Adult Beginner Requests Help with Embouchure

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Deidre
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:51 pm

Adult Beginner Requests Help with Embouchure

Post by Deidre » Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:33 pm

I have been taking private lessons for about 4 months. I am having difficulty getting the higher notes to sound true and not windy!! I have watched dozens of Jennifer Cluff and Galway videos and read many techniques. Can someone tell me what I am doing wrong (or what I need to do right)? It seems that I am blowing harder and harder as the notes get higher.
My private teacher says adult students are impatient and it will come with time. How long should it take before I see improvement? :?

Thanks..

Hopeful
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:42 am

Post by Hopeful » Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:46 am

I am also an adult beginner, have been taking lessons for about 3-4 months, am having difficulty with the middle register (apparently I blow harder to get the notes rather than adjusting my embouchure) and my teacher also says that adult learners are impatient. However she wants me to work on my embouchure and I have no idea how or what to do.

Hopefully someone will come along soon who can help up both out. But I'm pleased to learn that I'm not alone.

Fleming
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Post by Fleming » Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:51 am

It seems that I am blowing harder and harder as the notes get higher.
A little harder is technically fine, but for higher notes it should feel as if you are using the same amount, or even less air. The trick to making clean movements up the range is the size of the hole in your embouchure, and the distance between your lips and the striking edge of the embouchure hole on your flute. My advice is to experiment. Learn your instrument and how it interacts with your body. Try different ways of shaping your lips, tongue, and jaw. You might find that you work best with an unconventional combination.

In the end, nobody can tell you how to shape your embouchure because it's such an individual thing. As teachers we can give advice that's generally accepted and has worked over the years, but you make the final call on what works for you. :) Case in point: My teachers rode me hard about rolling in too much, and even in masterclasses that's usually the first thing that comes up. But I still do it because that's where my best sound is, and I wouldn't know that if I didn't experiment with every option I could think of.
How long should it take before I see improvement?
That's a personal thing. I've seen beginners of all ages struggle to make small improvements, and I've seen beginners of all ages make drastic improvements between every class.

Deidre
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Embouchure tips for adult beginner

Post by Deidre » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:17 am

Thanks for the support. I AM impatient. However, I practice every day between 30 minutes and 1 hour. Sometimes, it is so breathy that it is painful to hear. My teacher is supportive, but doesn't offer any advice other than it will get easier.

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MissyHPhoenix
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Post by MissyHPhoenix » Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:21 am

Sometimes it takes me 30 to 60 minutes just to warm up sufficiently! Before I am warmed up, my tone never sounds as good as I want it to, but once I hit just the right amount of warming, all of a sudden it is there. Try playing a little longer at practice, concentrate on softening your embouchure, support the air stream from your abdomen, and see if you get better results. Don't get frustrated -- it does take a while to get the upper notes where you want them. Like the previous advice, you will have to keep trying and working at it to find the right combination that clicks for you. Good luck!
Missy

Why Be Normal????

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Zevang
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Post by Zevang » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:50 pm

No doubt it's important to exercise some patience. But to be really effective, you must keep in mind that the practice in the direction you need (higher notes) must go slow.
There are lots of long tone exercises. The majority of them is based on begining in an easy note and going gradually (maybe chromatically) in one direction or another (down or high), so the good notes can help the others to become equally good.
So, what you must do, in my opinion, is to come back to the basics, begin from the notes you think are good enough and searching the same quality in the higher notes you gradually reach, in a daily basis, I mean, you don't just play all the notes available in your flute every day. You concentrate in what you have best now. Day by day you go in the direction of your objective, keeping in mind that every step must accomplish this quality comparison I just told. It's useless to play a higher note just to know you're able to get it. If it has no quality, no point here...
I agree that it comes with time, your teacher is right. But there are tools you have to use to achieve that. Only being patient will not help you quickly enough.

Deidre
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:51 pm

Post by Deidre » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:15 am

Thanks for the words of wisdom, Zevang. Actually, I have started doing exactly what you suggested. I am going back to the notes that I feel good about and working my way gradually to higher notes.

I am also working on my breath control as suggested through some of the posts.

m3the01
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Post by m3the01 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:45 pm

One thing i really focus on is say ur play a scale all the way up to high D, try to make sure the sound is not progressively getting denser and louder as u run up the scale. Keep the same tone throughout the scale,

Also, it will come with practice. Give it some time,

StephenC
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Re: Adult Beginner Requests Help with Embouchure

Post by StephenC » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:37 am

Deidre wrote:I have been taking private flute lessons for about 4 months. I am having difficulty getting the higher notes to sound true and not windy!! I have watched dozens of Jennifer Cluff and Galway videos and read many techniques. Can someone tell me what I am doing wrong (or what I need to do right)? It seems that I am blowing harder and harder as the notes get higher.
My private teacher says adult students are impatient and it will come with time. How long should it take before I see improvement? :?

Thanks..
Well, more practice and more practice is really the answer to that question. Here's a tip from my teacher back then, he always say drop your jaw and open your throat and take a deep breath that fills your entire lung.
Flutes have a very small resonance chamber compared to other instruments so you will have to use all your body cavity to resonate your sound. Also do this while warming up, playing normally, and practicing. Also when I started doing this It seems that I was using lots of air and I probably was. Also another thing is that low notes are what's important. You can not get good sounding high notes without good sounding low notes. Listen to good flute players play music and when they drop to those low notes listen to those dark and rich sound and that's what your aiming for while playing low notes.
I also found that If you play a note that has great tone your whole flute (you'll feel it) will vibrate. I am able now to get that vibration up to the Bb above the staff.
Last edited by StephenC on Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

azgoth
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Re: Adult Beginner Requests Help with Embouchure

Post by azgoth » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:07 pm

Your sound will be better each time your practise, it's normal after 4 months not to have a good tone. I see students that play since 3 years and still have and terrible tone.

I find tone development quite a magical thing, because when you begin you just success to make bad sounds even if you do your best, but after getting better and better, you just take the flute and blow into, it makes a wonderful sound without any effort...

jeff1960
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:03 am

Re: Adult Beginner Requests Help with Embouchure

Post by jeff1960 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:11 am

You have only been at it for 4 months. Relax the higher tones will come in time. Putting a time to how fast you should be learning isn't possible because everyone is different.

Superpirst
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Re: Adult Beginner Requests Help with Embouchure

Post by Superpirst » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:59 pm

It takes time to get into the high notes. I know how it feels when you can't get what you want because I have the same problem with double tonguing.

This execise that my teacher taught me had brought my tone + my scales + octaves up really well. This takes practice and time in order for you to get into a good and high tone.

Starting from the mid range B natural. Play it for 4 beats then go to C(and hold C until you're out of air). Do this 3 times. Then do C to C sharp. and keep doing this until you reach the high notes which you're having problems with. When you get to the high notes Go from.(pretend you're having problems with F sharp. start from High F to F sharp). Start from F to F sharp and repeat it like 3 times. Play each note as a quarter note so it's fast. After playing it 3 times like quarter notes, the 4th time should be like the original where you hold it.

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