Use of wind is the single most important aspect of flute playing. It touches many aspects of music-making besides the actual production of notes--such as dynamics, intonation, articulation, tone color, and vibrato production.
Peter Lloyd's concern with this subject began with his teaching at Indiana. Before that, he had basically passed along ideas presented to him by others. "So much had been fed into me by the wonderful teachers that I had experienced, that I was really quite confused as to the way I was teaching." At Indiana, confronted with students who had basic problems, Lloyd had to come to terms with what was important.
So much of this stems from observing and understanding singing; how singers use their mouths, throats, and tongue, and the amount of air needed. Try singing a note and then playing it, using the same shape in your mouth. It tells you a lot about harmonics in sound.
Geoffrey Gilbert taught students to balance more on the right leg than the front, which keeps the flutist from hunching forward. Lloyd modifies this aspect.
Another problem with "band stance"--the stance many flutists learn in marching band--is the tendency to hold the elbows so high that they are almost parallel too the flute. This causes the wrists to become highly flexed and rigid, constricting the blood and oxygen flow to the fingers and inviting carpal tunnel syndrome due to the type of rapid, repetitive movements needed for flute playing.
When you set up, be careful that the left arm isn't higher by too much. The left arm should be allowed to drop, under normal circumstances.
If you're going to balance yourselves, I would suggest trying to balance the flute from the right hand first, onto the [left] shoulder. Then you hang the left hand off. [Then] come round to the right, to wherever your normal position is. This [indicates head, neck, shoulders] floats. You can float right around, you can go as far as it doesn't hurt. Don't go so far that you bring your shoulder in. [Now] you're totally relaxed without pressure on anything.
Don't put that left arm up, if only for the reason that if you go too far, the only [other] way you can support the flute is by pushing it into your lip. And once you start that, you are bringing tension to [the embouchure]....the whole thing is as free and relaxed as can be.
Then, when you're playing, think free wrists. Think relaxed wrists. If your wrists are relaxed, it's probable that the rest of your shoulders is pretty free. If you leave your left hand down [a bit], you're totally free. But if you raise that elbow two inches, you can feel the tension.
Now, usually when that happens you've tightened the muscles here [indicates chest area and back area] and that interferes with your breathing. The whole thing adds up.
The mirror is your best friend....It's going to be able to suggest, point things out. Your development is always in the practice room and the more mirror you use [the better]. [You'll see] problems of tension. If I tell you that you are moving, you don't believe me. Why should you? You can't see yourself. Seeing is believing, okay?
A stance problem that Peter Lloyd points out to many students is the tendency to move about a great deal while playing. This habit was a "pet peeve" with Geoffrey Gilbert, who felt that excessive body movements were "subconscious behaviors caused by not being sure of your ability to communicate expression in the sound." Lloyd feels strongly that too much "expressive" movement can displace the flute from the aperture hole, causing control problems and also constricting the breathing process.
Generally...the more movement and tension, the more it affects the breathing and then it affects the projection. I don't think that anyone should be stock-still. Take a lesson from Monsieur Rampal. When he moves, all this is absolutely stable [indicates flute mouthpiece/ embouchure area]. He moves here [indicates waist].
You've got to keep the stability here [indicates embouchure]. That's the important thing. If I'm moving, I'm going to do it from my body and not from my head. I'm going to move there [indicates waist] because that will keep me stable here [indicates lip] and I think that's terribly important. Otherwise, you could drop this [flute headjoint] a bit and the sound will change.
Displacing the embouchure is not the only problem of overly-expressive body movement. It also causes tension in the upper chest and shoulders, and control is considerably decreased.
We fill up everything. You look at some of the good players--look at their [chest cavity] size....That's where the resonance is. It's enormous what they use there. It's a wonderfully well-kept secret that nobody tells you about. And that is resonance, and [it is] important to fill and open yourself--to make use of every little pocket of resonance you can find in your body.
The throat and mouth cavities must also be held open, for free breathing. Open your throat. Drop the back of your tongue when you articulate and really feel the openness there, just like a singer has to. Imagine the air coming from low down. It's coming through an almost equal sort of column, straight through the mouth and out into the flute.
