Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:
- Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
- A warm-up routine for you and your flute
- Why a warm-up is important
- Multiple demos- so you can better understand these warm-ups
- The best ways to enhance your technical skills
Learn Flute Podcast
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Hey there! Do you have your flute handy? Well today we’re going to walk through my favorite flute warm-ups, and why we do them. It’s a master lesson right here on the podcast – let’s get started!
Ahhh, it’s such a pretty day, and I’m so glad you’re here to share it with me here on our Learn Flute Podcast because there’s nothing better than fluting with my flutie friends.
I’m Rebecca Fuller, your host and expert of all things flute. Thanks for being here!
You know, we have had such a packed spring already here… it’s really packed with progress, that is!
We’ve had the best opportunities for members here to grow and improve on the flute lately, starting with our Tone Workshop and then, we went straight into our big group Ensemble which was suuuuper cool, and then we headed into our Spring Recital time, which is a major time of growth for everyone.
I know it, and those who participated know it. And those who were audience members are now making plans to join in on these, not just next year, but also the next Learn Flute Online growth challenge.. Which is coming up soon.
I invite you to join us, which you can do so by being sure that you’re watching your emails if you’re already a member, and if you’re not.. Well, what are you waiting for? We are the happiest bunch of fluties on the planet, and all you need to do to join in with us is hop on over to learnfluteonline.com and click that get started button so you can get in and get going right away.
We have literally everything you need inside the member walls here. Literally everything… well, okay – you’ll need your own flute, and I can help you with that as well, if you’re stuck on how to find a quality one that will sound great for you and last forever.
It’s an awesome place to be and learn, and like Maree who is already using her skills to perform in her church as a soloist, you too can find the success you’re looking for here. It’s the most effective and convenient way to learn to play the flute on the entire planet. So come on in.
We flute players all have goals that vary slightly, but we’re all in sync with the same purpose.
We are looking for a healthy musicianship that can span the test of time, and give us satisfaction and joy in our lives. We use music for many different things, and enhancing our lives is at the top of the list. Not only our minds and our bodies benefit, but our families and friends benefit also by having a better version of us around them.
Think about it – … okay, now, let’s get going with our subject for today.
In my conversations with oh well… thousands of flute players from around the planet, I come across many questions, comments, and philosophies about this instrument and everything that has to do with it. One of the interesting subjects is about how to get going on a practice session, how to do it properly, and how and why.
So, I thought I would take this opportunity today to walk you through some of my favorite flute warm-ups and also an outline of what, and why we’re doing them.
So the first thing I want to mention here today is that flute warm-ups are something that maybe you think are just for the purposes of maybe just ‘warming up’, right?
Maybe that’s what you think or perhaps you’ve already clued into the fact that they hold a much deeper meaning.
Of course, getting our instrument a bit warm is one of them, and so you can jot that down as your first reason to go through a set of warmups… because it is true that our instrument needs a bit of a change in temperature to find a better shot at playing in tune- that’s just one of the reasons.
But, another reason we warm-up is to get our joints and our face kind of ready to play as well. Even though it’s not as dramatic as running a lap around a track or doing a set of stretches, splits, or poses like we’d do as we warm up for a sport, it is necessary for us to learn how to continue on a path of improvement.
Yes, I am here to enlighten you to the fact that, in our flute education here, we are using special sets of notes and short phrases to help us not only warm-up our instrument and body, but to practice certain techniques that tighten our technique also.
It’s a two-fold process, and I can’t wait to work with you on this.
You’re probably already wondering if you are of the level that can do these flute warm-ups, right?
Well, the answer is “yes”, you are. All levels can do these, and as you advance you learn more and more – we become really efficient, like really well-oiled machines.
So like I said, we start with a certain type of warm-up and then as we progress, we use, most of the time, the same set of notes and phrases for different reasons- which helps us improve our technique.. And it makes it so that we can play these skills in everything else we do.
So, remember as you listen to the rest of this episode that everything we do during a warm-up is not intended to be played like a song, just splatted out there as a set of notes and then forgotten.
In fact, our warm-ups and tone-studies will be used very carefully, and since they are super short, it’s easy to focus in on what we’re trying to do.
I need to also mention here that I’m going to give you some good ideas of what you’ll be doing as you learn about warm-ups, and as you come in and study with me here at Learn Flute Online, you’ll find variations of each warm-up depending on where and what we’re learning. This isn’t a complete list today or an encyclopedia of flute warm-ups, but it is meant to help you understand why we do what we do as we start our day on our instrument.
So, the first thing I like to do is use a set of two or three notes to ensure correct balance is there. You know there are different tiny little movements and points of contact as we hold our flute. Starting out with a couple of notes that demonstrate to yourself if you have it all in the right spot, is a great way to start.
If you begin on B natural, you’ll be using a minimal number of fingers to hold your flute, and then if you move chromatically to a C and then up to a C sharp, you’ll find that you end with only your balance points touching your instrument. This is a really great warm-up number one, for balance: (demo)
There are many things that you can do while you run through these three notes just to adjust and make sure you’re there right – I even had to move my headjoint just a little bit just now, because I felt like I didn’t have it quite in the right place.
