with no additional cost to you) and share, like and spread the flute passion by commenting, subscribing, liking and sharing our

Facebook page, YouTube Channel and this website.

Thanks for reading and watching!

 

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Feel free to download or share any media files in this article and if you need the PDF files of staffs and fingering charts, please ask in the comment section below and I will gladly send them to you via email.

In the hope that you will become a great flutist, why don’t you check out my recent article with tips and tricks for a healthy flute life?

Thumbs up, but only for the C 😉

flute hacks

 

 

Janie

www.topflute.com

flute in nature

Good morning,

wonderful flutists and flute music lovers. Do you happen to feel like imploding sometimes? Like closing up and saying thank you for the day? Well, that is fine and if you feel like it, you should do so.

Just do not forget, music never stops and neither does nature. Let’s play with nature!

 

flute in nature

Being a musician in lock down – flute in nature?


Always remember, being a musician is not about closing in and creating boundaries. It is about expanding and communicating. It is about making the unsaid heard. Being a musician is also about controlling your time, playing with it, and taking others by the hand. Guide them through your inner world into theirs. Music has the magnificent quality, it is without words (and even if there are, they are like one word in the whole book of life) and can evoke what is important to who plays as well as who listens.

It can make you cry, laugh, want to dance, want to sleep, want to dream. And it doesn’t have to be the same to every one.

Have you ever been playing in front of an audience that was completely ravished by your playing? Can you remember the energy? Those are the experiences most of us seek. To be heard and felt. Even more so to seduce and play, to lift up and pull along.

But why am I telling you this now? Well

Even though we are momentarily on lock down, we can observe spring happening outside, not caring at all about sanitary emergencies. Splendid colors and sunshine in Europe. Nature has an innate energy that especially now, when we are all still, we can feel with more vigor.

Inevitably it reminds me of when last autumn we were experimenting with the flute in nature.

 

What does the flute sound like in nature


 

Without the Eco of the walls, reflecting and compacting our sound, what does the flute sound like?

When you go outside,

flute playing in nature

 

your first notes will sound weird to you. It could make you feel small and with too soft a voice. But once you close your eyes and follow the sound, it is giving back to you its real nature.

No artificial Eco, no reverberation, just pure and free sound. If you can make it round and rich in harmonics without the help of walls and a roof, you will have progressed enormously.

Include your body and resonators in the equation. Open up the cavities and expand. In addition, give it more support than ever and feel the air reverberating in every part of your body. It is not only the air that has to still go outside and into the flute. But your body naturally resonates with the vibrating flute. So loosen up and allow it to sing with your flute.

 

Combining the flute with elements and places


Once you feel the energy and life of your pure sound in nature, you can choose to play with its elements. We already are using air have to avoid wind to be able to produce a sound. But we can play with wind in sheltered rock caves and ruins to experience a new sound. Taking into account external physical realities is fascinating, once you have control about your own flute playing in nature.

With a friend we also combined recordings from below water, playing at the shore of a beautiful lake in Tuscany. That would be recording what one hears from under water while somebody is playing close by. This experience has us fascinated and we wish to share the video with you:

flute and water

Why not try to play with fire? No, we are just kidding. But in a figurative sense what would that sound like? Or playing in the desert? Think of the sound of your flute in a wood, on a lawn, in a valley, maybe high up in the mountains with snow. How could you play in your room today to evoke the sound of the flute on ice? What would it sound like to play under an umbrella in the rain? Next to a mountain stream, or by the ocean?

Try to expand your experience from your studio and get playful. We would be very happy to read about your ideas in the comment section below.

 

 

Restoring silence


Walking around the province of Grosseto in Tuscany, we also fell in love with seemingly forgotten places. Where you can hear birds, but actually what you hear most of all is silence. The absence of human activities. This silence spoke to us more than a thousand words, telling us stories of long gone events. Listening to the silence was a beautiful exercise. As a result, it made us want to try to play with the wind, the air, the Eco and tell a story.

The story that came to our minds is what created the following video which we hope you enjoy:

Should you feel that you need someone to play with, we have a suggestion for you.

Try out Flutonia channel on youtube

They offer accompaniments for most of the flute repertoire. In addition to the fun, it sometimes just feels good to not be the only sound in the room and imagine a concert hall.

Creating a dream – flute in nature


Each location has

a melody

that springs from its silence.

Every sound coming from an actual or imaginary place wishes to bring back the original silence.

Thus it is by this oneiric interweaving of music and silence that

“The sound of shade” is inspired.

We wish to cil suono della meriareate an imaginative
encounter between the flute’s soliloquies

and the silent charm of

forgotten locations of art in the Maremma territory.

That would be in the south of Tuscany.

Moreover, idea leaves us looking for sometimes extreme resonances,
others soft and sinuous, some sparkling with passionate intensities
and others playfully embracing nature’s chiaroscuro.