The big problem is that you get used to playing with the throat closed....The thing is to get used to opening. I know it's hard, because you've been playing for five or ten years, and when you've got a particular habit it's very hard to change it. But I do think it's something you need to have. There's loads of sound in there, and you've just got to somehow say, "Right," and start to work at it.
I'm truly certain I'm right about this. But I keep feeling defensive about trying to get people to open up and sing like that for the simple reason that so many teachers of international repute say you shouldn't breathe to that extent....But I think that actually you're missing out a tremendous amount as far as production of sound.
Once the flutist's stance is relaxed and free and the body cavities are open, the flutist must take a full first breath. Controlled breathing has been a lifelong pursuit for Lloyd.
I'm asthmatic. So all my life I've had to learn how to breathe....I had to do something about breathing exercises for myself. Otherwise I would have been stuck to the bottom of the [professional flutist] pile. And I was too ambitious.
"Think of the Midsummer Night's Dream 'Scherzo'," he advises. Logically, the more breath one starts with, the more will be available to add to the shorter "topping up" breaths.
In many playing situations flutists are tempted to take a fast first breath during the pickup beat before actual playing starts. This habit hearkens back to early band training in which students are taught to take a breath during the preparatory beat. Peter Lloyd advocates taking the first breath slowly. The logic is that with a slow relaxed intake, the flutist is able to stretch and get more air in than with a tense, quick breath.
Don't breathe in fast when you have time. I said slowly. That doesn't mean too soon and freeze. You must always, with these big breaths, do everything in a rhythmic cycle with the music. A few years ago I did a class in Britain alongside a singer and I happened to know the woman who was running the thing, and I got her to give us a class on breathing....At the end of all that we came to the conclusion that the parallels are just about complete. The only thing different was that the singer said that they can't breathe as far as we can. And I know there are [flute] people who say don't breathe to your full capacity because you can't really start sound like that. That was from singers. But we can, pro-viding that you breathe rhythmically with the music. So never hold it. The whole thing is in a relaxed cycle.
A flutist who has enough breath is much more relaxed than one who does not and is panic-stricken about finishing a phrase. This relaxation enables the secure flutist to take in more air even with short intakes.
This is a situation in which flutists often find themselves. A relatively short phrase with, say, a bar's rest before it, is followed by longer phrases that do not allow a full breath. Flutists who take only what they need for the first short phrase will find themselves without reserves as the music continues. Then, panic, tension, and restricted intake [because of tension] ensue.
By practicing taking breaths before they are actually needed, flutists will have enough air to use for color, control, and projection. Plus, they will be more relaxed and confident because they (and the music) will not be at the mercy of their lung capacity. This practice converts easily into musical phrasing.
Mostly, people tend to look at a phrase and say, "Oh, I've only got to get from there to there for the first phrase." And then [when they get to the second phrase] you think, "Oh my God, now what am I going to do?" And then you're sunk. You have to remember to...get ahead.263 For most of those sorts of places [for instance]...a Bach sonata...try to find ways by which to breathe when you still have plenty of air in.264
There's a little way of thinking...which doesn't actually interrupt the rhythm...and that is to wait a hair's breadth of only a second before blowing. This is the thing Caratgé made me do--to try to find time. Just stop, be prepared, [make sure that] everything is ready. And then you release the sound. You don't hold your breath. It's for a bare fraction of a second, not really holding. That way you're absolutely safe, because everything is there and ready, but you haven't held your breath long enough to let the muscles go tense and the breath to freeze....Once you learn how to do it, it's absolutely safe. Just release the air. Let it go. Don't try.265
The hyperventilation and dizziness experienced by so many beginning flute players seem to be a result of skipping this small step.266
[Blow] once without the flute and think how it feels, how free it is. See? Now you have something to hang onto. And if you control the airstream, the color and everything [else] comes through....You don't need to worry too much about the sound you're making. What you're trying to do is to make certain that your breathing--the actual physical business of blowing through the flute--is free. I don't care about sound. Just breathe freely and then put the flute in the way....Once you've got the airstream going, then try to refine it.268
Several extra-musical points are worth mentioning in the context of stance and intake/exhalation of breath. One is that students will do one thing during practice time, or when concentrating on an etude, and another when they begin to play a solo work. This even happens during master-classes. As he told one performer, "One thing I notice [is] when you listen and look at me, you stand one way. When you play, you stand another! Try not to." 270
Another point is diet. Caffeine in particular will cause players to tense up. "Are you a big coffee drinker? Keep off the caffeine." 271 "P.S.," he adds, "I live on it."272
Apart from flute practice, the best thing flutists can do to help their breathing is to exercise regularly. "What do you do for exercise?" is a question Lloyd often asks classes and individual flutists. While any exercise is positive, Peter Lloyd finds that swimming gets especially good results. "I know you breathe well when you swim. You have to."273 Taking in deep, rhythmic breaths during swimming transfers well to flute playing.
