Jennifer Cluff ~ Wanting flute lessons
Canadian Flutist and Teacher
Here are some skill builders for folks just getting back to the flute::
7. Borrow or buy a flute CD that gives great examples of a beautiful flute sound. Or listen to flute players online and/or watch videos of flute players:
Question: I used to play flute in middle school, and now really want to take it up again. I hope to start lessons soon when I can afford it. Any ideas what to do next, until I can take lessons again? I really have no idea, but I want to get started!!
1. Find some books of flute sheet music or some improvisational CDs (Jazz, folk, ethnic music etc.) that you really like. Keep hunting down interesting tunes and great flute pieces through various sources and by asking friends and colleagues for their favourites. If you're looking for something specific (ex: African nose flute transcriptions :>), ask on one of the internet discussion groups for specific suggestions.
Some of my suggestions for favourite sheetmusic can be found here.
Some free online sheetmusic for flute can be found too, although there's not much on the net that's REALLY good.
If you're on a huge budget some of the best buys in books of sheetmusic are here.
The main thing is to play everyday, and you'll only do that if you're playing music you love.
If you're eclectic and you like all kinds of musical styles, a good source of flute books (some with CDs) is Just Flutes catalogue online in the UK. Use their search engine under sheetmusic to find teh catagory of flute books with CDs.
For a list of Celtic flute sheetmusic (all levels) see here.
If you're looking for great flute CDs to jam along with (by ear) ask people at Flutenet or other flute discussion group for their favourites in a given catagory (ie: Jazz, Folk, Ethnic etc.)
If you can find a pianist, harpist, or guitarist there are SCADS of easy and intermediate sheet music available that will really rock your world. See my celtic sheet music suggestions especially for flute/guitar/harp/piano combinations of easy-to-read music.
If you're on a budget, the least expensive one source for novices to advanced playersis: Methods and Studies CD-rom from 'The Ultimate CD sheet music for flute'. www.cdsheetmusic.com for a full index, or see my repertoire files for all asterisked methods and etudes appearing on this CD-rom.
If you are returning to the flute after a long hiatus, and want to make one $20 purchase of almost 1000 pages of flute music, you may be interested in the incredible CD-roms of flute sheetmusic entitled "The Ultimate Flute Sheetmusic - Flute Solos" and "The Ultimate Flute Sheetmusic ~ Flute Methods, Studies & Ensembles." Each CD is $19 U.S. and will take you from beginner review material to advanced methods & duets. See below.
See recommended beginner books at:
For returning players: The CD-rom entitled: Flute Methods, Studies and Ensembles, by Theodore Presser is a great buy for the returning flutist. Print out the Altes or Wagner method books you'll find on the CD-rom and use them as a refresher for rhythms and counting. The Wagner method on this CD-rom is lots of fun, and has all the scales, patterns, and fillagree stuff. Review these a few pages a day when you practice, and hunt for skills that you're currently working on among the many lessons printed there.
Additionally in the list below, all sheetmusic titles with *asterisks* are in fact on this "Ultimate Flute Sheetmusic" two CD-roms and are pieces that are print-out-able on your home computer just for the cost of ink and paper. More info on these CD-roms ($19 U.S. for hundreds of pieces flute music) at www.cdsheetmusic.com and are cross-referenced also with asterisks at my favourite repertoire page.
Kohler 20 Easy and Progressive Ex. op. 93* (asteriks denote that they're found on the CD-rom for flute at www.cdsheetmusic.com ) This is terrific stuff, and a new discovery for the intermediate flutist working over the summer, or with a teacher's help. Kohler has arranged 20 weekly assignments that include scales, thirds, articulations, and follows with a short Etude and a Duet in the same key to be played each week with the teacher. Amazing. Check it out!
There are also lots of flute duets, on CD-rom sheet music (many to choose from), if you have a friend who plays flute, or use a tape-recorder to play duets by yourself using the metronome on the tape so you don't get lost Playing duets with a recording of yourself on the other part is more fun than you would believe. :>).
Books of flute Etudes you may also find to hand:
Books of Classical flute Solos you may find to hand:
36 Repertoire Pieces; Edited by Donald Peck
Concert and Contest Collection
Flute Music of the Baroque; Schirmer
Flute Solos published by Amsco
Standard Etudes can be worked on; including all the Andersen etudes (also found online for free), Berbiguer 18 etudes (also come in duet form), Altes 26* studies, J.S. Bach 24 Concert studies*.
The asterisked items above are on the CD-rom of sheetmusic for flute also.
A good collection for buying only one book is: Selected Studies by Rubank.It's the only Rubank flute book I really like. It's got scales and scales-in-thirds in the back, and some really truly wonderful (not yucky) etudes at the advance/highschool level. It's also a very inexpensive book.
Kuhlau Duets*, Kohler Duets*, Mozart Duets*, Quantz Duets*, Telemann, Tulou etc.
See the index listing of the CD-rom under Flute at www.cdsheetmusic.com
The Flute Player's Book by Vernon Hill:
More titles of cool flute books can be found here.
Question: Does anyone have any suggestions on being able to improve my abilities without taking lessons? Yes, lessons are very important, but I do not have a way to get them... so I'd like all the advice I can to improve as much as I can on my own. (advice other than just well, practicing :-) )
Honestly and with the most kind of intentions, my best advice is:
It may *extremely* possible to continue with weekly lessons, and you just don't realize it yet, because you haven't asked the right person. Suddenly you could find a teacher is in fact available.
