can you practice to improve flute arpeggios?
> Any suggestions for getting my arpeggios to sound
smoother and to
> have better breath control with them?
This is very close to being an impossible question to
typing an encyclopedia of flute playing.
First you have to practice the arpeggios daily for
several weeks, and
then present them to an educated listener.
There are simply too many facets to type up.
So, work 'em up and then if your private teacher listens
prepared arpeggios, they will be able to hear and see
doing and be able to suggest specific flute practice
areas that require personal study for improvement.
But I love the challenge of trying to summarize the
So I suggest you prepare the assigned arpeggios while
the following questions (until your next lesson):
- am I standing with a posture that supports my best
- if I run out of breath during an arpeggio, is it
because I have to
play at exrtremely slow speeds? If so, is there a note on
pause, and then breathe and the restart?
- have I tried moving the pause and breath to a different
each repeat of the arpeggio? Have I broken up and spliced
several different ways until the amount of breath needed
- is my embouchure aperture too big? Am I blowing too
hard and wasting
air, instead of finding a refined embouchure postion for
each note of
- is air escaping from my nose when I play? Do I know
the airstream in a way that corrects this?
- am I using the right the lower abdominal muscles to
tone, or am I trying to do it all with my small muscles
Can I shift to supporting lower in the body?
- is the tone quality equally good on every individual
note of the
- if the tone is weak on any one note, can I longtone up
chromatically and FIND the best tone for each note of
- am I practicing all-slurred first to ascertain the
position and amount of air support?
- am I moving the airstream constantly between notes so
movement from note to note is abolutely legato?
- am I supporting the pitches with the same support that
I'd use if
just playing each pair of pitches as a pair of slurred
- am I moving to the new lip position and increasing the
ADVANCE of actually changing the fingers for the next
- are my fingers staying low, and close to the keys?
(look in mirror)
- am I using the most efficient and relaxed finger motion
(watch fingers with flute resting on left shoulder)
- can I play this arpeggio sequence with the metronome to
rhythmically correct, and all finger movements completely
regular in rhythm?
- if the rhythm is un-even, have I tried playing an
arpeggio using an imaginary dotted-note rhythm (long
and then reverse the dotted rhythm (short note, long
note) until the
fingers learn to land evenly in all combinations of long
- can I return to even rhythms and then gradually click
up to higher speeds? (while keeping the original
"great tone on every
- have I noticed the need for special fingerings for
arpeggios? What are the best choices for Bb/A#, F#3, high
What fingerings are possible? Which should I use at which
- when I descend to a low note am I returning to the best
for the best tone in the low register?
- can I crescendo into the low register to make it equal
tone-colour and strength of the middle register?
- can I play softly in the high register, when ascending
so that the
high notes equal the middle and low register in intensity
get loud for no apparent reason?
- can I play the arpeggios musically? Adding dynamics,
- did I mark the difficult arpeggios for special, focused
work for the
next day (some are MUCH harder than others.)
- do I have a musical application for my arpeggio
practice? (is there
are musical reward, in a piece I'm playing, where I can
use all the
above techniques to improve the arpeggios in a musical
It's a huge topic.
Try the above ideas and then ask us specifics, maybe?
After several weeks of improvements plus teacher's
Jen :>) Encyclopedia-writing-flute-arpeggio-practicer
to Jen's homepage