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Hi, I'm Sgt. 1st Class Sarah McIver.
I'm Staff Sgt. Sean Owen.
I'm Staff Sgt. Gina Sebastian.
I'm Staff Sgt. Katayoon Hodjati.
and I'm Staff Sgt. Kasumi Leonard.
and this is "Flute Fundamentals".
Welcome to "Flute Fundamentals."
The flute section of The U.S. Army Field Band
has drawn on our many years
of performing and teaching experience,
added some great advice we've received from our own teachers,
and collected it all here for you.
The first-year beginner, the serious flute student
and the music educator will all find interesting
and useful information here.
You can also go to armyfieldband.com
to find downloadable recordings,
exercises, and books and literature
that we reference throughout the program.
All of these are great resources for flutists
and music educators.
Thanks for watching "Flute Fundamentals."
The flute has always been a very popular instrument,
dating back over 43,000 years to the Prehistoric Era.
Prehistoric bone flutes have been found in Germany
and in China, and were end blown like a recorder.
Throughout the Middle Ages,
flutes and flute-like instruments are shown
performing a variety of functions in society.
We see flutes playing outdoors,
in religious services,
and inside for entertainment.
By the end of the Middle Ages the flute family split
into two groups,
the flute that plays outside such as the fife
and the flute that plays inside
such as the ancestor of our modern flute.
In the 1400's, fifes were widely used by militaries
as a signaling device and are still used today
for parades and ceremonies.
Modern fifes now have 10 holes so they can play chromatically,
but they still don't have any keys.
Renaissance style flutes for indoor use
were typically a cylindrical wooden tube with a wide bore,
six fairly large tone holes and no keys.
Without keys it was difficult to play
all of the chromatic pitches we play today.
Flutes in the Renaissance were often made
in a variety of sizes, called consorts or families.
Flute consorts were so popular that many Royal courts
in England, Hungary, Madrid, and Stuttgart
each owned dozens or even hundreds of transverse flutes.
Around the 1680's, instrument makers gave the flute
an overhaul and added a key.
The key allowed the flute
to play all of the chromatic pitches.
With this new development,
the flute began appearing in the orchestra.
One of its earliest appearances
was in Jean-Baptiste Lully's opera Le Triomphe de l'Amour.
When the flute entered the orchestra,
its popularity skyrocketed.
Many royal princes such as Louis the 14th of France,
and Frederick the Great, King of Prussia,
began to learn the flute.
With so many royals studying the instrument,
the flutists of the day
had to write books explaining how to play.
The royals could also afford to hire flutists
to teach them.
Johann Quantz was employed by Frederick the Great
for 32 years.
Baroque flutes have a cylindrical headjoint
and a conical body that tapers towards the far end.
The closed Eb key on the footjoint makes the flute
fully chromatic over a two-and-a-half-octave range.
This great advancement encouraged composers
to start writing for the flute as a solo instrument.
Works by Blavet, Bach and Telemann
are still in our repertoire today.
The Baroque flute worked well as a delicate soloist
in an orchestral texture, but was not able
to play equally strong in all keys.
Generally speaking, the sharp keys of G, D, and A
are stronger than the flat keys of F, Bb, and Eb.
This explains why so much of the beginner flute repertoire
from the Baroque era is in a sharp key!
Listen to the difference between these two scales.
Now listen to the same scales played on a modern flute.
In the Classical era, composers such as Mozart and Haydn
wrote in a style that was faster, louder,
and more dramatic,
and the flute needed to keep up.
Flutists began altering their instruments in many ways
to encourage a louder high register
or more facile technique.
The great virtuoso players of the 19th century,
Franz and Albert Doppler,
Jean Tulou, and Theobald Boehm,
helped spread the flute's popularity
and increased its solo repertoire.
Many of these flutists altered their own instruments
in an attempt to improve the design.
Theobald Boehm, a flutist and inventor in Germany,
made many attempts to construct a new 'ring key' mechanism
and unveiled a metal instrument in 1847.
The new design reversed the inner bore shape of the flute -
it is a cylindrical body with a tapered, parabolic headjoint.
The reworking of the mechanism meant all new fingerings
had to be learned.
