Category: Hints and Tips

  • Flute Essentials: Cleaning and Maintenance Accessories

    Flute Essentials: Cleaning and Maintenance Accessories

    There are masses of accessories designed for cleaning your flute and keeping it in top playing order. Here’s our round-up of what we suggest that very flute (and piccolo) player should have in their cleaning arsenal.

  • Bozza Aria – Practice Tips

    Bozza Aria – Practice Tips

    Eugène Bozza’s Aria is a beautiful piece that is on the Trinity College Exam Grade 7 syllabus. Whilst not too technically demanding, there are some challenges in this piece, which I will address below. I will also give some ideas on phrasing and some exercises to get your flute singing! Breathing The phrases in this…

  • “Can you play it in one breath?”

    “Can you play it in one breath?”

    Long phrases under pressure One of the most famous examples of a long phrase for flute players is the opening of Debussy’s L’après-midi d’un faune. This appears on almost all orchestra audition lists, and there is a common expectation to play this all in one breath. In performance, one can generally do what one wishes…

  • Benjamin Godard Waltz: Practice Tips

    Benjamin Godard Waltz: Practice Tips

    Here are my practice tips for the tricky, yet wonderfully joyful Waltz (Valse) by Godard, from his Suite de Trois Morceaux. Here’s a video of me demonstrating the exercises given below. Waltz character From the 1st bar, the character is exuberant and joyous. There are many examples of Waltzes in classical music. Some are more serene…

  • No 11 from Moyse 24 Little Melodic Studies

    No 11 from Moyse 24 Little Melodic Studies

    “Marcel, where is the beat?” Moyse’s uncle upon hearing him practice Here is a practice guide for number 11 of 24 Petites Etudes Melodiques. These are notes from a class I gave online at Fluting with Friends There are two main sections to this etude, which are quite contrasting in character. Part 1: Tchaikovsky Piano…

  • Saint-Saëns Romance: practice tips

    Saint-Saëns Romance: practice tips

    The Romance by Camille Saint-Saëns is one of my absolute favourite pieces – full of warmth and charm and not without its challenges. I recently did a warm-up video for the British Flute Society‘s Warm up Wednesday series and used some simple warm-up exercises centred around this piece. So, here is a blog to give…

  • Finding resonance on the flute

    Finding resonance on the flute

    “How do I get a big sound?” is often a question students will ask. Indeed, developing one’s sound and dynamic range is part of a musician’s daily practice. So, apart from blowing more, what can we do as flute players to get a bigger sound? Well, it’s all about resonance. Resonance is the quality in…

  • What does “support” mean?

    What does “support” mean?

    As a teacher, I like to ask questions to my students to get them to think about what they are doing, as awareness is key to improvement and inhibiting bad habits. This could be “Where is the phrase leading to?”, or “What is the character here?”, but also questions about technique, such as “How do…

  • Tips on ABRSM Grade 8 pieces: Poulenc Sonata 1st movement

    Tips on ABRSM Grade 8 pieces: Poulenc Sonata 1st movement

    My next few blog posts will be tips on some of my favourite pieces from the ABRSM Grade 8 repertoire lists. Even if you aren’t working towards your Grade 8, I hope these tips may provide you with some food for thought when approaching this repertoire. Poulenc Sonata for Flute and Piano 1st movement: Allegro…

  • A “pressing” issue

    A “pressing” issue

    To press or not to press? That is the question for many flute players, especially in the early stages of learning, and there are a few different opinions on this which I would like to discuss and offer my own thoughts. When we are first taught the flute, we are told to blow across the…