Tag: flute practice tips

Intonation in Action at the Florida Flute Fair 2014

November 6, 2013 at 10:29 pmCategory:Uncategorized

Yay! My proposal to present at the 2014 Florida Flute Fair has been accepted so I will be presenting a workshop on Intonation in Action. I will also conducting my flute choir, the Tampa Bay Flute Choir, at this year’s event, so I will be busy in January!

The workshop will involve audience members in demonstrations and techniques that I use to work on intonation in playing situations. This isn’t about being able to hit a target on a meter; it is about learning how to develop intonation awareness and develop the ability to respond to changing pitch contexts. Exercise and develop those intonation reflexes!!

More about this later. You know I can’t keep from talking about intonation stuff! Check out more about the Florida Flute Association and the yearly convention here:

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Improving Your Sense of Intonation

November 5, 2013 at 7:11 pmCategory:Uncategorized

The other day I was thinking about the advantages of improving your sense of intonation, the ability to hear and respond to pitch fluctuations, and it occurred to me that there were also some disadvantages (yes, I said disadvantages) that go along with it. Here is my list of 5 advantages followed by my list of 5 disadvantages. Ready?

5 Advantages to Having a Good Sense of Intonation
1. Because you play well in tune, you sound better and are perceived as a better player. Everyone wants to be thought well of.
2. Your tone is usually better and more consistent because you are managing your air better in order to play in tune better. Your technique has to improve in order to make the adjustments necessary to play in tune.
3.You are better able to convey musical ideas both because your intonation is good and because you can concentrate more on other aspects of playing when your intonation is well-managed.
4. Other musicians enjoy playing in ensembles with you because your intonation is good. Directors notice, too, and are favorably impressed.
5. You feel more confident and at ease when you know your intonation is good. Playing is more fun!

Now for the opposite side of the coin.

5 Disadvantages of Having a Good Sense of Intonation
1. Playing with musicians who don’t play in tune becomes increasingly frustrating. But now you know how others felt before you got better!
2. You may develop a bit of a superiority complex, and become less tolerant of other’s intonation flaws. Worse, you might start trying to tell them what to to, resulting in them thinking you are bossy or snobby.
3. You have fewer excuses for playing out of tune once others become used to you being able to play with good intonation.
4. Once you develop a good sense of intonation, you will never be able to listen to music in the same again. You will constantly be aware of inconsistencies and clashes in the intonation of everything you hear. And you will never be able to sit through a beginner band concert with a straight face again, no matter how much you love the sibling, niece, nephew, son, or daughter you are there to hear. My hat is off to all the directors of beginner bands. Every day your ears must take a terrible beating, but you keep at it anyway, and we all benefit from your sacrifice!
5. I couldn’t come up with another believable disadvantage. If you can, or there are advantages I have missed, please put them in the comments and share them.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely believe that the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages, especially being able to fully convey the music while feeling good about it. For most of us, it takes a lot of work to develop a good sense of pitch, then it takes more work to develop the ability to adjust pitch on demand in order to play in tune. But it is well worth the work, and the personal enjoyment of playing well is the reward.

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Emmanuel Pahud plays Berio and some Bach

October 20, 2013 at 5:04 pmCategory:Flute Treats

An excellent musician must be able to play music from many genres and styles. Emmanuel Pahud demonstrates his mastery of the flute and of one of the classics of the flute repertoire in this video of a performance of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza I for solo flute.

To hear Pahud playing something more conventional, listen to his recording of a Bach standard, the Corrente from the Partita.

These examples only go to show that when it comes to the study of music, there is always more to explore and learn. You should never be bored when there are so many different styles to indulge in and conquer!

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Practice Diary 7/29

July 31, 2013 at 6:46 pmCategory:Practice Diary | Uncategorized

EJ4 from GbM to am
-clipped articulation exercise is easier if I remember to pause and expel excess air
-don’t practicing straining, you already know how to do that!
-overall focus is good, air doesn’t wander as much, especially when I think of playing out to an audience
-remember to push for better, it is easy to go with OK, to forget there can be much more, push for better!

CPE Bach am solo sonata
-the big leaps downward in the 3rd movement, the air attacks seem OK, but when articulation is added, notes are still not as clear as a pianist might be
-tried slurring through the figures, maybe the problem is the disturbance of the air on repeated notes, jaw and embouchure are opening on the 2nd note in the group, having to get back into position to play
-this is a case of expression getting in the way of technique
-opening in embouchure is too wide, how to address that; haven’t found a way that is effective for me yet
-feel like I’m just getting going when the timer goes off. tomorrow – 45 minutes!

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Explanatory notes about Practice Diary

July 30, 2013 at 7:19 pmCategory:Practice Diary

In the Practice Diary, I’ve made some references to exercise books that I use. In the posts I’ve referred to them using mostly commonly known abbreviations, at least for people who had experience with them, but not everyone may know what they mean, so this is a short post explaining what the are. In a later post I plan to explain why and how I use them.

‘EJ’ stands for 17 Grands Exercises Journaliers (Daily Exercises) by Paul Taffanel and Gaubert. This is one of the most enduring exercise books, I call it one of the flute Bibles. I use Exercise number 4 (EJ4) almost every time I practice to establish a baseline for tone and articulation consistency in many keys and all registers.

‘Moyse’ is another flute Bible. The exercises in Marcel Moyse’s Exercises Journaliers are designated by letter, but there are several exercises that share the same letter so I’ve been referring to what the exercise actually is. So far I’ve only concentrated on one of the C exercises, triads, mostly for intonation and tone. If you’ve heard of James Galway’s scale challenge, this is the book you would be working out of. It covers much more than scales and is great for developing a good core tone that will work in all registers. You also need all the technique it offers.

I’ve also referred to one of Trevor Wye’s Practice Books, Book 1: Tone.

These books are all available through Flute World, www.fluteworld.com, if you can’t find them other places. The first two are not cheap, but they have been standards for many decades, and for good reason! Used properly and practiced conscientiously, they will help you develop the fundamentals of technique that will give you the tools you need to play just about anything.

Any time you want something in the Practice Diary explained, just let me know! It may take a couple of days, but I will at least get the basic explanation to you ASAP.

Happy Practicing!

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