How To Love Your Flute

How To Love Your Flute

by Mark Shepard, Anne Subercaseaux
     
 

A complete guide for anyone who plays the flute or ever wanted to. Use it along with flute lessons or even to teach yourself! This book covers everything you need and more -- selection and care, flute technique, fingering, playing by ear, reading music, flute history, flutes around the world, and modern folk flutes. "How to Love Your Flute" will appeal to all

Overview

A complete guide for anyone who plays the flute or ever wanted to. Use it along with flute lessons or even to teach yourself! This book covers everything you need and more -- selection and care, flute technique, fingering, playing by ear, reading music, flute history, flutes around the world, and modern folk flutes. "How to Love Your Flute" will appeal to all flutists, from beginning to advanced.

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Mark Shepard is the author of "How to Love Your Flute," hailed by Paul Horn as "a model for our times," as well as the craft guide "Simple Flutes." He has played flute professionally in a folk music trio, as a modern dance accompanist, and as a solo theater musician.

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"Shepard has come up with the most unique flute manual I have ever seen. It is direct, complete, informative on every aspect, and -- most important -- comes from the standpoint of pure love and respect for the instrument. . . . [This] book serves as a model for our times, and it is an inspiration for those who want to get more out of life through the joys of flute playing." -- Paul Horn, from the Preface

"Shepard's soul-felt passion for the flute resonates through his book like music. It's a comprehensive guide with something for everyone, from novice to professional, and so well written that it's a pleasure just to browse through it. This book inspires." -- Diana Barich, The Next Whole Earth Catalog

"Comprehensive and concise . . . . A highly readable and inspirational guide for flutists of every age and ability." -- Jeanne Baxtresser, first flute, Toronto Symphony Orchestra

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CONTENTS

Preface, by Paul Horn

Introduction

Part 1 ~ FLUTE LORE

The World Family of Flutes | The Story of the Western Flute

Part 2 ~ SELECTION AND CARE

Finding Your Flute | Caring for Your Flute

Part 3 ~ FLUTE TECHNIQUE

Embouchure and Breath | Posture | Playing Notes | More About Embouchure and Breath | Fingering Technique | Tuning | Advanced Techniques | Special Effects

Part 4 ~ MAKING MUSIC

Scales and Chords | Playing by Ear | Reading Music | Living Music

Part 5 ~ MODERN FOLK FLUTES

Finding a Folk Flute | Caring for a Folk Flute | Playing a Folk Flute

APPENDIX

How the Flute Works | Miscellaneous Fingering Charts | Reading List

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SAMPLE TEXT

Question: Should I take lessons, or instead teach myself?

Answer: There are advantages to both ways. You may be a person who will benefit more from personal instruction than from reading a book. Or you may be the type of person who needs the deadlines of a scheduled lesson to get you to practice. If you are serious about performing classical music, you will want to become absorbed in a tradition that seems imparted best in a teacher/student relationship.

There are also advantages to teaching yourself. Money and/or schedule constraints could be factors. You might prefer the freedom of organizing and pacing your own learning process. Or you might even have trouble finding a teacher with whom you work well, or who can teach you the kind of flute playing you want to learn.

Whichever way you decide to go, don't let anyone tell you that you can't learn the flute without lessons.

Editorial Reviews

The Next Whole Earth Catalog
Shepard's soul-felt passion for the flute resonates through his book like music. It's a comprehensive guide with something for everyone, from novice to professional, and so well written that it's a pleasure just to browse through it. This book inspires.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780938497103
Publisher:
Shepard Publications
Publication date:
12/19/1980
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
920,664
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

FLUTE BEGINNER FAQ

(Excerpted and adapted from the Introduction to Mark Shepard's How to Love Your Flute. Copyright 1980, 1996, 1999 by Mark Shepard)

Should I take lessons, or instead teach myself?

