Getting Back Into Flute

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

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Kathrynbeth67214
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Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:59 am
Location: Wichita, KS

Getting Back Into Flute

Post by Kathrynbeth67214 »

Hi there... I studied flute and piano when I was in Elementary, Junior and High School, spent a couple of years studying at the college level and then decided to join the US Army and played flute/piccolo for three US Army Bands. I don’t know if I just got burnt out on it but after I discharged from the Army, I completely dropped flute. Life happened... babies, nursing degree, ballet lessons for my daughters... and now, 15 or so years later, I decided that I wanted to pick up the flute again. I bought the Rubank Intermediate and Advanced I method books, Trevor Wye, and Berbiguier Exercises and Etudes, along with a few of the repertoire that I used to play in high school and choir. I’m kind of discouraged because my embouchure needs work, and my technique is lacking. I also decided to pick two incredibly beautiful but total nightmare pieces that I am woefully aware that I am no where close to being ready for... Bourne Carmen Fantasie and Saint-Säens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso. The Bourne is SLOWLY coming along, but I’m stuck on the IRC. What should I be working on in order to get to the level where I can begin working on this? I love both of these beautiful pieces and I really want to learn them. Also, the flute that I bought is an Armstrong 80 open hole B foot. Does anyone have any experience with this flute? The flute that I had in college and in the Army was a Mateki and I also had a Zentner wooden piccolo... I’m kicking myself for selling them!!!

One more thing... how do I keep my cats from attacking when I’m playing, lol? One of them has figured out that if he knocks over the stand, I have to stop playing. Another one bites my lip and hands... he also tries to pull the flute out of my hands. They’re not flute enthusiasts, apparently. They REALLY hate the higher register...

Thank you... Kat

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pied_piper
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Location: Virginia

Re: Getting Back Into Flute

Post by pied_piper »

Welcome to the Fluteland Board!

Don't get discouraged. After a timeout from playing, it takes a while to get back to a high level of playing. While I never totally stopped playing, (I'm a doubler - flute, sax and clarinet) I did not do much playing for about 10-15 years. It took me a while but I did it and took about 8 years of flute lessons from a local symphony flutist who worked me over and made me a MUCH better player. I've even competed several times in an amateur competition held annually at a local flute fair. I even won a couple of them and placed in others. So, there is hope! You're taking the right approach with the method books. Just keep at it. I strongly encourage lots of long tones to build the embouchure back to your former playing abilities. If you don't have a copy, get De La Sonorite, Art Et Technique for flute [Marcel Moyse]. It's great for embouchure building!

Regarding the Armstrong Model 80, it's not a bad flute but there are many that are better. The Model 80 was my second flute after a student level Artley that I learned on. I upgraded to a Muramatsu about 20 years ago and love it. If your 80 is in good shape (no leaks and properly adjusted), it should do well for you to get back in prime flute shape. You can always upgrade later. I would say the headjoint is the weakest part of the 80. Even an upgraded replacement head joint is a lower cost option that can do wonders for the Model 80.

I LOVE the Bourne Carmen Fantasie! It's such a fun, yet challenging piece to play.

Good luck and check back in a few weeks to let us know how you are doing.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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Kathrynbeth67214
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Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:59 am
Location: Wichita, KS

Re: Getting Back Into Flute

Post by Kathrynbeth67214 »

Thank you so much for your reply! I would LOVE to have a Muramatsu!!! I remember when I was in college, the Sankyo Primas were the flute to have. I really wish that I hadn’t sold my Mateki, that was a great flute.

I‘ll order those method books that you suggested.

I really appreciate your feedback! Best wishes for a beautiful day and smile often...

Kat

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Kathrynbeth67214
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Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:59 am
Location: Wichita, KS

Re: Getting Back Into Flute

Post by Kathrynbeth67214 »

Whoo Hoo!! Two hours of flute practice this morning!!! Lower register is still difficult, and having issues with the high register, but it’s getting better! I can ALMOST get through the Borne Carmen Fantasy with minimal mistakes, but not nearly up to tempo!!! But, compared to how it sounded when I first started it and I was discouraged, it’s MUCH better!!! Saint-Säens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso is coming along at a MUCH slower rate, however, I can get through MOST of the first page... kind of... All that I can say is that Saint-Säens must have been a sadomasochist...

I must be holding my flute incorrectly, or else I‘m just getting old... my left index finger has been numb with “pins and needles” after I have played for a while...

The cats ARE NOT flute aficionados, although Fred has not bitten me lately...

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pied_piper
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Location: Virginia

Re: Getting Back Into Flute

Post by pied_piper »

Glad to hear that you are making progress!
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

The JMG
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Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2020 3:32 pm

Re: Getting Back Into Flute

Post by The JMG »

Kat, I am new the board after taking up the flute again last fall in the same circumstance as you (except it had been 35 years for me since I played regularly). A few quick notes:
- LAUGHING about the cats. They do indeed hate the upper register
- The flute itself. When I started playing again, I couldn't find my original Armstrong student flute from 1978, so I went on ebay and bought one from a woman of the same vintage as myself. It was great for getting back into it. But for Christmas, my husband bought me a Gemeinhardt 3SB LTD with a gold lip plate (the model is called something else now ... 3OSHB, I think). At any rate, upgrading made ALL the difference. Solid silver headjoint has a much warmer sound, the flute itself just FEELS better in hand, and it's a new flute, so it structurally is very sound. I really encourage you to consider an intermediate-level flute (solid silver headjoint if possible).

I play gigs with local rock bands - at least when we're not in quarantine -and it's super fun. I use the Rubank books that you are using for practice (I have the Advanced II book as well but I haven't cracked it) and am noodling around with the solo ensemble pieces I played in the past (Mozart, Haydn and Quantz) as well as the Chaminade that I played with concert band in 1988. I'm not good but I love it!

I hope you are still enjoying it. Also I should add that the flute upgrade let to the cats being somewhat less distressed, ha!

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