How important is learning the piano to flute performance?

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asoalin
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How important is learning the piano to flute performance?

Post by asoalin » Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:32 pm

I found this website through another post (http://www.jennifercluff.com/blog/2007/ ... -that.html). This flute teacher says in one of her responses:

"If they [the student] discovered too late that they wanted to go into music, they should take 1-2 years off between highschool and college and study privately, devoting 4-6 hours a day to practice, harmony/theory, piano and twice weekly private flute lessons before applying to University Music Programs."

Do you think learning piano is very important to a student majoring in music/flute performance? Why or why not?

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl » Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:16 pm

Every school that I ever looked into has a piano requirement for any instrument in a performance track. Therefore, it is important. Obviously, that is not the only reason why, but I have seen students get hung up on this because they simply don't put in the time and effort on the requirement, and end up not getting their degrees. My answer to that is, if it is required, buck up and do it.

I believe piano is important because for one thing, learning piano gives students something visual as well as aural to apply theory to. You also learn to understand harmony and have a better concept of improv. Again, there are many more reasons, but these are a few off the top of my head. I am not, nor do I claim to be, a concert pianist, but in college I was required to learn a good amount of piano, most of which I have applied to my musical careers both as a performer and as a teacher.

I highly encourage my students to take piano as well as flute, though most do not. If they express an interest in studying in college by 10th or 11th grade and have no piano background, I make it a requirement that they at the very least take a few lessons during the summer months.

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sidekicker
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Post by sidekicker » Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:13 am

Another reason, IMO, piano is important is that you must always know the score of the piece you are playing. You don't necessary have to be able to play the piano part, but you must understand what is going on and have minimal knowledge of what is happening in the piece. Many flutists, IMO, think only of their solo part and totally forget how it entertwines with other parts. I also agree with the reasons fluttiegurl gave.

SK

smurph
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Post by smurph » Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:38 am

Everyone who I have talked that has majored in Music Education has said that learning piano is very important especially for your piano classes....

AnnaJ
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Flute Students, Piano and Theory

Post by AnnaJ » Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:21 pm

Hi,
I found this thread interesting as I often use the piano, or a picture of a keyboard, when I teach theory to my students.

The main area I find it useful for is tones, semitones and the formation of scales. I also teach piano and find that students respond to and appreciate scales more when they know how they are formed.

I am still working on a simple way to teach semitones and tones without a keyboard to students learning their first few scales.

I think the piano is a good visual aid for music, no matter which instrument you are learning.

Anna
"Men have not found the words..., but they have found the music."

concertpianist16
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Post by concertpianist16 » Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:01 am

It's not super important. I play 11 instruments and I think that it helps to know piano. But it's not necessary.
I play:
Piano
Organ
Clarinet
Flute
Recorder
Penny Whistle
Harmonica
Jaw Harp
Cello
Violin
Guitar
Mandolin
Ukulele

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MrBaz
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Post by MrBaz » Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:19 pm

As a performer, it is good to 'understand' the piano, but I disagree that it should be a requirement to know how to play the piano past anything other than maybe a couple semesters of classes/lessons.
I know plenty of outstanding performers that know only the basics.

Personally, I've played a LOT of music with piano accompaniment. I really wish I could play piano (I'll probably start taking some lessons this year...New Year's resolutions and all ;) ), but I've been able to do quite well. Many of the pianists even complimented me on this. And a word of advice, it REALLY helps when your pianist actually LIKES to play as your accompaniment.
I've been able to learn through just personal experience. It really helps to talk with the pianist too. Ask them what they think. Tell them what YOU think. Communication is a great learning tool.

If you are looking into teaching (which I will be doing), you should probably know how to play the piano decently. I don't think it helps you as much as it does the student.
Yamaha 561
Current Member of Pikes Peak Flute Choir of Colorado.
Previous member of 'Flutes Furioso' in FL.
Previous guest member in the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra.

flautist82
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Post by flautist82 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:15 am

Well, as someone who has played flute at the college level before (I'm hoping to go back in the fall and finish), and has taught several high school flute students, and a multitude of piano students, I will say if you want to be a good musician in any instrument, a foundation in piano is essential.

