Do you want to learn a new flute skill? If so, I highly suggest you play flute etudes as part of your practice.
The right etude can help you learn new techniques. Then, you can become the best flute player you can be.
Before we get into the benefits of etudes, this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy to learn more.
One of my favorite reasons to play flute etudes is that they’re always going to be unaccompanied. That means you don’t need to find and pay a pianist to play with you if you want to perform.
Granted, etudes aren’t the most common rep for performances. But maybe you want to play a study in a masterclass or something. Selecting an etude can be a good way to do that.
Of course, you can also play flute etudes for yourself. Even if you never want to share the music with others, you can practice. Then, you can practice playing through the whole thing for when you have a bigger solo to play.
Another advantage of etudes is that they’re usually pretty short. I’ve seen etudes as short as like 12 or 16 measures. If you want to learn some music pretty quickly, studies are the way to go.
You don’t have to spend multiple weeks working through a whole sonata or a concerto. If you have a lot of other obligations, you may need to stick to short pieces of music.
That’s okay, and you can use etudes as your music of choice. You can also learn more etudes in the time it would take to learn a bigger work. For some players, learning a lot of music is more fulfilling.
Can Be Pretty
Some etudes sound as beautiful as “real” pieces. You don’t have to worry about everything you play being super technical. Sure, many etudes are a bit on the technical side since they tend to involve some scales and similar exercises.
But I’ve found some gorgeous etudes that you can learn. Take Donjon’s 8 Etudes de Salon, for example. I first played these studies a few years ago, and some of them sound like solos.
So if you’re looking for short, beautiful pieces, don’t discount etudes. They may not be as virtuosic or impressive as other works. However, they can be a good addition to your repertoire.
One Specific Technique
Many etudes have you focus on one specific technique or aspect of flute playing. If you want to work on arpeggios for example, you can play Andersen’s Opus 15, Etude No. 3.
A lot of etudes also stick to one key center. That can help you reinforce that particular key. The next time the given key comes up in other repertoire, you’ll know what notes to play.
You can learn these things with standard rep. However, if you never play flute etudes, it may take longer to learn certain techniques. Etudes tend to be easier and faster to learn, so you can improve more efficiently.
Hold Yourself Accountable
You can also play flute etudes with others to hold yourself accountable to practicing. Maybe you don’t know any flute players near you. If you’re on Facebook, you can join the Etude of the Week group.
Then, you can post a recording of yourself playing that week’s study. It’s a good way to stay on top of your practicing. And you’ll have a group of people who support you and can encourage you.
Of course, you can also get this accountability through private lessons or an ensemble. But sometimes, you may be to busy for lessons or rehearsals, and the internet is a great resource.
What Are the Best Flute Etudes to Play?
The best flute etudes to play will vary from player to player. If you’re a beginner, I suggest starting with shorter studies.
However, if you’re more advanced, you can tackle the various Andersen etudes or some Kohler studies. I also have a collection of etudes if you want something new.
Can Beginners Play Flute Etudes?
Beginners can play flute etudes. However, you’ll need to know at least an octave or so of the flute’s range.
I haven’t found a ton of etudes specifically for new flute players. For now, work from a beginner flute book, and you can learn etudes later.
Will You Play Flute Etudes?
Learning to play flute etudes is an important part of improving as a flutist. If you’re a complete beginner, you should wait.
But if you have some playing experience, check out your options. I have a collection called 12 Flute-y Etudes if you’re tired of all of the standards.