Boehm's 1847 design is the basis for our flute today.
However, there were many rival designs.
Some players still preferred wood,
and others still preferred the old bore shape.
Despite that, the metal flute was accepted
at the Paris Conservatory in 1860,
earning Boehm and his flute a permanent place
in flute history.
In the 20th century, some small changes were made
to Boehm's original design.
In the 1960's Albert Cooper and a group
of English players re-scaled the Boehm flute to play at A-440,
and in order to achieve even greater tonal projection
and clarity, made minor alterations
in the method of embouchure hole cutting.
Another modern addition to the flute is the C# trill key,
which makes trilling from B to C# much easier,
and gives a reliable third octave G to A trill.
Flutists today can also choose to have their flute made
from a variety of metals and even wood.
Remember the Renaissance "flute consort"
with its many different sized instruments?
When the flute was overhauled by Boehm,
the rest of the flute family, including the piccolo,
Eb flute, flute d'amore, alto flute, bass flute,
and contrabass flute were also redesigned.
The piccolo is the highest member of the flute family,
sounding an octave above the flute.
Beethoven first used the piccolo in 1809
in his Fifth Symphony,
and it's been used in the orchestra ever since.
The concerto and recital repertoire has grown
dramatically and the piccolo is still gaining popularity
as a solo instrument.
The alto flute is pitched in G, a fourth below the flute.
It's occasionally used
in contemporary orchestral repertoire, most notably
in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe.
The bass flute sounds an octave below the flute.
There are a few orchestral and solo pieces that use the bass,
but because of its size and difficulty
with projection and response,
it's most commonly used as the lowest voice
in a flute ensemble.
Flute ensembles, often called flute choirs,
are a valuable teaching tool.
They give multiple flute students the opportunity
for chamber music experience,
and help with intonation and blending.
Many flute clubs offer flute choir reading sessions
and competitions for composers,
encouraging more literature to be written for the ensemble.
Let's bring the rest of the section out to demonstrate
how these different instruments sound together.
As Kasumi just demonstrated,
the first step to playing the flute is learning
to make a good sound.
First, put the headjoint up to your lips.
It should be about here,
so your lips don't cover the hole.
You don't want it too far away,
or not enough air will go in.
Have you ever made a sound on a bottle before?
Grab a bottle, and blow across the hole.
Playing the flute is similar,
but you'll need to angle your airstream down a bit
so it's around forty-five degrees.
Remember, don't cover the hole with your lips.
If you aren't getting a sound, try this,
but make sure your lower lip is still flexible.
If you can't tell where you're blowing,
hold your hand in front of you and blow into your palm.
Then, move your hand up and down slightly,
always keeping the airstream focused on the same spot.
Once you can produce a sound, try making different sounds.
Cover the end of your headjoint with your hand,
keeping your palm flat.
You should get this lower sound.
Now uncover it and try for a higher sound.
Once you can get these two sounds,
you can try to go for an even higher one
by covering and uncovering the end of the headjoint.
For lower sounds, pretend you're blowing
through a big straw.
You can also try to aim your airstream a little lower.
For higher sounds,
pretend you're blowing through a tiny straw,
but don't let your lips get too tight.
The opening in your lips, or aperture, should be smaller,
but not tighter.
Also, it might help to aim your airstream a little higher
and let your lips come forward slightly.
When learning to make a good sound,
it can be very helpful to use a mirror.
Try rolling the headjoint towards you and away from you,
or moving it up and down slightly on your lip
until you get a sound,
but don't move your head up or down.
Keep your chin parallel to the ground
and your eyes straight ahead.
Once you make a sound you like,
look in the mirror to see where the best spot is
and try to put it in the same place every time.
After a while, you'll be able to feel
where the right spot is.
The word "embouchure" refers to the way you shape
your facial muscles and lips on the headjoint.
There are as many different embouchures
as there are flutists.
Some are symmetrical, and some are a bit off-center.
The important thing is not to tense up your lips.
You might hear someone suggest that you should smile
to form a flute embouchure,
but this causes tension and should be avoided.
It's also really important to keep your jaw relaxed.
