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Flutes etc. How do you play the flute?

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
I realise this is a rather large topic >:), but I just bought a flute on eBay. Buffet Crampon 6000 FWIW. Seems to be in reasonable nick (I can get a few notes out of it), but as I can't play the flute it's hard to be sure. Anyone got any advice on good books/websites for beginners? Can't afford time or money for lessons, and it's just for fooling around on, at least for the moment. Even some advice on how to hold the thing without dropping it when you play a C or C# would be useful.

Thanks
Martin
 

Gallen

Senior Member
Messages
397
Check out youtube, people (e.g. Nina perlove, jennifer cluff) have a channel with tutorials about such topics. Avoid channels like expert village lol. To play middle C without it falling, you need the right thumb pushing into the flute, whilst on the other hand, the pointer pushes down the C key. I think my left hand's thumb is below. Can't say for sure, flute's at home :p
 

O.C.V.

Member
Messages
113
If you are at all serious about playing flute it really would pay to have a few lessons. Very small differences in embouchure, for instance, can make a tremendous difference in the sound you produce, and it would help prevent you getting into a bad habit at the start.
Best wishes
O.C.v.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
I realise this is a rather large topic >:), but I just bought a flute on eBay. Buffet Crampon 6000 FWIW. Seems to be in reasonable nick (I can get a few notes out of it), but as I can't play the flute it's hard to be sure. Anyone got any advice on good books/websites for beginners? Can't afford time or money for lessons, and it's just for fooling around on, at least for the moment. Even some advice on how to hold the thing without dropping it when you play a C or C# would be useful.

Thanks
Martin
Are you aware that the sound that saxophone players traditionally emit from a flute is phfff ffffph fhhhhp?
There are good exceptions, though.

For the central C#, R tuomb "pushes" the flute, R pinky presses D# (as in almost every note on the flute) and the side of your LH index pushes against your lip. Not easy.....

I hold the flute as part of my daily routine.
 

spike

Old Indian
Messages
2,253
I've played flute for well over 45 years and completely autodidactic. I never learned to balance the flute with the right hand pinky on D# as aldevis rightly points out. A big mistake I know but I've always counter balanced with my RH first finger touching the rods. It's never ever been a problem in all the years but it's wrong and a mistake that I wish I'd known about way back when.
Moral of the story get a few of lessons before you develop bad habits that will probably be impossible to get rid of later on.
Concentrating the airstream is very important and when you can get three overtones blowing across an empty beer or wine bottle you know you've got it nailed.
Kissing and whistling are also good exercises to attain a good embouchure.
Have fun - gruss - spike
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,000
I would add that playing the head joint alone in front of a mirror is indispensable to quickly developing a good embouchure. The flute embouchure is different than the other woodwinds because it is all on the outside where you can see it. These are a few of the basics, I taught to my beginning flute students.

- keep the head joint parallel with the lips
- cover 1/3 of the blowhole with the lower lip
- push the lips slightly forward as if saying "Pooh" (as in Winnie the . . . )
- keep the lips gently together and let the airstream create the opening
- blow fast cold air, keeping the opening in the lips narrow from top to bottom

Practicing playing long tones (20 seconds or more) on the head joint making 4 different tones: high and low open, and high and low stopped end will go a long way to insuring success when the flute is played as a whole instrument.

You can even insert the foot joint onto the end of the head joint (use masking tape if too loose) and practice good hand position while playing simple 3 and 4 note tunes. Make sure to tongue each note saying "tu". It should feel as if you are spitting a piece of lint off the tip of your tongue.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Thanks everyone.

I've learned some basic blowing technique from playing with my Yamaha fife over the past few months, so I can get a few notes out of the flute. Managed to pick out an approximation to "happy birthday" in a couple of keys this evening (it's my wife's birthday tomorrow. Hardest thing so far has been trying to find a comfortable and secure grip. I'll do some more reading. Any recommendations for flute methods?

Showed the instrument to my big band leader tonight who's a pretty good flautist. He said there's no problems with it apart from a slightly loose foot joint so I did OK for my £75.

I'm not that serious about it (yet) but it's been really nice to have the fife around to just pick up and blow a few tunes on when Ive got five minutes to spare without having to get a reed working.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
A loose foot joint really needs a trip to a technician with the right kit to adjust it, but as long as it isn't likely to drop off, you should be able to postone it pretty much indefinitely.If it's really loose you can get self adhesive copper strips from JL Smith, but from what you say, they'll be too thick.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Just Flutes sell, or used to, a clip on right thumb rest and another clip on that fattens the tube for the left hand. Haven't dropped it yet.
 

gypsy

Member
Messages
40
Hello Martin,

Nip into Forsyth Bros. And look at Trevor Wye's books on flute playing. There may be something of interest to you in them.

