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Lesson Focus: Controlling the volume of higher pitches

Find the music for this one HERE.

This etude provided a great opportunity to address a fundamental that is often overlooked in students until they become very advanced. The consistent writing of the second note higher than the first in each group of four eighth notes provides an excellent opportunity to practice mitigating the flutists natural tendency to automatically play the upper notes much louder.

It is important to practice the leap from the lower note to the upper note with the dynamics as intended. There are two things to consider in making the upper note sound softer and keeping the bottom note sounding nice and strong.

STEP 1: Make sure the lower note is strong. Easier said than done because many of them are in the middle range of the flute where notes are inherently weaker and crack easily. The following list of tips should help you get more control and strength from these notes.

  • Keep the chin raised

  • Keep the inside of the mouth open

  • Keep a space between the front teeth behind the embouchure.

STEP 2: Practice moving into position for the second note. As you shift from the first note to the second note be sure to make the following adjustments;

  • Change the shape inside the mouth from an “ah” to more of an “e”.

  •  Bring the bottom lip/jaw forward to allow the airstream to be directed at a higher angle.

  • Increase the support to keep the air nice and fast without increasing it’s volume.

The tips video contains a demonstration to help make it the list above clearer.

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