By combining places of art, living nature and music, we aim to provoke a new dream of lived and unlived lives, possibilities and destinies, light and shade, melodies and silence.

 

Why not follow us, sharpen your perception and expand your experience with your flute in nature.

A sound born through breathing is made of the essence of life


Playing the flute is breathing and breathing is life. Therefore, playing the flute is making life be heard. Our life and breath put into sounds and melodies, that can be very evocative. Of course, we can also go for the virtuoso and the astonishing fast brilliant flutist. But why not try to combine your technical skills with something more profound. Something that can speak directly to the heart, to antique knowledge and ground you.

To us playing the flute can make you fly, shine, laugh, cry, giggle, talk, think, be. All those expressions should be in your palette and be nurtered to grow. In conclusion, why not try it out and go out into nature, to enrich your experience, even only in thought at this time?

Maybe a journey to our inner world would be more practicable at this time of emergency and fear. We would love to know your ideas on meditation for flutists. To read more on ours please relate to Janie’s most recent article benefits of meditation for flutists.

Have fun and let us know in the comment section below,

Topflute

flute in naturewww.topflute.com

www.duofantasie.com

www.myflutelife.com

HOW TO LEARN TO PLAY THE FLUTE – AND NOT BE PLAYED BY IT!

Hi there, our flute friend! We hope all is well with you and your family in this frightening and also unsure period of 2020. You might also find some unexpected surplus of time at your disposal. Why not make good use of it and get to some deeper practice? How to learn to play the flute – and not be played by it!

how to learn to play the flute and not be played by it

 

When concerts and travels, lessons and maybe other kinds of demands are always too early, just too fast and no time to breathe at all… this is unfortunately not the case right now. But let us look at the positive side of it and build a stronger relationship with our instrument, music and practice.

Often we do not have the time to tackle technical issues and make the best of it as we go. No time, no peace of mind, no tranquility to get to it. But always

Remember : you to play the flute, not the other way around!


So let us get started. Take some deep breaths and try to feel where the air enters your body. Every part of the way. Are you breathing shallowly, or deeply? Does it enter both nostrils at the same time and amount? Is your throat open to welcome the air? Does the air go deep or stop in your breast area? Can you feel the air going into your back as well?

 

flute hacks

 

This might seem a little meditative and it is. But your first instrument is not the flute, it is your body. So get to know it from the inside and understand and control the air pathway. The is the very first and important step when playing any wind instrument, well any instrument at all. Sit straight but not stiff. Relax your legs and pelvic area. Welcome the air to every part of your upper body and try to feel it expanding in the back part or your shoulder blades and below as well. You can verify by leaning against the back of the chair and breathing in “against” it.

FluteProfiles.com - Find Flutists and Flute Teachers Online

 

Breathing out is how we produce a sound


Well breathing in is important and a first step. But even more important is breathing out! That’s how we produce a sound on the flute and that is what we wish to control.

Choose a consonant like s or f, or sh, and let the air leave your body slowly. Our breathing is not triggered by lack of oxygen but by a surplus of CO2 in the body which urges leaving. So actually we have a lot more to work on than we think in terms of air quantity and time span. Try to play with it. Augment the time span, as long as you can. Then try to make the air go faster or slower, change the volume, pressure, velocity.

topflute flute hacks

 

Now that we have a feeling for it, we need to go back to feeling all the muscles involved in the breathing activity. When you breathe out, where does the first air come from that leaves your body? Chest or lower? Shoulders? Where is the most reserve of air. Where are you able to control it best? Get to know your instrument, you play with your breathing, nothing else.

Once you have achieved a feeling for your air stream and body resonance, you could try and take your surroundings into account. Playfully and at this time of lockdown, imaginatively. Use your creativity, balcony, terrace or garden and try this out:

 

________________musician playing nature!

 

You decide the four qualities of the flute sound


What are the four qualities of a sound? O yes, pitch, volume (intensity), timber, duration. But playing the flute there is so much more to it, any part of it.

  • With our air stream we can control pitch as well (not just our fingers) and fine tune while we play.
  • The intensity is obviously controlled by the volume, pressure and velocity of our air stream, same as with the fine tuning.
  • The timber has to do with where we let the air pass before it enters the flute, so with our oral cavity, open or tightness of the throat and the whole resonance in the body of the sound we produce. But as well with the positioning of our lips, embouchure, posture and gesture.
  • The duration of course depends on the air stream and we can also control the attacking of the note and the ending of it in terms of articulation and dynamics.

quality of a flute sound

As you might begin to see, playing the flute has to do less with the flute in itself than with how you use your body and air on it. Even the fingers and what is usually called technique is largely depending on how you control your air stream.