You need space in your mouth and between your upper
and lower teeth to make a good sound,
but never force your jaw into position.
A nice, full sound starts with good air flow,
and that starts with a good breath.
A good breath means no tension in the body.
Stand with your spine straight,
but don't pull your shoulders back
so far that your back tenses.
Let your arms hang by your side and take in a deep breath
through your mouth.
Your stomach, chest, and even your back will expand
if you're relaxed.
A good way to tell if you're breathing correctly
is to lie on your back and put a book on your lower belly.
When you inhale, the book should rise.
When you exhale, it should fall.
Although your chest will expand when you breathe,
it shouldn't move too much.
Your shoulders should remain relaxed.
One of my favorite breathing exercises
comes from the Breathing Gym, by Pat Sheridan and Sam Pilafian.
Put your lips against your finger,
or the back of your hand.
Can you hear the low sound I'm getting?
A deep breath without tension sounds like "HA" but backwards.
If you're doing this, you'll get a low sound.
If you're tense, don't leave enough room
in your mouth and throat, or don't take in enough air,
your breath will sound high and shallow, like this.
Once you've been playing your headjoint for a while
and can make both high and low sounds, you're ready
to play the whole flute.
First, take the body of the flute
and put it on the headjoint.
It's very important not to bend the keys.
Always hold it from here, where there are no keys.
Don't push the headjoint all the way in,
leave it out about a quarter of an inch.
You can adjust it later when we work on tuning.
Line up the embouchure hole with the first key.
For some people, turning it out slightly works best,
and for other people, turning it in slightly is better.
For now, line them up.
Next, take the footjoint and attach it to the body.
Hold it with the keys CLOSED.
Never push against the keys.
This rod should be about in the middle of this key.
Again, everyone is different so you might
have to adjust for your hands to be comfortable,
but for now, start with it lined up to the middle.
To take the flute apart,
follow the same process in reverse.
Remember, never pull or push against the keys.
Make sure you clean your flute out every time you play it.
Take a cleaning cloth and thread it
into the cleaning rod that came with your flute.
Cover the end of the rod and run it through the body
and footjoint once or twice.
Don't forget to swab out the headjoint.
You can buy a cleaning cloth made especially
for swabbing out your flute or you can make one,
but make sure the material you use isn't too thick
and won't shred inside the flute.
Never use materials like felt or paper towels
because they'll come apart.
Also, never wet your instrument.
It's a good idea to carefully wipe down the outside
of your flute, especially the lip plate.
You can use the same cloth you used for the inside,
or you can get one made for polishing.
Just don't use a polishing cloth inside your flute.
If you use this kind, don't leave it in your instrument
because it can dry the pads out.
Also, don't store your cleaning cloths inside your case.
If your case or bag doesn't have a pocket,
try tying the cloth to the handle.
The flute is a delicate instrument
and needs to be treated with care.
Wash your hands before playing when possible,
and don't eat or drink right before you play!
If you just ate and can't brush your teeth before playing,
at least rinse your mouth out with water.
There are a few other things you should keep in mind.
NEVER leave your flute on a music stand.
The stand could tip or be knocked over.
When you set your flute down, always place it down gently,
with the keys facing up,
or put it on a flute stand.
And my personal pet peeve,
don't roll your flute on your lap!
All of these things can damage your flute.
If something does happen to your instrument,
don't try to fix it yourself.
Show your band director or private teacher,
or take it to a qualified repair person.
Good posture and correct hand position
are important not only to play well,
but also to prevent pain and injury.
There are three main points of contact
when you hold your flute:
your left hand index finger,
your chin, and your right thumb.
Always keep your left hand index finger in contact
with the flute.
For correct right hand position, hang your right arm
loosely at your side and notice your thumb position.
Now place the flute in your hand!
Your fingers should be slightly curved
and the pads of your fingertips should always stay close
to the keys.
Don't let your fingers turn to the side and rest
on your flute.
Your right pinky rests on this key for balance,
but don't squeeze.
When you're ready to play,
don't move your head to the flute;
bring the flute to you.
There should be a slight bend in your left wrist,
but not too much.
Placing either elbow too high or too low
can place stress on the wrist or back.
