Here is the “ONE NOTE A WEEK EXERCISE”
Even if you are not a flutist, the intent of the exercise remains. We can always listen more carefully to what we are doing.
When I was 14, my teacher Deborah Carter Smith introduced me to listening – to myself. Carefully. On one note a week. This was not to provide a false sense of security, but to mature my ears into listening to the many aspects of the airstream. In our lessons she also taught me whistle tones for precision of air direction and harmonics for pitch relation. Now I will show you some key components in the sound to listen for. Look out the window. OR Close your eyes.
- AIM FOR THE CENTER Just play a long tone. Think of the sound as a circle.
- LISTEN TO THE SPEED OF THE AIR STREAM – Try 3 different speeds or air with vowel positions inside the mouth . You should practice slow air stream with the soft vowel of OOO, then switch to the more focused sound of the vowel EU, then as fast and as loud of an air stream as you can possible blow using the AW vowel.
- LISTEN FOR THE WIDTH OF AIR STREAM – Keep the aperture of the lips open – pretend a toothpick is in the middle to prop it open – the airstream will be wider and fuller coming out.
- LISTEN FOR PITCH – every good note deserves great intonation.
- LISTEN TO THE LENGTH OF THE AIR STREAM –Always keep the air moving with good follow through after the note has begun. Think about playing the full values of all your notes.
- LISTEN TO THE FOCUS or UNFOCUSED SOUND If the air is hitting the upper lip it will create a hissing sound. Keep the air at the angle where it hits the opposite wall of the lip plate.
- PRACTICE USING BOTH NON-VIBRATO AND VIBRATO It is good to implement a vibrato exercise if you’ve never done one. It’s a fun exploration!
- PULL THE AIR OUT The air is being pulled out of the mouth from the spool of thread you have placed in your diaphragmatic area. Aim the thread towards the left elbow. It is a rich sound that you will recognize as your own.