Thursday, December 01, 2005

NAF Playing Tip #4: Whisper don't Shout into the flute

I realized that it's been a while since I posted a playing tip, and it's one of the key features that I wanted to keep up with posting on this this blog. So with this post, I am going to get back to the plan of posting a new playing tip every Thursday...

For new players, one of the first things to learn is how to control your breath for every note on the flute. You quickly learn that the least forgiving note on any flute is the fundamental, the note played with all the holes covered. In other words, the fundamental note is the easiest note to squeak or overblow when playing it. The key to not squeaking the fundamental is in controlling the amount of air that you blow when playing the fundamental note. I've found that the simplest trick for beginners to quickly get over this is to think "Whisper" don't "Shout" when playing the fundamental note (or any note that's being overblown). Most folks get this idea right away and are quickly on the road to controlling their breath on the fundamental.

As an exercise, you should find the 'squeaking point' for every note on your flute (and do it for each of the flute that you own). Some notes will squeak (or overblow) easier than others. Some won't overblow at all. Once you've mastered the breath control to play the scale without squeaking, you can go on to the next step of learning to use the overblow (the squeak) as an ornamentation technique. More on that in a future posting.

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