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Flute posture for small pupil

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#1 zwhe


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Posted 20 June 2019 - 19:52

I have a pupil who started with me a few months ago but was already preparing for a grade exam this term. Her posture is not good, but I have not said much for now as it might make her playing temporarily worse. She will be taking the exam soon, so I am thinking about what needs to be done afterwards. I am not sure however how much I should correct her posture at the moment as she is still quite young and is small for her age. Would you do it now, or wait until she has grown a bit, as it will probably need adjusting then anyway? She has been playing a couple of years and there is no way she was big enough for a full size flute then (she isn't really now!), which is probably the root of the problem.

The one thing I will definitely do is get her to put her left elbow down (and consequently her shoulder) - it is right up in the air above the flute, and when I mentioned it to her, she said she was always told to do this. I've come across this before - does anybody know the reasoning behind it? It seems to me it just creates tension in the neck and shoulder, as well as making it harder to reach with the lower fingers..

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#2 Aquarelle



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Posted 21 June 2019 - 09:15

I don't know enough about flute technique to be able to advise. It's only my second instrument and very second at that. However faced with any similar problem on the piano I tend to correct very slowly and gently over a period of time so that the pupil doesn't become frustrated or stiff. Things usually get right in the end.

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#3 SingingPython


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Posted 21 June 2019 - 16:25

I don't know nearly enough about flute to have an opinion, but ... 


I guess after 2 years they would be reluctant to try a curved headjoint (unless perhaps you had one to lend them short-term, probably not viable unless you are likely to have numerous small students to pass it along to?).


I teach violin, and something I have been shown that I like is "pretend playing", ie thinking about the playing posture in the absence of the instrument.  It can be a useful way of developing tension free arm positions, and thinking about the shoulders and the neck and the head in combination.  Hope you find ways to make good progess!

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