At every single stage of development, whether beginner or professional, we should find ‘études for flute’ as a part of many of our practice sessions. So what is an étude anyway? I’ll put it plainly here for you, and you’ll start down your ‘yellow-brick’ of enjoying them right away.
As I write this article, I checked the dictionary definition to find out what it had to say;
A short musical composition, typically for one instrument, designed as an exercise to improve the technique or demonstrate the skill of the player.
It’s like a little song that has a purpose.
That’s a pretty good definition actually, but I think I can put it into simplified understanding for you today. In layman’s terms this is basically everything you need to know about the flute étude:
An étude is basically a flute study that is kind of melodious unlike a plain scale or set of long tones. It’s like a little song that has a purpose. The purpose could be to gain coordination between two certain fingerings, or a repetitious rhythm designed to help you speed up.
These étude studies sound like one/two page pieces that don’t quite make it up to the standard of something you’d play solo in front of an audience. In fact, that’s not their goal anyway. And learning to play these pieces to a 100% perfection level isn’t always the aspiration either.
It’s really great to take a particular étude and discover three or four different points in any given week of practice. As a teacher, I like to use études to enhance a student’s reading abilities. Here are some examples;
- Can you make it through with correct notes for the key?
- Can you keep with the metronome and the set rhythms?
- How fast can you push the tempo on the first few times reading the piece?
- How much musicality can you put into the piece even though it’s very new?
These are just examples of course, and it depends on your level and the particular étude.
To recap here, you should use the étude as a study that you work on for a few days and then put away. It is not to be memorized or performed, but don’t be surprised if any particular institution/band loves to use them as audition pieces (sorry!).
There is much more learning to be had on this subject, for today and this article I think it’s enough. I’ll definitely give you exact know-how in the lesson modules here in the members area at LearnFluteOnline.com (especially up in the higher levels Intermediate+). I’ll walk you through exactly what you need to watch for and know when sightreading and learning an etude. It’ll be great!
If you have any questions/comments/concerns about etudes this is your moment. Leave it below. 🙂