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Best teach yourself book for flute?


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#1 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 08:10

Apologies for posting this question twice: I added it to the end of an existing flute thread but haven't had a reply so maybe nobody has seen it.

 

What would be a good book for an adult beginner on flute?  I play recorder so am not really interested in learning about reading music.  I presume a lot of books will cover this anyway if aimed at beginners, but at least it doesn't matter to me if it isn't done very well.  On the other hand, I don't at all mind what I play to start with: the Three Blind Mice/Twinkle Twinkle routine is fine.  I won't have a teacher so would like something that is fairly detailed, takes me from first sounds to moderate competence, and goes at a reasonable pace.

 

I have seen recommendations for the Trevor Wye "Beginner's Book for Flute" and also Howard Harrison's "How to play the flute - everything you need to know".  In fact I thought the second of these looked pretty good and ordered it but there was a problem with the order and I am back to square one.

 

Thanks!


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#2 Misterioso

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 10:47

For flute technique, my flute teacher recommended Illustrated Fluteplaying by Robin Soldan and Jeanie Mellersh. It is purely about technique, so doesn't have any music, but it is a mine of information and has multiple illustrations on every page. This would be an immensely useful supplement to any flute tutor book, especially as you are learning without a teacher.

 

When I began learning, I used Peter Wastall's book Learn as You Play Flute. I was by no means new to music reading, and found there was plenty there to get me going as a new flautist. As a recorder-player, you will recognise some of the early fingering. But there is much new material out there now that might be better.

 

I stumbled across a site online as I was trying to find the book I learnt with, entitled 19 best flute book reviews 2021, which you might find of some help. I'd send a link if I could, but "tekkie" stuff floors me.

 

I would also recommend Trevor Wye's Practice Books. I think they come in five separate books, each dealing with different issues, but there is also a spiral-bound omnibus edition that stays open on the music stand and contains the lot. It will last you for ever.


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#3 Clovis

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 12:24


 

I would also recommend Trevor Wye's Practice Books. I think they come in five separate books, each dealing with different issues, but there is also a spiral-bound omnibus edition that stays open on the music stand and contains the lot. It will last you for ever.

Trevor Wye's omnibus will also tip your stand over if you're not careful!  It's a good book though.


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#4 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 12:50

Thanks both for the info.  Would the Wye books act as a complete tutor?  I got the impression from something I read that the individual books that this volume combines are about specific things like tone quality, say, and that overall they are very good but not something that leads you by the hand from the beginning.  However, I have downloaded (from Amelie of youtube's The Flute Channel) a book and video course that clearly is absolute beginner oriented, so maybe if I work through that first I could consider more books then.  The Illustrated Fluteplaying book looks very helpful so I might get that anyway.

 

When I started on recorder I found Sarah Jeffrey's youtube channel fairly quickly and watched her video on recorder books for adults.  I just followed her first choice recommendation and got a series of 3 books (about 70 pages each) that started at the beginning with the recorder's easiest note and took you to about grade 5 by the end, and they were ideal.  They had playalong CDs that I found really helpful.  Something along those lines would be good.  Maybe the Wye Beginner books would be closer to something like that?  Though I see variable reports about whether they come with a CD or not.  Anyway, there is no rush as I can start with the challenge of actually getting a sound out of it and then work through the Amelie lessons.

 

My ultimate aim is to play baroque flute and I have bought one, but can find no teaching materials at all for that so thought I'd have a go at Boehm flute to start with.  Who knows, I might enjoy that so much I stick with it.  I have a plastic Nuvo flute that was sourced very reasonably indeed from Amazon Warehouse - possibly not something you might see someone in a leading orchestra playing, but it seems good enough to get going on.


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#5 dorfmouse

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 13:19

I found the Trevor Wye Omnibuscomprehensive but very dry. He has a somewhat haranguing style. It's full of exercises, good at telling you what the aim is but very little help on how to get there. IMHO not useful as a self tutor.
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#6 dorfmouse

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 13:46

I think this woman is very good:
The Flute Practice.

https://youtu.be/QNyqaAsqZYw

Lots of videos on the basics - getting a first sound, relaxed embouchure and hand position, breathing etc etc. And she has a nice entertaining manner!
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#7 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 14:21

I think this woman is very good:
The Flute Practice.

https://youtu.be/QNyqaAsqZYw

Lots of videos on the basics - getting a first sound, relaxed embouchure and hand position, breathing etc etc. And she has a nice entertaining manner!