With flute playing we also have the wonderful expression tool of vibrato that we can use in a not very appearant way to embellish all sounds, in a more obvious way of presence and lack to establish a style and period of time, or climax of a piece of music. To read more about vibrato technique have a look at my articles here

                          flutists’ muscles training

                                                          vibrato technique

                                                                                vibrato exercises

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When you learn how to play the flute


When your awareness rests in your body and not outside with the flute or the fingers. You can begin to really play the flute. The big difference is not so much what you hear with your ears and see in a mirror, but what you can anticipate with your inner ear and how you can prepare your body to collaborate and enhance the musical experience.

playing the flute a childrens' game

 

It can help professionals but also is important to know for beginners. You do not play the flute with your lips and fingers or throat, but with your musical imagination and physical control of the air stream.

When you understand this you can communicate anything musically and overcome even the most challenging “technical” obstacles. Remember you to play the flute and not the other way around.

 

How to learn to play the flute – deliberately


To be able to do that, you also need to listen. To flute music, but actually any kind of instrument and music. Build your imagination. Creativity is never a pure invention, but a new connection between things you have experienced. The broader the better! So do not focus only on flute music and scales, but enrich your musical ideas with new and stunning experiences.

This will build your flute personality and help you become unique in sound and playing. Listening to different instruments can enlarge your chromatic and timbre color palette.

FluteProfiles.com - Find Flutists and Flute Teachers Online

FluteProfiles.com – Find Flutists and Flute Teachers Online

Be in control and have fun!


 

So enjoy creating beautiful sounds, let yourself be surprised and once you are able to control your flute playing, try to let go. You will be astonished at what you can create. It all starts with the breathing, so if you have never done any meditation, it could be helpful to start a 5min routine in the morning. It helps, it is not a must. The more you can be aware of what happens in your body, the more you will be enjoying what comes out of your flute!

On how to unleash your inner potential and rise above your limits, check out this article HERE.

We would be happy to read your thoughts on this topic, so please share your experiences and ideas in the comment section below.

Stay healthy, take care and play the flute!

 

Janie

                                           topflute

learn how to play the flute

How to get back in shape fast

The holidays are over and you might have had some concerts in the beginning, then you decided to take a healthy break from the flute. But now you have to be back on track and fast! This article wishes to help you out with how to get back in shape fast.

how to get back in shape fastDon’t be too hard on yourself!

I know, we hate the first sound we make after a break and start over analyzing and guilt shaming for having been on a break.

The sound is not centered and we have little support. We feel limited in every aspect of flute playing and look for all the things we were able to do just a week ago, then effortlessly. We are our own biggest critics and also obstacles to getting back into shape quickly.

 

But have you ever thought that maybe this is an opportunity?

There are technical aspects for every flutist which were hard even when we were in shape. But that could be because we were not flexible enough to tackle them.

Now we can start doing just that and in no time playing even better than before.

 

Take it Easy and Enjoy!

Don’t try to make a perfectly centered piano sound in the beginning. Start with all the air you can proba

flute practice tips

bly exhale together for a longer time and open the lip whole. Don’t try to center the sound right away. Play with an open mezzo forte sound. Just the joy of getting back to playing the flute.

Express joy and openness with you sound, and play whatever melody comes to your mind or fingers. Long legato phrasings. Start with the lower octave. Try to enjoy that you can find a new and better focus later on, but now you can do exactly what you couldn’t before. Relax and push warm and round sounds to the limit of sound production.

Fountain of Air

flute hacks

Do not attempt to play for hours. In fact take breaks, they are the most important part of getting back in shape fast. If you overload your muscles, they will find a way around the fatigue and adopt less than optimal posture, gesture and airflow. You will get used to it and we have to avoid that.

In my personal experience, chunks of 20min are the best in the beginning. Take a pause every 20min or so. However long you need to feel fit again. Do not play when you feel tired!

Concentrate on focused tension and relaxation. Use only the muscles that help you produce and manipulate the sound. The others should not be in strain.

A good feeling is what my professor told me: imagine a fountain, the water rises under pressure on the inside (air stream) and flows freely on the outside of your body (arms, shoulders and legs). I added to complete this picture for a more precise breathing technique, that the pressure we apply is not upward, but downward. It is the air that wants to come up and we increase the pressure by holding it down.

 

 

 

7 Exercises to get back in shape fast


So what should you actually play and study after a break?

