Proper Flute Playing
A Companion to the Practice Books
By Trevor Wye
Published by Novello
Finding a Teacher
The Basic Elements of Technique
Some Tone Experiments
The Baroque Flute
Contemporary or Extended Flute Techniques
Expression, Phrasing and Style
Concerts and Competitions
Recitalists and Competitors
The Proper Pupil
The Proper Teacher
Common Problems in Teaching
A List of Recommended Study Material
A Porper Library
Bibliography and List of Useful Publications
Proper Flute Playing is concerned with the basic building blocks upon which to develop a firm control of the flute, a good technique and a beautiful tone. It is not intended to favour any particular 'school' of playing, as all schools ultimately point to the same goal: the beautiful performance of music. Most of the practical side of playing is detailed in my Practice Books for the Flute series, and it is not my intention to repeat that information again, except where it is necessary to amplify the points raised in those books. Almost all flute playing techniques are common sense. That is the basis on which this book has been written.
At the time of writing (1988) it is estimated that there are about 200,000 flute players in the United Kingdom alone. That's a lot of flute players. Why, then, aren't there relatively large numbers of brilliant virtuosi? The flute is an easy instrument requiring a certain talent, but with that number of players there should be many more brilliant performers than there are. We can speculate on the reason: a point is reached in a player's progress where the difficulties become too great. At that moment, a player's basic knowledge of the building blocks of flute playing is insufficient to carry him toward further progress.
Flute playing requires specific skills; they can be listed as the basic ingredients of Proper flute playing: determination and enthusiasm; physical fitness for the task; flexible fingers; a reasonable 'ear'; some intelligence; a good sense of rhythm; a 'feeling' for music; an aptitude for the flute. There are others, of course. An incapacity in any one of these areas will weaken the whole structure.
The acquisition of the skills required for Proper flute playing can be likened to building a house: first, the foundations need to be laid before the building of the supporting footings and pillars. Any weakness in the early stages will cause the structure to be unsound. The more advanced the building becomes, the less stable it will be if there is fundamental weakness which hasn't been rectified.
Many young players level off in their climb to acquire a good standard of performance because of one or more weaknesses in their basic technical skills. Possibly this is because they haven't been taught all of them; or possibly because they have chosen to ignore the advice of their teachers. This book will endeavour to simplify the learning of the basic skills required to be a Proper flute player.