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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks,

I have recently started playing flute, and by recently I mean I got my flute this Tuesday! I have never played flute before and I can already play from about :space2: up to just over an octave above that, so I have been very happy with my achievement in the past 3 days.

I'm really struggling getting the low notes, from :line2: all the way down to :line0: so I was wondering if anyone had any tips that could help me to get these notes? I know it's still only early days, but I'd be very grateful for any advice.

Also, has anyone got any exercises to practice dynamics, because I also want to work on these? At the moment it is very difficult to play either quietly or loudly without mis-pitching the note.

Cheers,
Sam
 

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You need to develop your embochure for FLUTE. I second on flute as well, and in the developing stages, it is critical you take some lessons with a professional who will steer you in the right direction regarding your embochure. Its extremely important.
 

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One tip I was told by a flautist was to aim for an oboe tone in the lower register as that will project better than a hollow round tone.

The best and most accessable example I can think of is the tone James Galway has when he's playing in the lowest register and aim for the sound he makes - it's a wide, fat, broad and 'reedy' sound with edge.
 

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I just pull the lower jaw in, aim the air down at the far side of the hole. Some people keep the throat open like when you throw up. Remember to keep the embouchure hole as small as possible. The Suzuki method for kids has them spitting uncooked rice to get the hole small. Good practice and after a bit of rice spitting you may have better control.
 

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That is hilarious Bruce, but instructive. I noticed through watching (and emulated) that the low and high embouchure is almost the same height. The low is wider and the high is narrower.
The angle of the airstream changes also. The low points more up and the high more down. This is accomplished by a subtle shifting of the lower lip in and out.
 

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If you don't have a teacher who is an accomplished flute player (and proven good teacher!), then get one! It really is vital. The fact that your embouchure works for only a limited range of notes suggests that either it is quite an inappropriate embouchure for developing as a flute player (or the flute is in a really bad state of adjustment). And it is very difficult to unlearn an inapropriate flute embouchure.

If it is utterly impossible to get a teacher, then this may help a little, as it has done some others. But still a poor substitute.
http://www.saxontheweb.net/Resources/FluteLessons2.html
 

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selmer 26 nino, 22 curved sop, super alto, King Super 20 and Martin tenors, Stowasser tartogatos
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I struggled (and still struggle) with the low end. A couple of things I discovered for myself:

1. Back off the air pressure, but make the airstream narrow. It has to be aimed precisely right. Narrowing the stream increases the edge by accentuating the higher partials, because the fundamental is pretty weak down there. But you really have to learn to control it--push a bit too hard and you are in the octave.

2. Attack gently, and as soon as the note starts to sound you can quickly ramp it up. If you blow fully before the fundamental is established it often jumps the octave.

Much also has to do with the lip shape of the individual player. I have great control up in the third octave, but not in the lows, but I know others who are just the opposite.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
UPDATE

Just to update you guys on this, my tone and range is getting a lot better as the days go by, so I think it's just a case of building up the muscles in my embouchure?

That said, I often find that as I play notes in the second 8ve, they sometimes shoot up a 5th (i.e. from E to B). Any tips on controlling this?

Cheers again,
Sam
 

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" I often find that as I play notes in the second 8ve, they sometimes shoot up a 5th (i.e. from E to B). Any tips on controlling this?"

Possibly covering far too much of the embouchure hole with your lip, &/or blowing steeply down into the embouchure hole, &/or pulling the lips thinly and tight against the teeth, &/or blowing the air too fast.

It sounds like a good case for a lesson from a flute teacher, and sounds quite likely a rather poor foundation for successful future playing, as warned.

It cannot be overstressed... To get a good starting embouchure on flute, a flute teacher is necessary... For almost every beginner.
 

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UPDATE

Just to update you guys on this, my tone and range is getting a lot better as the days go by, so I think it's just a case of building up the muscles in my embouchure?

That said, I often find that as I play notes in the second 8ve, they sometimes shoot up a 5th (i.e. from E to B). Any tips on controlling this?

Cheers again,
Sam
It's much more about fine control than strength with flute. If you are overblowing to the third partial you are either blowing too hard, shading the hole too much or both.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It cannot be overstressed... To get a good starting embouchure on flute, a flute teacher is necessary... For almost every beginner.
Okay, I was going to see how much I could get away with myself, but I shall certainly take a look at a local flute teacher for a few lessons.
 

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I took from 5 or 6 teachers throughout my career and took the best from each and then did my own thing. If a teacher doesn't do it for you change. There's nothing shamefull or immoral about it. When I used to teach flute I didn't feel betrayed if a student went to another teacher. I always felt a little sad though when they quite totally.
 
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