Teaching Flute HELP!!!!!!!

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fluteguy18
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Teaching Flute HELP!!!!!!!

Post by fluteguy18 » Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:31 pm

Okay, Here is the situation. I have been hired as the Flute instructor for the local high school's band camp. What the director want's me to do is to improve volume in the flute section (2 piccs, and 3 flutes in a 50 member band).

I have tried tone excercises, and they help a little, but not enough. Any other tips out there?

Please help!

MeLizzard
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Post by MeLizzard » Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:40 pm

Well, we're talkin' about flutes, so only a finite amount of volume is feasible. Are the players covering too much of the embouchure hole while blowing? Uncovering and changing airstream direction a little can increase volume. Also, the section will sound louder if all players are producing a similar sort of tone, and in tune. :wink:
P.S. Goodness, two piccs should blow the lid off a 50-piece band! What is the repair condition of these instruments, and the skill of the two players? Maybe a bit of concentration on the piccs would help?

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:46 pm

Definitely true about the piccs. I was able to play over a 150 piece band back in high school on my own (even though there were other piccs on the field). They likely will be able to play loudly in the upper registers just fine, so have them start there (maybe around a high E), and slur downwards (slowly) chromatically, focusing on maintaining tone and dynamics. That'll help them play more loudly throughout their range. Realistically, with 3 flutists, you are probably not going to hear them at all unless it's a particularly exposed passage, so as Melizzard said, I would focus most of my energy on the piccs.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:08 pm

See, the director loves the brass line, so they have a monstrous brass section (more than 2/3 of the band and when the band is playing Forte, you are rattling in your shoes so imagine FFF :shock: ).This is why the two piccolo players aren't heard except when they are in the upper octave. the two piccolo players are decent, but one has trouble with range. I focused on the piccs today, and volume was better, but still not good enough (remember the brass line?). The instruments conditions are pretty decent, not bad but could be better. the three flutists really need help b/c none of them are outstanding players. The two piccs are better players (of course), but could both be much better (one has potential, but there arent any music majors in this gaggle of flautists). It just seems as if they are all floundering.

thank you for your suggestions so far :D . I hadn't the slightest clue what to do b/c I don't remember having tone/volume problems as a player (I am sure i did early on, but I dont remember it). I mean, i have never EVER needed a microphone when performing on flute except when I was playing a solo with the low brass sections as accomp. in a football stadium. And on piccolo... well :oops: .... same as you flutepicc06.

Have any more ideas?

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:35 pm

I was recently faced with a similar situation. . . 2 flutes, one picc, director wants more sound. First, there is only a certain amount of sound that these students can produce. I very carefully explained that to the director and made a few suggestions to changes in the music that helped. Aside from that, here are a few things that worked for me.
I found that one of the flute players was playing with too much of the embouchure hole covered (as MeLizzard suggested). The other has a flute that was in poor working condition, which I saw to having fixed immediately. Take time to actually watch them play and look for problems. They were both quite shy as well, which obviously compounded the cituation. I worked with all of them on focusing sound (air stream), opening the inside of the mouth more, and being brave. I made them each play individually until they would play out. Once they did, I made a huge deal out of it to help build confidence. The piccolo player had some high range problems, which I quickly discovered was also a lack of confidence. Brave piccolo players also generally have better intonation (generally). After a few days of very patiently working on these techniques, the sound output more than doubled, and the overall sound improved. I had to remind them of things from time to time, but overall, their sound was much better. I also typed out a few pointers and gave a copy to each of them & their director for future reference (after I was no longer available to work with them).
I have found that sometimes better players don't make great teachers in the beginning simply because they have not been faced with many of the problems that young players have. It is almost as if you can't understand why the student can't (or won't) do what you are asking. When I started teaching, I did just as you are, asked many questions, and still do. Good luck and have fun! They will do well under your guidance, just be patient and try your best to explain things so that they understand the why as well as the how.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:26 pm

thanks, that last comment really helped me get my mind around this.

Sleeping Turtle
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quality not quantity

Post by Sleeping Turtle » Sat Aug 05, 2006 6:12 am

volume comes from wise use of breath, and can't be separated from the quality of the sound - you don't want a nasty forced sound. Listen to the old french players. Aim for good projection, rather than trying to compete with trombones.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Sat Aug 05, 2006 6:25 am

well, right now, my job is over. Band camp ended. But, I did use the projecting tips, and thier volume doubled. But you can still barely hear them.

Thanks everybody.

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Sat Aug 05, 2006 11:13 am

Well you can't expect a whole lot. Flutes just aren't meant to be heard in a marching situation. My freshman year, we had 15 people in the section (including some of the strongest players in the state), and we still just barely managed to be heard. The piccs, of course, had no problem punching through when they wanted to.

MeLizzard
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Post by MeLizzard » Sat Aug 05, 2006 11:47 am

Once upon a time, my high school band was, um, blessed, with what the director called "the power wedge of flutes"--I think about 30! The band was excellent, with good balance, and they were certainly heard, though not disproportionally. Our joke was that while some directors wanted a lovely concert band sound on the field, ours wanted the Pittsburgh Symphony. On the street that year, they played Stars & Stripes! They were kinda ticked when, during a particularlly fine performance, for judges, during the solo section, a fly-over of Air Force jets occured. :evil:
"There is no 'Try'; there is only 'Do'."--Yoda

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Sat Aug 05, 2006 12:06 pm

That's kind of funny (not for you, I suppose)....It must have looked almost like you had planned it! :)

Beemorriscats
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Post by Beemorriscats » Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:09 pm

We have about one hundred people in marching band, 13 of them are flutes, and 1 is a piccolo (next year we'll probably have at LEAST 2 if not 3) and the band director kept yelling at us today because he could hear the 7 trumpets better than he could hear us. They're trumpets! They're just loud! We're not that loud! I'll tell the other flutes about some of these techniques, but even still, there's only 14 of us. Trumpets may have half as many people, but they're at least twice as loud :?

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