Response to Jeremy

Thanks for joining in Jeremy, your concern with harmonics is an important for flutists who are trying to build chops (sax players take note). My repair man Lou Carlini gave me a simple exercise that he calls “push-ups for your chops.” Start on a low E and SLOWLY slur to the octave E; continue slurring octaves chromatically up to C#. I then do the same thing  (slow slurring octaves) but up an back down, concentrating making the low notes as fat as I can (low notes are the bane of my existence).

This prepares for the harmonics. I begin on B  in the staff and slur octaves moving slowly down chromatically to low B (playing harmonics- using the low octave fingering and overblowing slightly as in the first exercise, focusing the air with my upper lip). For flutes with C foot, you can start on C, but I find overblowing the C to be harder than overblowing B, so I recommend starting on B.

Next I a start on the B (above the staff) slur down to the lower B  and back up to B and up to the next harmonic (F#) and back to B above the staff. Again, all the way down chromatically to low B (or low C for C-foots). Don’t worry if the harmonics jump to the octave, you will eventually get control.

Finally I start on the B on the staff and slur to the first and second harmonic (B and F#) and down again. Continue chromatically to your lowest note. At around G  harmonics can sometimes get to the 3rd harmonic, and by the time I get to low C#, C and B, I can slur up to the 5th, 6th and even the 7th harmonic. But always go back down. You want strength but you also want control. Don’t struggle to go higher than is comfortable, the higher harmonics will come. Play softly and use your upper lip for focus and control.

The whole thing takes about 15 minutes, but it is the most important 15 minutes of my practice day.

Anyone have thoughts?

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