It's winter; bad lips = total failure

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

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Robin
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:54 pm

It's winter; bad lips = total failure

Post by Robin » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:33 am

Hi,

I came home from work yesterday, having cycled in the bitter cold. I whipped out my flute and tried to blast out a quick concerto in G major. But to my horror I couldn't play any note above middle G without it sounding like a beginner's effort. High D wouldn't sound without serious coaxing. Normally I can play the flute's entire range with an ok tone.

Is it just me, or does the state of one's face affect other flautists so dramatically? I eventually gave up in a fume a frustration. I've read (and it's obvious) that it's important to look after your lips to preserve a good embouchure, but wasn't expecting to be hobbled so badly when the lips didn't look 'that' bad.

Perhaps a few people could share their tips and experiences - I'm sure this would be of interest to people other than just me :)

Thanks

Robin

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Phineas
Posts: 958
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 1:08 am

Re: It's winter; bad lips = total failure

Post by Phineas » Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:45 pm

Robin wrote:Hi,

I came home from work yesterday, having cycled in the bitter cold. I whipped out my flute and tried to blast out a quick concerto in G major. But to my horror I couldn't play any note above middle G without it sounding like a beginner's effort. High D wouldn't sound without serious coaxing. Normally I can play the flute's entire range with an ok tone.

Is it just me, or does the state of one's face affect other flautists so dramatically? I eventually gave up in a fume a frustration. I've read (and it's obvious) that it's important to look after your lips to preserve a good embouchure, but wasn't expecting to be hobbled so badly when the lips didn't look 'that' bad.

Perhaps a few people could share their tips and experiences - I'm sure this would be of interest to people other than just me :)

Thanks

Robin
Cold air = Dry Air. Depending how sensitive you skin is, cold air will dry out your skin big time. Especially your lips. Over the years, I have just learned to deal with it. Whenever I am about to perform in a cold climate, I have resorted to eating something greasy to kind of wet things up. A chicken wing(Seems to work the best!), slice of pizza, an apple etc.....(anything edible that is oily or greasy!) and a warm water mouth rinse works wonders. Chop saver helps for the lips, but I do not like dry mouth either.

I would not sweat it. When you are/become a traveling performer, you just learn how to adapt to all kinds of conditions. For a flute player, wind is the worse!

I would just work through it and come up with your own solutions.

lianeandflute
Posts: 135
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:19 am

Re: It's winter; bad lips = total failure

Post by lianeandflute » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:46 pm

i know this isn't exactly scientific… but i always feel like the cold starts to freeze my lip muscles, lol. point is that i do reckon the cold doesn't help your muscles move properly. like if you're gonna go for a run and it's freezing cold, if you don't at least stretch first then it's really hard to run until your body starts to warm up from the energy. so i think that with flute playing we should first give our lips a chance to warm up after being in the cold, and then do some long notes and scales to warm up the muscles for flute playing before playing a piece.

just my thoughts from experience :)
"It's happening inside you; not in the flute!" - Emmanuel Pahud (At a masterclass in Sydney, Nov. 2010)

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