The Flute Academy
The third way of playing Bb on a flute!

Flute Q&A #35: The third way of playing Bb on a flute!

Oct 31, 2022

One of The Flute Academy students, Leslie, has been learning how to get her fingers moving faster in the Faster Fingers module, and she has a follow up question about fingering:

"Hi Jane - In one of your Faster Fingers videos you mentioned a third way to play B flat. What is it and when is it used? Thanks!!"

In this Flute Q&A #35, find out how (and why) to play the 3rd Bb flat fingering!

The third way of playing Bb on a flute!

Leslie, the video called "Which flute Bb fingering is correct" is here for you to watch. And to find out more about The Flute Academy, just head over here.

Feel free to ask your flute question for an upcoming Flute Q&A by clicking here


Faster progress on the flute

Hey there. Welcome to flute Q and A number 35. My name is Jane. I teach people how to get faster progress on the flute by learning proper flute technique. So the tweaks, the little adjustments of proper technique that get you faster progress.

Third way to play B flat on the flute

Today's question comes from Leslie and she says, Hi Jane. In one of your faster fingers videos, you mentioned a third way to play B flat. What is it and when it is used? Thanks.

The Flute Academy

Good question Leslie. So firstly, if you're wondering what she's talking about with the faster fingers lessons, it's a module of the 45-day flute transformation. It's Module 7. So module 7 is called the Faster Fingers Module. It's a course inside the Flute Academy.

Practise techniques of how to play fast on the flute

If you're interested in finding out about the Flute Academy, I'll put a link below and you can check out whether you'd like to join specifically the Faster Fingers module. Just so you know, you get an idea of what it means to get faster fingers. It's a 4- step process and we take you through the 4 steps of getting faster fingers. So we go through practice techniques of actually getting you to play faster once you're set up with a good position and tension free.

When to use each B flat fingering on the flute

So the question about B flat. The third B flat, Leslie, I actually did a whole video on the 3 - obviously, it's a whole video. I did a video on the 3 different B flats to use and which one is correct. Depends. The clue is, it depends on the situation as to which one is correct. So it depends on which notes surround the B flat for example.

B flat with the lever key on the flute

I'll put a link to that video below this question so that I don't repeat myself. But specifically, to answer your question Leslie, the third B flat that you're looking at is this one with the lever. So you have your fingers on for just a normal B, and then instead of pushing this key for B flat, as you know, probably that that's a B flat. You actually use the side of your finger and use this lever here. So you can see here there's a lever, use the side of it. 

Chromatic passage use on the flute

The context that you use that B flat, it's generally speaking a replacement for this one. So in chromatic passages or more specifically when you have a B flat next door B natural, I find that this one, rolls off the fingers. Not that that is a phrase, but it feels much more comfortable for me.

Smooth fingering changes on the flute

And the reason for that is because when you switch between this B flat and A, you have to be so accurate at getting the A finger down and the B flat finger up and alternating exactly with perfect sync to get a smooth change like this.

If you're a little bit off, you could get it sounding like this.

Fast fingering changes on the flute

Now the way to fix that is to get really good at that change. However, when things get faster, when music gets faster, notes get more complex. There's more than just switching between a B and a B flat. I find that this one is nicer because you can get away with being less accurate between B flat and A.

Improving flute technique

The reason is you can actually leave that lever finger down when you play A. So it means that you don't have that chance of the blippy noise between B flat and A. Getting accurate between B flat and A is really important because it increases your ability and your technique. It improves your technique in general. So it's a good thing.

Alternate way of playing B flat on the flute

So it's not really a cheat. I think I've made it sound like it's a bit of a cheat key. It's not a cheat key, it's more like just an alternate way of playing B flat that can accommodate fast passages more easily and smoothly. So there you go.

Which B flat fingering on the flute is correct video video

So hopefully Leslie that answered your question, check out the video on the 3 different B flats. Actually the video is called which B flat fingering is correct. So I'll put a link for you below that. And anyone who's interested in finding about out more about the Flute Academy, I'll put a link below for that as well.

The Flute Academy

And you can check out the 45-day Flute transformation, which is 45 days of a specific exercise and technique every day for 45 days that transforms your flu playing. See you either in the B Flat video or the Flute Academy. Bye.

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