Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:
In this episode, Rebecca will give you some amazing tips on how to hold that slippery flute.
This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 027.
What this podcast will be all about
- Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
- Some key balance points to help you hold the flute
- Why you should use your right hand pinky when your supposed to
- Where the best place is for your right hand thumb to sit
- What you can look forward to learning from listening
Learn Flute Podcast 027
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Well hi there, welcome to the Learn Flute Podcast. I’m Rebecca Fuller your host and expert on all things flute learning. Today I am going to be giving some much needed tips on how to hold that slippery flute.
I’m excited you are here today so that we can discover and learn even more about how to play the flute. There is just so much information I want to make available to you and I realized that is it is not possible to give it to you all in one dose. So, I will do the next best thing and chunk it up into bite size pieces so that you can listen, learn, practice, and ponder on it -and then come back for even more.
Today we are going to be discussing a lot of important details surrounding how you actually hold the flute. Now I totally understand that those first few weeks of holding the flute are the absolute trickiest. The instrument just seems way too long, and extremely slippery. But even after those first few weeks I have found that many students still have issues and some little details that they just don’t know really could help.
Now, at the end of this podcast today, I’ll give you the link to watch a video I made all surrounding this exact issue. I take it slow enough and detailed enough that you can really learn something from it even if you are not a brand new beginner.
So, first of all, I wanted to let you know that there are several balance points that you need to understand and learn how to identify when learning how to hold the flute. Knowing exactly where these are will really make a difference in your playing abilities. You would be surprised to learn that clarity and tone are affected quite a bit with the different ways a person is holding their flute.
So the first thing we’re going to talk about here is your very first balance point. Now if you hold your flute out in front of you as if you’re getting ready to play today then you will notice that there is a little tiny space between the first two keys of the body of the flute. The ones that are right up by the headjoint.This is a really great spot to notice because your eye can draw to it when you place the flute on your left hand.
The second little key there on the flute is the actual button, the little key, that your left hand first finger presses. If you tried to balance the flute under your finger on that spot you are going to be having troubles. You will especially notice this when your having to switch from a C to a D. That will be the very worst moment of your day. Because the flute will slip inward and feel like it’s going to fall on the floor. Now of course we don’t want that so let’s talk about this further.
You will actually need to balance the flute on the top bone of your palm at the base of your first finger on your left hand. Why don’t you hold your left hand out right now and let’s find this exact spot. Sometimes I even draw a little x on my new students’ hands with a pen when we are having this lesson.
You’ll notice that it’s not actually your finger that holds the flute, but rather your flute balances on that top portion of your palm bone. Your left hand finger is crooked back just a little bit as it curves around to reach that first key on an angle. That angle is something that is important to pay attention to here. Instead of your first finger reaching around the flute nice and straight (you know from directly underneath that first key), will want to make sure that it’s coming from the side. This does vary slightly because everyone has a little bit of a different size of finger, but I teach students all the way from age 3 up to about 97 or so and I haven’t noticed that this instruction is ever any different.
Let’s move on now to the next balance point which is the right hand thumb. This is your right hand we are talking about now. Many students assume that this thumb is supposed to hold the flute up. With this mentality comes a new host of problems. And instead of discussing all of the issues here that this causes I’d like to just let you know what is desired instead. Your right hand thumb really does need to counter balance the flute more in a pushing motion. Let me explain here. If you realize that you are holding your flute with your left hand palm facing towards you and your right hand palm facing away from you, then you’ll notice that with a little pressure they counter each other. so, it’s best practice if you think of your right hand thumb needing to be a little bit on the back side of the barrel instead of the underneath so that this pushing balancing thing can happen effectively.
I know some students who are gripping their flutes so tightly that their thumb is rolled underneath and slid way over to the side to the point where their hand hurts all the time. Maybe you’ve even experienced this yourself? After playing a passage you may be tempted to hang your hand down and shake it a little bit in order to relieve the tension that has built. Now this is a sure sign that it’s time to look carefully at these balance points and the position of your fingers.
Now don’t worry I do have many lessons inside the membership area on my website LearnFluteOnline.com that address these exact issues in even further detail. I show you exactly how to hold your fingers, and what techniques are best for keeping you loose and fluid. You may have heard me say before that loose, fluid fingers are most conducive to having speedy fingers as well. It’s true! We can learn to be faster, more even players when our hand position is just right.
Okay, let’s talk about the next balance point. Your right hand pinky is super important to balance also. I know it’s very common for students to assume that the right hand pinky is not even doing anything because they noticed that it doesn’t seem to make a change in pitch as they are first learning how to play. They kind of get this habit to not use it. This is actually not true, and all flute players would be wise to learn and understand this even better.
Of course, I could go on and on about the benefits of learning how to use your pinky properly but for the sake of this podcast today I will just mention that it is extremely important to tone, and your balance as well. So, learn to use that pinky wisely! And use it on every single note that it is supposed to be used for… even if you can’t tell that it is making a big difference. Just take my professional word for it.
The very last balance point I’ll mention in this podcast today is your face. If you imagine you are holding your flute and as we mentioned earlier with your left hand pulled towards you, and your right hand pushing away from you, we have one more little spot where the flute will have to touch your body. That position is underneath your lip on your upper chin. That’s the place of impact. I guess we could do several days of learning about this tiny little spot. But for right now I will just mention that it is one of the balance points and to be aware of the science of ‘levers’.
Haha that might be just opening a whole new discussion on levers and the science of learning how to play the flute. Music is science, and it’s pretty darn cool I’m sure you will agree.
In order to join in on this conversation remember to hop on over to the website learn flute online.com and check out the podcast section on the bonus page.
As promised, I’d like to give you the link to the video tutorial page about balancing your flute. Here it is it’s: learn flute online dot com forward slash – how to hold the flute – Now if your going to type that in url language you’re going to have to type it like this – learn flute online dot com forward slash how dash to dash hold dash the dash flute. Because the spaces turn into dashes in the url bar.
Well enough of that I’m thrilled that you are learning how to play the flute, & I enjoy helping you out on your journey. Please feel free to come into the membership area on the website and take a lesson from me this week. I’m sure you won’t regret it!
Thank you for Tuning In!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about the flute today as we learned about different tips on how to hold that slippery flute. Join us for the next episode.