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Flute lesson

Learn about the flute from an expert musician with the U.S. Marine Band. Includes a comprehensive daily routine with exercises created by famous teachers.

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  • female robot grace style avatar for user Anna
    I am a beginner flutist. Now that I am starting to get crisp notes via just diaphragmatic breathing, I am starting to do a stacatto exercise on the flute to practice tonguing. And I notice I am getting quite a bit of vibrato. Not just the normal vibrato but like half step vibrato and even octave vibrato. I think I know the reasons for both.

    Octave vibrato:

    Not controlling air speed all that much so more air at first results in a louder dynamic but later results in a change of octave.

    Half step vibrato:

    Embochure not quite adapted yet, so if I play an A, I will likely get some Ab's and some Bb's during the sustain.

    But I find that after 15 minutes to an hour of playing, I get winded out, not quite to the point of being dizzy, and I have to take a few deep breaths before I feel normal again.

    I was wondering, how can I improve my endurance on the flute? Is there anything other than the sustain exercise that I'm already doing(where I try to sustain a note for as long as I can while staying crisp) that will help me not get winded out so easily?
    (11 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user 50058095
    do you whistle into the instrument and if not does it still work
    (6 votes)
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  • aqualine sapling style avatar for user BlackFire
    I have always wanted to play the flute. I started with piano when I was 10 and now I am doing violin.

    How much does a flute cost? And can you play one with a cleft palate and lip? THX Enjoy your flutes! :D
    (2 votes)
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    • duskpin sapling style avatar for user PurplePalacePet
      The cheapest flutes cost about 100$ (amazon), but they aren't very good qualtiy-I recommend getting one from a music store whicih can cost 600$-1,000$.However, I have been playing the flute for many years now and I rent mine, because it's cheaper and if it breaks or gets stolen you can get it replaced for free and I'm pretty sure you can get free check ups.
      (1 vote)
  • blobby green style avatar for user loganmurray789
    does the buttons on the flute make it sound different
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript

("First Suite in E-Flat for Military Band" by Gustav Holst) - As a flutist and as a teacher, I always try to come up with a warmup that can be done in a reasonable amount of time because everyone is very busy these days, but try to include all the basics that will help us get done what we have to do. So, I really look back to the masters for what my warmups are going to include. So, I find that that, the best way to start is will the Marcel Moyse half-step tone warmups which go, he's our grandpapa of flute playing back there in good old Paris, France, and I think, to this day, I ask all my students to do these long tone warmups. It's almost like stretching for your instrument or a little bit of yoga or whatever. So, it's a little bit of deep breathing and a nice solid sound when we do our tone warmups. I like to go down first and I find that making sure that I have a really even sound in the low register is the best way to start. So, I'll start a C in the staff. (flute playing) What I really want to achieve there is the right balance of fundamental sound and overtone as much as I can. So, then I'll take it to the next level and I will use this same warmup to work on having dynamic control and good pitch. So, I'll have my tuner going on my music stand and I'll do this same warmup, but I'll do it with four different sounds. In addition to changing the sound, I will also maybe add vibrato as well, so if a student is working with a teacher, I encourage them to use this warmup to also work on their basic vibrato and making sure that it is balanced and has a really good sound. So, when I take that warmup to the next level, I will do what I call four tone, a four tone warmup and this is actually what I learned from my professor in graduate school, Jeanne Baxtresser. This is her warmup. (flute playing) That's just forte, no vibrato. Then I'm going to repeat it, play the same sound again, and add a nice active easy vibrato. (flute playing) The challenge there is to make sure that the vibrato is continuous and is independent of the finger movement between the notes. The third sound is to play the same note with a nice controlled piano dynamic, watching that pitch. (flute playing) And the fourth sound is to maintain that nice soft piano with a gentle organic sounding vibrato, a little soft vibrato. (flute playing) So, if I have the time, I will do this exercise, certainly going down and going up, using my tuner if I've got the time. Try to do that at about 10 minutes. ("Above and Beyond" by Gerard Schwarz) There's another warmup I like to do that's also a sound warmup. Again, this comes from the grandpapas of woodwind playing from France, this is actually from the famous oboist Marcel Tabuteau. I studied with a student of his when I was in high school. He was a chamber music coach of mine in Miami, Florida. His name was John de Lancie and he was principal oboist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and we would start rehearsals in high school doing a long tone on one note. The long tone could be whatever you were able to do, but what you need to do is remember to use numbers to increase the intensity of the sound. So, the warmup could go, you could start on one and go to as much as 10, or you could go from one and you could go maybe up to six, take a breath and go six back to one. And this works on controlling your sound and any intensity. So, I will do, in my mind, maybe, a six count long tone going up, starting from pianissimo going to fortissimo, I will breathe and then I will do fortissimo back to pianissimo. (flute playing) Controlling this could be quite difficult but it really helps so much when you're playing in an ensemble to have absolute control of your sound on one note. To take this to the next level, you can add vibrato and also really go for the dynamics, as well. So, I'm gonna go as soft as I can in the beginning to fortissimo, I'm also going to start with no vibrato, so when I'm starting on one I'm gonna start with no vibrato, just the organic sound, and as I crescendo, I'm gonna start to include that vibrato and have it become more intense until I'm at the top of the crescendo. (flute playing) And if we can achieve this, I feel like we, as flutists, can basically tell a story just on one note, and that's one of the most difficult things to do. ("First Suite in E-Flat for Military Band" by Gustav Holst) In my last few minutes of doing a warmup, what I will also do is look to good old Paris, France again for some good exercises. The two gentlemen, Taffanel and Gaubert, that wrote A Complete Method for Flute, and they have a lot of scale exercises that work out, that are wonderful for working on air support and working for a really centered tone on every note. Out of their book, I like to work on exercises one, two, four, or six, and those work on various skills. Exercise number one is well known by flutists but it is a classic and it helps us work on a nice continuous air speed. The other thing we're looking for is, we wanna make sure that every note we play on the flute, even though we're moving our fingers quickly, is like a nice round pearl. I make the analogy with my students that when they're playing an exercise with a lot of fast notes, that they wanna make, that they want it to sound like they're stringing a pearl and making a necklace and that every note is going to sound perfectly round. So, exercise number one. (flute playing) The other thing I wanna remember as I am sustaining a nice fast air through the tube, I wanna feel like I am blowing all the way to the end of the flute. I also want my fingers like they are dancing just on top of that air stream, so the other thing we want to remember is to try to keep our fingers as low as we can to control that technique so that we can play very well on the flute. ("Semper Fidelis" by John Philip Sousa)