The Flute Academy
Is it Possible to Play HIGH NOTES with the Same EASE as Lower Notes?

Is it Possible to Play HIGH NOTES with the Same EASE as Lower Notes?

Oct 15, 2018

You might remember a few weeks ago, I sent an email to you asking what you really still wanted to know about how to play the flute better?

Well, I'm working through your questions. And this is the one that I'm answering today:

"Is it possible to play high notes with the same ease as lower ones?"

The short answer is "Yes. IF you know how."

I recorded a 5 minute video for you and I go into juicy detail about howyou get to the stage of playing high notes with as much ease as low notes.

Watch here if you're curious!

Jane xx


I was just asked this question yesterday. It reads, Is it possible to play high notes with the same ease as lower ones? So the answer to this is yes, it's possible if you know how. If someone is given a flute and not given any lessons and they can get a sound out of it, chances are they'll be able to play the low notes easily. And they will squeeze for the high notes and they'll get a sore mouth, a sore face and it won't sound very good. It's because they haven't learned how to do it. So if you learn how to do it, and it's an ongoing process of getting better and better at this, as you get better at the flute, then you will be able to play high notes with the same ease as low notes.

Again, a little caveat. If you are a professional player, a really good professional player, and you are doing a few hour rehearsals, let's say a three-hour rehearsal, which involves playing constantly up high, really high, really soft. There's a good chance you're gonna get tight and sore. And it's because every player has their limit of how much they can play up high without getting tired.

So the beginner that I was just talking about that just got thrown a flute, their limit is they can't do it at all. As you get better and as you learn the techniques for playing up high, you might find you can play for five minutes up high without getting sore. Then as the years' progress, and as you get better and better, and you get to be a really good flute player, you might find that you can play for an hour. And then you start to get tired. Then this professional player that I'm talking about would need to push themselves to the limit of a few hours of playing up high, but on top of that really softly, and that would be their limit.

So everyone has their own limit. Now you're probably wondering how do you play up high without getting sore without getting tired and tight. There really is only one big thing that you need to be able to do to play like the professional player that I just talked about. And it is to reduce tension in all the parts of your body, face, lips, eyes, believe it or not, tongue throat, shoulders, chest, abdomen, and knees. Everything about your body to reduce tension in all of those parts. Now, if you can reduce the tension, and get rid of the tightness in all of those parts, it means that you're playing the flute very freely and very naturally. However, that's easier said than done.

So all the things that I teach in my teaching, all of them are little specific techniques that inch you closer to that. So for example, in another lesson, I teach you about how to really reduce the tension in your shoulders. Like the tension that you didn't even know was there. That's just one example. We just take one little part of that ideal situation and fix that. In another video, I talk about that cool little movement that you do with your lips,  the Ooh movement that sort of pops you up to the high note. So can you see my lips, the corners of my lips just moving forward a little bit? I dunno if you can see it, but I'm basically I'm going, uh, Ooh, just a tiny bit. So that is another little thing that will chisel away at this whole idea of having no tension in your body or no tension in the bits where you don't want tension, which is most of your body.

Another thing and this is in another video as well. It's the size of the hole in your embouchure. If you have a really big hole in your embouchure, you're gonna struggle to get high notes because the air has to move fast for those high notes. If you have a big hole, like a fire hose, as opposed to a garden hose, you're gonna need a lot more water, a lot more air to have the air going. Not only the same speed but faster. So you want a smaller hole in your mouth. And this is especially true when you're playing up high.

Another little thing that can chisel away at this becoming the ideal tension, free flute player is relaxing your face muscles. For me, the key to this was relaxing my eyes, like I felt this is years ago, I felt sort of squinty in my eyes. And when I relaxed my eyes, it flowed through to the rest of my face. You might not have this problem but if you are getting sore when you're playing up high or you're getting tired, I would bet you a million dollars that you have tension in your face. So try this and see if you can get it to flow through to the rest of your face while you're playing.

So the answer to, can you play high notes with as much ease as how you can play low notes? The answer is yes, but you need to know how and you need to chisel away at removing attention from all different parts of your body to get there. So yes, it's possible. See you.

 

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