Keeping physically fit is, I think, very important. I was talking to one person recently who came to Manchester talking about various problems in the way [musicians] stand, and she said, "You must compare yourself to an athlete. You are musical athletes and you should treat your bodies in that way."274
Just one tiny thing about this breathing that's worrying me. I've read a lot of articles in my years in America. A lot of people get so terribly involved with the complications of how--by reading--that we get terribly caught up in worrying about whether we're doing the right thing. I honestly believe that everything to do with teaching, everything to do with playing this thing [flute] should be as simple as possible ....Just breathe deep, fill yourself all the way up, stop way up here, fill it up, and blow it out. I don't think it's anything else. 276
We need more air pressure. You see, the faster the air stream the more chance we can control it, up to a point....If the pressure isn't there, then the air stream just sort of flops all over the place and you can't control it at all.279
Just let the air through. Obviously some of you are going to say, "Oh, but if I do then it all falls out, doesn't it?" But where does it go? Out of your ears? You want to make sure that you get the pressure behind the lip. The lip holds the pressure. You don't try holding the pressure here [indicates throat area]. It's the pressure and the air speed coming through the lips that gets you projection; that makes the sound carry. So remember, the whole system really is think breathing and then just put it on your lip....You don't need a lot of tension. 280
It [flute sound] all stems from the freedom of the breathing through this small hole. 282
That "small hole" is the flute aperture. The embouchure controls the shape and size of the aperture hole, through which air passes from the flutist to the flute. This vital area is subject to wide variation among humans, and it is up to flutists to make the adjustments which will help them the most.
For a good basic tone, it is important to find the largest part of the aperture and match it to the largest part of the flute's embouchure hole. This is true whether the aperture is off to one side or in the middle of the mouth. Even now, many youngsters are told by well-meaning directors or teachers that they don't have the "right" mouth to play the flute and are put on other instruments. But an aperture either left or right of center is not "wrong," and it is easy to place the flute where the player will get just as good control as a player whose mouth opening is centered. Flutists are encouraged to start at one extreme end and slowly bring the flute across their lips from one end to the other, while watching themselves closely in a mirror. They should take note of the location of the flute when their tone sounds best. Gradually, watching in the mirror all the time, the flutist should narrow their field of movement until they have found the spot where their sound is best.
Many flutists tend to pull their lips back in a tense smile in an attempt to control air speed and direction, especially in the flute's lowest octave.
You know what happens when you pull your embouchure don't you? The shape of the hole, the aperture, suddenly goes from a nice little round something in the middle octave and high octave to a great big long flat thing at the bottom octave. So how on earth you expect to get air through the long thin thing into a small round [flute] hole, I don't know!283
A lot of these things are logic....What you're trying to do is get air with as much control of speed into a small round hole. So what you've got to do with your lips is to find some way of getting it to that shape. It's going to be slightly smaller than the [flute] hole. [And] that is really the principle of the thing. 285
Even with the best of apertures, rolling the flute too far in or out will affect a flutist's sound adversely. Again, individual flutists must deal with this aspect by finding the best spot for sound, much as before. Start by rolling out to an extreme degree; then slowly roll in (watching closely in a mirror the entire time). While watching closely, listen for the point at which the sound is best. When flutists have found the optimal position, they must then adjust the headjoint so that they can achieve this position without undue strain on their hand/wrist position.
