Do you want to work on the fundamentals of your flute playing? Consider adding some flute etudes to your practice schedule.
A good set of etudes can help you learn or refine techniques. Then, you’ll be able to handle pieces of repertoire more easily, and you can save yourself some practice time.
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Joachim Andersen wrote multiple opuses of some of the best flute etudes. Some of his studies are much more difficult than others. Opus 15 is notoriously hard, especially the third etude in that collection.
If you’re looking for an easier set of etudes by Andersen, Opus 33 is a great option. But there are even more opuses full of studies from this composer. So if you like his style, you can play more similar short pieces.
Every flute player should play at least a few Andersen etudes. They’re a huge part of the repertoire, and they play an important role in developing your skills. These studies are especially important if you’re in college or want to be a professional.
Ernesto Kohler was another composer who wrote quite a lot of etudes for flute. Opus 66, also known as Romantic Etudes, contains 25 short pieces where each as a fun name related to the study.
Another collection to check out is Opus 33, which has some good etudes for advancing students. You can use either opus or any of the other etude opuses by Kohler to learn more about playing the flute.
If you like Romantic music, check out the Romantic Etudes. You may find that you can turn a lot of them into more than “just” a study that you play when practicing.
3. Donjon 8 Etudes de Salon
Another excellent set of etudes to play is 8 Etudes de Salon by Donjon. I first learned these etudes when the Facebook group “Etude of the Week” worked through this book, and I fell in love.
Out of all of the etudes I’ve studied, these are the most similar to pieces. And don’t get me wrong, etudes are great. They can help you learn a specific technique that will help you play new pieces.
However, it’s nice to have an etude (or eight) that you can perform like any other piece. So you can use the etudes to practice as normal, or you can practice the art of performing them for family or a recording.
4. Paganini 24 Caprices for Flute
Paganini’s 24 Caprices are originally for the violin, but Marina Piccinini arranged them so that they can work on the flute. Like the Donjon etudes, these can work as etudes or individual pieces, and all of them are unique.
I also learned of this specific arrangement through the Etude of the Week group. They’re super fun to play, though they are difficult. Of course, some are a bit easier than others, so feel free to pick and choose the ones you want to learn.
You can also work through the book one study at a time. That way, you’ll be able to learn more. While you can play these from the violin version, you have to worry about low Gs and As as well as double stops that the flute version omits.
5. Moyse 24 Petite Etudes Melodiques
Another set of etudes I learned of because of Facebook is Marcel Moyse’s 24 Petite Etudes Melodiques. These studies cover all of the major and minor keys, and they’re all pretty short so somewhat easy to learn.
I worked through these flute etudes again during my masters. They helped me a lot with my tone, and they’re great transposition exercises. Whether you play the alto flute or want to experiment with different keys, transposing isn’t too hard.
Plus, most of the etudes have at least one or two variations. The variations can help you learn to do even more with your sound. And you can come up with your own variations of the studies to practice your composition skills.
6. Moyse 25 Etudes Melodiques
After I finished the other Moyse book, I got Moyse’s 25 Etudes Melodiques. This is a sort of second book to the book of 24 etudes. You can go through studies in all of the keys, both major and minor.
Like the other book, this one has variations to go with the etudes. You can use the variations to experiment and learn more from the studies. These are great for college students and anyone out of college at an advanced level.
You can work through them with a teacher or on your own. If you’ve played the other Moyse etudes and want more that are similar, give these a try. You may just find your next favorite set of flute etudes.
7. Haefele 12 Flute-y Etudes
Not to too my own horn, but I’ve also composed a set of flute etudes. The studies are in different keys and have different styles. As you play through them, you may notice the inspiration from Bach and other composers.
I wanted to compose these etudes because we often go through the many classics. Of course, etudes are classic because they help students improve. But it’s fun to shake things up and learn something new.
If you’re tired of playing or teaching the same flute etudes all of the time, give 12 Flute-y Etudes a try. You and your students can explore the etudes you like or go through each one to learn the entire set.
How to Choose Flute Etudes
I can recommend the best flute etudes all day. But it’s important to be able to choose the best flute etudes for yourself or your students.
Consider the following tips to help you choose a good set of etudes.
First, you should think about how difficult etudes should be. If you or a student is at an intermediate level, you may want to avoid studies like the Paganini caprices, which can get pretty challenging.
On the other hand, the caprices can be great for an advanced student or professional. If possible, take a look at the etudes or see if there’s a preview available. That way, you can determine if the studies will meet your needs.
You may also want to look at how long the etudes are. Some, like in the Moyse books, are relatively short. They don’t take a ton of practice time to learn, so they’re nice if you only have an hour or so to practice all of your music.
However, you may want some longer etudes, like the caprices. That way, you can spend more time focusing on your tone or technique. you can really learn those aspects of the flute to improve your playing.
Along with the length, you should consider how many etudes are in a book. A set of etudes may have as few as 8 or as many as 25 studies. If you get a collection with more etudes, you will have more to work on before needing to buy a new set.
But if you aren’t ready to commit, you can get a book with a fewer number of studies. That way, you can finish the book in less time. You may feel more accomplished, and you can decide to take on more studies in the future.
You should also consider your musical goals and how etudes can help. Some etudes, like the Moyse studies, are great for flute fundamentals. However, the Donjon etudes are more similar to pieces that you can perform.
Consider what you want to work on and how you want your etudes to be part of your overall practice. That way, you’ll be able to focus on the things you want to improve as you play the flute.
Which Flute Etudes Will You Learn?
Flute etudes are a great way to improve your playing. But you should consider which studies are best for you. Then, you’ll be able to meet your goals and practice more efficiently.
Do you want some new etudes to play? Download 12 Flute-y Etudes today!