www.flutesatthebarns.com | info@flutesatthebarns.com | Last updated October 2017

Flutes at the Barns is a division of Zocopoco Limited, registered in England and Wales no. 7287733

Registered office: 30 Whitecroft, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 1UU

with Zoë Booth  

Flute Courses for Adults

Playing Tips for Flute Players by Zoë Booth

October 2017

This month: Fast Scalic Sequences

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

Wow, it’s been a busy month since we were talking about performances in September - one Flutes at the Barns (FATB) residential course and two FATB days dedicated to Low Flutes and Rhythm respectively, phew! What a great time we’ve had, lots of learning, music and friendship. FATB HQ is now gearing up for the final residential course of the year, our very own pub for all those adult musicians!

This month we’re going to explore practice of fast scalic sequences. I won’t be discussing note-learning, which we’ve covered on previous occasions, but quick, accurate runs.

Click here to open Fast Scalic Sequences.pdf>>

We can think in twos, threes, fours and fives easily - spider, butterfly, caterpillar, hippopotamus! Any more notes in a sequence than this get muddled in my brain, so I always try to divide:

- Sixes can become 2, 2, 2 or 3, 3

- Sevens can be come 3, 4 or 4, 3 or 2, 2, 3 etc

- Eights are usually 4, 4

- and on we go…

By trying to think of every note I aim to avoid missing any out in a blur of fast fingers or mis-co-ordination, particularly if notes pass from hand to hand (F to G, C to D) or when you’re flying about in the high register. Use the notes in stage one to practice these ideas.

The second exercise on the above print-out is about increasing the speed of any particular run you might find in a piece - this is something I get asked about a lot, when people have done all their dutiful slow practice but can’t yet make that leap to accuracy in that fast run. If you picture a child’s swing covering its’ full arc, there’s a moment when it almost feels like the swing is hanging in mid-air at either end; that’s your top or bottom note, your breathing space. When you move through the scale, play as fast as you can, imagining this is the swing whooshing through the air. At first, just cover a few notes, and don’t move on until you are at top-speed; going both up and down reinforces the connections between notes.

I hope those scalic passages get themselves under your fingers quickly now - both in tempo and delivery of results! Happy flute-ing, see you in November!


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

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.”

Next month, November 2017, Swing Rhythm