Beginning Flute Player
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I have a 4th beginning flute player who is deeply struggling with moving from one fingering to the next. She is not the brightest student overall, but she genuinely wants to play and can make a nice sound. Last year she had similar struggles with the recorder. It is obvious that she knows what the fingerings are, she just has to really focus and concentrate to switch from one to the next, especially Eb-F. I have the luxury of having only 2 students in a lesson group so she gets a lot of focused attention.
Other than simply trilling back and forth between notes super slowly and gaining speed, what are some strategies I can use to help her grasp the movement while still keeping things fun! Other students get past this first hurdle quickly and then can play a bunch of songs but I can only imagine how frustrating and BORING this is for her to spend so much time just trying to play 2 notes!
I might try using cross-body or Brain Gym activities with the whole class. Eb to F can be an easy fingering for most students, but it’s also one of the few first notes on the flute that has the hands moving in two different ways- the left hand puts a finger down while the right hand lifts two fingers. Contrary motion can be hard for students that don’t have that coordination yet (and, as a woodwind player, it’s something I try to avoid whenever possible). Working on getting both halves of the body to move independently takes time and practice, and the rest of your class might find Brain Gym activities fun, too.
Playing songs by ear might help, too. There are tons of different five or six note songs that she could try, and not focusing on notation might free her up to focus on her fingers.
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