Playing an instrument, whatever it may be, is one of the most rewarding experiences we can live and although there are more complicated moments, you will see that you will not regret having made this decision. I have compiled a series of basic tips for beginning flutists that will help you get off to a good start in the flute world. Surely you already know some of them, since I am not going to discover anything new, but it is convenient to remember them and keep them very present from the first moment.
The recorder, as you already know, is a wind instrument, because even so there are people who insist on starting to play a work without having taken a breath. Incredible, right? They pretend to play with the same air that we use to speak! Try it out: try to play a song without taking in any extra breath, using only the amount of breath you need to say any phrase. As you can see, it doesn’t work. You have to fill yourself well with air, up to your ankles. To do this, open your mouth wide as if you were going to say the letter A and keep your shoulders away from your ears.
Eye! I am not saying that playing the flute is serious and we must be scowling when we learn. I am referring to that smiling embouchure that we see a lot and from which we must flee as quickly as possible, without looking back.
Although it may seem to work at first, this type of embouchure produces a tight, squeaky, small sound, makes it difficult to control the central lip muscles, and reduces lower lip contact with the bevel, losing a basic point of stability.
The great James Galway proposes us a series of exercises to improve the position of our embouchure and avoid, and insists a lot on it, the embouchure with the shape of a smile.
Good posture when playing is essential. To do this, buy a good music stand to put your sheet music on and avoid unnecessary neck pain. Remember that playing the flute does not cause any extra pain and at the slightest sign of discomfort you feel, stop and rest. You can read more about this topic in this article: The pain is over.
When you assemble and disassemble your flute, avoid putting your hands on the most delicate parts of the instrument (the keys and spindles) and put them on the smooth parts where there is no danger of forcing any part of the mechanism. Make sure that the head is aligned along the imaginary axis with the keys and that they always face the ceiling. The leg of your flute has its axis in the middle of the last key of the body, that is, the axes of both parts (body and leg) do not coincide.
To tune the flute, we will take out the head (one of the flutes, not ours) to make the tube longer and get the pitch to go down. We will insert the head to make the pitch go up, being the tube shorter. Get in the habit of leaving a little bit off at the beginning to give yourself a little leeway in case you play with someone who tends to be in tune higher than you. As soon as you can, get a tuner and include it in your flute routine.
Being a beginner in the world of instrumental learning is no excuse not to use the metronome from the first moment. Not having batteries at home, either. Now we have the possibility of downloading free metronome applications or setting the beat of the piece we want to work on directly from our computer.
When you take a break from your practice sessions, don’t forget to put your flute on a table or smooth surface where it won’t fall off. Avoid leaving it on a chair at all costs: you will be surprised how many people have sat on their flute! Leave it resting with the keys facing up (very important), and if the break is going to last for hours or you have already finished studying, clean your flute and store it in its case until the next time to prevent it from collecting dust.
This is perhaps the best advice and the most important of all that I have put. Stay active, learn, and find a teacher.