Also, as Gallen says, have a look a Nina Perlove's site. She's a good flute player and has some interesting ideas that can also be used in sax playing.

Regards,

Albert
 

AndyWhiteford

Senior Member
Messages
454
i'm with 'old git", the left hand rest -the "bo pep" iirc, is invaluable.
one nice piece of advice I got as a beginner: imagine your airstream is like a wooden ice-lolly stick: thin, narrow & hard.
position your lips t oseal round teh stick'aim to split that stick into two layers( top/bottom) on the back edge of the mouthpiece opening.
Practice on the head only, detached from the body, in front of the mirror.
-A-
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Thanks again all. I can just about get two octaves now, though not with any fluency and the bottom notes are quite weak. Left hand index finger is quite stiff from supporting the side, might have to look into those rests. Will check out Trevor Wye, too. Really must stop this now: there's housework (and .of course sax practice) to be done. Oh, and it's my wife's birthday (it's her own fault, she keeps encouraging me to get more instruments).
 

selkie

Member
Messages
76
You've probably dropped lucky with a good name flute. I would firstly check all your pads open & shut,same as sax. my lassie and I both started on cheap ebay flutes taught ourselves to play. Worked on sorting them out until we were able to buy good flutes. My flutes is complicated as I am disabled and has an extra tube to fit on headjoint.There is a DVD now which is good. If your fife was in C then you have even more going for you. Frustrating things loads of the beginners music is simple kids stuff and I found it annoying so got some folk music stuff. It's also worth getting it serviced or checked out. Just a tweak can help as with a sax. Good luck.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Thanks, Selkie. I've had it a couple of months now and am getting the hang of it a bit. It wasn't entirely luck, I had done a bit of research first (Stephen Howard gives the B-C 6020---turnss out that's what I've got---a good review). The low C pad could do with reseating and the foot joint's a bit loose (fixed temporarily with a bit of sellotape on the tenon, lasts a few days each time), but apart from that it's working fine. Mostly using it to practice playing tunes by ear, as it's something I can pick up and fool around on for a few minutes at a time without having to get a reed working. I'm starting to enjoy the sound for it's own sake more, though.
 
Messages
43
I realise this is a rather large topic >:), but I just bought a flute on eBay. Buffet Crampon 6000 FWIW. Seems to be in reasonable nick (I can get a few notes out of it), but as I can't play the flute it's hard to be sure. Anyone got any advice on good books/websites for beginners? Can't afford time or money for lessons, and it's just for fooling around on, at least for the moment. Even some advice on how to hold the thing without dropping it when you play a C or C# would be useful.

Thanks
Martin
Get some lessons. A few lessons from a good teacher will probably be enough to get you well on your way. It'll be money well spent.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Get some lessons. A few lessons from a good teacher will probably be enough to get you well on your way. It'll be money well spent.
It's an old thread but thanks. I'm inclined to agree, but it's tricky for me to get out of the house for a lesson. Haven't had a sax/jazz lesson for over a year. But I think I've got the flute basics more or leess down now. Been neglecting it for a while, good to have a reminder.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
You just won a free skype lesson, if I work out how to do it.
That's awfully kind. My wife says so, too. Actually, things are starting to improve again. My support service (ie mother-in-law) had some sugery last year which meant it was difficult to arrange anything at a non-wheelcjhir acessible venue (eg a teacher's house). But she's getting more mobile again so thigs may be more normal soon.

I need to get skype working here, too. Been struggling with webcams. Should be getting a new computer soon which might help.

Really touched by your offer. Thanks.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
That's awfully kind.
Don't be too excited: I have no idea how to do it through the wires. You would be a sort of a saxophonistic guinea pig.
I know that someone does it as a job, but I am still a big supporter of face to face lessons. Unless skype is the only way.

I am happy things are getting better at home, though.
 

selkie

Member
Messages
76
Don't be too excited: I have no idea how to do it through the wires. You would be a sort of a saxophonistic guinea pig.
I know that someone does it as a job, but I am still a big supporter of face to face lessons. Unless skype is the only way.

I am happy things are getting better at home, though.
I play flute as well and maybe I could help in a small way. I have skype as well. My flute is adapted as I am disabled. I'm missing my sax buddy/tutor Strobe who has emigrated to NZ.
 
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