  1. You should start with long notes, lower octave. A good exercise is Marcel Moyse’s “De La Sonorité”. It consists in long legato sounds of the chromatic scale downwards. Use no or little vibrato and anticipate the sound. When you can imagine it, your body can produce it. Add the joy of being able to play again to your imagination and your sound quality will have improved, even after the break! If you have never looked at this cornerstone of flute education, you have to click —————————————————-> here.
    vibrato flute technique
  2. Now you can address the middle octave and add some dynamics. Especially pppp on the same note. In this case start piano but still secure, add vibrato in small amplitudes and enlarge them with the crescendo. Let the air flow continuously and stay relaxed. Play with a lot of resonance (open inner cavities, without rigidity). Re-evaluate your diaphragmatic breathing technique and read more about it —–> here.
  3. Remember to take a break, those exercises are exhausting when done well. What should you do during a break? Anything else, but playing the flute. Very useful would be some stretching exercises. You can read more about them —–> here. Now we are ready to regain security in all registers of the flute. One of the best exercises to do that is still by Marcel Moyse in his “Daily Exercises for the flute”. It uses still the chromatic scale through all intervals in all registers. Try to play them with a calm but steady pulse. Your breath reaching where ever possible. Remember the feeling of inhaling when you are exhaling. Play the scales while imagining inhaling. This provokes an undisturbed homogeneous flow of air which comes with a surprising ease.
    flute vibrato technique
  4. Now you should take a longer break. You could add some muscle training to the afore mentioned stretching. To find out more, continue reading ——> here. We will be getting into tonalities and all diatonic scales, major and minor. A very useful exercise is M.A. Reichert “7 Daily Exercises for the flute” number 1. I learned it by heart and play it to warm up without the previous preparation when I am in shape. Sing when you play. Always. Never just emit a note. All of those tonalities have different characters and the same note in one tonality might need a different intonation in another tonality, depending on the function.
  5. Using a metronome start the previous exercise slowly and staccato. Use the single tongue and shape the sounds like pearls on a never ending silver chain (your air stream). Imagine them with beauty and do not criticize. Try to form a homogeneous Pearl necklace. Play it three times at increasing speed, starting very slowly. Then take a break again. If you are uncertain about which metronome to choose you can read about it in my article          ————>   here.
    flute hacks
  6. To loosen any rigidity in your fingers you can add some trill chains. Where you play a diatonic scale legato and add a trill on every note. As a little workout for the fingers and rest for the tongue.
  7. You can look at the following exercises to improve your sound quality further. But remember to practice from a serene and relaxed place, in awe of what is now possible for you to gain awareness of. Have a glimpse at those two articles —–> hacks             ——-> tips.

Be sure to include adequate muscle training and stretching. You can read about it in those two articles:

————-> muscle training

————-> stretching for flutists

 

Is it possible to even have improved after the break?


Yes it is. After a pause we need to automate movements and groups of protocols again. This is a wonderful opportunity to form them consciously again with the possibility to improve former flawed ones. This is priceless. We can form new and better ways and play even more effortlessly and musical.

flute practice tipsAnother important thing is our attitude to studying, flute playing and our very own performance.

We study to be physically able to execute what we imagine. So when we study our inner critic is always alert and showing us flaws. Give space to also positive remarks and try to quiet it completely at least once in every training session. You also need to train the flow state, to be in the zone and let go of your self. You need to allow the music to flow through you and to let your body produce what it knows best when not examined and stressed. Study this situation. Be sure to link it to something you can easily recreate.

Enrich your imagination with beautiful sounds and images. If you are more of a tactile type imagine beautiful movements, elegant postures and interesting choreography. Create a feeling for each sound and melody that you can evoke when you need it. Some prefer mental pictures or directly the sound they wish to create.

Listen to music, look at beautiful art, feel with friends and in relationships, live more aware and broader. There is no division between music making and life experience.

Get your fundamental books and stick to this cornerstone textbooks of flute practice:

——————-> De La Sonorité

——————-> Moyse Daily Practice

——————-> Reichart Daily Exercise

So study the technique to automate it, set the process in motion and then forget about it and just enjoy!

FluteProfiles.com - Find Flutists and Flute Teachers Online
Feel free to comment and let me know how you start playing again after a pause and what helps you enhance performance.

To creating beautiful unforgettable moments for you and your audience,

Best wishes,

Janie

Topflute

Founder of

flute hacks
www.topflute.com
www.myflutelife.com
www.flyingflutist.com

 

How to produce a good vibrato on the flute – 3 exercises

Following the breathing check-up on diaphragmatic breathing we will now dive deeper into the flute vibrato technique. This is an article on how to produce a good vibrato on the flute.

It is the follow up on the introduction you can read —–> here.

 

Preliminary exercises

 


You can start with a note bending by lowering and rising air pressure, even up to a semi-tone. Check with an electronic tuner. For example, you can download the free Soundcorset tuner and metronome on your phone.

Try to not change anything else, like angle, embouchure, throat, chest. Just the pressure from the diaphragm. How do you do that? You can use a medium air pressure and velocity, a mezzo forte sound. On this sound, without stopping or changing anything you add a blow from below, much like a “ha” sound.

It is not easy to describe and maybe you won’t like the idea, but it is the same movement as pushing out the last bit of everything on the loo….or if you use a mountain bike, it is like going uphill when you wish desperately to stop, you push.

If you do that right, you will have a fascinating insight! To do that, the movement of the diaphragm is not upward, but downward. Like inhaling. This is a secret I learned from my soprano friends and their teacher at the Conservatory of Rome.

