Hello Everyone! Today I want to explain the proper way to clean a flute and maintain it for a long time.
It is very important to have a case that latches well and has a hard surface. There are flute bags available but please use a hard case and put that case in the flute bag for added protection.
You must have a cleaning rod. The rod can be made of metal or wood.
You will also need a flute swab. This can be a piece of cotton cut out of any garment or you can buy one at our local instrument stores like Keifers or Meyer Music.
How to clean
The cleaning rod has a small eye opening and this is where you will put a small corner of cloth through and pull gently. Wrap the cloth over the end of the rod to protect the inside from getting any scratches. Push the rod into the head joint opening and twist to dry off the entire inside. You will do this with the finger joint and the foot joint as well. Place the instrument back in the case and secure it completely. It is important not to store your cleaning cloth in the case but in a different location. Left in the case, it is bound to bend keys and make your flute unplayable.
Keep your case in a cool dry location when not in use. When taking your instrument home, do not leave it in cars or outside as it will break down the pads of the flute. Another important rule. Never give your flute a bath. Although your instrument is mainly made of brass, it is imperative that it is never left to get wet. If you are in marching band, be aware when it rains, to hide it under your raincoat when not in use and when you can, dry completely before putting it back in the case.
For a detailed video of how to clean your flute, click here
This blog post is going to explain the importance of "Never Ride a Dying Turtle". Students usually say to me, "No, that would not be good!" I would never try it anyway, poor thing! But this little saying is really just an acronym for Notes, Rhythm, Articulation, Dynamics and Tempo. One of my students made it up and it has stuck with us ever since. In my many years of experience (20 years of teaching) this is the best order to rehearse a song.
#1 is the notes. You really can't have a great song without correct notes. So as you are playing a song and you miss an accidental, the audience will know, they will, no matter their musical background so you must make every note perfect.
#2 is Rhythm. Rhythm is the musical pattern, beat, and length of notes and rests and without this solid foundation, the music does not sound the way it is supposed to. For example, Twinkle Twinkle has a set rhythmic pattern but say you change it up and throw in whole notes and half notes where quarter notes are, the music is just not the same music you had before. Once you have notes and rhythm learned and you feel very solid on both, only then do you move to step #3 Articulation.
Articulation is how you tongue a note or some people like to say how you play style. Accent(play with more air or harder hit), Staccato(seperated), Legato(smooth), Tenuto(full value), Marcato(hard accent).
#4 is Dynamics. Dynamics are the louds and softs of the music and really bring out the mood of the music. Playing dynamics is crucial for the audience to feel the music. Don't disappoint....
#5 is Tempo. Tempo is the speed of the music and it is the least of my worries in a song. It is the very last element that we work on when rehearsing. I will push tempos ONLY when I think everyone is ready and have done steps 1-4 beautifully.
It would benefit you as a player to follow the steps mentioned above when you are practicing at home on any music. Keep in mind we will always use this method when rehearsing in band.
Beginning band students are usually not worried about what instrument they will end up playing but rather, "How do I open my band locker?" Students in 5th grade will begin school but will not have instruments until week 3. In the first 2 weeks, students are given a combination lock for their band locker. This seems to just STRESS out my students. Especially the ones that struggle with the directions. A good rule of thumb is you need to know what clockwise (to the right from the top) and counter-clockwise (to the left from the top) is to successfully master your band lock. I hope this post will help all my future students!
Check out this video for more information!