How to get flutes to play a decrescendo
- This topic has 4 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 3 months ago by nafmeadmin.
February 10, 2013 at 6:58 am #20097
We are playing this Grade 4 piece with flutes and piccolo dcrescendos down to ppp. How do I get them doing this without the pitch suffering???February 10, 2013 at 10:13 pm #20102
Keep them rolling! The easy way to play a flute/pic in tune is to keep adjusting. It’s the air that has to change for dynamics and that same air controls pitch levels. Their ears need to be wide open and they need to learn to control their pitch by air and rolling. I’ve heard teachers warn against rolling because it alters hand position and whatnot but as a doubler, I need the quick fix. I (and probably your students) don’t have time to perfect controlling my air and especially not to extremes with ppp so my advice would be to roll in to make the pitch lower and roll out to make it higher. You can also think about dropping the jaw to make the pitch lower and raising it for higher. haha-also, in general my eyebrows do a lot to keep pitch consistent!February 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm #20154
Is the decrescendo on a long note or are they still playing rhythms? If it is on a long note, they can keep blowing at the same speed while gradually closing their mouth. My middle school students do this very well! Encourage them to keep blowing the air until their lips are completely closed. This doesn’t work as well when they are still playing rhythms. Do you have tuners with microphone attachments? If they can practice with this to see how their pitch needs to be adjusted it will help them. Good luck! As a flute/piccolo player I completely understand the frustration!February 14, 2013 at 3:04 pm #20292
I disagree with amcastle rolling out is NOT the way to do things. You control your dynamics with your air and yes rolling will work, but do you want good musician or hacks. They will get drilled to the wall by any good flute instructor for doing that and they will be forced to do it correctly. For a doubler who doesn’t care about their pitch or tone quality that is an acceptable technique, but rolling is like telling a saxophone/clarinet player to slowly take the mouthpiece out of their mouth to create a decrescendo.
Kolbh has your best solution, yes I am also a flute player, but doing this I can even get 5th graders to have a small decrescendo. It takes time and effort, but it is worth it in the end.February 15, 2013 at 9:49 am #20359
I am a player, too, and I’d have to say I agree with both amcastle and baileyj. Rolling out isn’t a way to create a decrescendo, but it is a way to keep the pitch up as you hold onto the note. I wouldn’t do it with my hands, though. The movement should come from the chin or jaw and not the hands or wrists. Keeping the chin up and slightly moving the jaw forward will keep the pitch up, while moving in the opposite direction will keep the sharp notes in check.
I’ve never heard of the closing the mouth to keep the pitch up, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s just another option. I’d try both methods with a tuner and see which one works best for you and your students.
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