The Physical Flute
Creative techniques for the development of Tone, Vibrato and Pitch Control
By Fiona Wilkinson
Published by Mayfair Music Publications
Fiona Wilkinson is an Associate Professor of Flute and Chamber Music at the University of Western Ontario’s Don Wright Faculty of Music. A former Chair of the Music Performance Studies department, she is currently division co-ordinator for winds, brass and percussion as well as a co-director of the MPS chamber ensemble program.
Ms. Wilkinson is a founding member of the Aeolian Wind Quintet and Triptych, which have toured extensively throughout Canada, the United States and the Far East. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for career development from the Ontario Arts Council as well as an active commissioner of Canadian compositions. As a freelancer, Fiona has worked with the Toronto Symphony, New Music Concerts – Toronto, the Canadian Opera Co., the Hamilton Philharmonic, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestras. A UWO Academic Development Award enabled Prof. Wilkinson to continue research into the electronic manipulation of the flute’s technique through the use of synthesis and samplers. This has been a welcome addition to her involvement with classical, jazz and modern composition.
This is a book about freedom. It offers no quick answers and no magic cures. It is about living with an instrument for a lifteime, and the total awareness and understanding that this demands. It is a testament to the great powers we have in all of us to adapt, change and develop repetition of detailed control which will result in a solid technique and a powerfully expressive tone.
Growth and development over a lifetime take very special qualities. In order to keep growing, we have to really want what we are after. The yearning for self expression on the instrument should never lose its fire in you. Search gently but persistently for answers, and allow yourself to develop at your own rate. True solutions take a very long time…
“The Body – Alive and Well”
Legs: Is your weight locked at the knees? Put spring in your stance as if you were standing up in a rowboat.
Hips: Are the pelvis or hips locked? Lift your weight up away from the hips, up through your head.
Back: Lift your weight off your pelvis, elongate the sides of the torso. Draw your weight up from the floor creating a feeling of length and width in your back. Imagine space between the shoulder-blades.
Neck: Keep your head loose and free.
Face: Let the jaw relax. Let the mouth cavity become large. Really open your eyes.
Upper torso relaxtion: Imagine you are a puppet doll, head held high and everything hanging loosely away from the head. The neck-chest area should be a feeling of relaxed openness.
Setting the body-maximum breath intake: Let your front become soft and pliable by supporting your weight in your back. Take in a huge amount of air. Let it seep into your sides, up and down your front.
The Well-Assembled Breath: Feel the air cool on the back of your throat. Feel the sides of the throat open.