It teaches you to read music faster, and better, in addition to teaching you to use both halves of your brain at the same time (by playing separate notes and rhythms individually to each hand).

My mom is a piano teacher, and has her BA in Music Performance, having taught for 30 years. When I was preparing for college the first time around she was telling me about an article she'd just read (or maybe it was a study? I don't remember) that was talking about how musicians are smarter than non-musicians (but we all knew that, right 8), piano players even more so, adults who had learned as children still more so, and adults who'd learned before the age of 5 the smartest of all (I think this was based upon over all number of IQ points higher...but I was 17 and didn't care about specifics at the time...LOL). Gee, can you tell she was trying to convince me to audition for piano instead of flute and bassoon?

In high school my school needed a bassoon player. A friend told me she bet I couldn't learn it (I was the type in band that could learn any instrument, just give the the instrument and a basic book and I'd learn it)...that it was just "too hard". I took her bet, and took home the bassoon, and promptly called my friend, a bassoon teacher. 3 months later I was playing in the top band, and went on to college on it as well. But, flute was always my passion. However, playing bassoon opened a LOT of doors for me, including getting me into the Tampa Bay Youth Orchestra where I met my best friend, whom I am still very close to today (she went to a different college, met her husband there, also a bassoon player, and after they got married following her completing a music degree in bassoon and a BAN in nursing, they moved back here where her husband has become my husband's best friend and we have children whom we shared a due date with...LOL). Bassoon literally changed my life, and I could not have learned it without having known piano. I could play piano, I could read bass cleff proficiently, I just needed to learn the technical aspects of playing bassoon.

So, in my opinion, piano is essential to being a well rounded musician with a firm foundation in music. But, that's just my opinion (after growing up in the classical music world, observing as a child and in college).

HTH!
Gen
Wife and Mommy to 2, and STUDENT to boot!

flautist82
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Re: Flute Students, Piano and Theory

Post by flautist82 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:18 am

AnnaJ wrote: The main area I find it useful for is tones, semitones and the formation of scales. I also teach piano and find that students respond to and appreciate scales more when they know how they are formed.

I think the piano is a good visual aid for music, no matter which instrument you are learning.

Anna
This is SO true! I learned my scales playing piano (my mom started me at age 4) and to this day I still visualize the keyboard when I play my scales.

Knowing the keyboard IS a great visualization.
Gen
Wife and Mommy to 2, and STUDENT to boot!

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Liwen_gothflute
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Post by Liwen_gothflute » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:49 am

Here, in Spain, we have to learn piano at the Conservatory during all your studies.
Is very important in our education system.
[b]†[i]El Paraíso deviene en Infierno...[/b]†[/i]

lhampton520
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Post by lhampton520 » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:50 pm

essential

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 » Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:52 pm

I have found piano VERY beneficial. Mostly for score reading though. Now that I am playing the Chaminade with our University Symphony Orchestra [the product of winning our University Concerto Competition :D ] I always go to rehearsal with the piano score.

I haven't started playing with them yet, but just listening and making notes in the score has helped a lot. It has been a very interesting process so far.

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas » Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:08 am

I too went to a Conservatory for arranging/composing/orchestration. Yes, I had to learn how to play basic piano also. It can be usefull as a good visual tool when learning/writing harmony(Chord Theory), and arrangement. Also a good tool if you plan to be a music educator, even a flute teacher.

Phineas

lhampton520
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Post by lhampton520 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:26 pm

phineas, what conservatory did you go to?
I'm "college searching" for grad school

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas » Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:44 am

I went here.

http://www.sccm.us/

But I do not think they offer a degree program. I went there when they were in their Sun Valley Location back in the early 80s. I studied there from the time I was 15 years old, till I was 17. Things have changed a lot of over the last 20+ years.

Phineas

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