FluteTips 89 Getting Your Tone Back in Shape


FluteTips 89 Getting Your Tone Back in Shape Hi, I’m Dr. Angela McBrearty of DoctorFlute.com and today’s flute tip is on Getting Your Tone Back in Shape. Now I’ve just come off the holidays. This has been Christmas vacation and it’s been so massively busy that I’ve not gotten really good practice in. So, I’m getting back in shape right now. I’m doing a lot of just a technical work because technique, just playing a lot, playing your etudes and all that, technique books is going to get you back into shape. But now it’s time for me to work on tone. Now when I’m out of shape, I don’t love working on tone because I feel like my tone is not there and we all love our tone. So, when we’re in shape, it’s wonderful to practice because you like your tone and you can work on the subtleties of your tone. When you’re out of shape, those subtleties aren’t there and you just have that, that tone that you feel like, Oh, it’s not working for me. Our mouth, our muscles are out of shape. I feel like even when I’ve played a lot of flute for various Christmas gigs, I still can get out of shape if I’m not working on my technique and my tone. So today I’ve done a lot of technical stuff and now I’m ready to work on some tone. I’m going to go, I’m not going to go right into long tones. I’m going to go to my tech Moyse’s book Tone Development Through Interpretation. Right now, I’m looking at number 36 and this is still in the low register. Remember that it’s all about the embouchure, getting this to be flexible. When the muscles are out of shape, they’re not going to be flexible. Just like if you are used to playing basketball and you can shoot a hoop every time and then you take a massive amount of time off, your muscles are probably not going to remember exactly, precisely how to shoot that basket. This is the same thing. Our muscles get atrophied a little bit and we just need to get them to remember our brain and our muscles to remember what it is they’re supposed to do. So, when I start this number 36, I’m not trying to get the best tone I possibly can. I’m not going to fight my embouchure that is a little bit out of shape. I want to play very lightly as if I’m doing one of Trevor Wye’s flexibility studies. I want to play very lightly. I want to hold my breath because I’m going to make my lip do all the work. So, this is number 36 and I’m going to play lightly. I’m not going to blow hard. I’m not going to try to get this fantastic sound. I’m going to play very, very lightly and make my lip do all the work. So whatever tone comes out comes out. It’s not my number one priority. It has a very narrow range, but occasionally there’s a note that I feel like I need to move my embouchure a little bit. So, I open up, I had an E flat and I needed to open up just a little bit more there. I’m also think keep that lip plate very light on my lip and even I’m pulling it away ever so slightly as I play Next, I will do that in the keys that are suggested. They also then suggest you play that up, the octave and that will help get me to work on my upper register without going too high. If E flat is high as I go, then I’m only going, if I play this up, the octave, I’m only going to that third octave E flat maybe at the end I have to play a high A flat. That’s probably okay for my embouchure, but I’m going to do it very, very carefully, very lightly. I’m holding back all my air because a lot of times when you’re out of shape, you tend to blow more air, so just get used to holding that air in again and getting the sound back slowly and carefully. This is going to do it. You might think, Oh, that’s not the way it is going to be. I got to do my loud long tones and I’m going to play forte and no, it’s this quiet work that gets you back into shape because you’re working on your embouchure. You’re making it flexible again and getting the muscles to remember how to get those notes to come out. So, when you’re out of shape and you’ve done your technical exercise, I mean who can play tone exercises when you’re out of shape, they’re just depressing. So, get your fingers working, get your lip a little bit warmed up with your technical and your etudes, and then go into your Tone Development Through Interpretation and play only the low register. Really just the low ones. Play them lightly. Play them softly. Hold in your air and make your lip do all the work. You will find that you get back in shape faster, and your lip starts working, and your tone, comes back faster. Doing it slowly and carefully. So, as I always say, slow gets you faster, faster. And that’s, I say that for technique, it works the same for tone. Enjoy working on your tone and getting back into shape. It’s not as depressing as you think. That’s today’s flute tip. If you like today’s flute tip, press the like button, subscribe, comment below, and share it with your friends. FluteTips 89 Getting Your Tone Back in Shape

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