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Do your flute students look like this, struggling to hold their flutes up, scrunched into tight quarters, leaning their right arms over the back of their chairs, hunched over as if they can barely hold the flute up?

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I am sure you have seen variations of this with your own students. And you have to constantly remind them to hold their flutes up, sit straight in their chairs, and on and on…….

Perhaps the solution lies in how the chairs are arranged. In the example above, notice that the chairs the kids are sitting in are side by side, in a straight line along the wall, facing forward. The question I pose to you is if this makes sense, given that the flute is played asymmetrically (as are saxophone and bassoon)? In order to hold the flute up and be comfortable, the kids have to twist in their chairs, rest their arm on the chair back and wind up developing other poor habits. Try this instead and see if it helps your students sit up taller, hold their instruments more correctly and even sound better as a section:

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As you can see, all the chairs are now turned about 45 degrees to the right, rather than facing straight forward. Now let’s put the kids in the chairs and you have something like this:

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As you can see, the chairs are quite close, everyone can hold their flute up, the kids can sit straight in their chairs with their feet on the floor and the end of each flute is behind the head of the next kid. There is plenty of room for everyone, even if you have a small rehearsal space.

If you find these entries helpful, please subscribe, share with your colleagues and come back next week for another flute tip. Comments are always welcome. Send your questions and suggestions for future posts to me at dr_cate@sbcglobal.net.

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