Flute Specs: Beginner vs. Intermediate vs. Pro

B foot. Split E. C# trill. Soldered tone holes. What do these all mean? These, my friends, are just a few flute specs. Flutes come with many different specs, sometimes even made specially for the person who will play them.

Hannah B Flute | Flute Specs: Beginner, Intermediate, and Pro

Different level flutes come with different features that are meant for players at that level. Beginner flutes are made so that it is easier to make a sound. Professional flutes offer more resistance and special features. Continue reading “Flute Specs: Beginner vs. Intermediate vs. Pro”

Protec Flute Case Cover Review

If you have been with me for awhile, you might have seen my first review of this case cover. I wrote that post a few years back, and I wanted to write an updated version for you all.

Protec is a company that makes cases and covers for a lot of different instruments. They have cases and bags for woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion, and more.

Hannah B Flute | Protec Flute Case Cover Review

Today, I am going to talk about their deluxe flute case cover. Continue reading “Protec Flute Case Cover Review”

Flute Practice: Quality Over Quantity

For most musicians, time is not on our side. We have to hustle with a day job, work tons of gigs, teach, or do a combination of things. That is why flute practice is so important. But, if you don’t have much time, you need to focus on quality over quantity.

Killer Harmony | Flute Practice: Quality over Quantity

In music school, the idea that I had to practice for hours a day was drilled into my head. If I wanted to be the best, I had to practice as much as I could. Now that I am out of school, that is just not possible for me.

I work full time in an field outside of music, and so I don’t have multiple hours a day to dedicate to practicing. I wish I did, but I don’t. Since graduating, I have learned to appreciate the time I do have to practice.

Here is why quality practice is so important and how you can make the most of the time you have.

Get up earlier.

One thing I have started doing lately is getting up a little earlier than normal. I set my alarm for thirty minutes before I *need* to get up, and I use those 30 minutes to practice.

I did this in school, so why can’t I do it when I’m out of school?

There are many benefits to practicing first thing.

The obvious benefit is that you get it out of the way. You don’t have to think about it all day. That’s especially nice if you work all day.

Another perk of practicing first thing is that I have the energy to do so. I know some people are super groggy first thing, but I am lucky that I am not. Since I am awake, I am able to use some of that energy to practice.

If I were to wait until I got home from work, I would be tired, and I would not have the motivation to practice.

Make a list.

It can be a mental list. I like to make a list of what I want to accomplish in any one practice session. Maybe my goal is as small as improving my harmonics. It might be as big as perfecting a section of a concerto.

A list can help streamline your practice and help you focus on what you need to work on. If you just pick up your flute without any goals or direction, you will just be wasting that time.

So make a list of a few small, achievable goals that you can work on for your next practice session.

Another great thing about listing out your goals is that you can look back at them. You can look back to see if you accomplished your goal or if you missed something.

Then you can reevaluate for your next practice session.

Take a break.

If you are not genuinely motivated to practice, you will not get anything done. I have found that unmotivated practice is a huge waste of time and energy. It accomplishes nothing.

While it can be tempting to practice whenever you have the time, it’s not always worth it. If your mind is elsewhere, put the flute down and come back later.

Mindless practice is exactly that: mindless. Walk away. Go watch a show. Read a book. Take a nap. Do whatever it is that is taking your attention away from the flute.

Part of practice is being able to discipline yourself, and that includes knowing when to take a break. You will improve, but not if you are practicing without wanting to.

Make the most of your time.

When you have limited resources, you learn to make the most of what you do have. That includes time. Unless you are in music school (not working), or you somehow managed to find a full time performing job, you will not have endless practice time.

You will have an outside job, or other classes, or other life responsibilities that you need to tackle. That, sadly, leaves less time for music.

But part of becoming a well rounded adult is learning to make the most of what is available to you. If you really prefer to practice for a longer period of time, utilize your days off. Get up earlier. Go to bed later.

Do what you need to do to practice how you need to, but remember that time is limited. So make the most of it.

How/When I practice.

As I stated above, I like to get up about 30 minutes earlier than I need to so that I can get clock in a half hour of well rested, motivated practice time. I start with harmonics and then long tone to warm up my lips.

