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Spring Cleaning Your Flute Technique

No mess, no stress: the positive power of spring cleaning.


What is flute “spring cleaning,” anyway? Spring cleaning is a dedicated period of time to focus on your fundamental skills as you transition into a new season. It is an opportunity to delve deeper into your flute practice routine and explore studies and methods that go beyond the conventional scale and fundamental exercises. 

During this spring cleaning phase, I recommend incorporating a variety of specialized flute methods into your practice sessions. These resources offer a comprehensive approach to flute playing, targeting specific aspects of technique and musicality. Here are some of my favorite flute books to use!


  1. The Flutist's Vade Mecum, Second Edition







If you don’t own this book already, it’s certainly a must-have! The Flutist's Vade Mecum is a greatly expanded, all-encompassing approach to the study and perfection of scale, arpeggio, trill and finger technique. I personally found this book to be a life-changer for me. Kujala did an amazing job of laying out so many different possibilities to work on refining your technique! Vade Mecum highlights your basic major, minor, whole-tone and chromatic scales, major and minor broken 3rds (including their inversions), the four triads, and diminished and dominant seventh chords as well as regular coverage of the extremes of the flute range (low B, C, C# and altissimo B, C, C#, and D), expanded vocabulary of scales, including modal, pentatonic, octatonic, blues and Hungarian minor. Specific instruction on the use of atternate and "facilitating" fingering, the use of five and seven-note groups, and odd meters, and so much more. Another thing to note is that practice menus are available!


  1. 17 Daily Exercises Taffanel & Gaubert: Choi Edition (new release!)







Taffanel & Gaubert’s 17 DAILY EXERCISES has long been the standard source for daily warm-ups and general practice. Newly released this spring 2023, Jasmine Choi provides a must-have expanded edition presenting the complete and authentic original “T&G” enhanced by additional suggestions and exercises for the expanded low and high ranges. This edition also provides commentary and advice, suggesting how, why, and even when to practice each of the Exercises. Choi includes commentary from her former teachers including Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner.


  1. Coffee Noodles









Paul Edmund-Davies' book "Coffee Noodles" provides a refreshing and invigorating approach for musicians who have encountered the repetitive nature of their practice sessions. If you've ever felt the desire to break away from the monotonous routine, then this book is designed with you in mind.

The concept behind "Coffee Noodles" revolves around seven exercises, each meant to be practiced on a specific day of the week. These exercises are carefully crafted to target key areas of musicianship, including finger dexterity, embouchure control, breath support, articulation, stamina, and mental agility. By focusing on these fundamental aspects, "Coffee Noodles" aims to warm up and strengthen these vital areas while providing a stimulating and enjoyable practice experience!

  1. The Art of Chunking








Advanced Flute Studies: The Art of Chunking presents the first and only method for flutists to master the process of “chunking” as a pedagogical technique.  “Chunking” is a practice method in which the flutist isolates a technical passage by playing one inch of the notes followed by a rest. The unit is called a “chunk”, and it can be played with a variety of articulations. “Chunking” offers many benefits for a flutist. One of the biggest highlights I’ve experienced from this tool is how it helps coordinate what the eye sees and reads with short-term memory, so when reading music, it helps you stay in real time. “Chunking” also improves finger coordination and helps finger combinations transfer to long-term memory. Through exploration of technical studies, etudes, preludes, cadenzas, and solos, the flutist is introduced to the basics through advanced chunking techniques to facilitate reading and tone development. 


  1. Beatboxing and Beyond








Whether you are looking to diversify your practice routine, add more 20th and 21st-century music to your repertoire list, or develop new ways to teach the wide range of extended techniques on the flute, this method is for you! While mastering extended techniques will allow you to explore the full range of flute repertoire from the 1950s through present day, the practice of extended techniques also provides excellent benefits to traditional flute playing and musicianship skills. These benefits include a more refined and open tone, greater projection, improved air support, overall endurance, and refinement of ear training skills.

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