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Teaching with Extended Flute Techniques

By Alexis Del Palazzo

O Tone Development
ver the past 20 years extended appreciate the quick progress that
techniques have become a fun- results from using these techniques. Harmonics, throat tuning, and whis-
damental skill for aspiring and They also break up the tedious rou- tle tones help develop the embouchure
established professional flutists. College tine that often occurs when working and create a focused, resonant sound.
students cannot escape studying at least with beginning students. Many begin- They can be introduced to beginning
one piece with extended techniques, and ners grow frustrated when progress is and intermediate students, either as
professional flutists encounter them on a slow. When students explore and exper- part of the regular curriculum or as par-
regular basis. Despite their prevalence, iment with something fun like throat ticular fundamental problems arise.
contemporary techniques are largely tuning (singing and playing or vocaliz- For example, harmonics develop lip
ignored by teachers of young students. ing) or harmonics, they see the expand- strength and focus in the low-mid reg-
They address them when students ask ed possibilities of the instrument. isters. Various exercises, regardless of
but often fail to explain how they also Finally, familiarity with extended their perceived level, can be useful in
apply to traditional flute playing. techniques at a young age is tremen- solving students' problems.
Teachers of all levels should incorporate dously beneficial for flutists who will
these techniques into their curriculum. pursue music as a career. Students who Harmonics
only learn traditional repertoire are There are many harmonic exercises
Pedagogical Benefits more likely to reject extended tech- that are easy to learn and memorize.
Contemporary techniques can niques when they encounter them As Robert Dick explains in Tone
improve the primary fundamentals for later. Teachers should work to create Development through Extended
good tone production. Many materials well-rounded musicians through expo- Techniques, harmonics occur "when
are available to help teachers use sure to various types of music, even for low octave regular fingerings are
extended techniques as pedagogical those students who may not choose a overblown through their overtone
tools (see appendix). Students will career in music. series. The flute produces pitches in

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MARCH 2009 / FLUTE TALK 17


Weekly Pracl
Ringing D's • , - Vocalizing
Monday ' ' (or pitch that is best) (Robert Dick Ex.) .^

Tuesday Ringing D's Lukas-Graf Ex. ' "j

Wednesday . Ringing D's Robert Dicfc Ex. r '-.

Thursday Ringing D's Robert Dick Ex: u


. ;, -' •• '' ._,•»> ^ **
Friday Ringing D's Robert Dick Ex.*<- ^
Saturday Ringing D's Robert Dick Ex.

Sunday Ringing D's Robert Dick Ex.

the overtone series for pipes open at exercise to guide the shape of the lij
both ends, called natural harmonics."1 These words naturally open the
Here is the harmonic series when C cavity to produce the embouchul
is the fundamental (or first partial): shape and air speed necessary.

Fundamental
(1st partial*

His book also includes exercises that Repeat starting on B\>, E, F, F», G, G«, Ar5j
extend from the most basic to alternat-
ing between harmonics and regular Ad, B, C, andCl
fingerings. The basic harmonic exer-
cise, #\ in Dick's book is a good place Whether you create your own exeS
to start with young students. cises or use the ones here, the ultimaj
Young students should also try goal for practicing harmonics is to fii
Patricia George's harmonic exercise. It and develop an awareness of the b<
starts on low D as the first fundamental embouchure position for each note.3'
and overblows to the octave (the first
partial) and the fifth (the second par- Vocalization
tial). The fundamental notes ascend Because most extended technique
chromatically to middle CK. "See, Sue, enhance tone production an<|
Pooh" are words that accompany the embouchure awareness, a second tect

AZUMl- ?

FOR THE GROWING FLUTIST

AZUM I F L U T E S . C O M
A PRODUCT OF ALTUS HANDMADE FLUTES

18 FLUTE TALK/MARCH 2009


Students should choose a starting
pitch for the exercise that fits most
comfortably within their vocal range. AN IMPRESSIVE
As they become more comfortable STEP-UP FLUTE FOR
Long Tones
Whistle Tones with it, they can expand their range. A YOUNG PLAYER."
(Moyse, De la Sonorite)
When traditional teaching fails to
Moyse Whistle Tones help students produce a resonant -TREVOR WYE
sound, vocalizing while playing gener-
ally produces positive results.
Moyse Whistle Tones

Whistle Tpnes, ,,.,


Whistle Tones
Moyse Whistle tones, sometimes called
> '' ' v^'< *{*'< "whisper" tones, help relax the
Moyse Whistle Tones" , embouchure. Although difficult to
produce initially, whistle tones pro-
Moyse Whistle Tones duce an immediate effect and create a
freer, more resonant sound; lip flexibil-
Moyse Whistle Tones ity is increased, and the lips naturally-
move forward, creating more space
between the front teeth and lips. As
nique to incorporate for tone, reso- William Kincaid said, "This little cal-
nance, and tone color is singing while isthenic makes an excellent warm-up
playing (throat tuning or vocalizing). exercise for embouchure placement
Throat tuning can only be mastered by and breath control. It is an excellent
simultaneously singing and playing, discipline to try to isolate one note
but the benefits are tremendous. from the whistle series and sustain it
Robert Dick includes an excellent for 10 seconds. The slightest change in
explanation of the benefits of vocaliz- breath support will flick you to one of
ing. He says that flute sound comes not the adjoining whistle notes."6
only from the flute but also from the Whistle tones are produced by gently
player, and because each body is differ- blowing a very slow air stream across
ent, players' sounds differ. His analogy the edge of the embouchure hole. As
of comparing a vibraphone's resonating Dick points out, players should experi-
tube to the throat provides a visual ment with tongue position when prac-
image of what vocal chords can do. "To ticing whistle tones. "When the tongue
understand this sensation, play a note is positioned correctly, the loudness of
on the piano or other fixed-pitch whisper tones can be greatly increased,
instrument that is comfortably in your although they always will be a relative-
vocal range. Then, prepare to sing it. ly soft sonority."7
Before the note is sung, there is a Whistle tones can be a challenge for
change in the throat when the vocal young players, because they require
chords are brought to the correct posi- great tongue and lip control. First ask
tion to sing the pitch. When the vocal students just to whistle without the
chords are held in position to sing a flute. Then have them maintain that
given pitch, the throat is in position to whistling position as they add the flute
resonate that pitch best."4 and blow a slow, steady stream of air.
It takes time to develop the skill of The high register is usually the easiest
singing while playing, but once players and least frustrating. Help younger stu-
are aware of their vocal chords, the fol- dents finger the proper pitches if
lowing exercise is excellent. It is iden- experimenting in a lesson.
tical to Exercise No. 1 in Taffanel and Once they can produce a few whistle
Gaubert's 17 Big Daily Exercises, Play tones, many exercises can be used. The
the five-finger pattern normally at best that I have found is in Peter
first, then sing it without playing while Lukas-Graf's Check'Up, which has an
fingering the pitches, then sing and
play together, and finally play normal- N=normal, W=whistle . -•
ly but with the sensation of singing.5 ft

