By Patricia George
Over my years of teaching, I have changed very few student's
embouchures. I prefer to think of embochures evolving into what the
player needs to be successful. We certainly will not all look the same
when we play in the third octave or when we have quick wide interval
You must remember that each of us is a different size--I have students
ranging in size from 6'4" down to elementary sized students. Yet, we
play the same sized flute. Each of us has a different face--some lips
seem to aways be in a smiling position at rest--others have more of a
downturned expression and then most of us are a combination of the
two--one side up and other side down. So, obviously each of us will
look different when we play the flute. Do check out the flute embouchure pictures for Roger Stevens' book ARTIST FLUTE on Larry
Krantz's web site. Each of these players has a professional sound, but
look at how differently each is set up.
I would suggest you let your ear direct your embouchure changes. Work
for sound and agility and when you have it where you want it, you will
look like what YOU need to look like to get the best results. Playing
harmonics will help you in this area. I prefer playing the Marcel Moyse
DE LA SONORITE at the harmonic (third partial with the lowest note
counting as partial no. 1). For me, I get a much better and quicker
benefit from doing the book this way.
Control in the third octave is as much about the air stream as it is
embouchure. Size and speed--two important air stream S's. Most
problems occur when the flutist does not keep the air stream moving.
When things begin to sound rough, they stop blowing and everything gets
Playing and practicing a lot in the high range will help you feel
comfortable. Besides doing the Taffanel and Gaubert 8va--check out
Thomas J. Filas--Leger Domain and Top Register Studies. I have the
and triple tongue each note the first time through these books. Then
various rhythmic patterns before setting in with the slurs. Practice
with a metronome at both slow and fast settings. Control is being about
very fast and very slowly.
*Note: This article first appeared in the "Teaching Tips" section of Larry Krantz's website.
About Patricia George:
Patricia George, Editor of Flute Talk magazine,
is the flute professor at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and the American
Band College. She tours the US giving Flute Spa masterclasses for flute
clubs and universities. She is the co-author of Flute 101: Mastering the
Basics, Flute 102: Mastering the Basics, Flute 103: Mastering the Basics, The
Flute Scale Book and Advanced Flute Studies: The Art of Chunking which are all
published by Theodore Presser. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of
Music and studied with Frances Blaisdell, Joseph Mariano, William Kincaid and
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