Is your tone spot on one day and then totally fuzzy the next? Wonder what causes inconsistent tone?
You’re not alone. There are a few reasons why many flute players feel they have unpredictable tone.
Feeling on top of the world in your flute practice session one day and then feeling like you have completely missed the mark on another isn’t uncommon, especially amongst newer players.
Barring any mechanical issues with your flute, let’s assume the inconsistent tone is caused by operator-error (the most popular type of error amongst instrumentalists).
Did you have great tone one minute
and then it’s like… totally gone then next?
Knowing you’re not alone is a bit comforting, and going through this little checklist today will help you hit the target more often than you did before.
1. Have you skipped a few (or lots) of days since you last had a good practice?
If so, then you’ll have to cut yourself some slack. Your body’s bio-mechanics will be rusty, and you can expect a lot of hiccups within your tone.
How to fix this?
More consistent practice is the first goal. You didn’t really expect to ‘not’ work on a skill yet magically be perfect the next time you pick up your instrument, right? I didn’t think so.
2. Did you jump right into your biggest, best, and hardest piece at the beginning of your practice session?
If so, expect some fuzz.
Focus on a nice warm-up routine.
How to fix this?
Focus on a nice warm-up routine each and every day that covers the gamut of your range and abilities instead of plopping yourself into something that requires your highest skill level. More importantly, use the exact warm-ups your teacher has given you. Use them slowly, and also use them daily.
Practice that happens on a regular basis coupled with a nice warm-up routine will help your inconsistent tone… a lot!
3. Did you have great tone one minute and then it’s like… totally gone then next?
How frustrating. If this is the case you’ll want to check two things:
Firstly, examine the alignment of your head joint in relation to the rest of your flute. Do you have it tipped too far forward or backwards?
In addition to this you want to take a close look at your posture. Making sure your lips and your lip plate are nice and parallel is an equally important way to find more predictable tone. Yup.
Another way to fix this?
Practice in front of a mirror. While it’s kind of unconventional to take your flute into the bathroom, it works! Looking for (and spotting) tiny little ways to adjust your alignment or placement on your face is monumental most of the time.
Whenever you find yourself having inconsistent tone on your flute, you can come back to this little checklist which will most definitely help you to pull it together.
As a result you’ll find yourself happier with your practice session. Happy feelings create happy music!
Good luck today!