Xiao Lesson 3

Technical Studies to Strengthen Tone Quality and Dynamics

Now that you can play a couple of nice songs, it's time to try some studies that focus on strengthening specific skills. Studies may not be as fun to play sometimes. Nevertheless, working on specific skills makes it possible to make much more satisfying music.

It's important to play fluidly between the lower and upper octaves on the flute. Play this study as slowly as you can. It helps to use a metronome, set to 60 or lower. Give each note its full time value, and change octaves by tightening the lips slightly and moving the airstream. Don't just blow harder. Strive to get the upper and lower octaves to have the same dynamics and tone quality. You may also want to work with a cheap electronic tuning device to check that your intonation is consistent.

It's also important to control the dynamics or volume of pitches in all octaves of the flute. Play the exercise slowly, working each note from the quietest you can play up to the loudest and back down. As with the octave exercise, a metronome and a tuning device will help you get the most from this study.

... and so on into the upper octave. Play as high as you can go without screeching.

If the exercises become too dry for you, take a break. Revisit the tunes in Lesson 2 as often as you like. See if you can memorize them!

Once you start feeling control over the dynamics, and can play any note in the lower or upper octave at will, take a look at the song in Lesson 4.

Contents of this page Copyright © 2004 Dick Valentine