Hello, Kaylee Bramlett here! I am the Atlanta Director with Music Lessons in the Home. I wanted to take a quick opportunity to write a little about private flute lessons in Orlando. A lot of my inspiration for this blog post as well as any flute instruction I give comes from my previous private lessons teacher, Sarah Ambrose at Georgia State University. She referenced me to a great website by Jennifer Cluff has who created all sorts of great handouts for flute instruction.
Great Flute Playing
This specific one I am going to talk about is “The Top Ten Secrets for Great Flute Playing”. I won’t list all of them, but just the ones that pertain to in-home lessons with your private flute teacher 🙂
The first tip is proper standing or sitting position. Often times, this is never addressed and can make a HUGE difference while playing!
Speaking of air, this is also another big factor to think about when trying to produce the best possible tone and sound quality.
Because breathing seems like such a normal thing, we forget to really think about where the air actually comes from! Take a normal breath and say something– now where did you feel your air coming from? A lot of times we take our regular speaking air from our chest. We have to challenge players to think completely different on this. Here is another great example of how to engage our lower muscles and core to get the best maximum air.
Basically, if you’re taking the right breath, your stomach should go out. If your shoulders raise and your chest gets big, you’re not thinking low enough.
A technique that is a big part of playing and instrument is Articulation. This is important for all instrumental players to practice as a part of their daily warm-up.
Here is a great illustration by Jennifer about that exact topic:
A lot of times with my students, I like for them to imagine all of the taste buds on their tongue. Think about it- there are MILLIONS! When we want a clear, crisp articulation when tonguing, you can ONLY use 5! (Ok, of course this is not possible, but sometimes picturing it this way, especially with younger players, really helps them visualize and feel the proper amount of tongue to use).
Typical flute players always strive to get the best tone, or clearness of sound in all ranges of the instrument. There is actually a great way to think about when we play certain notes during flute lessions in the home.
Air is also a great factor to get the best sound. Normally when we play low, we want warm air. The higher we get, the colder our air should feel. Practice this with a coke bottle or with your hand and try to get warm-cold air without changing the embouchure (the way your lips are set to play).
Tuning is every player’s worst enemy. This could be a whole other blog post for another day, but here is a quick note on tuning and how to easily adjust when your flute seems to not match what’s around you!
I like to think of a pencil when I am tuning a flute. Basically, if the pencil is sharp (your pitch is higher than it should be), you will pull the pencil out of the sharpener! If your pencil is flat (if your pitch is below where it should be), you will push it into the sharpener! This metaphor is great to use with young players.
How To Set Up Your Flute
My last tip for today is an easy one- how to set up your flute 🙂
This may seem like an obvious thing, but trust me, it does make a difference. This also is great to ensure that your hands are nice and curved like they should be. Keeping this in mind will result in a comfortable, playing position.
I hope you learned something today that will help you play better! Go on over the Jennifer Cluff’s website and check out all of the great hand outs she has!
Thanks! and until next time… Happy practicing 🙂
Kaylee Bramlett, Atlanta Director