Try to stay as relaxed as possible.
Stand or sit at about a 45 degree angle
to the right of the music stand,
then turn your upper body to face the stand.
The important thing is that your right elbow is
not behind your body,
preventing any twisting of the back.
If you are in an ensemble, try to angle your chair so
you're not running into the person next to you.
Never rest your elbow on the chair,
or your chin on your shoulder.
Proper posture and hand position are two important
building blocks in your development as a flutist.
Tension impedes good technique
and leads to injuries down the road.
If your fingers are free and relaxed
and you have good posture and hand position,
faster dexterity and technique will come more easily.
Let's discuss some basic skills:
tone production, breathing, pitch, articulation,
and finger dexterity.
Practicing fundamentals properly
and often is the key to improvement,
and a good work ethic is crucial
in the early stages of flute playing.
Tone production can be one of the most difficult
and frustrating issues for young flutists.
Many factors contribute to this problem.
In this section, we'll explore these issues
and how they affect our ability to create the tone we want.
Start building your tone concept by listening
to recordings of professional players.
Find one you like and listen to it often.
Over time, you'll learn to mimic that tone.
Combine that with an understanding
of the technical aspects of tone production,
and you will emulate your ideal sound more and more.
Here's an example of a beautiful, expressive tone
in Reinecke's Undine Sonata.
Now let's talk about some more technical issues
related to tone production.
Once you're able to produce a sound on the flute,
the most important aspect of your tone
will be good breath support.
Take a proper breath and say "HA" rather forcefully.
You should notice your abdominal muscles engage.
These abdominals and the surrounding muscles
are the source of good breath support.
If you don't feel your core move,
you probably aren't using enough breath support.
Now pretend your air stream is a laser beam
pointed at the wall in front of you.
Emulating this idea will help you produce a stronger sound.
Without sufficient breath support,
the resulting sound will be droopy and flat in pitch.
When a teacher tells you to project more,
this might be the problem they're trying to correct.
Projection means to play out to other people,
the people in your audience.
When you practice, imagine you're in a concert hall
with an audience, and project your sound out to them.
Breath support is the key to good projection.
But a well supported tone can still have problems.
Think about your embouchure and general sound quality.
Let's talk about some of the common tone problems
and how to fix them.
While a droopy tone is weak and unsupported,
a pinched tone is not caused by lack of breath support,
but by improper head-joint position or excess tension
in the embouchure and throat.
Another possible cause of a pinched tone is rolling
the head-joint in too much toward the lips, like this.
That changes the angle of the air stream
as it hits the back wall of the head joint.
The head joint has to be rolled out sufficiently
to allow the air to hit at the proper angle.
Listen to my sound change as I roll the embouchure hole out.
As you rolled out, the sound opened up.
It also went up in pitch.
Demonstrate what happens if you roll out too far.
"Did you hear the tone become fuzzy? "
This open, fuzzy tone happens when the angle
of the air stream against the back wall becomes too wide,
or when the lips are too loose
and the air is not focused enough.
Right, we need to make sure the aperture,
which is the opening between your lips,
is not too big or too small.
I also often hear flutists play with a very loud
and rough tone, like this.
To correct this, just relax your airstream a bit
and don't blow so hard,
or relax your lips just a bit
to compensate for the extra air.
You have to learn to adjust the embouchure
to achieve the sound you want.
I like to use the garden hose analogy.
If you put your thumb over the end of the hose,
you emulate the flute embouchure and aperture.
When you try to spray the water into a bucket a few feet away,
your thumb will control the speed of the water.
I think that's a great analogy.
My airstream is the water coming out of the hose,
and I can control its speed and direction
with my embouchure.
This embouchure flexibility is crucial
to adjusting your sound and producing a good tone
at any dynamic level or register.
To try this out, play a slur between a low G
to the G an octave above.
Notice as I move my lips forward the aperture is smaller,
like when we covered the end of the garden hose.
The embouchure should be free to move back and forth.
Everyone makes adjustments differently,
look at these five different examples of an octave slur.
To produce high notes,
we generally need a faster air stream
with a slight upward angle and want our lips
in a more forward position to accomplish this.
