Flute progress

Yes I'm still learning it after 6 weeks lessons.

Yes I am still learning it!

I am very grateful for my flute teacher who took me from zero knowledge to finding my way in a scale that contains 4 sharps (E major)! I am very grateful for her patience for letting me blow hissing sounds, striden, wobbly sounds, no sound and for lowering my arms in frustration and still smiling kindly, saying: practice those exercises for nest week!

I decided that I would follow Trevor Wye. My lady teacher knows him. She’d been to some of his International Flute days he organises in Canterbury. She told me he is very strict. He even threw a pencil at a student once!

He wrote a book called “Practice book for the flute” divided into the different aspects of flute difficulties.

One aspect is breathing. It’s important to dwell on this to become proficient to play long phrases. Here’s his recommendation, and exercise:

“Place your hands backward on your hips. Start by breathing out all the air out of your lungs. All the air, not just most of it. Yes, really; all of it! It should feel uncomfortable.

Now breathe in slowly through your nose. Start filling the abdomen first, then expand the ribs outwards. You may also feel your back filling out. Take in the maximum you can. Do not breathe out: now take a bit more. Yes, you can! And a bit more, and a bit more still. Hold it. Now breathe out slowly Get rid of every bit of air in your lungs. Keep breathing out until it feels painful. Now relax.

Begin again. Repeat six times.”

He asks the trainee to measure the chest and measure the expansion. Note it in a diary over the next 12 months and see the difference!


Photo will follow when I've got someone to take it for me. did try a selfie, but horribly blurred!)

Cheers, Mic being puffed out!!!

21 Replies

  • H Mic

    Makes me feel puffed out just reading your post! glad you are well enough for all this work, pity we won't be able to hear your first recital! keep going, Iris x

  • Lyd12, I shall tell you when I distribute tickets for my fans!

  • HI Mic,

    Glad you are enjoying the flute lessons, but remind me not to take it up any time soon, or anytime at all really. lol :) Sounds very difficult, and that's without even playing a note!

    Keep going,

    hugs from Huggs xxx :)

  • Huggs, at your place, you just put the flute in the wind and it'll play of itself!

  • Very true Mic, but we haven't had any wind for around 10 days now, which is very strange, so I am beginning to think that Spring is about to spring.!

    I am looking forward to seeing a video of you playing a tune when you reach that level. I would love to be musical, so just enjoy it instead.

    Keep enjoying it, and do you have a special tune in mind, that one day you would love to play?

    hugs from Huggs xxx :)

  • Yeah, Hugg, I've heard James Galway play from Bach Orchestral suite number 2: the minuet and the badinerie; 2 extraordinary show pieces. Here they are played by James Galway:

  • Thanks Mic,

    Thoroughly enjoyed that. I may have some requests for you! lol

    hugs from Huggs xxx :)

  • Brilliant you're doing this Mic, and enjoying it.

    Re the breathing exercises you had to do, it reminded me of a tai chi training i did where we were told that the Chinese think more than 3 breaths per minute is not healthy, and we were trained in the session to breathe three times a minute. I was amazed i actually could though couldn't keep it up for long. (It was about 10 years ago)

    But what reminded me of it was that first of all we had to breathe into the back area, then the ribs all round and gradually work up to the top. Apparently the back part of the lungs is the least likely to be damaged by smoking or other pollution.

    What i think must be really hard playing the flute is holding your arms up for long periods of time, but seems like you are managing that - good for you - a new version of the PR exercise with the broom handle :)

  • O2Tree! Hahaha! I like teh broom exercises! I do flinch often; but then the sound goes out too!

    It takes 1/2 hour and then I am shattered! (there are several 1/2 hours in a day, fortunately!)

  • Hi Mic Its lovely to hear about your progress with the flute. Well done keep up the good work. I love the idea that there are lots of half hours in the day. Looking forward to the next progress report. Nan

  • congratulations on taking up the flute at a later age with such success. I have bronchiectasis and was started on the tenor recoder at 5 (picture that) which became the flute until I had worked my way through the exams to grade eight, been bullied into orchestras which I hated because I was shy. and finally dug my heels in at 17 and refused to two hours practice every day, so putting my flute away. In hindsight it probably saved my life. The breathing taught me how to breathe properly and expanded what was left of my poor damage lungs. became very friendly with a lovely man , Peter, who teaches flute at Cambridge, does a lot of concert work and was one of the artists on a classical music cruise this summer. He said I should get it out of the case and offered to give me lessons. A great honour coming from somebody f his stature. Sadly, the refusal of my mother and my teacher in the 60s to allow me to play the instrument in any context ecxept the narrow strictures of symphony orchestras and the exam sylabus put me off for ever.

