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making music with others is fun, playing flute is fun
and the more skilled you become, the greater the fun



Here are some useful tips and downloads to help you get the best from your flute lessons and practice time:

1. PRACTISING:
You will have much more fun playing flute, if you make progress but progress depends upon how you do your practice, so remember this formula: Practice = Work + Play

WORK:
One half of your practice session should be hard work so target a bar or phrase and aim to make it perfect in
1. Tone 2. Rhythm 3. Fingering 4. Breathing 5. Dynamics 6. Articulation 7. Musical Interpretation

PLAY:
The second half of your practice session should be about playing for fun so play lots of pieces you enjoy or explore some new pieces - it's also a great opportunity to develop your sight-reading or improvisation skills. Always make sure that you own a good variety of music - don't just play exam pieces.

EVERYTHING DEPENDS UPON HABIT
Aim to do at least five practice sessions per week. It doesn't matter how long your practice session lasts, it's what you do it in it that counts:
30 minutes of just playing through a piece with bad technique will leave you 30 minutes worse at the end.
10 minutes or more, working to improve an aspect of your technique will ensure that you make progress.

Download a free Practice Page to help you monitor your progress

MAKE MUSIC WITH OTHERS:
Making music with others is good fun and most people prefer it to playing alone. Join a band or have fun playing duets with a friend - it will remind you why you are learning and practising. The Practice Buddy duet versions are a great way of combining exam practice with the pleasure of playing music for fun.

EXAMS:
Each teacher has their own preference for an examining board and many will choose according to which is best suited to an individual student.
Entering for an exam is an expensive and time-consuming activity so make the most of it:-
  • Make sure that you have developed & achieved the skills necessary for the grade.
  • Make sure that you have shown your teacherbefore entering that you are capable of practising efficiently
  • If you are doing scales in the exam, learn them first
  • At the same time learn the scales ( or technical exercise)
  • About 5 weeks before the exam assess how well you are doing. If you cannot play the pieces and scales without confidence, do a lot of extra practice NOW before it is too late (nerves tend to make a candidate regress by about three weeks in the exam room)
TIP: Grades are about demonstrating technical and musical skills - learn the notes of the pieces, then spend time ensuring that you are playing them with the necessary skills!

REPAIRING FLUTES:
Flute repairing/balancing is a highly skilled and difficult job and some repairers find it more difficult than others!
NEVER take your flute for a service or overhaul to someone without a recommendation first, except in the direst emergency!
To keep you flute in best condition always handle it correctly and wipe out the moisture after every session
THE BETTER YOU LOOK AFTER YOUR FLUTE THE LESS IT WILL COST YOU IN REPAIRS

HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR FLUTE NEEDS REPAIR:
  • If your flute feels 'resistant' or difficult to play it may well have some lack of balance in the keys and have one or more 'leaky' keys. This will require a flute service.
  • If one of the keys refuses to bounce back quickly after you have used it, the spring will need replacing (but check first that the spring hasn't just come out of place)
  • If the G key won't work, you've probably knocked the G sharp key out of place and it won't need anything doing to it except bending back into place carefully.
  • If your pads start to disintegrate they will need replacing - this is expensive! (so clean your flute out after each playing session to keep the moisture out of it)
An ‘ overhaul’ consists of stripping the flute down and replacing nearly everything - a very expensive operation.
A ‘service’is general maintenance and fixing of little problems and therefore less expensive than an overhaul
Repairers will also clean your flute when they fix it - but they will also charge you for this so don't let your flute get overly dirty and NEVER play with sticky fingers.