Then I move to some technical exercises so that I can work my fingers and practice different articulations. After that, I play through Debussy’s Syrinx from memory. That helps me maintain the piece from memory, and I can practice my expressiveness.

Finally, I move into solo and ensemble music. Since I play in a flute choir, I usually like to work on the harder sections or pieces. I also like to work on a solo or two to build my repertoire list.

If I have the motivation later in the day, I practice some more, and I will usually pick up my piccolo. However, since I have already achieved thirty minutes of uninterrupted practice, I don’t feel bad if I don’t have the motivation to play later in the day.

That’s the nice thing about having an outside job. I can be more forgiving with myself when it comes to music. I don’t *have* to practice all the time. Music is something I can do on my own terms.

So…

How do you practice? Do you practice quality over quantity? Let me know in the comments!

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Flute Tips for Older Beginners

There are tons of resources for younger music students, but there aren’t many books or websites that target older learners. I started playing flute at age 16, and many of the basic beginner tools and books were for elementary school students. So, I want to share some flute tips for older beginners.

Killer Harmony | Flute Tips for Older Beginners

I have played music of some sort since I was 6, but flute came later. Whether you have prior music experience or not, I hope these tips help you up your flute game.

One of the biggest assets that older beginners have is their drive. Many young students play music because of their parents or friends. When you’re older, you can focus on music and do it for you. Whether you are 16 or 60 and up, these tips are for you.

Start with Rubank.

The Rubank books are a great beginner method for flute. Most “band books” are created with younger players in a class in mind. Those books aren’t well suited for older beginners or students who are learning independently.

Rubank has four volumes across three levels for flute players. The beginner method is similar to other beginner books, but it goes a little bit faster. In my experience, older music students are more motivated to improve.

Older beginners can handle the speed at which Rubank moves along. It is easier to learn and progress on an individual basis rather than in a class. If you start with a good quality method book, you will be better prepared for the future.

Get a Good Student Flute.

By good student flute, I don’t mean those cheap no-brand flutes you find on Amazon or Ebay. As an older beginner, especially if you are financially independent, you can afford a better instrument.

While brands like Jupiter and Gemeinhardt are well known, they are not always the best quality. I would recommend brands such as Trevor James, DiZhao, and Yamaha for older beginners. Those instruments will last longer than other brands, and they will hold their value better.

Trevor James, DiZhao, and Yamaha are more expensive, but they are worth it. I have the Trevor James 10x, which plays just as well as my more advanced flute. I have also heard good things about the DiZhao and Yamaha student flutes.

Focus on Your Tone.

Tone is the foundation of your flute sound. When you are starting out and as you get better, make getting a good tone your priority. That is another reason why you want a good flute.

I always start with tone exercises when I warm up. Harmonics, long tones, and octave leaps are all essential to my practice routine.

If you are a full time student or you work full time, you probably have a limited amount of practice time. Tone exercises are a quick and easy way to build and maintain your sound on flute.

Listen to Recordings.

Since you cannot practice all the time, listen to flute recordings on your way to work. Have some music playing while you make dinner. Listen, listen, listen.

You can then try and emulate the sounds you hear on those recordings. Listening to music also helps you learn new pieces. As you reach the point of learning full repertoire, your ears can be a super valuable resource.

I don’t listen to recordings as much as I should, but they are extremely helpful when I do listen.

Join Online Flute Groups.

I am a part of a few different flute related Facebook groups. I love being able to both ask and answer questions about the flute in a safe space. Everyone in those groups has a different background, and we can all share our experiences to help others.

When you first begin the flute, you won’t be able to answer questions. You can ask all the questions you need, and there are many flutists who can help you out.

Flute groups are especially helpful if you cannot take private lessons. Members include everyone from beginners to professionals, flute teachers, and flute technicians.

Don’t Give Up.

If you take any advice from this post, let it be this. Do not give up on the flute. It can be difficult. You might have days where you don’t want to practice. You might have a bad tone day. Things happen.

If you really want to play flute, you have to work on it. Giving up is the easy option, but is it worth it? Music does wonders for the mind, body, and soul. We need more adult amateurs in this world. Music should not just be something for children. Music is for everyone.