Air is actively propelled from the lungs by the diaphragm/intercostal area and sent unimpeded to the lip, where the stream is controlled; air direction is dictated by the lips and the position of the flute on the lip and chin. Although air direction is split over and under the flute hole edge, some air must always be directed down into the flute--even in its highest register. "The airstream has got to be able to see the hole," as Peter Lloyd explains.286
Flutists whose chins are that far back are going to find it easier to push the air straight down into the flute's open hole. If the chin comes out too far, then you have to come higher on your lip and blow across, and I think that's really very important.287
A common problem with air direction is that when flutists are told to aim low for low notes and high for high notes, they aim too high for the third register. This causes more of a shriek than a tone and a very sharp third register. This does not need to occur, Lloyd stresses. He advocates aiming the airstream farther down, thus keeping one's tone and one's intonation from straying too far from the other octaves.
Remember, don't aim at high notes somewhere up to smash the light bulbs. You sit up, and blow down into them as easily as you possibly can. They're easy to sit on top [of] and blow down into. You're already set up. 288
Visualization can help, as when flutists feel they are on top of a high note, like a puppeteer manipulating a puppet. When flutists feel in control, they relax, stop straining, and stop aiming the air too high.
When you play high...don't see it up there. you're up there. You look down and play down. In other words, try to keep high and blow down.... [High notes] are only difficult when our tendency is to start to try to squeeze up to them. Keep high, keep free, and use your breath. 290
The upper register does require more air pressure, but again, some flutists overdo. "Be careful you don't waste breath because you think top notes are more difficult. They're not more difficult....Don't waste breath on them."291
The idea of singing is also important. "If you sing a note, you drop the back of your tongue, and I think keeping the back of the tongue low is the most important thing."294
The other obstacle is the back of the tongue, which is often raised. Lloyd is adamant about keeping the back of the tongue lowered. Yawning helps this along, as does vowel vocalization. This hearkens back to William Kincaid, who advocated yawning to open the mouth cavity. His student, John Krell, advised flutists to experiment with vowel sounds to "modulate tone."295
Vocalization of various vowel sounds can change the shape of the mouth cavity. This in turn changes the airflow to the lip and affects flute tone color and projection. Peter Lloyd discourages those vowel sounds that tend to close the mouth cavity, such as "EEE" and long "A." Anyone saying these sounds will feel the back of the tongue raised and obstructing air flow. Flutists who tend to pull their lips back in a smile when playing are usually vocalizing on an "EE". Vocalization is a key to curing the smile embouchure, as it is all but impossible to keep the lips pulled back while dropping the jaw to open the mouth and vocalizing an "AWW" or even an "OH."
Vocalization also helps avoid the common problem of noise during breath intake.
I've always gotten people to open up the back of the throat....You can drop the tongue at the back of your throat more....You breathe free. If you hear yourself breathing with [an inhaling sound], that's not much good because you're not only robbing color and sound, but you're also making it difficult for the air to come in. 296
John Krell used the slightly different image of flute tone as a cork ball "supported in the air by a column of compressed air. Once suspended, it need only be supported by the breath."299
Another, more French-sounding syllable that Lloyd uses is "EU." This has the effect of a pear shape inside the mouth cavity, larger at the back than at the front. "Think of something between EEE and OOO, then put them together," he suggests.