There could be a flute teacher next-door, down the street, at the highschool, at the college in your town; or they might be in the next town, or you might find another flutist or instrumentalists who drives a few hours to lessons each week who could take you along and share the commute. You may be able to find the money for one lesson a month, or you might even find a flute teacher who would also be open to trading lessons for something valuable that you could do for them. (babysitting/mowing lawns/painting/cleaning etc.)
And here's why:
Self-taught players, or those who try and learn from books and CDs/videos inevitably delelop the same sets of bad-habits that are difficult to break, and will eventually halt their progress.
Also, as more and more teachers appear on the scene with more advanced knowledge about teaching flute, a teacher can save you YEAR'S of work on your flute, just in a single "ah ha" moment in a flute lesson. The more I talk to flute teachers, the more "quick fixes" and " tricks to jump-start a skill" and other faster ways of connecting with a student are coming to light. Why reinvent the wheel when there are thousands of flute teachers in the world today who hold the key to doing it in half the time?
If you work on your own, it may take you DAYS to figure out how to crescendo to fortissimo without going sharp. It may take YEARS. But a good flute teacher could teach you that in five minutes, and save you so many "hits and misses" hours of frustration.
At the link below you will find dozens of articles that will help you on your way while you're looking for a teacher; but you really owe it to yourself to REALLY LOOK HARD FOR A TEACHER.
Can you imagine a self-taught wanna-be Olympic athlete trying to come up to current standards without a coach or expert training them? Can you imagine a world-class writer who never had access to any of the most current books?
Can you imagine a swimmer who had to learn to swim on dry land, and never travelled to a pool? A high-jumper who never had any proper equipment, and so taught themselves to land on their feet instead of backwards onto a mat...
Can you imagine someone trying to learn French by reading about learning French, but never hearing the language spoken?
Now, imagine a cello player who was self-taught but had the cello pin at the wrong height and hurt themselves from hours of playing with their body hunched up at the wrong angle.
THESE are the kinds of problem that crops up.
It's all a question of degree.
Just last year I had a student with a flute so unplayable that she'd taught herself to pound the keys down from a finger height of two inches. Turned out it had been mis-padded, and all the pads were puffed up like popcorn. And she'd been wondering why the "Chaminade" was so impossible to play....
Look for a teacher.
Self-taught players ALWAYS have unknown handicaps working against them, and when you DO go to a lesson, and find out what handicap you were working on, it'll likely be one that the teacher has seen a zillion times.
From a flute teacher's perspective, students plateau when they're self-teaching for the exact same set of reasons over and over again, and it's not the least bit necessary for this to have happened to them.
A flute teacher,
Oh yes, I agree that some folk can get ahead on their own, and do quite a bit of work if they intelligently apply themselves to the materials that are available.
But I've also seen flute students with bad-habits so badly engrained that it takes them over two years to UN-DO the physical reflex and response patterns that they have accidently practiced in.
On the other hand, I've also seen rural families that wouldn't think of letting their musical child get THAT frustrated. Because they prioritize positive-high-level-music-lessons, they make a point of that 6 hr. round trip drive to take their kids to top-quality music lessons in a big city (coming from very remote towns) and these are the same families whose kids end up in fabulous youth orchestras, summer orchestras, music camps, and chamber music scholarship courses.
Some of these rural and small town musical kids (with parents keen on high end private instruction) end up in the National Youth Orchestras and on to musical careers! Living far away from good instruction doesn't mean you have to miss out---it just means you have to choose what's important to you, and how far you want to develop your musical knowledge.
I wouldn't want anyone who's truly motivated to miss out on the kind of opportunities that are available for young musicians simply because they did not try and inquire and therefore somehow didn't find out in time that those opportunities (including scholarhips, ride-shares, and great teachers closer-than-you-think), are indeed out there.
A set of four to ten lessons with a new teacher will also allow you to make a more well-informed opinion.
But optimally, one shouldn't give up too soon in seeking out expert instruction and opportunities to play with better players.
It's so inspiring and you learn so much more if you can put yourself where the talented young musicians are all congregating.
Regarding advice for what to do, in order to improve, while you're waiting to find a flute teacher, here are some of the standard books that you might want to invest in, or order through your public library (if you're on a budget.)
2. Howard Harrison: How to Play the Flute
3. Jessica Walsh: "Celtic Music for Flute with CD" (or "Ancient Airs and Dances" or "Medieval and Renaissance Music for Flute & Guitar".) See and hear MP3s at www.fluteandguitar.com order: <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = SKYPE />1-800-627-0823and create duets from them, using CD using this method.
1. Karen Smithson's Flute and Piano solos from: Playing the Flute Volumes 2-5 and book of piano accompaniments (find a local piano teacher to accompany you as you learn and play through all the tunes.) www.fluteworld.com or www.weisgarber.com
2. CD-sheetmusic with the Wagner Flute Method and Altes Flute Method (vol. 1 & 2) plus about 200 other books of etudes/studies/duets etc. all on one cd-rom: www.cdsheetmusic.com for Flute: "The Ultimate Sheetmusic for Flute - Methods, Ensembles and Studies". Publilshed by Theodore Presser.
3. Trevor Wye: Practice Book for the Flute - Volume One - TONE
2. Trevor Wye: Complete Daily Exercises for the Flute - Essential Practice Material for all intermediate to advanced flutists. Publisher: Novello
1. Werner Richter: Conditioning Training (for flutists)
For articles on all topics, such as "how to practice" and "what to learn" go to all my flute articles:
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Copyright © 2004 Jennifer Cluff