#03 - USE Your Fingers...

Finger Techniques for Creating Clean Notes

The first step of this lesson is to get your minds out of the gutter...

People often ask "How do you get notes to pop out of the flute?" The best way to create this effect is to bring your fingers firmly down on the flute when you close tone holes.

Listen to the playing of Matt Malloy. You can hear his fingers slapping down on the flute to close the tone holes. This gives a really cool percussive feel to your style of playing, too.

Malloy gets a great driving sound in his playing from the combination of playing with lots of support (bringing a lot of air to the flute), a very strong embouchure, and driving his fingers to the flute.When you bring your fingers firmly down on the tone holes, it causes a dramatic shift in pressure inside the flute which gives the note no choice but to come out. Also remember to "explode" your fingers up off of the tone holes, too. This creates an equally dramatic shift in pressure.

If you're notes sound a little fuzzy, make sure that you're really closing the tone hole before you go to the next note. Play the note you're supposed to be playing. The next one will come soon enough.

Suggested Exercise:

Take a long breath and play a G at moderate volume, and quickly slam your fourth finger (F#) down onto your flute. Do this several times so that you feel the F# pop out of the flute. Then, using one breath and starting on B, "slam" slowly down the scale to your low D one note at a time. Do this in both octaves. Next, starting in the second octave, also on B, repeat the exercise, but diving to the first octave for the lower note.

The first two exercises develop a feel of how to make the notes pop out and the third incorporates embouchure control over two octaves.

Remember to commit to EVERY note that you play with plenty of air, good embouchure control, and firm fingering...