Monday, January 21, 2013

Learning the Left Handed Flute

Flute for right- and left handed flutists

Curious about the emails I have been receiving from a German flute maker who specializes in entry level flutes, and has developed a left handed flute, I ordered one for the shop.

A left handed flute is played to the left side.  The right handed flute it played to the right side, and is how 100% of the flute players play and have played for centuries.

This dominant sided activity has led many of us to injuries to necks, shoulders, upper backs, tendons, carpal tunnels, and more.  The  German flute maker's theory is that this flute can be a sort of therapy for all of these strained muscles and soft tissue.  This sounded reasonable to me, and as I have some of these injuries (well actually all of them, but not just from flute playing)  I thought this left handed flute could help me and others.

It arrived today. Of course, I had to try it.  Right away.  Forget about packing for the Florida Flute Association Convention that starts Friday.  Here was this flute to try, although truth to tell, just looking at it made me dizzy.

Then I had to try to figure out how to hold the thing.  Balance was an issue.  Still is. Finding the keys is another challenge, as is using actual left handed fingerings, and not translating them into the right hand set up.

The other consideration is that I play out of the right side of my mouth, so the asymmetrical embouchure gets in the way when playing the left handed flute.

But, as I played, things got better!  The sound became more focused, the hands more trustworthy, the fingerings remembered.  Now, I am still only playing long tones. But I must be using a totally different side of my brain, which should reinforce what I am doing with the right handed flute, right?  Bach Sonatas, here I come!

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