For lower notes, we want a slower
air stream angled downward.
You should avoid changing the angle of the air stream
with only the jaw.
This lip movement also helps with diminuendos.
A common problem with diminuendos is the tendency
to go flat as you get softer.
Pushing your lips forward and angling the air up
as you get softer will help you maintain the pitch.
Practicing tone is very important.
An exercise we call long tones is an essential part
of developing a good tone.
Long tones are simply long held notes
with an emphasis on the quality of your tone.
Make them a fundamental part of your practice routine
and remember to experiment with the concepts
we've presented to find out what works for you.
As always, flexibility is crucial to good tone.
The ability to take a full breath in a short amount
of time is a valuable skill for flutists,
because we often play for extended periods of time
Try this simple exercise to learn
how to breathe more efficiently.
First, set your metronome to 80 beats per minute.
Inhale for eight beats, set your mouth in a flute embouchure,
then exhale for eight beats.
Next, inhale for seven beats,
and exhale for eight beats.
Keep subtracting a beat from the inhale until finally,
you take in one big breath over one beat,
and exhale it over eight beats.
Breathe from low in your core, not high in your chest.
Also, a common mistake is to let most of the air out
within the first couple of beats.
Pace your breath as evenly as possible over the eight beats,
you're learning to conserve your air.
You can modify the exercise
depending on skill level.
For beginners, maybe start with a four count exercise
instead of eight.
For advanced players looking for a reminder
on efficient breathing or a good warm up exercise,
try doing it in twelve or more counts.
Once you feel like you're taking full breaths,
you can continue increasing your air capacity and stamina.
Take your flute, start with your metronome set
to 60 beats per minute and try this exercise.
Play full volume, without vibrato
and expend all of your air.
Breathe slowly and deeply over four beats, and repeat.
The goal is to use up all of your air
but not until the very end.
If you run out of air too soon, set your metronome faster.
As your air capacity increases,
set your metronome progressively slower.
When you find a challenging metronome setting,
continue all the way down the scale chromatically.
If you need more of a challenge,
try playing chromatically UP
to the top of your range,
or stringing three whole notes together.
It's normal to feel lightheaded at first,
so take breaks when you need to.
Practicing exercises like this one
will help you play long phrases,
while still keeping control of your airstream.
Listen to the way Staff Sgt. Owen
plays a long, beautiful phrase
without sacrificing tone quality.
Planning your breaths improves efficiency as well.
Don't wait until you run out of air to take a breath.
Look through your music and mark good places
to breathe so you don't run out of air at inconvenient times.
If you have enough time,
breathe early so you can prepare your embouchure.
Just like other aspects of playing the flute,
it takes practice to play in tune.
The great thing about this skill
is that you can work on it away from the instrument.
Simply taking time everyday to listen to music
is a great way to train your ears.
Listening should be fun.
I like to listen to music while I'm driving to work,
exercising, or cooking dinner.
Listen to different styles, including flute repertoire
and other Classical music,
to have a basis for comparison with your own playing.
Another great way to improve intonation
is by using a tuner.
An inexpensive tuner will last for years
and will help you keep your intonation in check
when you're practicing.
The tuner serves as a visual aid.
Eventually you'll be able to tell
on your own whether you are Flat.
Or in tune.
Let's talk about how to adjust when you're out of tune.
When you're flat, pushing in the headjoint
shortens your instrument and raises the pitch.
When you're sharp, pulling it out lengthens your flute
and lowers the pitch.
Here's a trick to help you remember which way to go:
If you make your instrument bigger,
like a tuba, it sounds lower.
If you make it smaller, like a piccolo, it sounds higher.
Aside from moving your headjoint,
you can also adjust the pitch by changing the angle
and speed of your airstream.
Try not to move your head;
do most of the angling with your embouchure.
Also, resist the urge to roll in or out to an extreme.
A little is OK, but again, most of the pitch adjustments
should be made using your airstream.
When you're familiar with the tuner, you may notice
that some pitches tend to go generally sharp or flat.
For example, the high register tends to go sharp,
and the low register tends to go flat.
Notes played loudly are often sharp,
while notes played softly can be flat.