As an aid to keeping the throat and mouth cavities open, Lloyd uses the parallel of singing. "Always feel that you're singing," he advises.301 During a masterclass, he instructed:
Can you actually imagine that you're singing? Can you feel the sound? Hear the sound? Do you feel it in your mouth? Can you make that position without actually singing it first--because it's difficult to go onto a platform to play a concert and start singing every note!....Try to imagine where that voice is before you start playing.302
A side effect of sending steady air to the lips through open cavities is that the flutist's cheeks may puff out. "There's nothing wrong with having a bit of freedom of air in the cheeks," Peter Lloyd says.305
Don't try just belting hard, low octave sounds out. It sounds disgusting and has nothing to do with flute playing. Although that sort of sound does reach the conductor louder, the best sound is to put as much harmonic in that low register as you possibly can. Mix the low harmonic and the upper harmonic and it'll carry far, far better.306
Many flute students have difficulty playing softer dynamics. While it stands to reason that a large column of air and a large "sounding board" from the body cavities would create a large sound, the opposite does not produce a good soft sound.
Most flutists reason that if a fast-flowing airspeed is required for louder dynamics, then slower air flow is needed for softer dynamics. No amount of flatness, dropped octaves, or throat tightening seems to deter flutists from this belief. Most flutists accept the "fact" that soft notes are hard to play and usually out of tune. Peter Lloyd teaches that soft notes are as accessible as loud ones, but the key is to keep the air column moving at almost the same speed as is needed for loud playing. The key is to send this air through a smaller aperture hole. This does not mean a tight or pulled-back embouchure, simply a smaller hole.
The following are several examples from masterclasses in which Lloyd encouraged players to produce a stress-free pianissimo.
When you play pianissimo, it's still got to project down those stairs and out into the street, but it's not going to be loud. All right? So keep your embouchure as small as you can. As you come up into the middle octave, make very certain that you're not going to go flat. Keep pushing the air through....Now take a proper breath and do it....Fine. Now if you want to get more piano on that, close your lips. The lip hole is smaller, not the air stream slower. Now start mezzo forte and see if you can play an octave higher, piano....Now you've just got to hold it there. See, that's what projection is all about--just being able to blow through.308
What I'm finding is that the air stream isn't really always fast enough. And when you play piano, you're having pitch problems. And I think if you can keep your energy going through with a smaller embouchure, then you...should keep it in [pitch]. 309
Try to feel that when you diminuendo, the embouchure itself is more flexible. As I say, in a perfect world we try to keep the air speed as nearly the same as we possibly can, because that will keep the intonation and color. 310
[Play] once more and then diminuendo on the top B. Squeeze your lip. Try to squeeze your lip very, very slowly so that the embouchure gets smaller and smaller and smaller, because that's where you'll maintain that carrying-through there. Okay, now play that opening passage on that size embouchure. 311
Just take a big breath and make a small embouchure and relax everything. Drop everything. Drop your shoulders particularly. Then relax everything so that the rib cage wants to come down naturally and see if it'll give you enough air pressure on your lip. It should. 312
When you try to get the small embouchure at the top, start mf, get the color really good--not sharp, get it right, and then just gently, as your lips close, then obviously the air stream's going to get smaller and smaller. But don't forget, it's not going to change its speed.313
Now...let's go right down to three p's....Try it without the flute. Relax everything so that the rib cage wants to come [down] naturally, and see if it'll give you some...air pressure on your lip. You can feel the size of the hole. If you get quite a sharp needle of air in your hand, it gives you some clue as to what's going on. 314
You're not going to need a huge push to get that sound out. The very fact of the rib cage being as open as it possibly can be, will give you enough pressure as it collapses to make the pianissimo sound. It's terribly terribly easy.315
Could you come down from a high note? Just get it free. See what happens then? Suddenly you feel the sound going through instead of being desperate to be quieter. 316
As you work in this way, everything needs to be relaxed.317
The relationship between breath and intonation on the flute is quite simple. When the air stream increases in speed, pitch goes up. When the air stream decreases in speed, pitch goes down. Most flutists tend to play sharp in the upper register and flat in the lower. This stems from the belief that the upper register needs a lot of air to "keep up" the notes, but that the lower octave needs less air because the notes are not being held up. The differences in air speed show up as faulty intonation.