44^ f f f '
Play normally Sing without playing,
hut finger the pitches

Sing and play together Play normally, with


the sensation of singing.

MARCH 2009 / FLUTE TALK 19


exercise that combines normally-played sibility to provide them with that

What more pitches and whistle tones. Not only is


this more challenging (and interest-
understanding.

can we say? ing), but it immediately improves the


quality of the normally-played notes.
There is a practical approach to
Extended Techniques Resources
and Repertoire
daily extended technique practice that For Beginners:
can be incorporated into traditional Richard Rodney Bennett. Six Tunes for
practice to expedite progress. The the Instruction of Singing Birds
practice chart on the previous page is (Novello)
for intermediate to advanced students Linda Holland. Easing into Extended
that shows a standard daily warm-up Techniques, Volumes 1-5 (Con Brio
that includes all these techniques. Music Publishing)
Also included are Marcel Moyse's long Phyllis Avidan. Extended Techniques—
tone exercises from De la, Sonorite and Double the Fun (Airy Publications)
Patricia George's Ringing D's exercise, Dean Stallard. First Journey to the
both of which are good for finding the Beyond (Norsk Noteservice)
sweet spot in your tone. For Intermediate:
Joseph Diermaier. Five Images after
Ringing D Exercise (Patricia George)
paintings by Arnold Schoenberg
(Universal Edition)
Robert Dick. Lookout (Multiple Breath
Music Company)
Even traditional, early 20th-century Robert Dick. Flying Lessons, Volumes
flute repertoire includes some of these I-II (Multiple Breath Music
techniques, such as the harmonics Company)
found in Debussy's Syrinx and the flut- Kazuo Fukushima. Requiem (Suivi
ter tonguing in Darius Milhaud's Zerboni)
Sonatine. Information about these Linda Holland. Easing into Extended
r techniques was scarce for a long time. Techniques, Volumes 1-5 (Con Brio
UiopSaver is u lifesaver Today there are many resources avail- Music Publishing)
and in my opinion the able to help advanced students devel- Advanced to Professional:
op their contemporary skills. Robert Aitken. Plainsong (Universal)
best lip salvo on the Educational material for beginning to Luciano Berio. Sequenza I
market for musicians intermediate flutists, on the other (Zerboni/Universal)
hand, remain scanty. Elliot Carter. Scrivo in vento (Hendon
and everyone! Reworking advanced material, such Music)
as that in Tone Development through
Sir James (in I way Extended Techniques, for young players
Robert Dick, Tone Development
Through Extended Techniques
is a nice solution. In addition, many of (Multiple Breath Music Company)
Dick's pieces, such as Lookout, have Toru Takemitsu. Voice (Salabert)
accompanying lesson tapes with tips
and guidelines. Lesson time can be *for a more exhaustive graded list:
devoted to teacher-composed exercises http://www.helenbledsoe.corn/erep.html
for young students or to the extended
technique series of books by Linda Alexis Del Palazzo is a freelance per'
Holland, Easing into Extended former and teacher living in Coming,
Techniques. For additional teaching New York. She received her bachelor's
ideas, the best resource is Dean degree in flute performance from the
Stallard's website (www.fullpitch.er. University of Oklahoma, where she stud-
co.uk/Dean.htm). Also, Phyllis Louke ied with Vaferie Watts.
has composed a set of short duets,
Extended Techniques: Double the Fun, in 1 Dick, Robert. Tone Development through
which students can actually use Extended Techniques. St. Louis:
extended techniques musically with- Multiple Breath Music Company, 1986.
out being over challenged or intimi- 2 George, Patricia. Flute Spa. No Publisher.
3 Meador, Rebecca Rae. "A History of
dated. These duets also work well with
a flute choir. Extended Flute Techniques and an
Examination of their Potential as a
Using extended techniques as Teaching Tool." DMA thesis, University
Now \\ilh SIT! teaching tools is an important and of Cincinnati, 2001.
exciting progression for serious teach- 4 Dick, 9.
I'or Musicians with Lips! ers. Their effects on audiences can be 5 Ibid.
tremendous, and students gain an 6 Krell, John. Kincaidiana: A Flute Player's
understanding of contemporary music Notebook. Culver City: Trio Associates,
wwNv.chopsaver.com — a beneficial preparation for success- 1973.
ful college auditions. It is our respon- 1 Dick, 26.
20 FLUTE tMK/ MARCH 2009