It is fascinating. The real support you need for good sound quality and vibrato is a downward motion. It is not abdominal muscles, even though they help. But it is nothing sudden or forced. It is an opening, elongating the air column, so air can gain velocity, thus increase pressure.

You do not like this idea? You can happily turn to the “ha” and produce that on a constant air flow. It will be like a swing. Practice it, be aware of all the inner movement it takes and you will naturally develop vibrato.

Do not judge yourself. Experiment and play! Yes, play with the sounds you produce and memorize the sensation of the body parts involved. Add a picture, an image, an idea, that reminds you of doing the movement you internalized. This picture is faster than telling all your muscles in detail what to do when you wish to use the vibrato. You can picture a place, a color, a feeling, a body part. It doesn’t matter. As long as it brings out the sound quality you look for.

This shaking of pitch in the sound, which comes from the changing

pressure of the air stream should be used to seek elegance, warmth,

seduction, expression and connection between the notes and between the

performer and the audience.

Your judge is your ear. But don’t be too hard on yourself. At first, we need to gain awareness about which muscles to use to change the air pressure and then memorize it.

Its presence adds vitality, a vocal effect that happens naturally, if backed by good breathing and sound production habits.

Those habits form through exercises.

3 Flute vibrato exercises – how to produce a good vibrato on the flute


Flute vibrato exercise 1

At first, we need to wake up the diaphragm. We could produce a difference in a basic sound by laughing in to the flute! Try it, it is quite liberating. On that same one sound (a B for example) try introducing this difference in intensity by pushing a “ha” into the flute using the diaphragm.

Try to keep the sound coming in between the “ha”s, there should be no gaps, so that there

is always air flow, but it varies in its quantity, pressure and velocity by using the diaphragm. At the beginning this is casual so hard to control. This is why we use control from outside, a metronome.

If you do not have one you can download the free Soundcorset tuner and metronome on your phone. Put the clicks per minute to 60 (that would be a second each) and pronounce a “ha” every second for 8. If you manage to do that without any gaps in sound and breathing in between, you are ready to move on to:

Flute vibrato exercise 2

 

mom, I love you

 

With the metronome on 108 MM produce one “ha” on each click and after 4, that have no gaps (air keeps coming in between) you go on to triple the speed, so three “ha”s on every click, for 4 clicks as well. Then change the note in a chromatic way downwards.

You can use sound exercises by Moyse (On Sonority, Art and Technique, Marcel Moyse) or the exercises Trevor Wye’s books.

But it is just chromatically downward. You can do it!

cromatic scale sound exercise

Flute vibrato exercise 3

 

Put the metronome back to 60MM. Starting again from b 2, like Moyse sound quality exercises, you should hold the sound for one click, produce “ha” on the second, two “ha”s on the third, three on the fourth, four on the fifth and six on the sixth for two clicks, then change the note a semitone below still doing six “ha”s on the seventh and eighth’s click.

When you can control the emission of six “ha”s from your diaphragm in the speed of 60 MM, it will turn into a natural vibrato when you let it lose. It already is very much alike.

If you become familiar with this exercise change the metronome speed. Slower for also elongating your airflow, quicker for speeding up the response of your diaphragm.

 

 

Deliberately use vibrato technique on the flute

How to produce a good vibrato on the flute


So now we have explained how to develop your flute vibrato technique, especially on long notes that need to come alive, in between sounds to make the most beautiful legato at the end of a piece varying the speed of the vibrato from a slow one, diminishing the intention of the sound but increasing vibrato speed until the sound disappears. That is a very beautiful way of closing a slow piece of music.

You can use it for dramatic reasons in both slow and fast music, to emphasize certain sounds, crescendo or decrescendo and different sorts of legato, whenever you need more tension or interest to build up.

Beware of not abusing of this vibrato technique for flutists, as it can get tiresome for your listeners and your diaphragm! The best use of it is the most natural one and follow the air stream.

 

www.duofantasie.com

 

Daily practice – how to produce a good vibrato on the flute


Now that you know how to develop vibrato on the flute, without obsessing about it,

try to include a short module of different exercises for the flute vibrato technique every day. Vibrato technique for flutists should be part of every practice session.

For the right attitude and sound awareness please refer to our latest article on how to get in control of your playing.

Vibrato adds intensity, suspense, tension, life if it is very quick and if it is slow it adds warmth, seduction, point of arrival, you can also very on one sound if for example it is both, arriving at a relaxing point and also the beginning of something new.

When you arrive somewhere in a very brilliant and agitated way, of course the vibrato should reflect that and not be relaxed. Vibrato adds life to your music, use it wisely!

I hope you found some value in this advice and if you have any questions or doubts, please contact me in the comment section of my blog!

Also share if you think this could be helpful to your friends and followers!

Janie

founder of

                  topflute.com

and    myflutelife.com

how to tune a piccolo for playing in a symphony orchestra

 

 

 

Flute hacks for beginners and pros – 3 ways to level up

Are you looking for flute hacks for beginners and pros to level up you flute playing?

