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Need help with technique using open-holed flute

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Lowcountry Flutist
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Need help with technique using open-holed flute

Postby Lowcountry Flutist » Tue May 20, 2008 5:38 pm

Hello,

I've recently picked up my flute again after 30-some odd years and am progressively quite satisfactorily for the most part, and well enough to be able to start playing in church. My new flute is an open-holed flute that has the temporary plastic plugs. I'd like to start playing without the plugs, but find that I'm not covering the holes completely. What part of the finger should I use? I'm having trouble with the left ring finger mostly. Any help would be appreciated, thank you!

Deborah G.

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Phineas
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Postby Phineas » Tue May 20, 2008 8:43 pm

When I first started playing on an openhole, I tried something un conventional. I practiced on a Tranverse Bamboo flute. I would highly recommend one made by these makers.

www.sunreed.com/BambooFlutes.htm

www.eriktheflutemaker.com

Not only did playing on these instruments improve my open hole playing, but they also help me gain better control of my embrochure. In order to play one of these flutes, you must get use to playing with your hand in an inline hole position(similar to what you would find on most open hole flutes).

Other than that, all I can tell you to do is to keep practicing. As long as reaching that key is not too much of a stretch for you, you will eventually get use to it.

I would not sweat the plugs. The issue you are having is a very common one. If it turns out to be a lot of trouble for you to get your finger to cover that hole, then just leave the plug in it, and enjoy playing.

Welcome back to the flute world!

Phineas

Lowcountry Flutist
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Postby Lowcountry Flutist » Wed May 21, 2008 5:48 am

Thank you, Phineas, for the very helpful information. I'll continue to devote part of my practice to playing without the plugs and hope that it will eventually get easier for me. I seem to have a lot of trouble with the lowest notes, D3 on down, but with the holes plugged, I have no trouble whatsoever playing those lower notes. I had no idea that it would be so difficult learning to play open-holed, but I'll certainly keep trying. Thanks!

fluteguy18
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Postby fluteguy18 » Wed May 21, 2008 7:43 am

Definately make sure that you are using the pad of your finger to cover the hole. Otherwise, Phineas' advice was right on the money. When I switched over to open hole, I no longer had my closed hole flute, and my new one didn't come with plugs. But, I quickly learned to play with open holes in about 48 hours.

I would almost recommend just taking all of the plugs out, and putting them away for a week. Then, whatever plugs you need at the end of the week, you put back in. This "total immersion" technique has helped a lot of people I know.

<3 Flute and Picc
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Postby <3 Flute and Picc » Sun May 25, 2008 11:40 pm

When I got my open-hole (Artley, not sure of the model), it was the end of eighth grade year so I didn't have a chance to use it and since I wasn't sure what to do with the plugs, that summer it sat on a shelf until ninth grade concert season (October-ish) to use it. lol. I did play it just with the plugs but I still had a closed hole (my marching instrument, Jupiter student model) so I used that primarily.

Finally, when concert season began, I asked the band director how I should take the plugs out. He told me to take them out one at a time until they're all out, with the left ring finger the last as it is usually the most difficult to control. The first few don't matter although I started with the left index, the right index, right middle, left middle, right ring, and finally left ring. It took me about 2 weeks or so (but then again we were still doing marching music so we weren't doing concert every single day) and its quite easy after a while. I've been playing on it about 5 months or so to the point I don't even think about it. My fingers just know what to do.

I'm not sure if this will help you any because its probably just incessant rambling because its 2:00 A.M. lol. Good luck!

Lowcountry Flutist
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Postby Lowcountry Flutist » Mon May 26, 2008 9:05 am

Thank you for your answers. I tried taking out all the plugs at once, but just cannot hit those lower notes, which I have no trouble at all with otherwise. I think I will try to remove them one at a time to see if that's easier to adjust to.

I'm going to be playing a solo (my first!) at church in a few weeks and am getting a little nervous about that. I've never played before a large audience before. I practice once or twice a week in the sanctuary just to get used to it, but it's different when the sanctuary is filled with people!