These are common pitch issues,
but every flutist is different.
Take note of your own personal tendencies.
Each instrument in an ensemble also has its own tendencies,
and they don't always match the flutes'.
Knowing this can prevent pitch clashes with other sections.
In any ensemble, tuning is a joint effort.
Remember, the best steps to good intonation
are listening to music
and forming your own concept of sound.
That, in addition to practicing
and knowing your pitch tendencies,
is a recipe for excellent intonation.
In this section, we'll talk about basic articulation,
which is how to start the sound on the flute.
When producing a tone on the flute,
we almost always start with the tongue to give the sound
a clear and clean start.
Without the tongue, the beginning of the sound
would be fuzzy and we wouldn't be able
to play notes very fast.
How does this sound to you?
You probably thought that sounded kind of strange.
To achieve clarity, flutists begin the sound
with too, tah, doo, or dah, just behind the teeth
as if you were saying "tea for two" or "daily dollar."
This type of articulation is called single tonguing.
Choose which syllable works best for you.
Be sure your teeth do not touch each other.
As you end the sound, release the air
without stopping it in the throat or with the tongue.
You shouldn't say "DUDE".
That's very important.
To make sure you aren't stopping the sound
with the tongue or the throat, try this.
Play a note for a few seconds.
When you stop the sound,
open your jaw a bit and continue
to blow a little bit of warm air, like this.
If you can't blow any air at the end of the note,
you might be stopping the sound in the throat.
You should feel as if you're fogging a mirror.
It's also important to have good breath support
under your articulation.
Try saying "Ha" four times in a row, with your hands
on your abdomen.
Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.
You should feel your stomach muscles move a bit.
Now try saying "Too" or "Tah" four times in a row.
tah, tah, tah, tah.
You should feel your stomach muscles move
just like when you said "Ha."
Try it on your flute.
Play four quarter notes using the tongue.
You probably noticed that the beginning of each note
is very clear, not fuzzy.
We use the tongue to start notes almost all the time.
We can play short, or staccato, notes...
or we can play them connected, or legato.
Notice that there's no need to breathe
between every note.
Using the tongue properly will allow you to play many notes
in one breath at whatever speed you'd like.
Here's a piece that uses legato tonguing.
Up to now, we've been talking about tonguing
every note, but there are times when we need to slur the notes,
or connect them without using the tongue.
Start the first note with the tongue and blow
through the rest of them
without using the tongue at all, like this.
With a few exceptions,
you should always start the sound with the tongue,
even when restarting after a breath.
To practice tonguing,
beginners should try playing a note
using different rhythmic patterns
with the tongue, like this.
You can even play fun rhythmic patterns
on each note of your music, like this.
Once you become comfortable with that,
try changing notes while tonguing every note, like this.
Then try slurring two-note or three-note patterns.
And the most important thing is the more you practice,
the better you'll get
and the more fun you'll have.
The flute is often featured in fast,
virtuosic passages, in everything
from orchestral masterworks to solo pieces.
Though the flute literature is full of technical challenges,
it can be rewarding to master them.
In this section, we're going to share some tips
for improving your finger dexterity
so you can confidently tackle those difficult spots.
One of the most effective ways to improve your technique
is to practice hard sections slowly.
Many flutists, new and experienced, build bad habits
into their music by practicing passages too fast.
It's much harder to unlearn a bad habit
than it is to properly learn a new one,
so save yourself a lot of time and energy by practicing slowly.
Let's use the flute solo from Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf
as an example.
This excerpt is notoriously fast
and difficult for flutists.
Listen to Sarah slow it down to a good practice tempo.
Once you've mastered it at a moderate tempo,
you can gradually increase the speed,
using your metronome as a gauge if you like.
As you are working on your technique,
remember to keep proper hand position, posture,
and finger placement over the keys.
Another way to improve finger agility
is to practice your scales and arpeggios,
the building blocks of Western music.
Practicing these fundamentals will help you
recognize patterns and rely on your muscle memory,
which can save a lot of time
while learning a new piece.
One common issue that slows down our technique
is unevenness between notes.
This can be caused by poor posture or hand position,
going from one finger to many fingers,
or slightly shifting how the flute is balanced.