Topflute has selected two times three ways to step up your game.

Go, get those hacks!

 

Flute hacks for beginners and pros – ways to level up


Other than following fairly simple schemes like the ones I’ve published ——-> here,

what can we do to enhance our skills and musical expression range?

 

flute hacks for beginners and pros

 

 

A three-way street to the same destination – improved flute playing


———-> Street number one

  • We can only express what we have felt or known and therefor we should listen to flute music as much as we can. By doing so we should become conscious of what we feel when we listen and if our emotional range is widening as well.

Knowledge is best acquired through emotions, energy in motion. Playing the flute requires both, energy and motion, we need to feel our body and not be disconnected from its parts and its emotions.

Whenever you link a sound to an emotion you will be able to reproduce it in any whatsoever stressful circumstance. Widen your bodily understanding of flute music.

 

———-> Street number two

  • Whenever you play, sing as well. Never produce a sound without singing it within you (I don’t mean the actual practice we used in practice tips, or in part also further down this artile, of singing and playing simultaneously).

I mean an energetic, active state, where energy flows and vibrates. Every note you produce, every sound needs to come from that place of vibrant beautiful flow, it can caress or overwhelm, take you with it or leave you with a shining glance of its memory.

You can change this way every time you play, just always feel it.

 

———-> Street number three

 

  • Imagine your fingers move in a perfect order on this air stream and produce pearls or different colors of a painting. Visualize what they create and you will easily remember the way the have to move without having to do it in repetition for an hour.

Remember the feeling of them creating an image on the canvas or interweaving a beautiful textile. Link the image to the sound, the sound to a feeling. Remember the feeling and you will play correctly anytime anywhere what you store together with that feeling.

Make sure it is positive and a creation you like. That is actually studying. Make it yours! Or as the singers say “put it into your voice”.

 

 

3 proven flute technique hacks


 

All the following techniques initially complicate our performance and in each we gain a different awareness which will massively contribute to the quality of our performance and your overall security at performing.

Can you lean on what you internalized and jump?

 

flute hacks for beginners and pros

  • Flute harmonics, play the piece with the lowest fingering producing the written sound as a harmonic. In this way you will learn how to produce a sound at the right tune a note with more support, larger opening. When you play with normal fingering again it will seem a walk in the park to you! Not only that, you will be surprised how much the intonation and quality of the sound has improved.

 

  • Fluttering tongue, play the piece using fluttering tongue continuously. In this way you will need to majorly increase your air support and also to link to notes together without stopping airflow or vibrato. Your sound quality will improve and your legato will be awesome. Also, you study a technique for contemporary flute music.

 

  • Sing and play, play the piece while singing harmony notes as a second part to your piece. While it increases hugely the quality of your sound, forcing it through the singing position of the airflow through the vocal chords, it moreover improves your harmonic understanding of the piece. Who says a flutist is a monophonic instrument? Let’s prove them wrong and improve our playing a great deal while learning how to accompany ourselves!

 

Flute loops – an unusual flute exercise in flute hacks for beginners and pros


Another way of getting in the zone, in your flow, your effortless playing and enjoying yourself while improving your overall playing is by creating loops from the most beautiful fragments of melodies that you love.

Wherever they come from, play them by heart and play them as often as you wish. Make them more beautiful every time and only when you feel centered move on to new things.

This is a selection of my favorite Italian flute tunes, that I play to stay in the flow and enter the zone. In the below video it is actually me playing with my pianist. I hope you enjoy.

 

 

Spot on – flute playing


What to do with those tips and tricks?

From all those ideas to make your sound and phrasing match your level of expression, communicative skill and therefore musicianship, choose at least two every day and incorporate them in what you already do when you practice.

Try to vary them once you manage them in a way that satisfies you and when you think you own them.

 

https://youtu.be/eVLt5nZxwJ4

Once you have become familiar with all of them, choose the right one for every piece or situation. Get your inner position in place from where the air stream, the fingers, the posture and energy will be supportive to an overall musical idea.

 

Also read my other articles about practicing  to get a more complete picture.

 

——->                                  flute practice tips

——->                                                               vibrato technique

——->                                                                                    breathing technique

——->                                                                                                               breathing awareness

 

If you have any questions, doubts, ideas,

please leave them below in the comment section and

I will be more than happy to answer personally.

 

Happy fluting everyone,

Janie

founder of

topflute.com

and myflutelife.com

https://myflutelife.com

 

Flute vibrato technique

what makes a flutist’s sound alive is the flute vibrato technique

How to play the flute beautifully

Produce a nice, rich and clean sound on the flute


 

This blog is about producing a beautiful, vivid and harmonically rich sound with the help of vibrato.

 

We will discuss how to use flute vibrato technique and control of it throughout a musical piece.

 

Did you ever think, wow, this is a beautiful sound, but couldn’t really say why it stuck out?

