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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3w5ASI3iq5Q

This is all new info for me. I'm trying it out today. By positioning the head joint as far in as she suggests and angling it in so much it does get me a better tone but I have to be careful to not go sharp? What do you guys/women think? K
 

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Excellent video! It is obvious she is a master teacher having analyzed tone production problems and giving clear and concise solutions. As a band director somewhere along the way I learned the disadvantage of having the chairs in the flute row of the band all facing the same direction. To facilitate good fundamental holding position I found it works best to have each player and their stand partner turn their chairs in toward each other so the flute can go behind the stand partner's head without creating poor playing position/posture. Placing chairs too close together in a section can also create holding and posture problems. I unknowingly created a whole generation of beginning trumpet players with poor posture by forcing them to tuck their elbows down into their sides due to lack of space between the chairs.
 

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Thanks for the link. A good straight forward, useful video. I've currently in the grip of the 'flute yips' so it's always helpful to have any information. Thanks again.
 

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10MFAN MOUTHPIECES "Innovation over imitation"
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Very good teacher. Easy to understand and explains things while providing application. Very good.
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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She says the embouchure hole needs to be centered on the lip.
Does she not know about "tear drop" lips which are so common.
She is saying that the bulk of these accomplished players got it all wrong:
http://people.umass.edu/~krueger/Pictures_files/Flute Embouchures.htm
Relevant comments here: https://www.sheffieldflute.co.uk/blog/one-size-fits-all-part-three-flute-festival-edition
So she is surely wrong!

(Just another anecdote: When I am out of practice I play with the flute centered. When I am in practice, making a much better sound, my flute is not centered.)

She turns the flute's head in significantly, and it works for her, but she implies that that is vital for everybody, when in fact it is highly individual, dependent on many factors such as the player's bite.
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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Also, a lot of top players play with their flute and head quite tilted, and quite a few with the flute not even aligned with the face. And they play in tune. They adjust their lip shape to suit. The end result is fantastic.
She does not need to be so pedantic, saying her way is the only way. In doing that, she is wrong.

Rules, rules, rules!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The Internet is filled with people talking about what has worked or not worked for them and their students if they teach. All anybody interested can do is try it if it makes sense and see if it works.
 

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Also, a lot of top players play with their flute and head quite tilted, and quite a few with the flute not even aligned with the face. And they play in tune. They adjust their lip shape to suit. The end result is fantastic.
She does not need to be so pedantic, saying her way is the only way. In doing that, she is wrong.

Rules, rules, rules!!!!
Interesting. I know the flute is your main instrument. Would you say that the tone production works best when the head joint is parallel to the aperture in the lips which may be different for different players? I once had a beginning flute student whose flute was always tilted down at an extreme angle when she played. I tried and tried to get her to raise the end of her flute and she kept insisting she couldn't play that way. One day I knelt down when she was playing with her best sound and discovered that the natural aperture in her lips was perfectly parallel to the head joint with the flute tilted down. That's when I learned the important lesson as a teacher that if it sounds right, it doesn't really matter how it looks.

As a music major in college I took flute lessons from a couple of different instructors without much progress. They both insisted that the back of the lip plate needed to be down into the curvature above the chin. No matter how much I practiced and tried with the flute in that position I could not get a clear and focused tone. After graduating one day I read an article written by a flute instructor at a university in Idaho in which he indicated that because of his "full" lower lip, he had to place the a bit higher on the lip above the curve. A light went on since I too have a "full" lower lip and welcomed the validation that I was playing correctly for my physiology all the time. The moral of the story is "never trust thin lipped flute players" to tell you how to play. ;)
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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.... which may be different for different players? ... That's when I learned the important lesson as a teacher that if it sounds right, it doesn't really matter how it looks... The moral of the story is "never trust thin lipped flute players" to tell you how to play. ;)
Yes, all of that.
Too many player/teachers think that what works for them is the only way for everybody else. WWW syndrome!
I was appalled when even the world's highest profile flute player went on-line down this road, in the process directly telling many top players they were wrong.

The moral of the photos in the links I provided is that it is very, very personal, and what works best for a person may look downright ugly.
That should be a fundamental understanding for anybody claiming to be a teacher.
Being an accomplished player does not mean a person can teach.

My life has been plagued with "teachers" in many fields who were clueless about individual difference.
 

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But I would like to add that a beginner can start with an embouchure that is just fine for the first 2 octaves of flute, but will never get control of volume/pitch/tone in the third octave, where flute players so often play. Hence the big need for expert guidance for a beginning flute player.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Gordon, I substitute taught for 5 years in the napa school district and the majority of students had had no private instruction. At the hight school maybe one out of 100 if you are lucky so in that situation people like me are needed to change kids from the embouchures the vocal teacher taught them to something more normal . i agree , in a perfect world you'd have the expert willing to go to a school (usually unpaid, fishing for students) to help out 12 flutists who never took lessons. So you have a great point if you are saying im not an expert. But Im not making my info up. Its coming from good players who I pay 60 an hour for lessons. So I think I provide a service. In the high school band I encouraged kids to at least check out you tube if they won't or cant take private lessons. Anyway, I wish you the best.My agenda won't change, play at convalescent hospital and any other gigs I come across and teach for 50 an hour sliding down to free to anyone who wants to join us on the musical road. why not? K
But I would like to add that a beginner can start with an embouchure that is just fine for the first 2 octaves of flute, but will never get control of volume/pitch/tone in the third octave, where flute players so often play. Hence the big need for expert guidance for a beginning flute player.
 

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After 49 years and 5 teachers i feel comfortable playing flute.
I have the "teardrop lip" (Like Rampal) and play out of the left side.
It works for me.
Iv'e strived to use the least amount of tension to play in all aspects: embouchure and hand/body/head/fingers positions.
I don't practice as much as I should but have a clear sound that's even in all registers and in tune most of the time.
I do turn in the head so that the body is tilted out.
I found the point where the flute is balanced on the right thumb and left fore finger 1st joint, I then turned the head in to a comfortable place.
It frees up the fingers since they don't have to stop the flute from pivoting in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm glad you guys have other ways that have worked for you. Thats what we are all striving for I think K
After 49 years and 5 teachers i feel comfortable playing flute.
I have the "teardrop lip" (Like Rampal) and play out of the left side.
It works for me.
Iv'e strived to use the least amount of tension to play in all aspects: embouchure and hand/body/head/fingers positions.
I don't practice as much as I should but have a clear sound that's even in all registers and in tune most of the time.
I do turn in the head so that the body is tilted out.
I found the point where the flute is balanced on the right thumb and left fore finger 1st joint, I then turned the head in to a comfortable place.
It frees up the fingers since they don't have to stop the flute from pivoting in.
 

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The only thing I wasn’t sure of was how she aligned the headjoint....when I took a couple of lessons with a local pro, she taught me to line the hole up with the keys, and to keep the keys pointed at the ceiling...along with a change in wear the lip plate sat on my lip, centered...everything else was the same as in the video...my tone improved immediately, and the low C that came out occasionally was easy and full sounding....for me, the proof is in the pudding...the things she showed me worked immediately...that’s the key, if the changes produce the sound you want, it works...
 
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