<3 Flute and Picc
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Postby <3 Flute and Picc » Mon May 26, 2008 12:45 pm

lol. I know what you mean. I play at church sometimes, too. I refuse to play on Sunday mass just Saturdays because there are less people and it is way less nervewracking.

About your low notes, you may also still be getting used to your new flute. I know when I got mine, I had trouble with the low notes, but as I played it more, it got so much easier. Now, I can play the low notes on command and with ease.

It all takes practice and just getting used to it. After a while, you will have no problem with low notes as well as your holes.

etgohomeok
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Postby etgohomeok » Mon May 26, 2008 8:59 pm

Contrary to what people may have told you, open holes on a flute have no effect on tone. It's a misconception that for some reason alot of people believe. The only reason flutes are even made with holes are for extended techniques like multiphonics and slides/glissandos, for which holes are necessary.

If you are having trouble with the holes, then there is nothing unprofessional about leaving the plugs in. For the last couple of years I've been first chair in all my school bands and stuff with plugs in my flute while the other flutes ("below me," if you will) had holes. I only recently took them out to play a song with crazy extended techniques. I just took them out and was fine after about an hour.

Lowcountry Flutist
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Postby Lowcountry Flutist » Tue May 27, 2008 3:17 pm

Actually, I have no trouble playing the low notes with the plugs in. In fact, I'm able to create really beautiful tone with all the low notes in the first register. But when I take the plugs out, I just can't seem to play those low notes at all! So frustrating.

I definitely have some trouble getting a nice tone with the second register. The notes can 'split' or sound fuzzy, like the flute needs to clear its throat, especially when I go from the first octave up to the second. I'm sure it just takes practice, practice, and more practice. I do practice a good hour every day, and use Trevor Wye's Omnibus series to start off with before I get to the music. It seems to be helping me get better tone with that middle register. But I'm not quite 'there' yet.

gravelgertie
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Re: Need help with technique using open-holed flute

Postby gravelgertie » Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:49 pm

I just got an open-hole flute (because I wanted an upgrade and got a good deal on a nice one - and it seems that upgraded flutes are all open-holed). There are still plugs in the holes, but it feels as though I have to exert a bit more pressure on the keys than I did with my student flute. Is this normal, or is there likely something wrong with the flute? (It was bought new)

evrmre
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Re: Need help with technique using open-holed flute

Postby evrmre » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:11 pm

Even new flutes, unless set up by a good tech at the start, can come out with pad issues. While it might be just the differences in the flutes (mechanisms, etc), I'd suggest getting it checked out. My open holed flute arrived new needing a few things tweaked as well...

jseligmann
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Re: Need help with technique using open-holed flute

Postby jseligmann » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:16 pm

You say. "I'd like to start playing without the plugs."

Besides the fact that your flute has open holes, why do you want to take the plugs out?
From my point of view, the only thing you will add to your flute playing is more difficulty.

ObscureStar
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Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:36 pm

Re:

Postby ObscureStar » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:55 pm

When I first started playing on an openhole, I tried something un conventional. I practiced on a Tranverse Bamboo flute.

Not only did playing on these instruments improve my open hole playing, but they also help me gain better control of my embrochure. In order to play one of these flutes, you must get use to playing with your hand in an inline hole position(similar to what you would find on most open hole flutes).
Phineas
I totally agree with Phineas here. I was hit by a drunk driver and lost my front teeth and had the muscles of my upper lip cut through. I was unable to play my flute for years though I tried often. I could make sound but getting consistent tone was difficult. Then I picked up a $20 bamboo flute at a local craft show and started learning to play again. Bamboo is both more forgiving (the wood makes a warmer tone that's harder to make a really cringe-worthy screeching noise) and more difficult in that it doesn't resonate as easily as metal. Easy to start making nice sounds. Harder to make them really well.

Best $20 I ever spent. ^_^


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