If you play flute, odds are you have heard of Trevor Wye. If you haven’t, he is a flutist from the UK, and he has written a series of books aimed at advancing flutists. He also has a series for beginners, but I have never worked out of those books. I have played out of his series: Practice Books for the Flute. I have volumes 1-6, and I have to say, they are a great resource. In this review series, I am going to break it down by volume so that I can explain things based on each topic that the different volumes cover. This is the first part in a 6 part series where I will cover in depth each of the volumes of the practice books.
VOLUME I: Tone
This is the first volume that I really started working out of from the practice books. It makes sense to do volume 1 first (right?). The book starts out with a preface written by Trevor Wye that everyone should read. I think you should read all of his commentary on the various exercises. They are hilarious.
The first set of exercises is on harmonics. The idea behind this is that you should realize that the middle and high registers on flute are based on harmonic overtones of the low register. The exercises are pretty short and sweet, and I can play them from memory. If you are wanting to work on your ear training skills, these are s great way to do that.
Next up is the low register. First, you have long tones starting at middle line B and going down chromatically to the bottom note on the flute. Since Trevor Wye is British, and I guess they have a different mindset on low B over there, the exercises stop at low (really middle-if you think of piano) C. There are a few exercises of this type that incorporate different numbers of notes in one run. Then you have some exercises that are a little more interesting. There are some excerpts from the flute repertoire followed by transpositions in different keys going down to the bottom of the instrument.
The next section focuses on the middle register. It starts off in the same way that the section on the low register does. You start on middle line B and move chromatically, although this time you go up, not down, stopping at the B just above the staff. It is structured pretty much the same way as the previous section: simple long tone exercises followed by more enticing ones.
Instead of moving right into the high register, there is a short section dedicated to preparing for that leap into the area that might make grown men cry. (Not my original thought, I saw it in a meme online.) This section has a few nice melodic excerpts that are meant to blend the registers together so that they sound cohesive. You have an exercise in minor and one in major, going up chromatically, as per usual.
Then you have the high register. You start at the B above the staff and go up chromatically for one octave. You can go higher if you want, but it is only written for one octave. You, again, have a few different exercises to improve your playing, but there are not any melody-based exercises for the top register. This is fine, as you can always look for melodies written for piccolo if you want to experiment on your own.
I have not had the chance to experiment with every part of this volume, but there is a section on high E and high F#, since those notes can be pretty tricky. There is also a section on flexibility with different exercises to improve your embouchure flexibility and to strengthen those muscles. These flexibility exercises not only work your lips, they are great for improving your note reading abilities. I have played the first one, and it definitely takes flexibility.
There is also a section on pitch control which uses some of the harmonics that are covered earlier in the book. Then you have a few excerpts for things like tone and flexibility. These come from the flute repertoire.
Next, I will cover Volume II: Technique. I hope this review helped if you were already interested, and if not, maybe it sparked an idea in your head for a new method to try! If you want to buy Volume I, click here
If you want to check out the Omnibus Edition, with the first five volumes, click here
Thanks for reading!