Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:
In this episode, you will learn all about how to play the flute with power including real tips and tricks.
This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 083.
What this podcast will be all about
- Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
- What a poor tone sounds like
- How to create a better tone
- What the Learn Flute Online Tone Course is
- What you can look forward to learning from listening
Learn Flute Podcast 083
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Welcome to the Learn Flute Podcast where today I’ll be sharing some big tips and hints on how to play the flute with more power. I’m Rebecca Fuller, and this is episode number eighty three!
Hello, hello, it’s a great day here at Learn Flute Online- as usual. When I said ‘episode number eighty three’ a minute ago, it surprised me that we’ve already done this many episodes. How exciting. It has just flown by, hasn’t it?
As you might already know, I work with many students of different age groups and ability, so my job is fun fun and never boring. One thing I particularly enjoy is helping trouble shoot someone’s tone. That means, I get to listen carefully to them play and then make a plan in my head for how I can first of all, improve something about their tone quickly- right then. And the next thing I do is make a game plan to help them strengthen their tone for the future. Basically, I like to give them an immediate fix, and then send them home with a new skill or exercise that will give them the tone they’re looking for, and is achievable within a few weeks with consistent effort.
There are different types of tones that I hear including dry, airy sounds as well as shrill and sharp. But there’s one specific type of tone we’re going to learn about today that could possibly change your playing life on your flute if this is something you are needing. And, this is quiet and possibly flat tone… usually pretty thin sounding. Small tone that has no power lacks color and vibrancy as well as dynamic range and depth.
Basically, it’s a higher level skill. Want it for yourself? Even if you’re not aware of it, almost everyone can use tips to strengthen their tone, which some people think of as learning how to play louder. Which is kind of the same thing. So, let’s get started!
Before I share the special tips I have for you today on this subject, we need to examine a little more carefully the symptoms.. Haha, I feel like a flute doctor right now.
The symptoms are: thin, quiet, and possibly or usually with intonation problems. This means that the pitches played are oftentimes flat or sharp from where they should be.
Now, the reasons flute players get into this funk or habit of playing this way is almost always for one reason. They are really working hard at clearing up their tone and not having any fuzzies or whispy sounds in their tone.
So, what happens is that the flute player discovers that if they use a combination of a few things, their tone clears up – it’s powerless, but it’s clear. And, especially for a school band player, this seems okay because they like their playing to blend in anyway.
Well, the problem with all of this is that it’s a very hard habit to break – and full, strong, open tone just isn’t a possibility anymore.
The players find that if they tip their head joint in towards their face a bit and pull back with their cheeks to stretch the aperture – you know, the hole in their lips, then it creates a smaller hole. This combination creates a smaller, and slightly sweeter tone…. Or at least they think.
The big tip here is to learn to keep the flute more level so that the angle of your air stream is not so closed off. Also, pulling the cheeks back and pinching into a tiny little hole does make it more possible to stay clear, but tiny also means a tiny airstream.. And no matter how hard you force it out, it can’t have much power.
Check yourself next time you go to play your flute. Stand in front of a mirror and play. How many dimples are showing? Are your cheeks pulled back, your lips in a long stretched line, and on the verge of a pucker? Yah, that’s a clue that you can use these tips today.
I like to demonstrate this in the learning videos in the Learn Flute Online modules. It’s a really important skill. It’s not the only important skill, but it is definitely on the top of the list.
Also, try blowing a nice long tone while experimenting with rolling the head joint out and in… listen carefully to the size of the tone. If you have the habit of playing the flute tipped in, you can definitely hear a difference in pitch as you roll it out. But, I should mention that this has two parts to it. If you roll out and can’t make any noise at all anymore, then it means you’re pulling back with your cheeks and super tight. Hmmm. Food for thought for sure.
The last tip I’ll give you today is to realize that you can blow much, much harder on a flute than you really thought was possible. Really, if a student has properly done a study in forte (forte means loudly), then their heart rate will probably be up, and they’ll have an exhilarated feeling as if they just did something really big and really cool.
Marcel Moyse, who is the father of modern flute playing was probably the first to put into writing that we flute players need to use our abs. It’s true! We need to engage the abs and this will force the air out at a faster speed, thus increasing the ‘loudness’. The trick then is to teach your lips how to behave so that the correct octave will happen. Remember, those loose cheeks and lips.
Haha, well I think I could go on for three days straight on this subject, but let’s give it a rest here and let it bounce around your head for a while. Remember that the best way to make a new habit is to take small bites and chew often.
Quick review now:
Number one: keep your lips supple, soft and your cheeks loose instead of pinched and tight
Number two: Keep the head joint nice and level.. If your head joint is lined up perfectly with your keys, then the keys will be horizontal and parallel to the flat ceiling not tipped back.
Number three: engage your abs. Push in on your belly button so the air is forced out of your mouth at a faster rate.
And, number four: make these previous three things a habit, and then come back for more and I’ll tell you the rest of the recipe.
It’s so good to have you here. You’re experimenting faithfully, hopefully having fun, and enjoying the process of being a learner.
I invite you to come into the membership areas here at LearnFluteOnline.com, where you can get 24/7 access to thousands of learning videos all designed in progressive order in a very organized, systematic way that ensures your complete success as a flute player.
See ya soon!
Thank you for Tuning In!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about how to play the flute with power. Join us for the next episode.