Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:
In this episode, you will learn all about the importance of tone for a flutist and what you need to know to have clear tone on your flute.
This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 087.
What this podcast will be all about
- Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
- What the Tone Course is
- What can effect your tone
- Why tone is so important to a flutist
- What you can look forward to learning from listening
Learn Flute Podcast 087
Press the Play Button to Listen Now:
Hello Hello, it’s time for a new episode from Learn Flute Online. I’m Rebecca Fuller and today we’re going to talk about what you need to know to have clear tone on flute. We all need to know – this is episode eighty seven. Let’s get started!
Hey there again, I’m glad to have you here where we will again, for the eighty seventh podcast in a row learn even more about how to play the flute well. Now, in these podcast episodes we are obviously discussing subjects that can be talked about instead of demonstrated or shown like we do in the learning videos inside the membership area. There’s a ton in there for you, and I want to invite you into a lesson today. If you have questions about how, simply leave a comment here or email me at rebecca at learn flute online dot com.
Today we’re going to be talking about exactly what is the most near and dear thing to every flute player’s heart, and that’s our “tone” – which is what we sound like. The actual essence inside what is audible.
We flutists take it pretty personal when we play. And, the reason is because unlike many other instruments that are hit or plucked etcetera where the instrument itself is making the noise, the flute is a different baby. The flute’s tone is created with our wind.
As we blow, our air stream that is coming from our lips has to be crafted carefully into the perfect shape and size and then split carefully on the outside edge of the metal lip plate of our flute. This is what creates the sound. And the quality of that sound is all dependant on how well we know our technicalities.. Or we can use the word “technique” to describe it.
So, when two players are sitting next to each other blowing into what looks like clones of the same instrument, it’s interesting to note that they most often do not sound the same at all.
So, how can we improve what we sound like? Our tone is both the most rewarding and the most frustrating thing about our practice session or performance.
Well, it’s a really good question. And, the answer is long. Haha, you might have thought I was going to say something like, “well, you just push this one little button right here and things just clear right up.” haha I wish it were that simple.
No, actually we do have a recipe of sorts that we can go through that will fix you all up and make things pretty and tight.
Let’s start with the first most obvious item on the list and that’s the instrument you play. We should start here because depending on the quality and condition of your flute, your technique can be foiled before even the get-go.
Low quality flutes can still sound decent, it all just depends on a few features, but mostly it depends on the condition of it. If there are leaking pads and gummed up mechanism with soot and grime, then the fuzzies will be ever present no matter what you do.
So, let’s assume that your flute is pretty great, and you’re ready to go. What kinds of things can throw off your tone? Again, there’s a list of things. Let’s touch on a couple of them here today.
First, we should know (and it may not be obvious) that our flute can only play as well as we can. Haha, that’s a funny statement but ever so true. If we’re a brand new flute player and we are a beginner and we pick up a ten thousand dollar flute, we probably will have airy, gritty tone no matter how hard we try. And, this is simply due to the fact that we haven’t yet learned how to shape our aperture perfectly (amongst the other skills we need to fine-tune).
The little tiny muscles in our lips and surrounding our mouth can’t just be commanded to form a perfect hole for flute playing. They have to be coddled, and nurtured along through a process. It’s a lot like learning to speak a foreign tongue that has a strange sound in it that has to be practiced a lot and tweaked to perfection until it sounds native and fluent. It’s very similar to teaching our lips and little mouth movements to form at the precise moment we get our fingers into a certain pattern on the keys of our flute- and then combine this with the amount of air pressure blown and in what precise angle it’s being directed to.
Haha I guess it sounds like a complicated process. But, it’s really not – if these skills are demonstrated and broken down into the tiniest movements and carefully followed and trained, we can all sound resonant and clear. It’s a cool thing, and I’m here to help you.
Relaxation also plays into clear tone as a very large percentage of beauty because it allows resonance in our tone. Yep relaxation and resonance go together. If the word resonance is new to you let me describe it this way, “it’s like walking into a room that appears to be very organized, comfortable and homey, yet richly spacious and full of intricate and delicate art and workmanship”. That is the description for a nice full, round, resonant tone as compared to walking into a room that is disorganized, dirty, has a low ceiling, and is very small. That would be equivalent to tone that is thin, and pig-pen gritty.
Haha, there’s a lot to imagining what you want to sound really good. If you can describe what you want to sounds like that really helps as well. I had fun describing these different tones to you just now, and I bet it has already enhanced your idea of what you want to sound like.
Now, the good news is that you don’t have to assume that learning good tone can only be done on accident. I can teach you the right ways to practice it and look at it.
In fact, I have a mini-course that I open every single year – at the beginning of the year where we do just this- we lay it out there for you in plain and simple techniques that foster clear, resonant tone.
It’s my Tone Only course, and I usually open the enrollment every January when we are all focused on itemizing what we want to improve on for the new year. It’s a perfect time to look closely at what we can do for our flute playing abilities.
Inside that course there are ten days of separate skills taught. Each day I send you to a new page that is stocked with information, videos, and exercises to take you to the next level of your ability. And, no matter your current level, we can all learn. I am always learning and discovering what I can do better for my tone, and I’ve been playing the flute for thirty five years!
So, I hope this podcast has reached you just in time to get yourself into the Ten Days to Terrific Tone Course. If not, it’s okay – maybe you can catch it on the replay this year. It’s definitely worth taking. I started it about three years ago, and I have added to it each time I’ve taught it. So, it’s full of review and new each year. You’ll love it! Just make sure you’re on my email list so you can receive the notification right when it’s the time to register. I usually give a couple days notice as well. But, then we just go for it.
Let me know what part of your tone keeps you up at night, haha or is just not happening easily for you. I’d like to help!
Check out the comment section here, and make sure you get as detailed as you want. I take it all into account, and put the fixes into easy to follow-broken down video tutorials for you in courses here at Learn Flute online dot com.
And, so are you. Thanks for being here. Bye now!
Thank you for Tuning In!
Please consider subscribing and taking a minute to leave a review and rating for the podcast on iTunes.
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about what you need to know to have clear tone on flute Join us for the next episode.
1 thought on “LFP 087 | What you Need to Know to Have Clear Tone on Flute”
Hi Rebecca, It has been just a year since I purchased my Yamaha 472 flute. Having worked my way thro the Celtic Christmas music course, I thought it timely to remove my key plugs and start to learn how to play with open holes. Boy, what a difference! I think that suddenly all of my weaknesses have shown up at once! Anyway, I am now struggling feeling like a rank beginner in some respects. Those long tone practises are now a necessity! What single hint can you offer to guide me back to where I was? D1 and D2 have almost disappeared, although interestingly I can physically feel the resonance in my finger tips when I get it all together, playing single notes slowly. This is proving to be a real test!! Martin