Very often I'm asked by band directors, or see posts on flute forums about which Bb (Bb1 & Bb2) fingering is best to teach first. As frequently, I see passionate responses, as if they were dogma, about what one famous teacher or another said about that subject. I'd like to add my own thoughts, and hopefully present a valid argument to why and when we should use one fingering or another.

This second part of Quick Tone Fixes deals with how to develop a more flexible and consistent tone. It also addresses how to find your own voice by listening and being aware of your tone.

If you go to any university or conservatory practice rooms early in the morning, you’ll hear the sounds of flocks of flutists practicing the “Moyse Exercise” (i.e. exercise 1 from On Sonority, Art & Technique by Marcel Moyse). We all have been told by our teachers that it’s one of the best and most fundamental tone exercises, but what can we do when we want to improve a specific aspect of our tone?

When we have a clear idea of what we want to achieve, it’s easier to reach those goals. Long term goals are important, but it is useful to have specific short term goals for each exercise, particularly for tone development.

In the first movement of Pini di Roma, "I pini di Villa Borghese", Ottorino Respighi writes an F#A3 tremolo in the first flute part.

This tremolo is awkward to play with regular fingerings, and hard to sound with harmonic fingerings (F#1 & A1) without any modifications.

Most of us use the FG3 trill that we first learned where we finger F3 and trill with our thumb. That trill is useful in most situations, but has the disadvantage of yielding a flat G3. What if we needed to play that trill in the orchestra in tune with an oboe? 

Many flute players have requested this fingering repeatedly in the FLUTELIST forum, which I posted a few years ago (2004-09-22).

Antonín Dvořák's Cello Concerto, op.104 is a favorite among cellists, audiences, and flute players. It features the flute prominently in many solos and dialogues with the soloist.

At the end of the first movement, in the first flute part, Dvořák writes a high B to high C# trill (B3C#4). Most flutists, including myself, tend to forget how to play that trill since it's seldom used in the flute repertoire.