You thought it was warm, alive, welcoming, seducing even and very elegant?

That is the good and natural use of vibrato, when the rest of the flute technique is covered.

If you play in tune, rhythmically perfect, nice and appropriate phrasing,

dynamics and articulation, and you change your timbre with the use of harmonics,

if you do all of that and somebody else does too, what is it what makes the difference?

Right, the vibrato.


Awareness and adequate use of a flutist’s vibrato technique can make all the difference.

It is very personal and flutists usually develop it from imitating singers.

 

And that is where we start, too. Watch the video link here!

 

https://youtu.be/Osrih13OCWE

 

What is vibrato and how is it developed?

Flute vibrato technique


 

Beware, it comes from the very bottom!

 

May I introduce you to my colleague, the fantastic opera singer from Rome: Federica Raja.

She joined me and my Duo partner, the pianist Monica Calvo in our Duo Fantasie.

We love to talk about how to produce a beautiful sound and the use of our air flow as a singer and as a flutist. Vibrato is an audible symptom of our use of the air stream. It originates and is controlled by our diaphragm.

If you missed out on diaphragmatic breathing please have a look at the post by clicking on the link, to cover your grounds!

 

flute and soprano vibrato

 

 

So how do you play vibrato on a flute, same as singing?

Flute vibrato technique


 

You do not play or do vibrato on a flute.

Vibrato is a form of expression.

It is part of the overall musical and communicative quality of a performer and is an integral part of the produced sound throughout the whole performance.

It’s conscious changes turns it into a means of expression.

Vibrato as part of the sound quality comes from the lower muscles of your breathing apparatus and is known as natural vibrato. It actually means a shaking, trembling or acoustically speaking an oscillation between two very close pitches, or much better two extreme ends of one pitch.

This shaking in the sound is the result of a change in air pressure.

As we are no machines, when we sing or play the flute, the air will have natural changes in its pressure, and this makes the sound feel alive and not artificial.

 

But flute vibrato technique is not


Now, there are some singers, who we will not name, but who exaggerate and sometimes make us hate vibrato all together, because we lose stability of the melody and it sounds more like a Woolf crying to the moon.

That is because singers add a second variable which is the tension of the vocal chords and can get their vibrato to cover large intervals if they can produce those changes fast enough. When the pitch changes to a different sound and it is changing quickly between those two, without any measurement of subdivision, just really fast, we would rather speak of one sort of tremolo then.

For the sake of completeness there is also another way to produce tremolo which is repeating the same note very fast to fill up the entire musical value of that sound, without sub divisional measurement. This is often used by violins and cellos to create suspense or denote that something important is going on and we should pay attention.

Basically, it is also not an embellishment as a trill might be, but an intrinsic part of the quality of your sound. Needless to say that can be used to underline or highlight certain musical expressions, phrasing or articulation.

 

Unfortunately all three, excessive vibrato, tremolo and trills, are often used to hide poor intonation as well


That sad, is sadly true, that if you are not sure about being in tune, by adding a huge vibrato that covers several tunings, your audience won’t say you were out of tune….

BUT they might justly accuse you of poor musical style, using vibrato not for musical phrasing reasons, or even in a piece of music from a period when it was not used at all.

Clear, not shaky, not trembling sounds were preferred, for example in Renaissance music.

From Barcoque Music on vibrato was used to different extends. Instruments however were imitating the human voice. Especially the flute. So sometimes we had moon worshipers also among us in the flute section!

This is why we should be aware of what a vibrato actually is and prepare it carefully.

Here are some practical exercises to create a beautiful natural vibrato,

 

We should try to avoid excessive, uncontrolled use of this substance!

Flute vibrato technique


 

Whenever you feel that in a piece you are playing there is something missing, check if you can improve any of these first:

  • phrasing,
  • sound quality
  • and articulation,
  • dynamics
  • quality of legato

 

flute and soprano

 

If those are all covered and you feel you can’t do any better on those aspects for now,

try to imagine a vibrato choreography.

If you do not know what I mean by that check out my other two articles first

and then go on to create your very own vibrato choreography on your piece.

Pay attention to follow it and control what you are doing. You can study this following the exercises

topflute put together for you——–> here.

You can always change your breathing dance, but you should never go blindly.

That makes the difference between someone we like to listen to, because he or she, playing an instrument, is actually communicating something.

 

 

Duo Fantasie

 

I hope you do relate and have some own ideas to share!

Please do so in the comment section.

Share this post on social media to help me keep up doing this for you!

Janie

founder of

                     topflute.com

and         myflutelife.com

how to tune a piccolo for playing in a symphony orchestra

 

Flute Practice Tips

Have you ever wondered if there were flute practice tips to study in a more efficient way but in less time? If so, you will appreciate our flute practice tips collected over years!

flute practice

Whether you need to study for, let’s say a flute ensemble, whether you are a beginner flutist or a pro, whether you play flute jazz, and other instruments in a band, whether you look for an actual flute job or you need to prepare any other flute genre, you will have asked yourself if there was a more efficient way in a short amount of time to become confident with the sheet music or the Jazz solo.

