Jen Cluff ~ Frequently Asked Online

Flute Questions

Canadian Flutist and Teacher





Dear Flutey Readers,

I receive dozens of flute related questions each day, some of which I have time to answer, others that require a series of live, one-on-one flute lessons in order to answer. However, since I'm answering for free, it would save time if you could answer your own question through researching the most commonly asked ones first.

If you wish to have online tutoring, proceed to this page where cost and "how tos" are explained.

If you'd like to see my videos, read my blog (answering other questions) or get further input, see my BLOG INDEX.

Please check whether your question is already answered below before emailing me in future. I'm friendly, but I'm also busy writing a book. Thanks so much. Jen :>)


FAQ for flutes


 
Get this free pdf first: The Top Ten Secrets of Great Flute Playing (a handy pdf for printing)

Also: Does Jen's flute in the videos have weird key extensions made of wood? Can I see them close up?


1. Buying Flutes: Sample questions:

What kind of flute should I buy for my child, highschool student, for myself as a University Flute Major, or as an adult beginner? Would a new flute help me play better? How do I test a new flute? Are the newer flutes better than the old flutes? Should I buy a really cheap flute from ebay? Can I get by with an old flute from the back of the closet? Is my flute broken, or is it me?

Answers: Click on the links above for more information on each area. In general, a $2000-$5000 flute, if it's regularly seen by a good flute repair person, will play more easily than an $200 flute. However a cheaper flute can often be made to play well by taking it to an expert repair technician. If you don't have any money for a new flute, go to a flute technician and get their advice on fixing your current flute. Many flute problems are repair problems. Flutes need to go to repair once or twice a year.

In general; if you are serious about improving, have a qualified flute teacher recommend an affordable flute for you, and then test several identical models to choose the best one with the teacher's help. You can't test flutes properly if you are not an advanced player. Have expert face-to-face advice.


2. Taking Flute Lessons: Sample questions:

Why do I need lessons? I can't afford lessons, so why does everyone keep telling me to take them? I'd like to get the info. for free online; where can I do that? Why can't I teach myself? Are there any good flute "how to" books I could read; for advanced players, or for adult beginners?

Answers: Click on the links above for more information on each area. In general, you will go much, much s-l-o-w-e-r if you try and teach yourself. You may take three years to learn what you would have learned in three months. You will also develop the typical bad habits that self-taught players have mistakenly taught to themselves for the last two hundred years. The self-taught mistakes will all have to be un-learned and then re-learned and this will triple or quadruple the amount of time and frustration that you experience.

We flute teachers are not making this up. We see it everyday when we get a new student who's had no previous flute lessons. It's very disheartening for them to have to go back and re-learn from the beginning in order to unlearn a bad habit. Trust me on this one. This is what I do for a living. I know. I really do! ;>)


3. Finding Sheetmusic: Sample questions:

Where can I find a certain title of flute sheetmusic? What sheetmusic books would be good for me to get? I have a student that needs a solo piece for a competition/recital, what are some good pieces?

I'm a University Student; where are some standard repertoire lists? How are pieces graded for difficulty?

What if I don't have any money to buy music? Is there any free music online? I've tried to find a certain title, and can't locate it. How do I know what flute grade I am?

Answers: Click on the links above for more information on each area. In general, you must budget to buy at least $40 or more of sheetmusic a year if you want to actually play good music with other players (flute and piano, flute and guitar etc.). If you only use free music, the quality of it will be limited. The best music is purchased from searching the catalogues of quality flute music sources such as FluteWorld or JustFlutes.

To find out what grade of flute playing you play at consult this chart and also check with your private teacher. Note: Private flute teachers are much more able to suggest great music titles to you after meeting you, hearing your level of playing, and understanding which kinds of music you prefer. Use this teacher as a source for titles you'd like to purchase. If you are a new flute teacher, and don't have a very large flute repertoire library, buy the NFA $5 booklets that list the top pick for flute etudes and pieces.


4. Specific Flute Skills: Sample questions:

What is tonguing? How do I breathe right? Why am I out of tune? Why is my tone all fuzzy all of a sudden? What's the point of doing longtones? Why does everyone talk so much about scales? Why should I use a mirror? What's good posture? Why do my hands and shoulders and jaw hurt? How much should I practice? etc. etc.

Answers: Click on this link and search the ARTICLES pages. There is a Find button there, and a Site Map also.

You'll also find videos that I've made about various teaching topics.

These are the kind of questions that you need a private flute teacher to help you with. The human machine is a very complex organism. Words alone are not enough; you need to see an accomplished flutist perform these skills in order to learn them the fastest possible way. Read "The Inner Game of Tennis" by Gallwey to understand how humans learn from experts; they must SEE it and HEAR it in order to do it quickly and well.

If you wish to have online tutoring, proceed to this page where cost is explained.

If you'd like to see my videos, read my blog (answering other questions) or get further input, see my BLOG INDEX.

Best, Jen :>)

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© Jennifer Cluff