Friday, January 05, 2007

Technical skill flute books

Hi Fluters! :>)
After seeing my teaching videos, an adult fluteplayer then wrote and asked the following:

Thank you so much for your videos and web-site, both are extremely helpful - very clear and easy to follow. Thanks also for your recommended readings. I now have Vernon Hill's book which I am working through. The links on your web-site have enabled me to find a wealth of relevant flute information.

I am a novice flute player and returned to flute playing in 2002. I was inspired by listening to CD's and also one very special flute concert. I was very fortunate to have a 'real' flute teacher(from England) for 2 years, but my search for good tone etc has been largely self taught by experimentation. I value the generosity of flute
players like yourself and Sir James Galway and others who contribute regularly to the Galway-Flute-Chat. Web sites like your own are also truly invaluable.

Piano is my first instrument and flute my second, so I was very interested by your comment in one of your articles about '...avoiding technique for years and only did it when I had to'... What daily technical practise did you do over those next 3 years to catch up? I found that I only practised scales for exams (up to 8th grade ABRSM) as I thought I 'knew' them already on piano. Now I am finding that I need to catch up so I can play other pieces well and up to speed. I am currently working through etudes and pieces in major and minor keys. One key per week working in conjunction with Filas top register studies and revising past scales. What would you recommend?
Thank you again for sharing your valuable expertise and experience.
Finally: Your latest discussion on the books on you tube, and your other videos, are great. Especially as I have to order music books without seeing them so your ecommendations are fantastic. As you know I am currently working through Vernon Hill's book, but I have The Physical Flute on order to work through after that. I am really enjoying the slurred practice.

Dear P.
This was a very interesting email to read!!!
I think that most of my technique advice is here:

Practicing technique with a purpose

Creating a practice method for flute

And the books with scales/arpeggios that I use are listed
under Daily Exercises, and Technique books at these pages:

Flute Books for the Advanced player

Jen's Favourite Repertoire (see TECHNIQUE and books of Daily Exercises)

I would buy one of the following and work through two lines at a time, strictly for Tone, as described in my practicing articles.
This means you play slowly, learning the notes, with best possible tone, all slurred with pauses added where you need them (to avoid playing with squeezed lungs at any cost! :>)
Later, once the tone is secure, and the fingerings getting easy and faster, you then
play the same line or two with articulations and metronome.

Daily Exercise flute books from easy to more advanced:

Wummer: Daily Exercises
Maquarre: Daily Exercises
Wilkinson: The Physical Flute
Reichert: 7 Daily Exercises
Kujala: Flutist's Vade Mecum
Taffanel/Gaubert: 17 Daily Exercises
Moyse 480 Gammes et Arpegges.
Moyse: Exercises Journaliers
There are also some daily exercise books by Julius Baker and Robert Stallman.

Mostly I take apart typical flute scales, and re-design
them according to what they need to sound full, rich and fabulous.
I find that for novices/intermediates, just reading scales with bad tone and straining is the worst idea,but the most common approach.

It's just not worth it, as they then sound SO bad and boring, and seem so 'straight-jacketed' and 'non-musical' that they quickly get abandoned.
Personally, I find that scales and daily exercises are next to impossible to play straight out of the book without the necessary embouchure preparation and good long warm-up. You then add imagination, and RE-COMPOSE the exercise in smaller segments, making it creative and beautiful.
More info. on that here.

And there are useful, practical and yet creative methods of taking these exercises apart, adding pauses and breaths and tone exercises to clear the high notes, and play them with changed rhythms. I also advise to toggle between working on straight technique, and then bel-canto/tone/emotive work. You don't want to hurt yourself by not taking frequent creativity breaks either. :>)

Also, yes, Filas high register books are excellent. Good choice!!
Let me know how you get on.

Comments (2)
Anonymous lee said...

Some good points mage on this blog.

Sunday, May 01, 2011 7:46:00 AM

Blogger jen said...

Thanks Lee! Jen

Sunday, May 01, 2011 8:35:00 AM


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