Flute Punch

Posts Tagged ‘Ann Yasinitsky

A former professor of mine, Dr. Greg Yasinitsky, has written new compositions for flute – here’s excerpts of Ann Yasinitsky (also a former professor) performing the two pieces, “Concertino for Flute and Orchestra,” and “Magic” for flute and chamber orchestra. I had forgotten how brilliant Ann’s tone is!

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Courtesy of Ann Yasinitsky, Clinical Assistant Professor of Music, Washington State University

Try to practice several different aspects of flute technique every day. Your daily practice regime should include long tones in the high, medium and low registers. The purpose of long tones is [to] work for purity and beauty of tone while playing long notes. Be self-critical, always striving for a better sound. A good long tone exercise book is De la Sonorite by Marcel Moyse (published by Leduc).

Secondly, one should always practice scales and arpeggios — tongued and slurred. Start by learning all major and minor scales; practice playing them two octaves each. You should write out all these scales yourself.

Next, you need to work on etudes. Choose etudes which are challenging, but not so difficult as to be unplayable. Solos are the last essential part of a good routine. As with etudes, pick solos which appeal to you and are challenging, but not beyond your level.

from “A Little Bit About Flute Playing”

Courtesy of Ann Yasinitsky, Clinical Assistant Professor of Music, Washington State University

Double and triple tonguing are often used for rapid passages. The syllables used for double tonguing are simply “ta ka.” To learn to double tongue, you should start slowly at first and then gradually increase your speed. For example, you can take any scale and play each note twice, using the syllables “ta ka” for each note. Next, play the scale, but this time play each note once, using “ta” and then “ka” — one syllable for each note. When you first try this, your double tonguing will be slower than your single tonguing, but with practice, your double tonguing will become far faster than your single tonguing could ever be. The syllables for triple tonguing are simply “ta ka ta, ta ka ta,” or “ta ka ta, ka ta ka.” To master double and triple tonguing, you must practice both regularly.

from “A Little Bit About Flute Playing”

Courtesy of Ann Yasinitsky, Clinical Assistant Professor of Music, Washington State University

Many different syllables are useful for various tongue strokes. I generally prefer to use a “ta” for crisp attacks and staccato tonguing. The placement of the tongue must be behind the teeth, between the gum and ridge lines. For legato tonguing, I find that the syllable “daw” works well. For a soft attack, use “pu.”

from “A Little Bit About Flute Playing”

Courtesy of Ann Yasinitsky, Clinical Assistant Professor of Music, Washington State University

Everyone’s mouth and lips are different, but there are a few basic principles of embouchure. For the low register, the bottom lip is drawn back (corners frowning), and the airstream is directed somewhat downward. The bottom lip moves slightly forward for the middle and upper registers and the air is directed more across the headjoint. The higher the note, the smaller the aperture. Do not pinch the lips in the high register! Instead, relax the mouth and produce high notes by supporting from the diaphragm. If you think of the syllables “ah” or “oh” while playing, your tone will have a fuller, rounder quality. Do not press the lip plate [of the flute] hard against your lip. Remember that any tension in the mouth, lips or throat will result in an ugly, choked tone.

from “A Little Bit About Flute Playing”

I forgot to mention in my previous entry that these excerpts are taken from a handout Ann uses when she gives workshops.

Courtesy of Ann Yasinitsky, Clinical Assistant Professor of Music, Washington State University

To produce a beautiful tone, it is absolutely necessary to breathe and support from the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle under the lungs. Stand or sit up straight, relax stomach muscles, open your throat and breathe in deeply as though yawning. Do not raise the shoulders. If the stomach moves out gently while inhaling, that is correct! Now that you have properly inhaled, you must be sure to release the air correctly. While playing (blowing out), resist the natural tendency to let the stomach muscles collapse inward. This is done by pushing out against your waistband or belt with your stomach muscles. That is breath support from the diaphragm! While there is no secret to achieving a gorgeous sound, the most important key is breath support.

from “A Little Bit About Flute Playing”

I was fortunate to study with both Ann and Greg (saxophone, jazz studies) at WSU. I like to loan her album Intuition to my students as an example of a full, quality sound thoughout all registers.


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