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?
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:
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:
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.
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Maria Hare said:
My Band room is wider than it is deep and I have 15 flutes in my first row. I pair them up and at about a 110 degree angle to each other with the stand in between them. They NEVER lean on the chair. This seems to work pretty well.
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I also have done this as there isn’t always room, or enough stands, for each student to have a stand. The angle puts one flute behind and then the next is in front with both facing toward the stand which is positioned halfway between the two. This also sets up a “line of sight” with the teacher while playing. This will especially trump the same diagonal setup(Sorry, Cate!) for circular rows such as in large groups.
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