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Lesson Focus: Equalizing the sound quality of the octaves

Find the music for this one HERE.

Oh boy I’m not going to lie, this one was HARD to record and I never got a totally clean take. Aside from the technical challenges presented these etudes are proving to be a wonderful challenge for concentration as well. The focus for this one is all about making sure the low notes sound as the stronger beat and keep the ear hearing the melody in the lower voice, echoed in the upper notes. The tendency for this one is to let the lower notes lose sound quality which creates the listening sensation of the upper notes being on the stronger beat.

It is important to practice the melody in the low register alone to understand both how you will shape it and practice hearing it in the lower voice.

STEP 1: Decide on how you will shape the phases and practice them in the low register alone, really exaggerating the phrasing. The following tips should help you stabilize the low register if it feels difficult to control at a fore dynamic.

  • Don’t blow too fast. Slower air through a big space in the mouth will actually deliver much more sound than fast air in this register.

  • Keep the chin up and the jaw back to maintain the correct angle for getting air into the flute while allowing for a forte dynamic.

  • Be sure you are standing up straight. Collapsing the chest or over-arching the low back reduces your ability to resonate the sound in the chest cavity making the low register unstable.

STEP 2: Practice the octaves.

Take care to play slowly while you work out the fingerings for all the octaves. Additionally, do not neglect the sound of the low register. If your low register starts to lose quality when you add in the octaves refer to the tips listed below.

  • Be sure to keep the jaw returning to the correct position to achieve the proper angle for the low register.

  • Do not allow the chin to move considerably when switching back down to the lower octave.

  • AIR, AIR, AIR!!! Keep the air moving between the notes. Allow the positioning of the jaw/lips to control the register and keep the air as free flowing as possible.

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