  • Stillstanding63, You can still have this friend help you and enjoy it. There's no law attached to teacher forbidding to enter this or that group! I would say like your friend, get it out of its case and enjoy it once more, since youhave gone all teh way to study it. After all, I bought the flute not to participate into any concert, but just for myself. Perhaps one day, I'll be able to play a tune or two in church or with friends. Enjoyment, that's what it's for!

  • yes it's lovely to find a talent which you can enjoy

  • Ah, a fellow musician ! - Hi, - I too play , but not using MY breath but the AIR SUPPLIED FOR ME ! ( Thank the Lord), - yes the Organ , !!! ( I also play piano and Keyboards, but thats a story for another time ! ), I must be the only organist who,has appeared playing that huge instrument at the Royal Albert Hall, London , with MY INHALER JUST TO THE RIGHT OF THE KEYBOARDS - IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY !! . Have recently returned from Italy having given a Concert in one of the Churches, and before I plunged my hands on the Instrument, made an Announcement to the packed audience = "Would they please forgive me whilst I have an INHALE of Ventolin on my trusty inhaler, available from all good Chemists " - THAT GOT A ROUND OF APPLAUSE BEFORE I EVEN GOT STARTED ON THE CONCERT !!!, - Oh, and by the way, in Italy you can buy Ventolin blue inhalers OVER THE COUNTER - NO NEED FOR A PRESCRIPTION !! - Keep playing Helingmic and good luck - both with the breathing and the Music .

  • Oh Vittorio,

    I learned Italian a long time ago. I even went to Chiavari and Santa Margherita Ligure (in 1974), being on a summer course, and got friendly with a lovely family.

    Music is so wonderful, even with the Blue Inhaler!

    I did learn the piano, and singing when I was a teenager. I was very fortunate that in England there’s a great musical tradition. (I seemed to come because of music and Christianity!) I was so pleased that they sang the Messiah in the local church – and all over Britain!

    Learning the flute is a challenge. Somebody said, you ought to love your instrument and then it will help you getting to know it (or is it her?). Every time, I fail to play properly, I relax on my bed and listen to James Galway or even some Flute jazz on YouTube. And I want to play more and learn all this beautiful music!

    As soon as I said I would learn the flute, there were several people here who all said they were playing an instrument. It’s so fantastic. It gives hope to our world!

    Cheers, Mic

  • There seems no end to your talents Mic. I really admire the way you forge ahead with a particular instrument or exercise, until you come to terms with it. You certainly stop me from feeling sorry for myself at times. I've just finished a PR course and am hoping to join a few of the class at the local gym. I'll think of you if I get disheartened! Cheers. Sara xx

  • Sara, that’s really lovely of you saying these things, thank you.

    As for post PR. The first time I did this and joined a group, I found myself quite out of breath because of ill health. I also found the location a bit off putting as it was on Herne Bay Pier, which is off on the sea. I was wind swept every time I went there, being breathless in front of hard swing doors and my oxygen trolley. So I left the group and went to my local gym where I knew the instructor. Although, this wasn’t part of a group anymore, I enjoyed this much more, and indeed within a couple of months, I was done with the oxygen altogether.

    It all depends how you get on with the group. When it gels, this is great. I hope the location is good.

    Well done for finishing the PR, and really hope you gel with the people in the group (as they won’t be the same as at the PR). They say that women get on so much better with others, because they can relate quickly with an intuitive chat! Great! Mic

  • Thanks Mic. Good advice as a puff of wind would blow me over. We are going to the local gym as a group. All women. Am trying to get the men to come too. Sara xxx

  • hi micheal,

    This is me still trying to catch up on things...

    , i am so glad your on your way now with the flute, AND having lessons now , your a great inspiration mic. Well done indeed,

    just watch that teacher throws no more than a pencil :) really glad to hear of your great

    enthusiasm, keep it up Fred, we,lle all be buying a ticket to see you, very soon, god bless jimmy :)

  • Hi Jimmy (1,2,3 and I get up!)

    I hope you are better now. We were all anxious about you. So it’s good to hear “your voice” here. Sometimes life is slow moving. But I hope your healing is on its way too. Thank you for your appraisal.

    I have a collection from school of pencils, chalk, etc!

    I’ve learned to be a good boy now!

    Boost your morale and watch Dave Allen on YouTube!

    Here’s the reference:


    Laughter is a good medicine! Good to hear from you, Mic

  • hi mic, i think my 123 get up, has 123 gone lol :)

    anyway really glad for you micheal, especially that your a "good boy" now :D yes ive watched dave allen quite a few times, really funny, they don't make them like that now :)

    stick in at that flue mic.. all the very best,, jimmy

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