Does anyone else have this problem or can help?

For Anything and Everything to do with Flute Playing and Music

Moderators: Classitar, pied_piper, Phineas

Post Reply
theskybluesky
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:00 pm

Does anyone else have this problem or can help?

Post by theskybluesky » Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:07 pm

I need to teach a fellow public school student how to play the flute. I am Caucasian and she is African American, so her lip structure is vastly different from my own! I have no idea how to help her with her embouchure, so she can't really produce any particularly low or particularly high notes. I'm stuck...does anyone have any suggestions specific to teaching to an African American embouchure?

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

Post by Phineas » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:47 am

I need to teach a fellow public school student how to play the flute. I am Caucasian and she is African American, so her lip structure is vastly different from my own! I have no idea how to help her with her embouchure, so she can't really produce any particularly low or particularly high notes. I'm stuck...does anyone have any suggestions specific to teaching to an African American embouchure?
I did not know there was such a thing as an Afro embouchure...lol

Assuming the flute was in proper working order,the first thing I would check is how she is controling her air stream. This is the number one cause for someone not being able to play the full range of a flute. If she has big lips, she may have to do some lip shifting....this means she she will have to position her top lip further forward on low notes, and further back on higher notes. She may also have to postion her lips differently over all. Also make sure she is not over blowing. Her air stream should be smooth and focused. Everyone is different and needs to find the best over all postion for them. Another factor that can cause an issue is the position of a person's front teeth.

Again! For goodness sake, make sure she is controlling her airstream properly. I cannot tell you how many times I have had a student come up to me with what seemed to be instrument problems, just to try their instrument and it played perfectly. These days, teaching flute(horn) players how to breath properly is a lost art.

I am sure some others will chime in, but I will check back in if you have any more questions.

Phineas

fluttiegurl
Posts: 882
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:05 pm

Post by fluttiegurl » Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:10 am

I waited until someone else replied to see if my response was similar, and it pretty much is. I have had two students (both white) with larger lips. The issue for both was that their lips seemed to block the air stream. The solution for each was to place the flute a little higher up on the lip instead of the chin (sort of like a piccolo) and to adjust the lips at they play, more forward for low notes.

Allow her to experiment in her lessons. Explain what the problem at hand is (such as lack of control or a blocked air stream), and discuss possible solutions. Don't always feel like you have to know the answers. If you empower her with the ability to correct problems (without doing something totally harmful to her playing) on her own, you have helped her with a lifetime of playing. That should go for all students.

We are all very different, and the techniques that we were taught will not always work on every student. Feel free to experiment and have her do some different things. And as Phineas said, be sure she is controlling her air stream. That is key for any player to create a focused sound.

etgohomeok
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:26 pm

Post by etgohomeok » Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:14 pm

Caucasian? African American?

Political correctness FTL.

theskybluesky
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:00 pm

Post by theskybluesky » Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:29 pm

Thanks Phineas and fluttiegirl, your advice is really appreciated! Maybe we can make some progress now. :]

As for political correctness...hahaha definitely not one of my strengths.

fluteguy18
Posts: 2311
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:11 pm

Post by fluteguy18 » Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:01 pm

Ummm..... wow.

I go away for a few days, and this shows up. Hmm... Well... I guess Phineas and Fluttiegurl summed it all up.

fluttiegurl
Posts: 882
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:05 pm

Post by fluttiegurl » Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:23 pm

How was KMEA fluteguy18? I hear you made all collegiate orchestra. congrats!!

fluteguy18
Posts: 2311
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:11 pm

Post by fluteguy18 » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:11 am

It was SOOO much fun. It was wonderful to play with such a large group of really high caliber musicians. I didn't know there were so many talented college age players in our area! Putting together Festive Overture and Pines of Rome in 8 hours was a challenge though. :shock: But It was a blast. I hope to get in again next year. :)

Post Reply