 

Wow, yes, she is very good indeed - I have just watched the video in your link, the basic getting a sound, and it's excellent.  And following along I got a sound!!  Clearly lots of "practicing" to go but it's a start.  Thanks for that!


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#8 Flossie

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 14:48

I would second the suggestion that Learn as You Play Flute by Peter Wastall mught suit you well. It is an older method which has fallen out of favour - I suspect because it does not have the features to attract children. It is based on the old assumption that wind players would progress to grade 3 in around a year (the exams used to start at that level for wind and brass), which means it progresses too fast for a lot of children now. What it teaches is solid. Flute Fancies (orange cover, can't remember editor or publisher) works well alongside it for additional repertoire (spans grades 1-4) but is again more 'adult' in taste as it covers classical music rather than pieces which are specially written to be 'fun. The Trevor Wye 'tone' book has exercises which can be brought in reasonably early. I would leave the 'breathing and scales' and 'articulation' volumes to around grade 4-5 and the 'intonation and vibrato' one to around grade 6.

You will not find anything for flute beginners aimed at baroque flute because baroque flute is normally brought in as a specialist instrument post grade 8.
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#9 Flossie

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 14:58

If you want a newer tutor then Flute Basics by Sally Adams is good, although it does not progress as far as the Wastall book.

Another 'older' but good method is the Trevor Wye Beginner's Book for the Flute (has a part 1 and part 2).
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#10 Clovis

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 15:55

Agree that Trevor Wye omnibus is good, but very dry. You have to be disciplined what to choose from it as he's aiming for a high level of technique. It's certainly not  'start from the begining and work through to the end' tutor. There's a good section on classical and baroque improvisation though.

 

I also have an old Practice Makes Perfect (OUP) for grades 1–4 by Sally Adams and Paul Harris, which takes you through the technique step by step. No real pieces, as such, so you'd probably want a study book (eg Mosaics - 2 vols from Trinity) or set of accompanied works too.


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#11 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 09 June 2021 - 09:08

You will not find anything for flute beginners aimed at baroque flute because baroque flute is normally brought in as a specialist instrument post grade 8.

 

I'm sure that is quite right, but it's a pity, as there are other routes into playing baroque flute.  French instrument maker Vincent Bernolin sells good quality baroque flutes that, judging by his feedback, sell quite well and often to adult beginners who just like the idea of learning the baroque flute, presumably because they want to play the music written for it.  Of course, those people will be outnumbered by children learning flute at school by many orders of magnitude, but then the sort of tutor that would suit a child learner would be very different from one that would suit an aspiring performer of Bach's flute partita (me!) so maybe there would be room for both.  But then again, maybe not. 

 

Anyway, thanks to everyone for all the suggestions; I will make some choices and get started.


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#12 Clarimoo

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Posted 09 June 2021 - 11:41

I have been learning by myself with

 

Learn as You Play by Wastall,

Trevor wye beginners book 1,

A Tune a Day,

Flute Basics by Sally Adams.

 

To start with I would use a different book each day so the little tunes didnt drive me crazy;  but after a while I got fed up of the Sally Adams book and Tune a Day. I am still using Learn as You Play and the Trevor Wye book and I enjoy them both and find them useful. Of course until I meet up with a proper flute player I cant tell how well I have learnt from these books! I have had very valuable help from people on these forums when I found things difficult.


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#13 elemimele

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Posted 09 June 2021 - 11:53

Flossie is right, but it's sad. Early music is so often seen as a sort of bolt-on optional extra, to be attached to proper classical musicians only if they insist on being upgraded at a later date.


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#14 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 11:25

Flossie is right, but it's sad. Early music is so often seen as a sort of bolt-on optional extra, to be attached to proper classical musicians only if they insist on being upgraded at a later date.

 

I suppose it's one of those chicken and egg things.  Lots of people play the recorder, probably because of school use.  That means there are lots of recorders around, and you can pick up a very decent plastic one for under £50, so it's easy to get going for anyone who wants to try.  That in turn presumably creates a market for books aimed at adults.

 

I'd have thought that making a plastic flute would be pretty cheap.  A Yamaha fife is about £15 (and you can get a cheaper brand for under £10); a Tony Dixon Irish-style flute is about £40, but the cheapest baroque flute is over £400.  That's quite a big outlay just to give something a try, so presumably not many people do, so nobody has written a suitable teach-yourself book.  If I were thinking of trying out a baroque or renaissance instrument as a complete beginner, I'm sure a quick look around would convince me that recorder was the place to start.


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