In a perfect world we're trying to maintain air speed whether we play loud or soft. The flute will give you its intonation wherever the makers have put the holes, if you treat it properly and keep an even air speed through it whether you play loud or soft. Then you can find out quite simply what notes on your instrument are flat and what notes are sharp. But really we don't need all this business of pushing high and pushing low. Really, the more evenly--the more still [steady] you can stay, the better.320
Flutists should be especially careful not to let their air speed slow down during a diminuendo. This is a common error that causes pitch to go flat as the diminuendo continues. Instead, Peter Lloyd advocates keeping the airstream steady and gradually decreasing the size of the aperture. In this way, the dynamic gets softer, but the airstream [and thus the pitch] stays steady.
For most flutists, shorter notes receive correspondingly less breath. The result is less sound for each note. Tone color suffers, intonation may go flat, and the moving tongue is overly apparent in the flutist's sound.
Because of this correlation, Peter Lloyd strongly advocates that teachers omit articulation with their beginning students until they have developed good breathing habits and a good, solid flute tone.
I think it's terribly important that you make absolutely certain that the color of sound is stable--that the sound is strong, stable, and reliable....As far as I'm concerned, I don't teach students articulation at all until I am absolutely certain that the forte sound and the stability of sound is there....If you can wait that long, it takes all the difficulty out of the articulation, because the whole thing about articulation is sound. It's not so difficult to move the tongue. 323
Make sure that when you articulate, it's sound you're making. You can only articulate on the best possible sound. You can't articulate on a scrappy sound. 324
Rampal believed that articulation was a critical component of flute playing. Lloyd recounted Rampal saying, "Listen to articulation. The good player will separate himself from the rest of the others by the fact that he has life in the articulation."326
There are two main techniques used for flute single tonguing, differentiated by the placement of the tip of the tongue on areas of the mouth: "back" and "front" tonguing.
In front tonguing, the tip of the tongue is at the front of the mouth. Usually, flutists can feel the bottom of the front teeth and part of the inside of the upper lip with the tip of their tongue. This way, a very small area at the tongue tip blocks the aperture opening like a cork. As the tongue tip is not reaching upwards, it is possible for the flutist to maintain an open mouth cavity. Since less of the tongue is moving, front tonguing tends to be faster. And as air can be backed up with some pressure behind the tongue tip and that air is directly adjacent to the flute's embouchure hole, front tonguing usually sounds clearer and more precise.
In back tonguing, the tip of the tongue is set on the ridge of the upper palate. In order for the tongue to reach the upper palate, flutists using back tonguing must close their mouth cavity somewhat, robbing their sound of color and projection. It also tends to be less clear than front tonguing.
Back tonguing has become identified with American flute players. Peter Lloyd believes that this technique developed because of a linguistic mistake.
French flutists use front tonguing. In fact front tonguing is sometimes referred to as "French tonguing." In French flutist Marcel Moyse's widely studied flute books he uses the syllable "TU" as an articulation aid. Americans pronounce the "TU" syllable fairly far back in the mouth, whereas the French place that syllable much farther forward. Over time, this difference became two schools of articulation.
Gareth Morris's writings underscore the point of French pronunciation in articulation. He instructed beginning flutists to articulate by pronouncing TU "as in French".327
Geoffrey Gilbert has an entirely different opinion about the lack of crispness in articulation, particularly with American flutists. He felt that Americans tend to drop "t's" in their everyday speech--such as pronouncing "intermission" as "innermission"--or substitute the "t" with a softer "d"--such as pronouncing "Atlanta" as "Adlanna". This habit, he felt, translated into muddy articulation in flute playing.328
Lloyd started playing flute using back tonguing.
The breath must be in the mouth cavity, under pressure, ready to emerge with proper speed, the moment the tip of the tongue moves away from the aperture. Thus, breath pressure is always ready.
When you articulate on the flute, try not to "stab" notes like a hammer. Try to release them, more like a harpsichord, so that the pressure is still there waiting for you. It's much more accurate.334
A flutist switching from back to front tonguing will probably be wise to make the switch over the summer. This is because of a side effect of learning to front tongue--excess saliva. Lloyd jokes that flutists making the switch from back to front tonguing will not have "dry mouth" during performances!
