Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Repair, Restore, Renew for 2013

As yet another Nor'easter bears down on the Mid-Atlantic, and I have some time to think of what the new year will bring, I have decided to raise my own flute playing bar for 2013.

The holiday season is wonderful for all those free-lance jobs that bring in welcome income at a time when finances are difficult to balance. It certainly is wonderful to reconnect with musicians one may not have seen for quite some time.

But it comes at a cost for personal flute technique.

For all the flexibility needed to play your best with many different ensembles and players, taking various parts, and blending with all levels of musicians, it can be difficult to maintain one's own technical approach, let alone scale!

I have designed a set of exercises I plan to do to repair and restore my own personal flute aesthetic and technique.

1.  What are your musical values?  What is a good musical credo for you and your style of playing? Write it down.  Change it, of course, because as you actually write these things down, your thoughts will become more focused and clear to you.

2.  List the adjectives of the most perfect flute sound for you.  Be as precise as possible.  Avoid words such as nice, or pretty.  Remembering that the flute is an heroic instrument can make those descriptive words flow!

3.  Begin doing daily breathing exercises.  Power Lung is ideal.  Also swimming: I always sound better when I am in good swimming shape.

4.  Long Tones!!  A must for all serious players.  A good long tone exercise should involve intervals, intonation studies, and move from low-to-high.

5.  More Long Tones!  I like to choose a melody that really speaks to me, and transpose it into all 12 Keys.

6.  Intervals.  Scales in 3rds, 4ths, and more.

7.  Harmonics.  Make sure you gently manipulate the air stream to create the next partial.  No over-blowing allowed! The skill is in the raising and lowering of the air stream.  If you want more of a challenge, diminuendo as you ascend, and crescendo as you descend.

8.  Taffanel-Gaubert No. 4.  Enough said!

On January 2, Flute Pro Shop is offering a Restorative Long Tone Hour at 7:00 PM East.  Please join us!  We will start at the top of this list and go as far as we can in one hour.  Our first Long Tone exercise will be Tonic-Dominants, and the second will be the theme from the 2nd movement of the Rodrigo Concerto.  We will take the interval exercises from the Marcel Moyse Daily Exercises book.  Harmonics will go from middle C to C1 and back down again.  Please send an email to if you need info regarding these exercises.

Renewing ones commitment to musical excellence is a great New Year activity.  Raising the flute bar is fun and inspirational!!

Please share with us the techniques you use to repair and restore your flute technique.  All ideas are welcome!

No comments:

Post a Comment