2019 July Swing Rhythm - FATB 3

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Playing Tips for Flute Players by Zoë Booth

Warm-Ups for Flute Players - Improve Your Playing by Exercises by Zoë Booth (published by Pipeblower Publishing, RRP £8.95)


If you’ve enjoyed Zoë’s hints and tips for free here, you can also purchase her book, packed with loads more exercises and in-depth descriptions  - a beautifully presented treat for yourself or a  flute-playing friend!

“Thank you. It’s brilliant! Looking forward to my practice session tomorow.”

“I love the prescriptions for 30 minute and 10 minute warm-ups; it’s easy to work out which exercises to do with limited time.”


July 2019
This month: Swing Rhythm
Welcome to my flute-playing free Hints and Tips Page; a new page is posted here on the first day of each month.

So how are those C#s working out from last month? Thanks for visiting here again, it's been a busy June and there's much to look forward to now that July is here. We had a terrific June Flutes at the Barns course at Lapwing Barns, for a very exclusive few, so all those solos and individual parts within the rehearsals had extra focus towards a triumphant final concert! I'm just gearing up for the July FATB course too; the Mermaid Inn is a real favourite amongst FATBers over the years, and we've got a great group arriving with all their well-chosen and practised repertoire to enjoy a busy time of music-making, take on new ideas and enjoy our "retreat" (and cake!) with its stunning views! Behind the scenes, I'm also busy looking ahead a whole year to the FATB Croatia visits in 2020, as you might also imagine. One more thing; June saw the launch of Future Learn's "Becoming A Better Music Teacher" online course which is completely FREE and completely BRILLIANT, so those of you who are music teachers (numbering many amongst the FATBers, I know!) I highly recommend signing up.

Onto Swing Rhythm for this month's focus, let's see if we can get this sounding groovy, rhythmical and natural. Have a go at the .pdf download which looks at three areas of swinging:

1. Swinging the Quavers
2. Articulation and Emphasis
3. Approaching Rests

Click here to download Swing Rhythm July 2019 (.pdf)>>

1. Swinging the Beat: at the top of a piece of jazzy music it may just say "swing" or sometimes you might get a little key which explains that further i.e. that two quavers equals a dotted rhythm or a tripletised crotchet-quaver pattern. To be really clear, if it says any of the above, we need to swing the rhythm, and that means taking every pair of quavers and playing them long-short; single quavers (surrounded by longer notes/rests) are either long/on the beat or short/late if they are on the second half of the beat, respectively.

In truth, the "two quavers equals a dotted rhythm" is not really what jazz-players go for, the actual division of the notes is much more of the triplet-crotchet-quaver pattern... but even that changes! For instance, the faster the music goes, the less time there is to play the quavers quite so unevenly, so they tend to be closer to normal, even quavers - listen to some fast jazz melodies for yourself to notice. The slower, bluesier styles are sometimes even more unequal in length than triplets would suggest, see if you can find a recording that sounds that way, and then try the swing patterns on the worksheet for yourself, at differing speeds and therefore with both lighter and heavier swing.

2. Articulation and Emphasis: so far I've twice suggested getting listening, and this is a really important point to bear in mind. If you're reading this you're probably a classical player at heart, but hoping to go across to swing playing, and you can't just change the rhythms, you have to get an ear for the feel and the approach, which is why we next need to think about articulation and emphasis. Take one of the lines that you've just played in part one and try singing it out loud to "la la" - next, try using "doo-by" or "doo-ba" for each swing pattern and you'll see how much jazzier it sounds! I suppose it's a bit closer to scat-singing? Next try to copy the "doo-ba, doo-ba" style of attack and emphasis as you play swing rhythms on your flute; you'll notice you can't be too crisp and neat on the first "doo" any more, otherwise it sounds a bit classical. The "ba" bit is struck with a bit more emphasis, even though it's on the off-beat, and that's not natural at first to the classical player, so keep going back to your "doo-ba" singing until you can hear that sound come across into your playing. Try not to sound too square!

3. Finally, if there are rests after (or even either side of) your syncopated quavers, try practising these with even more punch, for instance "doo-BA - BA - a doo-BA!" (bar 5). That should help you get closer to sounding authentic and relaxed with your swing rhythm... but keep up the listening, absorbing and copying to really sound at home - as a classical player - with the swing patterns.

I'll see you back here in August for holidays and some more music, until then...

...happy swinging AND flute-ing,

Zoë

P.S. Please send your questions and comments to me at info@flutesatthebarns.com



Next Time, August and September 2019: Music For You



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