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Categories: Writing Piano Music. Learn more Possess some prior musical knowledge. To do this, you'll have to have a pretty good working knowledge of melodies, how band arrangements work, and transposing. Acquire a copy of the conductor's score for the piece you wish to "piano-iffy". Listen to a recording of the piece being performed to get a feel of which instruments have the melody, which have important lower parts, which have solos, etc. Make notes, if need be. Transpose everything to concert pitch, which is the key of C see related wikiHows for help.
Since the piano is a C instrument, having everything transposed before you start will eliminate a lot of confusion. You can also use this as an opportunity to put everything into some sort of music notation software such as Finale Notepad , especially if you're working from individual parts instead of a score, so that it'll be lined up and easy to distinguish what's happening in every given measure. Figure out the melody parts. Using your new music format, look through it and see which instruments have the melody at any given time, and if there are more than one and they're all playing different notes for instance, trumpets have a G, alto saxophones have an Eb, and clarinets have a C , write all the notes on top of each other.
Write the bass part. You'll especially want to watch the tuba and other low brass parts for this. Some of those instrument may have long notes, and some tuba, especially will probably have a rhythm-keeping set of quarter or eighth notes. Write in as much as your fingers and playing ability can handle.
Play through what you've written.
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In the case of the first problem, try taking some of the chords and counter-melodies out. As for the second problem, it's often caused by balance issues. For instance, if you're playing a G the trumpets' note , an Eb the alto saxes' note and a C the clarinets' note , and it sounds awful, that might be because you're playing them all the same volume - there's only one of each key, and you can't really make adjustments to make it easier to hear the G, harder to hear the Eb, etc.
Experiment to figure out which note is making the chord sound so bad, and try to find a way to take a note or tow out to improve the sound. After making those tweaks, play through it again. Keep fixing problem spots until you have a playable, nice sounding piano rendition of your concert band piece. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other.
Tips When transposing, remember what key the instruments play in to start with. Trumpet, tenor saxophone, clarinet, and bass clarinet are Bb instruments. It is so gratifying to hear from all of you that you find the blog useful to you. New things in development include some more posts on pedagogy, products I endorse and use in my teaching and playing, a book of tone and technique exercises just for band flute players that can be used in sectionals and individual home practice, and industry sponsorship.
Over the last few weeks, students have been asking me for help with piccolo. For such a diminutive instrument, pitch awareness and placement is a huge issue.
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It might even be the biggest issue because so much of what we know about playing the flute translates directly to piccolo. Here are a few tips to help your students play better in tune on piccolo:. Helping our students take proper care of their instruments is an important part of the instruction we provide, especially when the kids first start playing. It is important to give the kids accurate information so flutes play their best. It will put the instrument out of adjustment more quickly.
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Ask your local repair technicians. Tie the rag to the handle of your case, or better yet, get a case cover.
Store the cloth in the case cover. But, but……. Let me ask you a few questions. If I tell you to support your sound, what do you do? Can you explain what you are doing or how you are doing it? What do they do in their attempts to follow your instruction? Simply put, it is having body energy behind the blowing. It involves using abdominal muscles, pelvic muscles and intercostal muscles of the rib cage.
In other words, its a full body activity.
Do you think students will know what they need to do if you give them that direction? If the air is moving sufficiently fast, the tone will be supported automatically. Support is the consequence of blowing quickly enough. All those supporting muscles are engaged in the process of blowing. Beyond blowing sufficiently quickly enough, there are, of course all the issues of finding the right placement on your chin , having the blow hole open just the right amount, shaping the aperture , blowing at the correct angle for the register you are playing and so forth.
But a lot of these issues will largely take care of themselves if the student is blowing fast enough air to begin with. So encourage your students to blow faster air. Finally, air speed is different than air quantity. Not low notes they will be wooly and unfocused , not the middle register because it will keep dropping down the octave, and not the third octave because it will either be so pinched as to not speak at all or keep dropping down to a lower partial. With the correct air speed and direction a flutist can play rich, focused low notes, have a clear, singing middle register, and be everything from heroic to ethereal in the third octave.
It all starts with sufficient air speed.
The rest comes through refining the direction of the air and sensitivity and flexibility of the aperture. It is so exciting to share the amazing news that Dr. More great content, including more video demonstrations and a flute exercise book for school flute students. Some of these are more visibly obvious than others. All of them can negatively impact your flute players, both individually and as a section. Keep an eye and ear out for these things in your flute students for a better sounding section. What is the dreaded nay palm?
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Trust me, every flute player has experienced the nay palm at one time or other. First a bit of reality. Even if we have a well developed, mature and characteristic sound are we ever going to be able to overpower any other wind instrument? Secondly, the flute section usually sits right under the conductor. You can get a better sense of the balance of volume of the flutes in relation to the rest of the ensemble by getting further away, like in the auditorium. Then I think you will find that the flutes are generally not loud enough and any flute features in the music get lost in the bigger room.
A while back, I was playing with pick up ensemble that supported a local chorus. Most of the time it was an orchestra and we sat in the traditional orchestra configuration. Just one time did we have a band rather than an orchestra. Now I was sitting directly under the same conductor and I was repeatedly told I was playing too loudly.
I have to conclude it was where I was sitting in relation to him rather than how I played. It was the way I play in either case. Here are some of the most egregious:. All of these are guaranteed to cause pitch and tone problems.
Western concert flute
Compound that with being told to roll in or out to tune and you wind up with a real mess on your hands. And playing is not so fun or rewarding for the students. This observation really shook me to the core and completely reordered my priorities in my practicing and performing from that time forward. What I realized is that there is a big difference between what I thought I was doing and how it was coming across to my audience.
There is seemingly an infinite number of things I can hold myself accountable for in my performing including technique, articulation, tone quality, phrasing, inflection, tone color, expression, etc. When I lead sectional rehearsals and flute choirs, one of the biggest issues I run into all the time is how to handle repeated notes so they sound like repeated notes. They can appear a number of different ways:. More often than not, repeated notes come across as a sustained note, maybe with barely perceptible bumps for the individual repeated notes.
And this is just with one player! Compound that by the 6, 10 or 12 kids in your flute section and I guarantee it sounds like a single, sustained note to your audience. What to do to make the repeated notes sound like distinctly different from each other? Here are a few thoughts to consider:. It takes a special effort to define and delineate repeated notes on the flute because the nature of the flute is to sound legato.
Other wind instruments with a legato character include the clarinet and the horn. They face some of the same issues with regard to repeated notes as flute players. You can hear me demonstrate playing repeated notes here. Tags Contest preparation , flute balance , flute fingering , flute pedagogy , flute technique.