Scales, how to play them on the flute
Updated: Mar 17
Scales and arpeggio are great exercises to do on the flute. Not only will they help you with understanding the key pieces of music are in, but they can also help improve your flute tone. Especially if you aim to make, each scale sound beautiful. After all, most pieces are made up of scales and broken chords, in some formation. This post will give you some ways to practice scales that will help you to produce a good tone, good finger action as well as getting familiar with the different key signatures.
Firstly, play each scale slowly, using long notes, making sure that every note is sounding as good as you can play it. Once you can play that scale with a beautiful tone on each note, then speed the scale up a little bit, but slur each note. When you are doing this, make sure that you are still producing a good tone on each note. If there is a note that sounds a little bit weaker than the rest, then pause on that note and play it until you get a beautiful sound. Next, perform a 3 note scale, up and down with the notes on either side of the weaker note, making sure each note is clear. Once you have done that, then play the whole scale. At this stage, the important thing is to play the scale slowly and keep it slurred. Tonguing notes can wreak the tone if it is added too quickly, and at this stage, we want to concentrate on creating a good solid sound.
Once you have master a good tone slurred, you can then start to play around with how you play the scale. You can change the speed (use a metronome), modify the rhythm, articulation and dynamics. But always making sure that you are still producing a good tone. If you start to lose the tone of any of the notes in the scale then go back to the playing the scale slowly slurred.
It is a good idea to record yourself playing a scale, then having a listen back to how it sounds. Sometimes it's easy to miss mistakes, loss of tone, while you are playing.
Scales are also great for practising finger agility. It is essential when you are playing to keep any tension in your hands and wrists to a minimum. If your fingers are relaxed, then it will be easier to move them quicker. A fun way to practice moving your fingers quickly while playing a scale is to trill* up and down it. Trill slowly to begin with then increase the speed of the trill when it gets comfortable.
Here are some why's to practice scales on the flute, It is good to spend 10minutes on scales every time you come to practice the flute as a warm-up and as a way to develop a beautiful tone on the flute.
*A trill is when you play the note above the note written.