The great thing about tonguing forward...is you've got loads and loads of saliva. The trouble with the tongue is, when you stick it in front of the mouth, it thinks it's going to get food or water. So you've got to slowly teach it. After about six weeks it dries up.335
Double tonguing may also be done in front. The area of most difficultly for flutists' double tonguing is the KA [or GU] syllable. That syllable is so much weaker than the more-used TU [or DU] that double tonguing emerges as DUguDUguDUgu.
With your double tonguing, are you forward tonguing or are you TUCKA TUCKA-ing? Think of DU GU. Keep that syllable really forward--DU GU rather than TUCKA TUCKA. Anybody who's really forward on the lip, fine....Try not to go "TUCKA". It nearly always means that the "KA" syllable will be less strong than any other, because it's so far back there's no air to help it through. 337
You see, the more you bring that tongue up at the back of your mouth, the less quality of sound you're going to have. Because obviously that resonating cavity needs to be kept open.339
[Rampal] made me do the GU, GU [very slowly] and then DehGehDehGeh [very slow double tonguing], to try to get those syllables exact. 340 Well worth practicing in the bath, you know, just with your voice and see how low you can get it. Because that's the problem I see so often--the double tonguing sounds so uneven. 341
Whatever method a flutist uses, the prime thing to remember is to keep the air moving.
You cannot do it [tongue] forward without being very aware of how free the breathing is. It's got to be absolutely free and full and with energy. Like everything in flute playing....I think that the whole forward tonguing thing... seems to me to be by far the best thing to do. Again, it's logic. The nearer the tongue is to the flute hole, the less room for error. And as I say, make sure you're breathing really good, really free. Otherwise it just doesn't work. 342
With both single and double tonguing, many students' articulation is initially clear and then increasingly muddy. The tongue is a muscle, and stamina for single and double tonguing must be built up. For this, Lloyd again recommends the Paganini Perpetual Mobile.
How are your chops? Your lips? Tired? You know when you practice double tonguing, the big problem...is stamina. It's just being able to work right through that patch when everything hurts. And you start getting all tired and then you get tighter and tighter. The only way is to take something like Perpetual Mobile and... practice it in patches. Take the first third of it, then take the second third, than take the third third. And try to do it in sections.... every, say, three or four days...try to get six or seven measures further than you did the previous time. The more you do it every day, the more your chops will get used to it. But to start with, don't go to far, as far as the pain is concerned ....The big problem with the articulation is the stamina, because we never do long enough stretches. And then all of a sudden something turns up in music in the orchestra or something and we think, "Oh, my God," and we get more and more tight. 343 Even the issue of stamina in tonguing is directly related to air speed. As Lloyd says:
We get tired and the tongue gets more and more tight because there isn't enough airstream pushing through. Make sure the air is always pushing through to keep the tongue relaxed. You can do that without a flute and you'll see what happens.344
As with other aspects of flute playing, varying (or not varying) tone color must make musical sense.
I think color changing has to be for a deliberate musical reason. It's not one of those things where, when we go from one octave to another it's more convenient to go [makes blatting sound].345
Lloyd insists that control of harmonics [and thus flute tone colors] sets a flutist apart in auditions. When playing ascending octaves, he suggests:
You need very little movement to move upwards. If anything, move the other way. By doing that, by building more depth of lower harmonic in the sound, you're going to immediately attract [the panel's] attention, because nine players out of ten won't have it. It's like teaching. We're all told when we start playing that we've got to produce octaves all in the chin. And the reason for that is because we haven't been taught how to breathe! Now, when we're taught to breathe, we don't need to do that. But we're never taught not to. And I think that's one of the well-kept secrets of teaching.
It's terribly terribly important to understand that once the air stream is controlled ...it doesn't need to do much more than hang on there with good air speed, and do the rest of your singing in your mouth, so you hear richness of harmonic. When you hear loud in the middle octave, it's not because you're blowing harder, it's because you're trying to work into the low harmonics. Enlarge it that way--then everything works.348
Because air direction affects tone color, tuning, and production of octaves in the flute, these aspects are interrelated. Peter Lloyd feels that most flutists overdo the admonition to blow down for the lowest octave and up for the highest. Besides causing the lower octave to be flat and the higher octave to be sharp, both octaves are robbed of a generally richer tone color. He advocates getting some of the lower harmonics into upper notes and some of the higher harmonics into lower notes.
