New great flute teacher, having a really difficult time.

Alternate Fingerings, Scales, Tone, Studies, etc.

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m3the01
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Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:51 am

New great flute teacher, having a really difficult time.

Post by m3the01 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:20 pm

So i picked up a few bad habits over the last few months, started with a great teacher in the boston area.

I had been playing a lot of spanish/flamenco type music and enjoyed it tons,

I had noticed my classical pieces were a little choppy recently, and was trying to smooth out the transitions and maintain airflow through note changes for smooth transitions.

then i started with a new teacher, who really is great. Ive alway had a soft lower lip, relaxed, frown style, good coverage of embouchure. Played pretty good scales, and had really good sound down low. LOL, so i thought.

Teacher, who is truly amazing. Has changed a number of techniques trying to produce a hollower sound. This has been achieved by dropping the lower jaw, and im not allowed me to change air velocity between transition of notes. This is killing me, i can usually play for 3-5 hrs, and now im exhausted after 20 minutes. Im also not allowed any vibrato right now, cause it hides mistakes, which is true. But damn, i feel like im starting over. Before i could play scales from low B to the forth octave F. Now im struggling just to produce a simple 2 octave F-major scale. I guess my biggest problem was i was pushing notes harder. For instance, say i was going to end on a half-note low G, i would hit the G well but raise the tone for a half second by pushing a little more air (to the ear sounds great, deep penetrating sound, but incorrect) and trail off the vibrato. This is incorrect, because it should not raise at all, just simple ending graceful vibrado. I seem to do this on all notes, not just long notes, its like the change the air speed between every note. Sound is great, but choppy...

Its only been two weeks, i hope it gets better. Any words of encouragement? Advice? PS im not look for excuses, i know this are my bad habits i developed.

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Phineas
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Re: New great flute teacher, having a really difficult time.

Post by Phineas » Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:01 pm

m3the01 wrote:So i picked up a few bad habits over the last few months, started with a great teacher in the boston area.

I had been playing a lot of spanish/flamenco type music and enjoyed it tons,

I had noticed my classical pieces were a little choppy recently, and was trying to smooth out the transitions and maintain airflow through note changes for smooth transitions.

then i started with a new teacher, who really is great. Ive alway had a soft lower lip, relaxed, frown style, good coverage of embouchure. Played pretty good scales, and had really good sound down low. LOL, so i thought.

Teacher, who is truly amazing. Has changed a number of techniques trying to produce a hollower sound. This has been achieved by dropping the lower jaw, and im not allowed me to change air velocity between transition of notes. This is killing me, i can usually play for 3-5 hrs, and now im exhausted after 20 minutes. Im also not allowed any vibrato right now, cause it hides mistakes, which is true. But damn, i feel like im starting over. Before i could play scales from low B to the forth octave F. Now im struggling just to produce a simple 2 octave F-major scale. I guess my biggest problem was i was pushing notes harder. For instance, say i was going to end on a half-note low G, i would hit the G well but raise the tone for a half second by pushing a little more air (to the ear sounds great, deep penetrating sound, but incorrect) and trail off the vibrato. This is incorrect, because it should not raise at all, just simple ending graceful vibrado. I seem to do this on all notes, not just long notes, its like the change the air speed between every note. Sound is great, but choppy...

Its only been two weeks, i hope it gets better. Any words of encouragement? Advice? PS im not look for excuses, i know this are my bad habits i developed.

Story time.....

When I started out playing flute, I was self taught. I had played saxophone some in highschool, but mostly played cello and guitar. I had played flute for about a year before I decided it was a good idea to take lessons. Mainly because I just could not seem to make any progress.

My first flute teacher was a stone to the bone classical flute player. I remember my first lesson. The dreaded D2 and Eb2. You know, the one where you have to lift your index finger on your left hand. That was a big hurdle for me! It took me a couple of months to be cured of that bad habit. Another one was that F#/Gb fingering. I use to use my middle finger like on a sax. It works, but technically it is not the right fingering. It took me almost a month to kick that habit! Breathing and over blowing were some other issues. Double/triple tonguing. The list goes on. It took me 6 months to finally have decent playing habits.

I am sure, if I went to another flute teacher today, I would have things to work on. Even though, there may be a lot of things I can do/play that they can not. For example, my first teacher could not improvise, or compose at all. She also had a problem with complex chord harmonies, and complex rhythm patterns(Jazz). However, her over all playing ability from an instrumental stand point left me in the dust!

Do not sweat it. You will be a better player if you are just patient. You will be a better player for it. If it were not for Mrs. Warner(R.I.P.) I would not be nearly the flute player/teacher I am today.

Peace, success, and prosperity!

Phineas

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:51 pm

Retraining!!!!! FUN........
:x
opqejfbnq390in#$%@#%Y$

I feel your pain. I've been there and done that MANY times. I had to rework my embouchure three times. The last time was all of my own doing. I had studied with two teachers who reworked my embouchure (from smiley to frown, and then from frown to sort of a pucker). I then took them all and after studying my lips in the mirror for an hour or so, I made a new one. It works well. It is also a very frustrating thing.