There are advantages to both ways. You may be a person who will benefit more from personal instruction than from reading a book. Or you may be the type of person who needs the deadlines of a scheduled lesson to get you to practice. If you are serious about performing classical music, you will want to become absorbed in a tradition that seems imparted best in a teacher/student relationship.

There are also advantages to teaching yourself. Money and/or schedule constraints could be factors. You might prefer the freedom of organizing and pacing your own learning process. Or you might even have trouble finding a teacher with whom you work well, or who can teach you the kind of flute playing you want to learn.

Whichever way you decide to go, don't let anyone tell you that you can't learn the flute without lessons.

Should I have a fixed practice period every day?

This depends on how you personally learn best. You may find that the discipline of a fixed practice period helps you focus and produces a steadier progression in your learning. Or you may find you work best by picking up the flute when you feel moved to and playing it only as long as the impulse lasts. Or you may hit on some balance between these two extremes.

Many times students are told they must practice every day or they will "lose what they have." This may be true for advanced players, but it doesn't seem so for beginners.

Should I do exercises as a regular part of my practicing?

Again, it depends on how you learn best. Exercises can definitely be helpful in building your technique. On the other hand, it isn't worthwhile to spend a great deal of time "building your technique" if it destroys your love of playing! You will have to explore this for yourself.

Should I learn to read music, or instead play by ear?

This is strictly a matter of personal preference, depending on how you feel you would like to play. There's no reason you can't do both! Of course, playing classical music will require you to read; improvising popular music or jazz means playing by ear.

Contrary to popular myth, it is not necessary to learn to read music before you can play by ear. (As Pete Seeger says, "Would you teach a baby to read before it could talk?") If anything, first learning to read music makes playing by ear more difficult, since you then must overcome your dependence on the printed page. Another destructive myth is that only those people who are "musical" can play by ear. Anyone can!

Along with a book like yours, are there other resources I can use to help me learn the flute?

Yes, plenty of them. Listen to records. Go to flute performances. Stop flute players on the street. Ask questions. Play different flutes. Soak up everything that you hear or read, test it, see if it works for you. The whole world is your teacher. All you have to do is coax it a little.

What exactly do you mean by "how to love your flute"?

There seem to be two ways of approaching the flute. One is in the spirit of domination: The learner attempts to "conquer" the flute, to force from it the secrets of its operation, to subordinate it to his or her own musical wishes. It is an attitude of "overcoming." This is not how to love your flute!

Loving your flute means being aware that you and the instrument are coproducers of the music, partners in the creation of sound. It means becoming aware of the instrument's requirements, its musical preferences, its reactions to your own wishes. If you attempt to subjugate the instrument, it will fight you at every step; if you respect and work with it, you will find it responding willingly and demonstratively. As this relationship deepens, you and the flute can begin to grow together and gradually become, in effect, one instrument.

One of your major aims should be to develop a sensitivity toward the flute and its interrelationships with you, the player. When you approach the flute in a spirit of love, the instrument itself will teach you. If you are open to what it has to say, it will itself let you know how it should be played. And the instrument is always the best teacher.

In this special relationship, the lessons it offers may go beyond mere flute playing. The instrument can also teach you lessons about learning, about life, about love -- because the same laws that govern the playing of a flute also govern the workings of the world around you and the world within you. In this way, the flute can become a focal point for the growth of understanding, a pathway to wisdom. Hermann Hesse, in his book Siddhartha, tells us that a person can eventually come to understand the entire universe by starting from any point within it -- a butterfly, a rock, a river. The flute is one such point of departure.

There is truly much to be gained from a relationship with the flute -- the enjoyment of its sound, the joy of creating music, the peace of a focused outpouring of the spirit, the insights that come with an openness to lessons taught. May all these and more be yours, as you grow in the love of your flute.

What People are saying about this

Jeanne Baxtresser
Comprehensive and concise... A highly readable and inspirational guide for flutists of every age and ability.

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