The Six Flute Embouchure Mistakes To Avoid

The flute embouchure is one of the most talked about and potentially difficult concepts to master in flute playing. How do we as unique individuals form the embouchure and how does it influence our sound? This article will outline these two important questions, as well as help you avoid six common mistakes that lead to future tone and playing problems. Watch my step-by-step video tutorial below to find your own unique embouchure and start you on the path to terrific
Continue Reading

Italian Musical Terms: A matter of Style

Italian musical terms that describe a playing style or mood can be used at the beginning or throughout a piece of music. A piece might have only one mood described for its entire duration, or sections might have different moods that change regularly back and forth. These musical terms help to create a mental picture for the player, cultivating other aspects of playing such as the appropriate flute tone, tempo and articulation that should be used. Some commonly used Italian
Continue Reading

Tempo Markings (speed) and changes of tempo

At the beginning of each piece the initial tempo (or speed) of the piece is usually indicated using an Italian word. Overall, there are no strict speeds when it comes to tempo markings. But since the invention of the metronome, often a recommended speed (in beats per minute) is indicated for you. The larger the number means the faster the speed of the music. 120 beats per minute is twice as fast as 60 beats per minute and so on
Continue Reading

Dynamics in music (volume) and changes in dynamics

Dynamics in music refers to the volume markings used by composers as an element of musical animation. Whether it be the peaceful ebb and flow of waves on the sand or the triumphant shout of a returning warrior, volume can be an effective means of communicating a story or a mood to the audience.  Some of the common Italian musical terms and symbols for dynamics in music are given in the table below. Adding this element into your music playing
Continue Reading

Articulation in Music

Articulation in music refers to the playing method used to transition between notes. These transitions can range from smooth and connected (legato) to very detached and separated (staccatissimo). Just like when we are speaking and emphasise certain words, different combinations of articulation in music helps to communicate a story with a mood or feeling behind it. Imagine, if you were telling someone “I love you.” You wouldn’t pronounce those words short and sharply, almost spitting them out. You would (hopefully)
Continue Reading

Flute tone colours: How to Find Your Flute’s Voice…

So you’ve managed to make a sound on the flute. Fantastic!! But now there’s more work to do!  Your sound or ‘flute tone’ needs to be refined to become clear and focused. And this means for every note and over all dynamic ranges! Good flute tone is often one of those things kicked to the curb by beginners, simply in their excitement to learn new notes and start playing melodies. However, months or even years of playing without an understanding of
Continue Reading

How Flute Scales Can Transform Your Playing

Just mentioning flute scales to a student can make them shudder! It’s a shame, but so many players waste valuable practise time blundering through their scales as quickly as possible. But given the right care and attention, scales have the power to contribute to your flute playing in a way you never knew possible! By learning scales you are learning the language of music. And by making your flute scales beautiful, the pieces you play will automatically reflect this beauty.
Continue Reading

The Flute Tuning Crash Course for Beginners

As a beginner, you might not know that your flute technically needs to be tuned every time you play it. But what does it mean to be ‘in tune’ and how do we do it?? This blog will get a bit scientific and look at how ‘sound’ works, explain why tuning is important, what affects it, and includes my personal step-by-step video guide to flute tuning. How sound works Musical instruments produce many sounds (musical notes) that each have a
Continue Reading

The Art of Composing Music with local flute player Jenni Bell

Talented Brisbane multi-instrumentalist Jenni Bell has been a good friend of mine for the best part of a decade. I met her and her artist husband John through a church we both attended. Such a warm and instantly likeable couple, they both have a deep passion for the arts and for people. You can catch them regularly hitting the live music scene around Brisbane. In September 2016, out of the blue Jenni wandered up to me, shyly clutching a bag.
Continue Reading

How to Beat Music Performance Anxiety

Music performance anxiety (also known as stage fright) affects musicians of all ages and abilities. Studies of thousands of musicians have found that most suffer some form of music performance anxiety. And most of these have had performances that they felt were affected by their anxiety. For some people it can be so overwhelming it prevents them from pursuing a career as a professional player. Signs of music performance anxiety Have you felt one of these anxiety signs before or
Continue Reading