Category: Hints and Tips

  • Memorisation


    A blog on playing from memory! An excellent skill to develop with many benefits. Incentive Memorising a piece of music, a speech or poem is something that has obvious benefits, but often scares people as it takes away the comfort of having a script or score. I remember my primary (junior) school made all of…

  • Tonguing tips

    Tonguing tips

    Here are some of my thoughts on tonguing, with some exercises and information about the tongue itself. Tone The first step is to get the tongued notes as clear and full as one does without the tongue. It’s all about the airstream and not letting the tongue affect how the air travels out of the…

  • So you want to be a piccolo player?

    So you want to be a piccolo player?

    Buying a piccolo is so exciting! It may be small in size but it is a powerful instrument, and eventually, you will be able to dominate everything! It can also be a very beautiful instrument and – in the right hands – an utterly magical one.

  • Practising Scales

    Practising Scales

    For some people, the mere mention of “scales” leaves them feeling depressed, anxious or just confused! But since music is made up of scales and arpeggios, we should feel comfortable with them. Whenever I teach or play scales, I think it’s important to have a clear idea of why you are playing them. So why practise…

  • Chaminade Concertino – Practice Tips

    Chaminade Concertino – Practice Tips

    Following on from my Taffanel blog, here is a practice guide for another great French work: Chaminade’s Concertino. This piece is played a lot, but quite often with some important details overlooked. As I say to my students, “don’t be an overlooker”! I will also give some tips for practising some of the tricky passages.…

  • Taffanel’s Andante Pastoral et Scherzettino: A practice guide

    Taffanel’s Andante Pastoral et Scherzettino: A practice guide

    Taffanel’s Andante Pastoral et Scherzettino is a gem in the French flute repertoire and one of my favourites. Indeed, I played this piece for my entrance exam at the Royal Academy of Music and I fortunately got in! It’s a piece full of technical challenges, written as a test piece for the concours at the…

  • “What Should I be Practising?”

    “What Should I be Practising?”

    Learning the flute (or any musical instrument) is not always a smooth process of steady improvement. We all learn in different ways with our own strengths and weaknesses, so there will be times when things can get frustrating if one feels they are not improving as much as they would like. Other factors also affect…

  • Tips on Andersen Etudes: Op15, No. 3

    Tips on Andersen Etudes: Op15, No. 3

    This is probably everyone’s favourite étude – it is certainly the one that gets performed the most outside of the practice room. It’s a triplet tour de force without any breaks, but it also has a very beautiful melodic quality. Find the Skeleton If we take away all the decoration and leave the “skeleton” of…

  • How to Start a Beginner Flute Ensemble

    How to Start a Beginner Flute Ensemble

    Whether you are a novice in charge of your first flute choir, or you are a veteran and have run many ensembles, choosing music for that all-important first rehearsal is a daunting task at any level – but when planning for a beginner ensemble it is even more  important to hit the ground running. Picking…

  • 8 Top Tips on Testing a New Flute

    8 Top Tips on Testing a New Flute

    Adam Clifford looks at the best way to test a new flute, what exercises to try and what to look for when choosing.