You already know that blowing on a flute has many variables, maybe a bewildering number of variables. In speaking with a flute playing colleague who is also a band director recently, she told me that busy educators are looking for two or three simple steps they can follow to help their students play their instrument easily. So here are three essential things to communicate to your flute students at every stage of their development:
- Find the optimum position for the flute on bottom lip. Do this by bringing the flute up from below to about where lip and chin meet. Avoid rolling down from the center. This places the blow hole too high to get a full, characteristic sound. The Legend of Kiss and Roll, Teaching Great Flute Sound, What is Transit Time
- Balance the flute in your hands. Turn the headjoint slightly back to align between the key cups and the rods, rather than directly with the key cups. This puts the relatively heavy rods more on top so the flute can rest in your hands. No bracing needed even with all the fingers off the keys (like with C#-Db). It’s All About Balance, Balance and the Right Hand, Balance and the Left Hand
- Shape the blowing aperture enough to focus the air stream and experiment with blowing angle. There is a subtle and intricate balance between top and bottom lip that is always adjusting to change registers, dynamics and control pitch, not to mention create different colors. Independence for Lips!, Warm Air, Cold Air
Try these three pointers with your students. Let me know how it works for you.
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