Flutes in Jazz

Basics of Flute Playing, Tone Production and Fingerings, Using Metronomes, Scales, Tone, Studies, etc.

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Flutes in Jazz

Post by akonojo » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:53 pm

hey what do you think a bout this i asked to audition to go into the jazz band but my teacher wont let me. he says that "there is'nt much flute sheet music in jazz" and when i looked it up there are mad flutist in jazz. has that ever happen to ? its mad annoying.

plus does your teacher make you have your flute parallel or slanted the way that it's ment to be?

sorry for the re put up but i think i put this in the wrong area

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Post by Saxguy » Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:43 pm

Jazz flute is wonderful. Unfortunately, there generally is no "flute book" in your typical 18 piece "big band" jazz band. However, there are often flute parts for the sax players to play. And sometimes there is an improvised solo designated by the arranger/composer to be played on flute.

If the sax players in the jazz band do not play flute, perhaps you can be brought in to play a flute part when it comes up in a jazz band chart. So maybe in a typical concert, perhaps the band director can have you sit in and play flute in a couple of the tunes.

Just an idea.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in jazz, spend some time listening to jazz flute players, as well as jazz artists on other instruments. LISTENING to jazz is a crucial part of learning to play jazz.
Sax pro. Clarinet semi-pro. Flute & Piccolo -- Trying very, very hard!

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Post by akonojo » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:49 pm

Thanks, I’m starting to wonder if this "instrument discrimination" happens to other flutist.
Music is one of the few things in this world that can impact people in a positive way, that can help people. we musicians should spread it around!

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Post by Justine » Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:59 pm

Happened to me :/
Well, somewhat. I asked Secch if I could be in jazz maybe, oh, my sophomore year. And he said "Sure, you just need to learn sax by auditions (which where later that week) but I could have you featured soloing on flute for a song or two." Needless to say, it didn't work out. But I'm thinking of doing it next year. I'm not going to learn saxophone because it's ridiculous for me to compete with Colin and whoever else plays alto. So I'm just doing flute, and transposing every last piece that he gives us.

I think you should try out as well. It'll show him that not just saxes, trombones, trumpets, pianos, bass guitars (and whatever else I forgot to list) can be in jazz. If you went to the jazz fest on Friday, I'll show you one of the flautists that was there who was AMAZING. Meanwhile, listen to Jethro Tull. Bourée is a really good song to try and mimic, especially the flutter tonguing.

As for the flutes parallel thing, it's crap. For marching band, yeah, it's the norm because it's supposed to look uniform. But for concerts/soloing/anything else that's not marching band, it shouldn't be parallel. And if Secchi ever questions your non-parallelness, ask him "so does James Galway play with his flute at a 180 degree angle?" I myself would say that to him, but unfortunately, he hasn't called me on it quite yet. :P
“One good thing about music, when it hits - you feel no pain.”
-Bob Marley

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Post by Phineas » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:47 am

akonojo wrote:Thanks, I’m starting to wonder if this "instrument discrimination" happens to other flutist.
Everywhere. Even in jazz circles, people consider flute/pic more as a novelty, or as a doubler instrument. I tell people I am a flute player, but when they find out I can play Sax, that is what they want. Plus, it can be a real headache playing in front of a group. The rhythem section rarely quiets down so you can be heard.

Want a good flute tune to use an an audition piece? Check out Spain by Chic Corea, Waltz for Debbie by Bill Evans, or Bopicity by Miles Davis. Those are both nice flute tunes, with plenty available sheet music and back up tracks.

Tell your teacher that if he emails me, I will transpose or write out a flute part for any jazz tune he wants! FOR FREE!

Unfortunately, band teachers are not always willing to do extra work, nor are very creative. Most will just buy charts, and work with the instrumentation as it is written. Seldom will you find one that is willing to take time to write special parts. If you think about it, school/college band teachers have a lot of administrative things to do also.


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Post by akonojo » Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:16 pm

Thanks Justine, glad to know that Secchi didn’t only do it to me, and he said the same thing about learning to play sax, and about the flute parallel thing I just might do that.
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Post by silverflute09 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:22 pm

I've been in my school jazz band for three years now. At the beginning of sophomore year I asked my director if I could join. He mentioned that I wouldn't be doing much, but allowed me to.

For the first couple years (sophomore and junior) I didn't play much. Then at the end of junior year, I asked if he could teach me to transpose so I could play more, and I've been transposing music since. I let him decide which part to give me (Eb Alto Sax or Bb Trumpet), and I go from there. And usually if I have more time on my hands, I'll re-write it.

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Post by ShortButSweet » Tue May 26, 2009 4:48 pm

I played flute in the jazz band in my middle school for two years, but once i got into high school flutes couldn't be in the jazz band. it makes me mad too, cause the jazz band just played a song called Iroquois that had a flute part, and they made one of the alto sax players learn flute in a couple of weeks to play the part. and he sucked. i'm the first chair flute player in the highest concert band, and i would have liked to play the part, but i couldn't just sit in. i'd really like to learn jazz flute but i don't really know where to start.

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Post by Dirty_Dave » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:18 am

What about asking if you can take a solo with the band?

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Post by ShortButSweet » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:20 am

Dirty_Dave wrote:What about asking if you can take a solo with the band?
well people in the past have asked my band director that, and he always says no. you have to be an actual part of the jazz band to play.

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Post by winkieflash » Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:44 am

I don't know if you're familiar with jazz-flutist Ali Ryerson, but she's going to publish a book on how to play jazz flute this August!

It will be announced on her website as soon as it's available.

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Post by Griffith » Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:33 pm

Typical trouble everywhere. I even considered auditioning for a local jazz group, but they declined me once they heard I would only play flute (and not work with the rhythm section--I play pinano).

I would definitely listen to a lot of jazz, no only band band with flute, just just jazz in general. A lot of jazz greats can tell you that they started by takin' ideas from others (not exactly plagiarism, but close) and workin' with other ideas like that. Miles Davis (trump) is amazing, and you definitely want to listen to a lot of not just jazz, but it's cousin, blues, and experiment with a variety of styles. I'm working on that now, too, in high school.

My band director hates clarinets, even as a "novelty" double, but accepts flutes---I can only transpose off trumpets, but this coming year, I plan to arrange a trump/sax/and maybe pinano with it. Transposing is huge with flutes, without, there is less acceptance than before...if possible.

Certain things can be harder to play than others, but I'll leave you experiemtn and deal with your problem as it comes. Good luck!

EDIT: Also, one thing about other instruments just learning how to play flute: it didn't go well at my school, and then they brought in other flutes to play the piece (which they used at competition for some reason), and the sax who trans'ed couldn't play and the jazz flute couldn't play the part well, either? It was trying.

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Post by alexson115 » Tue Jul 07, 2009 4:20 am

Thank you so much for the post. It's really useful.

pret personnel

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Post by pied_piper » Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:58 am

Griffith wrote:My band director hates clarinets, even as a "novelty" double...
You should ask your band director if s/he has ever heard of Benny Goodman. As a clarinetist, he was definitely a part of our jazz and big band heritage. Granted that today, jazz ensembles are usually scored for 4-5 (each) saxes, trumpets, trombones, and rhythm. That however does not mean that other instruments should be ignored in jazz ensembles. To do so is at best ignorance and at worst bigotry.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."

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Post by MissyHPhoenix » Tue Jul 07, 2009 4:24 pm

Also should ask if he's ever heard Pete Fountain from New Orleans!

Why Be Normal????

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