flute embouchure, continued

05Sep08

I am teaching beginner flutes today, and had come to a point in the lesson where I wondered if what I was teaching them was correct:

1. Think and say “pooh.” (of course, this always gets giggles)
2. Make the aperture as small as possible.
3. Make the aperture round.
4. Keep everything centered in the cross-hairs (translation: the flute must be centered vertically and horizontally in the center of the lips, and it must be parallel to the ground).
5. Don’t “kiss and roll” to find where the embouchure is supposed to rest.
6. Stay natural. Don’t smile. (which always produces smiles)
7. Cover the tone hole about 1/3 with your bottom lip.

Well, I go back and check on a previous post to find Brad Garner’s advice, and actually read it (yes, I know: I posted it, you thought I’d read it, eh?). The biggest difference I saw was in how he described the air flow.

Theoretically, the air stream should be split in half by the strike edge of the embouchure hole. Many of today’s flutists, however, think that perhaps as much as sixty percent of the air stream should go down into the hole. This will create a sound with more edge and a certain fullness or core to it.

Then, I find a comment from Doug Butchy of Confessions of a Band Director, which mostly confirm what I’d been teaching them. And my friend Sesto also commented with similar things. So, I guess I’m not so far off, after all. I’ll try the 60-40 thing, and talk to them about the shape of the aperture being more flat tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes.

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