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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As a reasonably accomplished flute-player what type of time scale should I expect would be required to develop *reasonable* facility on the piccolo given that I could give it 30 minutes a day 5 or 6 days a week.

I appreciate this is one of those "how long is a piece of string" questions but please indulge me. :)

I'm doing a show next March which requires a bit of piccolo which I would normally cover on flute - and is perfectly fine as it is an amateur production - but I would quite like to do them on piccolo.

Ta,

- Michael
 

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When I first started playing piccolo I was in a similar position as you are. Starting from zero as a reasonably accomplished flutist, it took me a few weeks to play the parts I needed and a couple months more to play them with good tone and intonation.

Nowadays, piccolo is the flute I play least often (play soprano, alto & bass more). When a part does come up I can read through it on the spot well enough for rehearsals but it takes a few weeks to get my chops back into shape and play it well.
 

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My experience is similar to MRC01. After months of not playing it I find intonation is rather unpredictable (I think me, me not the picccolo), octave until I refine my embouchure and regain control. Good tone/volume on the low notes and arouind middle octave E also get lost without practice. a couple of weeks gets it right again.

So the answer depends on how accurate you want the intonation etc in that piece of string. :)
 

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It shouldn't take too long, but don't over- practice, as this tires the lips, and requires a longer recovery period. Place the picc a little higher on your lip. Use a tuner to find it's tendencys, (sp), and make your embouchure smaller, but not tighter, for a good tone. Breath support is even more important than it is for flute, especially in the 3rd octave. Good luck
 

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I remember learning piccolo after several years on flute. I found that after I played picc for a little while and switched to flute, my embouchure was completely gone--I couldn't get a single note out of the flute! I thought I had ruined my flute chops forever. But then after a little more time, the two embouchures sorted themselves out. I mention this just in case this happens to you, don't panic.
 

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I had the same experience as jaysne, and the others chiming in here. My first experience with the piccolo was playing the 2nd flute book in the original opera version of Porgy & Bess. After playing a lot of piccolo, switching back to flute was next to impossible and I couldn't figure out why. After a few more runs of shows involving piccolo, and the key being not "forcing" the embouchure but rather allowing it to form over time, the problem did sort itself out. Still, after even a week or two of not practicing it regularly, intonation and strong tone suffer first.

30 minutes a day 5 or 6 days a week should be plenty, and is far more than I can boast of ever having done. I would say try to play it every day, taking some days to simply put some air and basic long tone/octave exercises into it for about 10 minutes, and other days to really practice making music with it for 30 to 40 minutes. Always start with octaves though, that is the difficulty of the piccolo...
 

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I think you just need to do it, and Kick Some *** when you do!

I would definitely practice everyday. I even mark my horns so I will know exactly where I had the headpiece when I finally acheived the tone I was after. I don't really practice though. I play mostly scales, licks and improvise blues
 
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