I've also reworked my hand position numerous times. I've reworked my body alignment recently. But I promise you this:

Re-training... is TOTALLY worth it. This past summer my teacher rebuilt me from the ground up: body alignment, posture, hand position (she tried, but I refused. It took 2 years to find a hand position that didn't cause pain), lip coverage, and tension/relaxation.

I still have some of the same problems that I had before, but I am very aware of them, and am working on them. My technique is smoother, more fluid, and certainly clearer! Scales just roll out, and sight reading has gotten a lot better because of my more 'polished and relaxed' technique.

So keep working. It's frustrating, it's hard, and sometimes their methods don't work for you (so you have to go out and find your own!). But it's totally worth it in the end.

m3the01
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Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:51 am

Post by m3the01 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:02 pm

Seriously everyone im dying here,

Cant do any scales anymore, out of breath and lightheaded after 10 minutes of playing. Old technique i could play, in one breath, D-major all the way to the 4th octave and down. Now i can play one octave only, take a breath and barely make it to the 3rd octave D. Also C# and D third octave sound like crap. Ive gone from multi-hour practice sessions to a few minutes before im done for the count... lol.

Is there any hope, i dont think i can take much more of this.

Arlee
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Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:18 pm

Post by Arlee » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:16 pm

It sounds like your teacher is asking you to use techniques which require more air... So the thing I am wondering how active are you? Your issue might be not enough of lung capacity.

I was having similar problems when I started college and thus started with a new flute teacher. It didn't get better until the semester I had to take gym. I have always been a fairly active person, but never been one to do much cardio. So then I suddenly went to 3-4 days a running/biking/doing step etc. It was hard, but literally within a couple of weeks I felt better playing and my flute teacher noticed the difference as well.

Just a thought there. Otherwise I would say stay with it. What you describe sounds like things which will only help you in the long run.

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Zevang
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Post by Zevang » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:50 pm

I reached my best lung capacity when I had the time for swimming.
I really miss it now. But you may improve your breathing capacity just doing some walking or running.
The breathing naturally gets better with time. With exercises though it happens quicker.

m3the01
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Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:51 am

Post by m3the01 » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:23 am

LOL, im in very good shape. Workout 3-4 times for 2hrs with weights, cross country run 2x/week 5-8 miles, run a 40 min 5 miler. Also XC mountain bike at a very competitive nature, 2-4 hr rides, intense. The only thing that actually saves me in riding is my cardio level, cause some of my techniques could be better, :-)

So let me try to explain this new breathing, super relaxed embouchure. Breathing from my lower abdomen, small of back area to, then expanding the chest. The only thing i could associate it from my previous techniques and warmup, is my old instructor, for warmup, would always ask me to first use say a 'haaaaah', and then a tongue 'tah' for each note starting from 3rd octave 'D' to 4th octave F. The technique now is always using the 'haaaaaah' with air first hitting the roof of the mouth, then exiting. My lower jaw is dropped down, and im making a taller embouchure. So, imagine playing that 'haaaah' continuously, its really really hard.

Not sure,


I think i need to get some recordings for u, lol.

m3the01
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Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:51 am

Post by m3the01 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:26 am

Things are going a little better, very difficult technique. Feels like im starting over again, but the sound is truly amazing. People always though i had great sound before, now its more hollow and effortless. A lot of relearning, super relaxed face and cheeks, lips. Still got a long way to go before im back playing like i was, but damn, the sound is great.

Ciao,
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MissyHPhoenix
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Post by MissyHPhoenix » Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:36 pm

Did you get to where you can play for longer periods of time now?
Missy

Why Be Normal????

m3the01
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Post by m3the01 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:09 am

I have to take frequent breaks now, but at least i can play for a bit now. Funny how i could play for hours before and now only minutes, the teacher says with these techniques even the toughest passages for advanced players are made much easier. My playing has gotten a lot smoother, lips completely relaxed even, cheeks relaxed, tall upper lip, and dropped chin. Super hollow sound, in tune :-).

Should be interesting after a year, i notice my double tonguing and single have gotten faster and smoother between large transitional changes in exercises. My scales are now cut down to two octave scales, as i am just learning this technique.

I figure most people dont get to train under such a talented player, a very small group of flutist employ these techniques. However, they are truly talented and their sounds quality is legendary. So, i will give it a good year and try to master the technique.
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azgoth
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Re: New great flute teacher, having a really difficult time.

Post by azgoth » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:03 am

When I started the flute I was self-thaught and I played with economy of air, and I had the bad habit of crispening the lips while playing high notes. Then I took lessons and my teacher adviced to use more air to sound "fuller". It was hard at the beginning but its improved my tone.
I think you should listen carefully to your sound to decide if your teacher's method works on your or don't (after using his method during several weeks). If you really use too much air your flute will sound saturated and airy, and you will not have a better tone

Mainly on youtube, i've seen many different great flute players and they don't use all the same embouchure, i think 1 embouchure cannot works for 100 persons because of the differences between the mouth/lips shape

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