C to D in the staff is often uneven.
While looking in a mirror, alternate between C and D
very slowly, paying close attention to how close
or far your fingers are from the keys.
Make sure your fingers remain close to the keys,
are relaxed, and travel the same distance.
Now go ahead and gradually speed up your exercise.
We've explained the benefit of practicing slowly,
now let's look at a different method
involving rhythmic variations.
We're going to apply different rhythmic patterns
to the music to help learn a difficult passage.
Let's return to the solo from Peter and the Wolf.
Here are a few examples of what you can do.
The original passage is shown at the top of the screen.
In variation one,
you see the original notes from the passage,
but the rhythms are written out differently.
Here are some other variations.
Changing the emphasis helps train your fingers.
Once you've played through all the different variations,
going back to the original will feel
a little easier.
Did you notice the arpeggios in that excerpt?
If you have practiced your scales, arpeggios,
and technical exercises, then sight-reading
and learning difficult passages like this
will come more naturally.
The solo from Peter and the Wolf is just one example
of how virtuosic the flute repertoire can be.
It's fast and difficult, but not impossible
if you can apply the right methods in preparing it.
Set yourself up for great technique by solidifying
your fundamentals, practicing efficiently,
and remembering not to rush the learning process.
Enjoy working through the challenges
of the flute repertoire!
Practicing is a necessary part of playing an instrument.
If you want to improve, you'll need to prioritize
and set up an efficient routine.
Let's talk about your practice session.
When you're in the intermediate stages
of flute playing, the amount of information
you're taking in can seem overwhelming.
You've got your technique to work on, scales,
band music, solo repertoire - with so much to do,
it can be helpful to write down and organize your goals
for the day.
That way, if you find yourself losing focus,
you have something to keep you on track.
Here is one example of an organized practice session.
This session has been broken down into 5 parts:
long tones, scales, an articulation etude,
solo repertoire, and ensemble music.
You can also set goals
for how long you'd like to work on each part.
What takes one person 20 minutes to learn
might take someone else an hour.
I like to write down specific passages that need work,
in case I forget about them along the way.
This can be helpful if you find your mind wandering.
For example, if there are eight bars in your solo piece
that tend to sound sloppy, start with that trouble area.
A common question students have is,
how long should I be practicing every day?
Beginners might start with a few minutes a day;
serious students might practice for hours.
There were times in college
when I practiced 4 to 5 hours a day.
Whatever amount you choose to practice,
remember that establishing a daily routine is important
and it's up to you to decide how fast you'd like to improve.
When an articulated passage is too fast
to single tongue, you'll have to use multiple tonguing.
There are two kinds:
double-tonguing and triple-tonguing.
Double tonguing uses a combination
front and back stroke of the tongue,
allowing you to articulate at a much faster pace.
The air is interrupted once at the front of the mouth
with the syllable "tah," and then again
at the back of the mouth with "kah."
The result is "tah kah tah kah."
There are several different syllables
you can use when double tonguing, and the option
you choose may vary depending on your preference
or what repertoire you are playing.
Here is an example of how to apply double tonguing
to a group of fast moving notes.
Once you've grasped the basic concept of double tonguing,
it's time to start refining your technique.
Because the "Kah" lies farther back on your tongue,
it can feel clumsy and is difficult to get
as clear as the front stroke.
The goal is to not let the listener know
you're double tonguing at all.
Here is a good exercise to strengthen the back stroke.
First, play a repeated note using "tah."
Now play the same note using "kah".
Make sure your "kahs" sound just as clear
and even as your "tahs".
Once your "kahs" sound good, try alternating "tah" and "kah,"
again making sure there is no difference
in quality between the two.
Good airspeed and support are important to maintain
clarity on the back syllable since it is inherently weaker.
Developing this skill will take a lot of practice and patience,
but once you're comfortable with it,
you'll be able to play faster articulated passages
with ease and virtuosity.
Triple tonguing is used when there are fast moving triplets,
or notes in groups of three.
The syllables used are still "tah" and "kah,"
but they're organized a little differently.
For triple tonguing on the flute,
they are most commonly organized as: