Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Beginner & Novice level Studies or Etudes for Flute

A fellow flute teacher asked:
Can anyone recommend Etudes/Studies for beginner students in the 9-13 age group, up to the level of "novice" flute students you get at Community College? I usually would have used the Southern publication: Melodious and Progressive Studies by Cavally for the community college students, but they seem to have had no private lesson and are playing at the same level as beginner-novice. What books of etudes and scales would you recommend for these beginner/novices? Thankyou.

Jen replies: I have the same range of students; child beginners who need studies that start with three-line etudes comprised of half notes and quarter notes, with simple tonguing and slurring, and also adult beginners. And I also have college-aged novices who have played in highschool band, but have never taken private lessons, and need to advance at a measured pace, but quickly.

These flute students fall into the grades 1 to 5 in the Canadian system of flute grading (RCM exam grades see this link for a chart of comparitive flute grading systems.)
The standard/cheap intermediate book, titled Melodious and Progressive Studies by Cavally is more like an RCM grade 6 to 8, which is too challenging, so I too had to purchase simpler etude books and try them all out.

Firstly, in your own search, a great guide to all recommended etude books is the 2005 Selected Flute Studies, A graded guide, published by the NFA. It is $7 and worth twice the price.

The NFA guide is put together by grades A-K which roughly translate to grades 1-10 in the Royal Conservatory Exam system. No teacher should be without this and the other small booklet "Recommended Flute Solos". Fabulous! Order both at once.

Secondly, there are some standard and inexpensive etude books that have been around for a long time that fit this novice/beginner flute level. They are:

Endressen - Supplementary Studies for Flute (Rubank)
Vester - 125 Easy Classical Studies for Flute (Universal)
Bantai Kovacs - Selected Studies Volume 1 (Editio Musica)

Thirdly, with community college students who are not necessarily interested in "classical music" there are two study books that are fairly modern-sounding that might be suitable:

James Rae - 40 Modern Studies &
Damase -Fifty Easy and Progressive Studies

Both the modern etude books focus on flute skills without sounding like classical music and for jazz-cross-over college students they are very useful for self-advancement during practise.

Also, a standard, graded list of etudes for flute can be found here on my site based on the RCM syllabus.

I might mention some sources that might interest you as well.
At the above link you'll find that for that the early grades there are two Gariboldi etude books listed: .

Gariboldi - 30 Easy and Progressive Studies can be found on the CD-rom of home-printable etudes/methods/ensembles by cdsheetmusic.com

This great CD-rom also has hundreds of home-printable etudes and duets, including two old flute method books: The Altes Method, and The Wagner Method. They both contain decent, useable material as well as scales of all kinds. I urge college aged students to buy these two flute CD-roms and print out their own sheetmusic from them, hole punch the pages, and binder them. Very economical.

If your students purchase the CD-rom of sheetmusic Etudes/Duets/Ensembles, they'll be able to use the grade 5-10 etudes later in their development. A list of the good ones from that self-printable disc is at this link to my Favourite repertoire page with all the best etudes from the CD-rom listed individually.

The other great Gariboldi for RCM grade 4 flutists is the opus 131 Mignonnes Etudes, which are online for free in pdf under the tranlated title "DAINTY STUDIES" (hilarious!) These are truly great; I really enjoy them myself.

Other titles from the NFA guide that are recommended are:

Lombardo - 14 Melodious Studies (Alry)
Moyse - 24 Petites Etudes Melodiques
Harris/Adams - 76 Graded Studies for Flute vol. 1

My only problem with the Harris-Adams is that the books seem too cheaply bound, with thin, see-through paper,faded ink, and very small print.

For child flutists and adult beginners, however, I would stick with
the sequential volumes of Bantai Kovacs collected etudes. They have a good mixture of "classic etudes" at the grade 4-7 level. They are by folks like Devienne, Popp and Kohler, and start with etudes of short length that sound tune-filled to the novice ear.
This link shows Bantai Kovacs volume 1 collection at fluteworld.com.

For scales, I tend to write out my own versions, as there is no one scale book that has all the variations that I like to use. I found the inexpensive "Pares Scales" book to be unusable because of it's boring presentation, and double-octave printing of scales. Horri-blech!!! :>(

But I am interested to see this scale book by the Associated Board Exam systems in the U.K.
It's available at fluteworld.com and has all scales for grade 1-8 and is inexpensive. If anyone has used this book and thinks it's a good resource, do please comment.

For free online flute scales for the all levels see my scale download page.

Finally, for a single $12 book that has both scales and etudes at the intermediate level (RCM grade 6 and up which might suit the more developed community college flutist) I often recommend the McCaskill "Indispensable Scales, Exercises & Etudes"

The etudes in the McCaskill volume overlap with other standard collections (like Cavally Melodious and Progressive Studies by Southern with its Kohler op. 33 and Gariboldi op 132), and are good technique builders in the quickly advancing older student. They also have all the scales and finger exercises you'll need for this level.

Best of luck with your purchases, and do check out my list of "cheap" flute books that are useful for each level as well as my Favourite Repertoire list. There are a ton of titles for all grades there for a flute teacher to purchase without fear of getting a bad book.

More titles and recommendations very welcome (just use the comment button below on this blog)

Jen :>)
Comments (2)
Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Jen,
I’m sorry to comment so many years after the first post was written. (date today: 31 August 2015)
I’m Michael and in my first year, not even have taken the first grade yet. I’ll do this in November.
Scales: I found this new book which is part of a series of 3. It is:
The Flute Book of Scales, A Path to Artistry by Patricia George and Phyllis Avidan Louke – 2011 Theodore Presser company.
You can see their media site on www.fabulousflute.com
It’s a book that will take the beginner student like me from whole notes scales and arpeggios to the very advanced variety of scales, interval leaps etc. One section which I appreciate at the moment is the how to jump from middle to high register, i.e from D2 to D3, to D3 to D4 showing a very ingenious tip for fingering, with helpful drawings.
In the same section, it has harmonics exercises for beginner, playing them with the left hand only; the right hand holds the head joint. Really amazing and efficient.

For studies: I have finished Trevor Wye beginner’s book 1. I am learning from book 2.
But I wanted to supplement this with studies. That is why I am turning to 76 graded studies for flute Book 1, by Paul Harris and Sally Adams.
I got this second hand from Amazon for £2.80 (Can $ 5.66) ! My edition is Faber Music London 1994.
The book is solid, the paper is normal and thick and the print is clear, unlike what you report in your post.
As a student having a private teacher, going on to my first year exam, I found that this book needs accuracy of embouchure, and attention to playing the right notes as it is deceptively easy at first sight.
On your remark about ABRSM scale book, I’ve got one “Flute Scales and Arpeggios ABRSM gade 1 - 8, detailing what is required for each grade. Although this is the new edition, the copyright is marked 1985, after all, scales don’t change. Yet this is valid for the 2014 – 2017 exams. It’s of course comprehensive, but lack the intuitive method developed in the book of scales mentioned earlier. For digital resources, they refer to www.abrsm.org/appcentre
Sincerely yours, Michael (UK)

Monday, August 31, 2015 1:09:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Thanks Michael. You're giving info that updates a seven year old blog post. Thanks so much. Jen

Monday, August 31, 2015 1:26:00 PM


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