by Robert D. Billington
Re: Technique help!
"Robert D. Billington" <rdbflute@YAHOO.COM>
Wed, 16 Aug 2006 20:51:04 -0700
Sounds like a noble ambition. :-) And one heck of a lot of scales. If your scales are not consistent and stable, I would suggest that you check two things immediately before you continue.
1. Make sure that your flute is in great shape mechanically. Any lost motion or pad seating problems can cause your fingers to have unequal pressure which can produce the result that you describe.
You cannot progress past a certain point if the flute is holding you back in this fashion. It's like trying to practice your tennis strokes on a poorly maintained clay court.2. Keep your fingers in a relaxed position of stasis so that the finger tips are directly over the keys. Very, very close to the keys.
If the fingers are actually in a position of stasis (equalibrium), you can then contract the fingers to close the keys and relax the fingers to raise the keys.
Each finger at rest should be the same distance above the keys as the other fingers.
When you depress the fingers there should be no lateral motion and the fingers should all travel the same distance to depress the individual keys.
Plus you should not have to press the keys down too hard to seal them - and all the keys should need the same amount of pressure to close. (See #1).
Don't straighten or consciously raise the fingers — relax them to allow the keys to rise. The fingers should return to the point of stasis and go no farther.
Without going into too much detail, these are what I would consider the two biggest impediments to developing a good finger technique - mechanical problems of the flute and hand position problems.
It helps to realize that the speed of depression of the key is related to time and distance.
For example, if the three fingers on the right hand (no the pinky) are not the same height above the keys at rest, then, in order for the keys to close simultaneously, the three fingers will all have to travel at different speeds.
The farther the finger is away from the key, the faster it will have to move to close a key at the same time as a lower finger.
Such computations made it more difficult to play with an even technique.
As an example, you can speed up a trill by moving a finger at the same speed, but by moving it closer to the key. Added distance will really slow things down.
Hope this helps.
--- Allie Deaver <liberopensatore4@GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> Hi List! I don't speak up very often, but I dutifully read my digests every day and thought this might be a
>>great resource for my latest flute "issue"-
>> This summer, a big goal of mine has been to speed up my fingers. Well, when I was in the first stages of
>>evaluating this goal, I realized that I had sort of been "cheating" technically all along and that really nothing
>> was stable or even at the tempos I could "play" them. So I had to go back to square one and re-learn
>> EVERYTHING. From Moyse to T&G to Reichert...you name it, I started at a junior high-esque
>> tempo and got them really even and sounding phrased and beautiful.
Dr. Robert David Billington
Doctoral Essay, "A Description and Application of Robert Aitken's Concept of the Physical Flute." http://www.rdbflute.com/RDBDE.html