And really, you’ll feel all wobbly and slippery if you’re not holding your flute right also. And yes, even advanced flutists make sure everything is set right before they get going on any more.
So don’t be thinking you could just skip this little step if you’ve been playing flute for a few years, it’s for everyone.
The next thing I like to do is take a check of air stream and support, by playing the second octave D. It is and can be a very wispy, whispery, note if it’s not supported correctly.
Listen to this: (demo airy D) Versus a D that has enough air to support the pitch and tone that it really should have. (demo supported D)
Now, don’t leave that D just yet, let’s use it to our advantage to find out if we can learn to regulate how much air we’re using. We can practice all sorts of things here including different textures and dynamics. Listen to this example: (demo of fading D’s)
Oh, and if this isn’t a skill you’ve ever learned, I’m really excited to show you because this is one of the BEST ways to sound more musical in certain types of pieces and styles. .. and there’s an exact way to do it.
I’ll show you how in the member’s area of Learn Flute Online where all of our lessons are set into modules.. Which are the sets of lessons that include video instruction (by me!) and also all the materials you need like the PDFs, the PDF sheet music, mp3 audios, and skills checklists. Believe me, you’ll be set up for success here – all you just have to show up.
So let’s move on now to working through some octave exercises. You know, octave exercises are important for a few reasons, and one of them is that we get to take a moment to get our lips set and moving right. It’s really common for people to think that we’re just ready- we just put our flute up and blow and wiggle our fingers to new positions.
Well, ahem, it’s really not quite that. If it were THAT easy we wouldn’t be here today talking about all this improvement and how to help ourselves on this journey, now would we?
So the next thing we want to do is test our powers – our lung power that is! And our efficiency of it, as well as our lip positioning, and our aperture shapes. I definitely spend a lot of time and effort to help you get to the nitty gritty of how we can create our low and our higher notes without blasting them out and scaring off the children.
(demo octaves and octave jumping easily and not scarily)
Well, we’re moving right along now because we can just take what we just did, with finding the right pressures, and lip shapes, and movements, to now finding out if we can sustain them and control these notes by working through some high fades like this (demo high fade).
After this we’re ready to hold some really looooong tones. Finding out what you can do and how long you can hold your notes especially in certain octaves is a really good way to make some skills really solid that will help you in your phrasing, and overall tone also.
Just hold a really nice, long, low B – and time it… and then improve on that time by working on what I show you about using your support muscles, and also NOT using some muscles, because relaxing in the right places when you play is a good way to increase our stamina, believe it or not.
Now of course I’m not going to sit here and play the longest B I can for you right here on this podcast, but know that you can work on timing yourself and working on that long B yourself, to improve.
Now, I want to mention that after this stage we can either add our Chromatic scale here, or we can continue into some more advanced warm-ups like slowing way down and slurring some chromatic notes in a repeated pattern that will help us use everything we’ve got.. And believe me, this sounds easy, but it will test what you have in terms of skills.
Also, the level you’re learning on matters at this stage even more, because there are some special things you can do to make sure your notes have beefy tone, and beautiful resonance in them. (demo slow chromatic down)
It’s so fun to then take this same concept and flip it, and move upwards. There are a few things we do as we move up to play in a smooth movement, rather than blasting, or jerking the notes out. Here’s a good demonstration of this (demo).
Ohhhh we’re just getting going now, and if you’re here learning, we can now move into some really good articulation studies that are very short and to the point.. Well, really to the point of our tongue anyway. We’ll work on skills such as legato, marccato, and staccato with a set of notes and then we’re going to double it by finding our back tongue as well, and getting it to engage and ignite with double tongue skills. If you’ve learned to triple tongue, do it all again in a triple tongue movement. (demo)
So, the purpose of today’s episode is to demonstrate and show you that warming up before a practice session is much more than getting our flutes out, and running through a short list of notes. It’s way more than just getting the silver of our flutes to change temperature, like warming up. And it definitely has more purpose than taking up a few minutes of time before we get to tackle our other assignments.
I want you to remember that our warm-ups have technical purpose, and as you learn to focus in, on your skills as you play them each day, you’ll find that your sound and abilities on the flute progress more quickly than if you didn’t do this.
I also want to remind you that I have this all ready for you inside the modules here at Learn Flute Online. You’ll find the tone studies and the warm-ups that are appropriate for you at your level right inside here. Remember that the learning material is all in sequential order here. Just come follow it like a dot to dot game. It’s easy, you don’t even have to think. Just come and enjoy! I’m also here for you.
You can participate in the program as you wish. Like I’ve said, it’s the best place on the planet!
I’ve enjoyed having you here today learning about what it takes to enhance your technical skills, and thanks for allowing me to share with you why we do these, and my favorite flute warm-ups. See you again next time!
Thank you for Tuning In!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about my favorite flute warm-ups. See you in the next episode!