Tuning Flutes

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by B15M, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Have you asked them to tune so quietly that they can hear the person next to them? Seems obvious but isn't it true that a lot of amateur groups tune waaay too loudly?

    Edit: one comment is that we find that sections don't like to be "shown up" by other sections. So get them to play a passage together while everyone else listens; if their intonation is poor, everyone will know and you can bet they'll try harder. Then just start building, section by section. If you can play back a recording of them, they'll be able to hear the problem areas (not having to concentrate on playing at that moment) and will have a better idea of where "issues" are coming from. Things tend to go past pretty fast in concert or rehearsal and don't get noticed as much as when you concentrate on listening to a playback.
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    You know, there's one final possibility: some people just hear better than others and there's only so much you can do about it, B. There are folks that play a straight, colorless tone on an instrument and then look at the band director as if to say "What do I do now?". You tell them up, down, whatever and every other out of tune note on their instrument is disregarded because, after all, the BD said the flute is in now tune. They are nice people with no ears and there's not a whole lot you can do in that setting. A private teacher is the only way to get those people to understand what they have to listen for and fix.

  3. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA

    To be honest I still find the flutes to be the hardest section to get to play in tune. The angle of the flute, speed of the air, the type of embouchure, and about a million other factors come into playing the flute in tune.

    It took me many years and many sessions with a private flute teacher to get my section to play in tune as well as I want. I actually learned to play flute pretty well so I could understand the problems they face - DOING is UNDERSTANDING for me.

    I suggest if you are having big problems with the flute section that you bring in a fine flute teacher to run a few sectionals for your section specifically on the topic of playing with better tone and playing better in tune (the two usually go together).

    Good luck with this topic. I admire you for helping the director with intonation. It is often the hardest problem to solve in any ensemble.
  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    And on that note I'd recommend a cat named James Walker out of LA. He's the guy who played the theme song on the movie Titanic. Pretty wicked jazz artist too and a great educator. I "understand" he also plays golf. :D

    His website is:http://www.jimwalkerflute.com/ . He's a Yamaha artist so you might be able to get some financial help from their local dealer.
  5. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I sent an email to Mr. Walker.

  6. hornblatt

    hornblatt Pianissimo User

    Jul 30, 2005
    DC area

    I used to have to do the same thing in my wind ensamble last year. I could never get the flutes in tune. I really wish I had all this advise then. I would say listen to Manny and the rest of the posters. Their suggestions are great.

    And finally:
    How do you tune four piccolos?

    Shoot three of them!

    had to say it :bleah:
  7. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    When we had Mr. Walker visit us here in Lethbridge, a full day of workshops was planned for flautists from Jr. H.S. to adult. I think everyone who had a flute showed up for at least one of his "workshops" that day and raved about his ability to "connect" with all ages and all skill levels.

    He had a wicked schedule but never missed a beat: Showed up in Lethbridge Thursday afternoon, rehearsed with our band that evening. Did workshops all day Friday and attended a "meet n greet" that evening. Saturday morning we ran a final rehearsal. He golfed Sat afternoon, played the concert with us Sat evening and THEN showed up at a jazz club downtown and played jazz "into the wee hours".

    This was all done in the middle of recording the sound-track for "War of the Worlds". A nicer guy you'll be hard to find.
  8. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona

    There’s are really great product on the market called TuneUp. I used it diligently for many months this past year, and would sing the exercises in the car on the way to work. I’ve always played well in tune on my horn, but when I would sing, I had trouble getting things to lock in exactly. I decided that working on my ears (regardless of whether I had my horn in my hands) would be VERY worthwhile. I’m amazed at how much working with this product has helped me.

    I wrote about my recent “singing†experience in this post.

    Getting to experience the "powerful serenity" of actually being in tune again and again using this program is extremely powerful. And since there is "unlimited access" to these exercises (just a CD click away), I can really spend sufficient time with each interval to get the intonation to really lock in. This is really the key to great intonation (time spent with a reference pitch to train your intonation brain).

    I like this quote from the author of the product:

    “No ensemble can exceed the skill of its membersâ€

    Good luck! I know your ensemble is going to thank you for the work that you’re doing with them!
  9. RoccoNut16v

    RoccoNut16v New Friend

    Oct 11, 2005
    I once was in a full band which tuned in 3min tops. Mind you it was an All Region band, so all the non-hackers were mostly gone, but it was still quite amazing. All the director did was tell everybody to "ditch their tuners." He then had the first chairs tune, and then made the rest of the sections tune by ear, counting beats. 1st chair would play G, second would join at will, then each successive player would join at will. Emphasis being "at will," instead of "at command." By allowing each player to come in when they wanted, they could seperate their sound from the sound of the other players in the section/band, so they could tell who was in tune/out of tune. The players already in tune, should tounge the tuning note every few seconds to keep their sound seperated from the sound of the other players, to make sure their tuning is staying correct. We did this tuning method about twice a rehersal, once after warm up, and once about halfway through as a check up, which was never needed.

    All this method really does is get your ears working well, but thats all tuning is in the end isn't it? I don't know what your current method is, but perhaps a spin off of this should be considered. Otherwise it's my post count +1, respect -3 :lol:
  10. pwillini

    pwillini Pianissimo User

    Mar 4, 2004
    Kalamazoo, MI

    I can empathize with you about your flutes! I play in a small church ensemble and our director wants us to tune to the flute. Our lead flutist tunes to a pocket tuner religiously ( I know, bad pun, but intended!) but when we tune to her she is constantly flat. Funny thing is, though, when she solos, she's constantly sharp!

    We now tune on a major chord of the clarinetist's choice and build on sound, rather than intonation. That seems to get us closer than any tuner ever has!

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