Greetings from an Older Newbie Living Abroad

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Midlife Flutist
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:28 pm

Greetings from an Older Newbie Living Abroad

Post by Midlife Flutist »

Hello, all! I see a few new posts here and there… Is the board still active? I'd love to interact with other players, especially any older ones. At least, it's nice to know I'm not the only student who's picking up the instrument later in life. :mrgreen:

I'm sending this from Japan, where the language barrier makes finding a private teacher difficult. I am hoping, though, that learning the Boehm flute might help me understand the Shinobue a little better. Despite being a more complicated instrument, the former is already much easier to play.

Nice to meet you! よろしくお願いします! :D

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Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Greetings from an Older Newbie Living Abroad

Post by pied_piper »

Bamboo flutes like the Shinobue are much simpler flutes that the Boehm flute, and although the basic fingerings and lip position for both instruments are similar, some find bamboo flutes more difficult to play for several reasons. First, the embouchure hole on some bamboo flutes (especially cheap ones) are not as well formed as on a Boehm flute so that may make it more difficult to produce a good, consistent sound. Second, the open holes on bamboo flutes are a bit more difficult to fully cover, so that makes it a bit more difficult for new players to consistently play any given series of notes. A further complication of bamboo flutes is that they are not inherently chromatic instruments. Typically, with the basic fingerings, they can only play a diatonic scale whereas the Boehm flute IS inherently chromatic. With bamboo flutes, it is possible, but more difficult to use half-hole fingerings to play a full chromatic scale but that tends to be clumsy. Instead, bamboo flutes usually come in various sizes to allow players to play in different keys. Of course, then the player must transpose to play the concert pitch note. On lower key bamboo flutes, the whole flute is larger and that means that the finger holes are larger and spread further apart. That can be another challenge for new players.

Now that I've explained the differences and gotten them out of the way, on your Shinobue, just concentrate on being sure that you can consistently cover each hole while playing. Repeatedly practice playing adjacent notes - over and over. For example, D-E-D-E... E-F-E-F... F-G-F-G... etc., ad nauseum. It WILL get easier over time.

I'm primarily a Boehm flutist, but I also have a variety of tin whistles and bamboo flute. I don't have a Shinobue, but I do have a Dizi and find it a blast to play. You will probably find that with experience, playing both flutes will become easier because of their similarities. Good luck!
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."

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