Flute/head joints

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Question
I have had trouble blowing into a flute.  Are there some head joints that make it easier to blow than others?  Currently, I use a special piece on my flute that makes blowing easier.  It blows like a recorder.  Are there head joints that affect how you blow into a flute? Thanks, Joel

Answer
Hello, Joel.
I do suppose there are gizmos and gadgets out there that make it easier to blow into a flute and get the desired notes.  But there is nothing in the universe that can replace a durable, adaptable, multi-functional, quite versatile human embouchure.

A shortcut may work for now.  But there is nothing so fine as developing YOUR unique embouchure.  It never comes immediately, or automatically, or dare I say, easily?  But it is more than worth the work it takes, AND THE PRACTICE TIME to train your own body to play a flute headjoint, no matter what the cut of the lip plate feels like.  

I have played a wide variety of brands of flute headjoints in the past 50+ years.  I can play them all with just a bit of personal adjustment.  I have a Guo Flute that is very surprising as far as the material from which it is made, and yet the ease of playing due to a uniquely formed headjoint.  Yet, most valuable, is my embouchre, with so many facial muscles, and therefore, many tiny variations in the way I can adjust and play just EVERYTHING!  

With a little practice, you will, too!  And maybe even better than I do!  So let me encourage you not to lean too heavily on a shortcut method.  But rather, invest your time in developing your skills the old fashioned way.  Practice and learn.

My best to you, Joel.  Play beautifully and enjoy.

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Denise J. Sipe

Expertise

These are the topics I CAN answer... How to play, from beginner to professional. Tips and tricks, breathing, auxilliary fingering techniques Tone Quality Listening--Developing your ears Technique --Bringing the notes up and off of the page, and making them "your own music". Playing solo, small groups, bands, orchestras Digitally reproduced, vs live accompaniment Accompanying vocalists, dancers, other instrumentals.

Experience

Soloist, small groups, large marching bands, symphony orchestras, stage bands and orchestras, theater, church music, jazz, classical, folk music

Organizations
I'm independent. But professionals have often hired me to play in their groups. Giving back to the community where I played in the High School Band, I am a former member of Williamsport, MD Community Band, a current member of New Horizons Band in Hagerstown, MD, and Bass Flute Player for the TOOT UNCOMMON FLUTES flute choir of Williamsport, MD. I often perform solo as "Toot Uncommon" and had a web-based business where I sold flutes of all sizes, shapes, and colors. The show is uncommon. The locations are often uncommon. And the variety of musical instruments is definitely uncommon! I am a member of NFA, the National Flute Association.

Publications
I didn't write for any publications. I leave that up to the more elite musicians.

Education/Credentials
This should have been my career. I am an engineer,and a trained professional clown. But my music is my passion. Flute is my favorite, though I also play many woodwinds and some brass. I am currently playing percussion in a volunteer concert band, and have drum corps experience, where I often played marching bass drum. I am totally self-taught. But I have often played in groups made up mostly of professionals. All in all I am still the area's best-kept secret.

Awards and Honors
Biggest honor of my career was playing an emotional piece, and looking out over the audience. Two big, tough construction workers had tears rolling down their cheeks.

Past/Present Clients
I've been teaching beginning and intermediate flute/piccolo students of all ages in MD and PA since the early 1970s.

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