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Forum Contributor 2013-2016
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Discussion Starter #1
I am a determined novice, and progress has been very slow. I am now getting fairly consistent results in the first octave (even the low notes), but am encountering two problems I have not seen discussed. One is a sudden rapidly repeated interruption of the sound, especially (but not exclusively) on fourth line D and third space C, which makes it sound like the flute is being bumped by a slowly turning ceiling fan blade and knocked momentarily away from my lips: ta ta ta ta ta ta ta.....(Rest assured, I am not yet quite frustrated enough to stick the flute into the fan blade).
The second issue is not understanding what to do to produce the second octave, other than to blow faster air. Oddly enough, fifth line F and G above the staff, as well as the odd A, will pop out once in a while when I want the lower octave, but refuse to appear on command. Here, I need the most elementary advice:
Aim higher, lower, the same, roll in, roll out, play dead, sit up, whatever. Anybody willing to offer a bit of advice?
Thomas
 

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Make sure you are relaxing your throat. Sometimes when people firm up the lips there is a sympathetic action that constricts the throat. This can obstruct the airflow causing the kind of thing you describe. Throat, jaw and shoulders should be totally relaxed.

You're correct that you want faster air for each next octave. Question is how to get it. Smaller embouchure hole and pushing harder from deep in the diaphragm. Push the lips together but don't squeeze in from the corners. Aiming a bit higher helps too but it is only a slight change. A common tendency is to tighten up the throat and lips too much which restricts the sound. Don't roll the HJ in or out.

Gordon has some lessons somewhere on this site - flute by email or something like that - that describes how to get started with tone. I looked through these once and they seemed pretty good to me, generally the same things I tell and show to beginning students.

If your bottom octave is strong but you can't get the middle octave, your embouchure is probably too big and open and you have insufficient support for the air. This means your bottom octave is probably flat in pitch too. One way to learn a smaller more efficient embouchure is to practice how long you can play a note. By extending the longest note you can play - even in the bottom octave - you will learn to focus and direct the airstream which will use less air, teach you to use a smaller aperture, and make the next octave easier.
 

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MRC01 said:
One way to learn a smaller more efficient embouchure is to practice how long you can play a note. By extending the longest note you can play - even in the bottom octave - you will learn to focus and direct the airstream which will use less air, teach you to use a smaller aperture, and make the next octave easier.
I am by no means a top flute player, but have found it useful to practice the flute while humming the note (it is also a nice effect when miked playing with a latin band). The humming limits the air flow available and the only way to get the flute to sound is by focusing very accurately. As you get better and better at this, you can play higher notes this way...it also teaches you how to play soft up high and loud down low.
 
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