You see, what we're trying to do is...to get down into the octave harmonics more, so we get more low harmonic into the middle octave--because that's where volume comes from. It doesn't come from blasting....So always feel that you're blowing down in [proper] octaves...because I think it's very important for basic coloring.349 Make use of your sound. It's not really loud, but color.350
Caratgé, at one stage [when] we were talking about color, made me work on the extreme ranges of color. So I had to learn how to play pianissimo with a nasty, hard sound and how to play more forte--as forte as possible--on a very open sound. And it was a very useful exercise because if you can manage that, then obviously you've got all the colors in between.352
Although a good basic sound is highly desirable, Lloyd points out that various flute tone colors make the music more interesting. In reference to a particular work, he advised:
You play so beautifully, and I want in this instance to destroy your beauty. I want you to sound fuzzy. I know it sounds ridiculous, but you mustn't always play beautifully, because it gets boring. I don't care how incredible your sound is, nobody can sit there and listen to a particular quality of sound for a couple of hours at a time and stay sane. It becomes boring. Use as much variety and color [as possible].353
As an asthmatic, Peter Lloyd has had to make use of every bit of air available to him in flute playing. He realized that he would have to increase his lung capacity if he were to compete with other flutists.
Remember, it's got to go a full fifteen minutes for each. Now, all of you should find four seconds very easy. Those of you who don't, who have been breathing too shallowly and haven't been used to breathing deeply, drop back to three seconds. It's always the same--in for three, hold for three, out for three, hold for three.
Don't go to your absolute maximum [intake] because then you will be tense when you hold. Go to 5% or 10% at the top and bottom. Try to be totally relaxed. When four seconds is easy, then go to five seconds. You'll soon know when your heart rate starts to speed after ten minutes [and you think], "I don't think this is quite right." That's when you stop and go back to less. When your heart and system tells you that it's easy [then] go up to five or six seconds. If it's not working and you're hyperventilating, go back ...otherwise you'll black out and that's not a good idea.
Now, don't try to push yourself too fast. Do the full fifteen minutes on four, five, seven, whatever you do....I promise you this is not an exercise that you can learn in a week or two weeks or two months--it's a thing that you're looking forward to seeing what's going to happen to you in six months' time. It will not do you any good if you work at it for a month and then give it up and say, "Oh, I'm breathing better." You'll just collapse and have to start all over again.
So you've got five seconds now. Maybe that's taken you two or three weeks. Maybe it's taken you a day. Go to six seconds, go on to seven seconds, go on to eight seconds--slowly increasing. When you get to nine seconds and you're finding that comfortable--and by this time you're finding out how easy it is to go to eight, nine, ten seconds--it's not so difficult when you've gotten that far, it's the early ones that are hard. When you get to nine seconds, start to simulate playing on the flute.
For example, breathe in over four, then make an embouchure and blow out over twenty-eight, thirty, thirty-five [seconds]--whatever you like--and then hold it at the bottom for two [seconds] and repeat that over fifteen minutes.
Now, when that's easy and you're feeling very comfortable and saying "Wow, this is great," you get the flute out and use that. Don't try desperately to make a nice sound. Use any old note in the middle octave and do the same thing. And go on and on and on as economically as you can. [Make] the embouchure very, very small to save [air] and it's stopping the sound here [indicates lip]. What you must not do is hold it down here [throat/chest]. You want to get that pressure. You don't want to play ppp, play normal. It's important to try to get the pressure behind [the lip]. And that's really about it.
Now, I must repeat, you won't get anything out of this exercise unless you really do decide ....If you work hard at it, and don't think about what's happening next month, you'll find it'll make an enormous difference to the whole of your playing. If you've not heard this before, I think you ought to think about [doing] this. They're very good exercises. They've worked for me and made me able to play long phrases and have breath to spare.354