If you do have a ton of doubt about playing flute, take a break. Step away from it for awhile. Give yourself a break. That might be all you need. You might go back to the flute and have a renewed love of the instrument.

So…

When did you start learning the flute? Are you an older beginner? Or a re-beginner? Let me know in the comments!

Intermediate Flute Exercises (+ Free Download)

If you are an intermediate level flutist, you have probably started to learn about the concept of warming up. What is a warm up? Why is it necessary? These are just a couple of questions you might have. I have flute exercises just for you.

Killer Harmony | Flute Exercises (Download) for flutists

As a music grad, I have learned a lot about how to prepare yourself to play flute. That includes how to warm up my lips and my body so that I don’t injure myself.

But not everyone has the luxury of taking private lessons and learning all about warm ups. If you don’t warm up, like for a work out, you have a greater risk of injuring yourself. So, to avoid that, here are some tips for warming up.

(Plus a free download of some flute exercises!)

Note: This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy, click here.

Stretch out.

This one is for your body. If you don’t stretch your muscles, they could tense up during play. This is especially true if you aren’t using a proper stance or hand position.

Giving your muscles a short stretch can help relieve possible pain, and you will be more flexible during your practice session.

Roll your shoulders, flex your elbows and wrists, and stretch out your neck. If you will be sitting, stretch out your back so you can maintain a better position for yourself and your flute.

Put your flute together.

This isn’t exactly a warm up, but it’s still something to think about. the way you put your flute together can have a major impact on your flute practice.

When assembling your flute, DO NOT touch the keys or the mechanism. Doing so can cause the keys and rods to bend. Bent keys lead to leaky keys. Leaky keys result in a flute that can be annoying at best and unplayable at worst.

Always assemble your flute (and hold it) by the smooth parts around the barrel and (for the foot joint) the end of the flute.

Long tones.

Long tones are the bane of many flute players’ existence. It can be super boring to just play one note for as long as possible. But long tones can help you in many ways.

If they are the first thing you play, they will help you create your sound for the day. You don’t have to worry about crazy finger patterns. All you have to focus on is creating the proper embouchure.

The best starting note for long tones in the B in the middle of the staff. It’s a fairly open note, but both the left thumb and index finger are down. This means that the flute is easier to hold in place than other more open notes.

Harmonics.

The harmonic series is something that every flutist should learn and understand at some point, so now is a good chance to learn.

Since flutes don’t have an octave key like other woodwinds, we have to rely more on the harmonic series to play higher notes. Let’s take that B again.

The B in the middle of the staff (B4) is the lowest B on flutes with a C foot. It is also the lowest note with that same fingering. So, it is considered a foundation.

This note is the start of a harmonic series. The B above it (B5) has the exact same fingering, except you need to change the air so that you produce a higher pitch. That is a perfect example of harmonics on flute.

Other notes in the same harmonic series are F#6 and B6.

To learn more about the harmonic series, check out Trevor Wye’s Practice Books for the Flute.

Octave leaps.

Because we have to work more with our lips to achieve notes in different octaves, it is important to work on octave leaps or octave jumps.

This is where you start on one note and then leap up or down to the same note in a different octave. Octave exercises help build lip strength as well as better air support.

I don’t practice octave leaps as much as I should, but they are essential when you are still fairly new at the flute. You should also be able to play any note as a starting note, because you want to be prepared for anything.

Some composers like to write music that starts out on a difficult note. (Pun intended.)

Chromatic scale.

All scales are important, and you should know the majors, natural minors, harmonic minors, and natural minors. But one scale that often gets neglected is the chromatic scale.

The other scales all fit into one key signature, but the chromatic scale includes every note. So while you might learn your Bb major scale along with an etude or solo in that key, the chromatic scale gets left behind.

It’s important to know the chromatic scale, because there are some chromatic passages (especially in newer works), and it is a great way to test your knowledge of the entire range of the instrument.

So…

Now that you know what you should do to warm up, where can you find all of those exercises? I decided to create a PDF of these exercises, and I’m offering it up FOR FREE!

Just subscribe below, and you will get access to a free download of all the exercises mentioned in the post!

Download the exercises here.

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