We will start with the note “A”, a useful note to know. To play this note we will use standard notation, but you don’t need to worry about that for now. We will cover how to read different notes on the staff in the next lesson.
First you need to understand how to read a fingering chart.
A fingering chart really nothing more than a picture of which keys you close and which keys remain open when you play a note. In this case, the keys that are colored in red are the ones you will close. Though different fingering charts have a different look to them, they all use the same idea of showing a picture of which keys you close.
The “A” looks like this:
The first two signs show you how the note will look on the staff. By looking at the fingering chart, you will see that to play the “A” you need to close the first two fingers and thumb of your left hand and the pinky on your right hand (note: The pinky on your right hand is used on almost every note – mostly because it helps to hold the instrument). Give this a try while sitting up in your chair with the flute raised and in playing position.
Make sure the fingers you are not using are still curved and resting close to the keys. Don’t let them fly up! When you lift your fingers off of a key, only lift them a small distance. The higher your fingers lift, the more distance they have to travel when they have to cover the key again later, which slows down your playing, makes your fingering more inaccurate, and wears your fingers out faster. When you change notes, only move your fingers a short distance.
Get into playing position, sitting up straight in front of a mirror, turned slightly to the left. Bring your flute up to your mouth using the good hand position from lesson 7. Make sure your embouchure is set, finger the note, take a good deep breath (into your feet), and tongue the note. If all goes well, it should sound something like this:
Aim for a clean, clear tone with very little breathiness. If it doesn’t sound right, check to make sure you’re covering the holes properly. Make sure the keys are closed all the way. Make sure the blow hole is centered on your lower lip, slightly covered, and that your flute is at a right angle to your body.
Practice this note until you are comfortable with it. While we are here, we will learn one more note, “G”:
You will notice that to play this note you close another hole with the third finger of your left hand to make a total of three closed keys. When you try to play this note, it should should like this:
While practicing these two notes, you can move on to the next lesson where you will learn more about reading pitches.
Reading notes is really quite easy.
Prev lesson: Holding the flute
Next lesson: Reading Notes