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Download PDF A Guide to Understanding and Correction of Intonation Problems

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Rolling the flute down on the lip into playing position is never going to help your students develop a truly characteristic flute tone. Because it places the flute too high on your lip to get the maximum resonance out of the instrument. The transit time time from when the air exits your lips to when it hits the strike edge of the embouchure hole is too short. The sound will always be small, often windy, sharp and unfocused. He instantly had a stronger, more focused flute sound than I think he had ever achieved in the past.


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Granted, it took him out of his comfort zone as far as how to relate to the flute. The difference in the sound he made was a huge improvement. Parting words for today?

A Guide to Understanding and Correction of Intonation Problems | Presto Sheet Music

You cannot relate to the flute embouchure plate in the same way you relate to your brass mouthpiece. Bring the flute up from below and learn to feel the inside edge of the embouchure hole about where your lip and chin meet this can vary with the size and thickness of your lips. In order to get the best sound out of a flute, you need to let go of your attachment to the feeling of having contact with the middle of your lips.

When you understand this and can explain this to your students, you will see a huge difference in the tone quality your students can achieve. The flute is a completely different animal from any other winds or brass. For information about clinics and workshops click here. How many times have you heard your flute students play sharp when the dynamic is forte and flat when the dynamic is piano?

So how can you help your students learn to play in tune regardless of the dynamic marking? The first aspect you need to address with the students is developing a consistently fast air stream regardless of the quantity of air one is blowing. I explain it by saying that when we first start playing, air speed and quantity are like a married couple going hand in hand.

Air speed and air quantity need to get a divorce, go their separate ways. What changes with different dynamics is the quantity of air and the direction of the air stream. How can you teach this kind of steadiness of the speed of the air stream?

I like slow melodies like the chorales so many bands use to warm up , Remington intervals and slow scale exercises. Pay particular attention to not just blowing on the notes but blowing between the notes.

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I believe the only way you can really learn to blow with steady air is to play slowly. Finger technique is a distraction to learning to blow steadily, so remove it and encourage your students to pay attention to how the air moves through the line and between the notes. Remember Independence for Lips? Here is an exercise I recommend doing with a tuner. Do this exercise first with a tuner, but with more experience, try it by ear to further train your ear. Finally, have the student try diminuendos of different lengths, first longer duration and then gradually shorter note values.

Helping your students learn to play in tune at any dynamic level is about making sure they understand the necessary physical skills and helping them developing their ears. Do you ever feel as if getting your flute section to play in tune is like herding cats? Have you ever told your flute students to roll the flute in or out to adjust the pitch? What are the tone problems caused by rolling in and out? If you roll in, you wind up covering the blow hole too much. This will make it flatter, but it also makes the tone dull, small, lifeless and impossible to play with any kind of dynamic range.

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It is essential to understand that correcting pitch problems means correcting embouchure and placement issues. Embouchure flexibility , dynamic and pitch control are basically one issue. The best place to put the flute is where you can get the most resonance from the flute. When students are not energizing the air column sufficiently supporting , you see all kinds of compensating behaviors including pulling corners, pinching the aperture, closing the throat, clenching the teeth.

All these behaviors cause pitch problems. Try this exercise with your students individually and in sectionals. Use a tuner and maintain the pitch with crescendo and diminuendo using the guidelines above. If you find these entries helpful, subscribe, share with your colleagues and come back regularly for more flute tips. Feel free to comment and ask questions. What do you want to know about flute pedagogy? Maybe the answer to your question will be the next flute tip. What does it depend on? Learning to differentiate between air speed and quantity takes time for the student and an understanding of sound pedagogy from the teachers who work with the student.

When a kid starts on the flute, the first job is to learn to direct the air properly to hit the strike edge of the blow hole. Then they need to learn to change the blowing angle to play in the different registers. Often at this stage the student is blowing through a large aperture, expending a lot of air, huffing and puffing, making a fuzzy sound and having trouble sustaining anything longer than two or three beats. As they continue practicing, most of the time the student learns to blow through a smaller aperture, control their breath and make a clearer tone.

