How bad is it?
Rip me apart, boys :D four months at flute.
Rip me apart, boys :D four months at flute.
The pauses were cause I had the monitor on, so I was hearing all of that in my headphones and it tripped me up.
I’m not a fluter, but I like it. You have nice vibrato on the long notes. Maybe we should do a thing where members share recordings of themselves playing… I think it’s been done before, but not for a while…
You’re doing better than I was at 4 months, because the upper octave was giving me grief! Four months is a bare beginning, so keep at it!
If you want some constructive criticism, the main problem I hear is that you’re taking breaths so often, and they’re at the beginning of phrases. This is normal for a beginner. You’ll eventually have a better reservoir of air to work with as your embouchure develops, so you’re not wasting air that isn’t forming notes. That just take time, and you’re very early in this journey. Make sure you’re breathing from the full diaphragm and belly, not just your chest.
The decision of *when* to breathe so it’s not predictably at the start of every phrase is something you can work on later, when you have a larger reservoir of air to work with.
I wouldn’t pay too much heed to the last comment by Douglasabike 🙂 …it’ll probably get deleted soon, hopefully!
Anyway, although I’m not a flute player myself, I’d say you were doing very well for four months.
It also takes a lot of courage to post recordings like this as I’m convinced that none of us perform at our best during such situations. I got the impression that you were conscious of the fact that you were recording yourself which may have contributed to the "breathing issues".
Perhaps the best way to do this is to leave the recording machine/software or whatever running long enough until we forget that it’s there and then just edit the best bits. Retakes" can often just make you more anxious and a player can sound even more nervous.
Probably better than I was doing after four months. Even with the large number of breaths I think the tune comes through OK. As it’s Carolan it may have been a song. So breathing between phrases could be OK.
To my ear breathing often is better than sounding as if you are running out of breath, which you don’t.
not bad at all in fact! O’Carolan’s slower pieces are probably good ones to start with, simple but strong melodies and not too many notes to the bar………….
I’m impressed. You have the makings of great tone, which so many players lack. You also know how to phrase, which keeps you sounding musical even if less than perfect. It also shows your sensitivity to time signatures. Okay, now here is what I want you to do. This exercise is not about the tune - you’ve already learned that - this is to improve your ability to play:
Play the opening phrase (the first six notes) at about half the speed you recorded. Play it as cleanly and evenly as you can and then hold the last note for four beats. What this does is get you in command of your air. You want to have more air than it takes to play each phrase and this will get you there. While you are at it, work on focusing the air so none is wasted and we don’t hear wind. Do this on the first phrase only. Don’t move on to the next phrase until you feel you’ve improved substantially on the first. When you go to the next phrase, see how long it takes you to sound as good as you do on the first. The goal is to have your new techniques become habits by the time you get through the whole tune. What you have learned to do to clean up your tone and manage your air flow should become second nature, so keep that in mind as you develop.
This is not beginners’ stuff. If you hadn’t accomplished as much as you have already, you likely would not be ready for this. Just playing a solid note that does not sound weak or slip from one octave to another would be enough. You are well beyond that now, so we are tweaking to turn your solid foundation into a better command of the instrument. You are well on the way, my friend.
…. wow, kind of blown away by all of this.
I’m glad it at least sounds musical. I picked Planxty Irwin as a good starter one cause I already was used to the fingering from messing about on the whistle.
The air control is a bit of an issue. It’s the same issue I’ve had while singing, so I’m for sure aware of it. Thanks for the tips and advice.
I’ll post up a bit on the silver flute later. I’m noticing that the 3 piece dixon does seem pretty air-hungry. My teacher even commented on it. Is this a matter of covering more of the emboucre hole, or just the emboucre in general?
The thing that is going over my head each time I have a lesson is blowing down in to the flute. My teacher is saying to play like I have a pingpong ball in my mouth and to drop my lips down below my teeth. Conceptually I get that you are directing the airstream down, but I’m having issues putting it in to practice.
Your upper lip should overhang the lower, which automatically directs the airstream. But don’t pull the lower lip back. That’s a common error. You can tighten this corners of your mouth a bit to make the opening more narrow, but the lips should be relaxed, though not slack.
Playing a conical flute always requires more air than your metal flute. The metal flute is brighter and louder with less air. That’s what it was invented to be.
Regarding this: "I’ll post up a bit on the silver flute later. I’m noticing that the 3 piece dixon does seem pretty air-hungry. My teacher even commented on it. Is this a matter of covering more of the emboucre hole, or just the emboucre in general?"
One thing to be aware of… and then ignore at the beginning stages… is that conical bore flutes do vary in the amount of air they take "to fill" the flute. My Windward flute is a Pratten-ish design, and it takes a bit more air than my Aebi Rudall-type. However, I’m sure this is *not* something I would have noticed in the first year or two I was learning, because it takes that long or more to get the fine muscles around your lips into shape, so you’re not wasting air. I would have been wasting air on any flute at that stage, which is true of everyone starting out. Your Dixon is a decent flute, so don’t worry about that aspect of it yet.
There are more significant differences between 19th Century conical bore designs and modern Boehm metal flutes. It’s up to you and your teacher, but I think it may be counter-productive to try learning a good embouchure (and later, articulations) on both flutes at the same time. If you’re seriously interested in Irish trad, you might make better progress sticking to the conical bore design. Or you could go with the Boehm flute for a flute that can be played in many other genres. Maybe the more advanced flute players here will disagree, but I don’t think you’ll do well trying to learn on both types of flutes at the same time.
As long as you understand the differences and that nothing is wrong, each will boost the other.
The flute lessns are concentrating on the classical flute, but using Planxty Irwin as the main one we are working on. I’ve played her some other simple stuff like Down by the Sally gardens (slow air) and such but the lessons are largely working on tone. The irish flute is something I am doing on my own time. She’s not really teaching me the irish flute, but instead just helping me work on tone atm. Other than tone, she’s been having me use tonguing as the main way of getting rhythm which personally I don’t like the sound of for playing Planxty Irwin, I have to force myself to do it but it sounds off.
Here is more:
more Planxty Irwin, with me trying swallowtail jig after it. Any tips for getting rhythm would be helpful. My teacher is insisting that the main thing I should be using for emphasis on rhythm is tonguing, but any time she plays Planxty Irwin it doesn’t really flow and sounds weird to my ears.
Thanks for any criticism or help 🙂
Y’ffe way better than me! I have a low d whistle, and I’m still trying to get a good grip on this thing, and I mean that quite literally. It’s a bit difficult to seal all the holes. I know, it’s not a flute, but yeah. I do have a metal flute, but I cannot play that thing to save my life!