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How do I keep low notes clear (on flute) when I am playing piccolo a lot in band?
There is a song in band where I go from playing high notes on the piccolo to playing in the lower register on the flute only a few measures afterwards. I am the only one playing piccolo, so it has to be loud, but the lower register is a flute solo and the rest of my section is very quiet. I have noticed my lower tones get quieter and quieter since I have been playing piccolo. Is there any way I can keep both the lower register on the flute and the high notes on piccolo clear and loud, or will time and practice alone solve this?
(I am intermediate)

  • You should use a vibrato it makes them sound a lot better that used to be my problem – Grace Oct 19 '17 at 5:21
  • By 'flute solo' do you mean "soli," i.e. all flutes play but the line is the lead melody at that time? If all the other flutes are playing, there's no real reason you need to join them at all (despite what your conductor may be demanding). If you are playing flute solo over the "background" of the rest of the section, then about the only answer is "practice, practice, practice" – Carl Witthoft Oct 19 '17 at 12:10
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    Ummm, @Grace just because you changed from an answer to a comment doesn't make it any more applicable to the question at hand. – Carl Witthoft Oct 19 '17 at 17:37
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This happens a lot to beginning piccolo players because the lack of regular flute performance. Back when I first picked up the piccolo for band, I had a friend that played the piccolo a large majority of her practicing over the summer. The year before, I had been first chair and she had been second chair. When we began school the next year, she could barely get a weak notes out of her flute and was no longer second chair for some time. It was almost as if she had forgotten her embouchure altogether. Even now I see young piccolo players constantly falter on their flute due to the lessened practice.

One thing that is important to solve this issue is simply practicing more on your flute. Many people fail to realize how important it is to have a good flute embouchure. Just by practicing more on your flute should help to fix the problem gradually, but this will not change overnight. It is also important for you to realize that the piccolo is not your main instrument. As you continue on as a musician, you will end up playing the piccolo less and less, mostly only for the few songs that require it. You may play it often, or you may not play it altogether. Nonetheless, your flute needs to remain a focus to help you improve on the piccolo as well.

In practice, there are many good ways to focus on your low notes. An easy yet efficient technique that I have used in the past is to set your flute out as soon as you get home from school in a spot you pass frequently. Each time you pass that spot, or every time you do a certain task, (for example, every 5-10 Homework problems you do) pick up your flute and play low notes for about 30 seconds. Then, set your flute down and resume your task until you accomplish your next goal. This constant process of redirection to your instrument helps you to build consistency in being able to get your low notes out whenever needed.

Hopefully this will help you to achieve your lower notes more effortlessly!

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