Is this a good time to start introducing dynamics? I would say no, absolutely not and here is why. You can do more harm than good for your kids because they start trying to do what you are asking without having the skill set to play with dynamics correctly. Kids will pinch the aperture, which can make them play sharp. They start rolling the flute in and covering more. This will make the pitch flat. They try to control the air by squeezing their throats. Do you really want your students to sound like they are strangling? Kids are enormously creative in their solutions but the results for both pitch and tone can be devastating.

And they wind up building in habits that they may never overcome. Your students will develop a wide palette of dynamic expression if you spend time helping them learn to control the air column in the first couple years of playing. It all comes down to how you manage the air. Please comment and feel free to ask questions. Diagnosing the tone problems we hear with our flute students is one of the thorniest issues we face as teachers. And hand in hand with tone problems are intonation problems. The fundamental question is to ask is what is the student doing with their playing apparatus lips, oral cavity, throat, breathing that is making it sound the way it does.

I have explored this question by trying to create the sound the student is making for myself. I learned this trick from my teacher, Thomas Nyfenger, who could imitate anyone, good or bad. Lips — essentially our lips function as our mouthpiece , shaping and directing the air at the blowing edge, assisting in creating sufficient resistance to make a characteristic flute sound.

Lips cannot provide support to the air column. Many students squeeze their lips rather than use their supporting muscles. Oral cavity — while it is necessary for the flute to rest not press against the bottom teeth with the lip in between, it is important to relax the jaw and open the oral cavity as much as possible. It functions as a resonating chamber, along with the sinuses, nose, throat and chest ask the singers. Throat — needs to be open, with the base of the tongue relaxed for the most resonant sound. Squeezing the throat or tensing the base of the tongue will muffle the sound.

Students will frequently squeeze here rather than engage their supporting muscles. I like the analogy of imagining that I am on the verge of a yawn. The tongue is down and relaxed and the throat is wide open. Throat is merely a conduit for the air column. Keep all the physical structures of the throat out of the way. Breathing — If everything else is out of the way, then the torso with its abdominal and intercostal muscles are free to support and pressurize the air column.

I really like the idea of allowing ourselves to breath naturally, deeply and freely rather than over-analyzing the breathing mechanism. The truth is, kids rarely understand the difference between the quantity of air and the speed of the air. If the air is moving sufficiently fast enough, the sound will be good and it will be in tune, provided that they are playing on a flute with a good scale note that some of the older brands still have not updated their scale, especially in the beginner level instruments.

Sitting up or standing tall with good open posture is critical to being able to use the air effectively.

A Guide to the Understanding and Correction of Intonation Problems

If you find these entries helpful, subscribe, share with your colleagues and come back next week for another flute tip. Tags breath control , dynamics , embouchure , flute intonation , flute pedagogy. Here are a couple other concepts to incorporate into the mix to get good dynamic and pitch control: Maintain the oval shape of the aperture without flattening it out Maintain the position of the flute on your lip without rolling in or out The less air you blow, the more you need to raise the blowing angle towards more straight across the blow hole to maintain pitch Keep back teeth apart and mouth cavity open Keep a relaxed and open throat.

Think of how your throat feels right on the edge of yawning Keep the speed of the air, just less air As always, if you find these entries useful, please subscribe, share with your colleagues and come back regularly. Tags flute intonation , flute pedagogy , flutes. Tags embouchure , flute embouchure , flute intonation , flute pedagogy , flute tone. Tags flute embouchure , flute intonation , flute pedagogy. Tags embouchure , flute balance , flute embouchure , flute fingering , flute intonation , flute pedagogy , flute students , flute technique.

Tags beginning flute , flute embouchure , flute intonation , flute pedagogy , flute tone. Tags dynamics , flute intonation , flute pedagogy. Tags dynamics , flute embouchure , flute intonation , flute pedagogy , flute tone. Here are some general guidelines for pitch and dynamic control: To raise the pitch, push the bottom lip forward to raise the airstream, while making sure the top lip is directing the air at the blowing edge. Brand New. Seller Inventory More information about this seller Contact this seller. Language: English.


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