 

You will already have created your very own and personalized flute practice with the help of your teacher’s or colleagues’ tips. Whatever flute you play, even the pan flute, which flute tunes you are trying to study or if you are preparing for an audition with orchestral backing and piano accompaniment, you will need to make sure, you don’t waste any time or are even studying in a way that actually diminishes your performance.

So the question is:

What do they really mean when they say “you better go, and study some more at home”?

 

How to study effectively in short time at home                                                             5 flute practice tips


 

You only have 20 min now and then? Make sure you use them wisely. You don’t need your flute for the first two flute practice tips.

 

—-> Flute Practice Tip 1

  • The very first step is to get an idea about how it should sound in the end. In your head, without playing any of it, look at the flute sheet music and turn the flute notes into a sound in your mind.

Breathe with the imagined melody and give it a direction. Is the phrase leaning forward or backward? Would you play it bold or intimate? Do you wish for a clear, warm, mystical, deep, seductive sound or are you just telling a story? Is it narrative or contemplative? Does the phrase consist of a question and an answer? Or just one big feeling?

Try to identify the inner meaning of whatever you are about to study and sing it inside your body. Try to locate the sound. Does it come from your belly, your feet, your back, your elbows, your head? Does it move? If you have trouble imagining any of it, listen to recordings on YouTube.

 

—-> Flute Practice Tip 2

  • Sing it! I know you won’t like it, but you should try to sing whatever you study, in any register or octave, but sing it. This part you can do in the shower, car, elevator or on a walk.

 

—-> Flute Practice Tip 3

  • Now you will probably know why you became a flutist and not a singer, and be thankful that the flute can produce any sound in more than 3 octaves.

While keeping your flute in your hand, go over the sheet music again imagining the flute sound. Then move your fingers on the flute while still playing the piece only in your head.

 

—-> Flute Practice Tip 4

  • At this point you actually put your flute in a playing position, breathe and sing with your flute, yes I mean really sing and play simultaneously. This will get your air support system ready, open your throat and connect what we have done so far with the flute playing.

Don’t skip this step, it is very important to link playing the flute to the things you can do to study flute music without the flute. You will gain deep understanding of the music and intonation.

 

—-> Flute Practice Tip 5

  • Play the piece just once and don’t judge any of the aspects. You will wish to play it again, but I recommend not to. Leave it there and go practice 20 min of scales and arpeggios. Then another twenty minutes of sound quality. Then sing and play again in the third 20-min portion of your time.

And only after that go and play it. You will have played it only twice (without singing) but it will sound like you played it all your life. Because it has phrasing, breathing, direction, meaning and all the musical expressive elements that are available to you at the present moment.

 

Flute yoga – whole body flute practice tip


 

Have you ever noticed that they use flute music for yoga? It’s because it is deeply connected to our air stream, so the basis of our life. Whenever we breathe we express ourselves, we take in and produce a certain type of energy. This happens independently whether you think about it or not.

Actually most people don’t and live in constant reaction to something they can’t seem to control. Whenever we control our breathing, match it to the result we wish, we are in charge, controlling our life. So we flutists actually have a gift. We can use that to calm down others and make them aware, but also for ourselves.

Let us own our choreography of airflow,

flute air flow coreography, controlling your expression by controlling the movement of your air streamlet us decide its velocity, pressure, angle, volume, directness or indirectness. Whether it circles in our mouth before getting out, whether it does that inwardly or outwardly (clockwise or anticlockwise).

Does it resonate in our head and gain harmonics or just leave our body? Or maybe it creates a very direct flute sound?

We can choose whether our inner mouth and neck position matches an “o” or an “i”, where we use a decisive or soft consonant to start the sound and to end it. Whether we use one at all.

We can decide the dance the air performs before leaving our body and the vibration it creates in the flute and surrounding area. If you feel intimidated by all these possibilities, do some more of the 5 steps for effective flute practice and when you get excited about expressing the feeling and sound you now understand try some flute yoga again.

Breathe and be excited of what your air stream does to express your melody. Just observe, don’t judge. Be excited and curious. There is no right or wrong at this moment.

 

Create your personal flute practice routine


Choose your very own practice every day. Look for routine parts and varying parts, make it part of your flute playing every time you play.

For more tips and tricks read also —-> flute hacks

Most important of all, own your playing, the flute is part of you, not the other way around.

Play with joy and a wish to share. Read more in our recent article about owning your playing.

Enjoy every moment of it.

I would love to read what you think and how you feel about my ideas. Maybe you have some more helpful flute practice tips and tricks?

Thank you for reading my blog on flute practice tips and have a wonderful topflute life.

Janie

founder of

Jana Theresa Hildebrandt

                   topflute.com