Need help improving your flute intonation? Here’s a quick tip that will help you play in tune.
When a high school band tunes up, the flutes tune up to low “A” or “B♭” which is common practice. More times than not, flutes sound flat and the band director tells them to push their head joints in. On the surface this appears to be the obvious immediate solution but in reality, it creates other problems.
Most directors will agree that once their band rehearsal starts, if the flutes play in the third register, they sound annoyingly sharp and thin (Sound familiar?)
Well, here’s why. When young flute students first learn to produce a sound, most have a tendency to roll the flute up on their bottom lip sounding thin and flat. If this is not addressed, problems will occur later when they progress to the third octave. The high notes will be very difficult to produce and their intonation will be out of wack! Any flute player will agree how difficult it is to play 3rd octave “E” To solve this problem, flautists should practice rolling the flute down and opening the embouchure hole, resulting in improved flute intonation.
Improvements will appear shortly. Adjust your head joint out about 3/8’s of an inch and give it a chance! With time and practice your sound will become fuller and the pitch will be higher (on low “B♭“) which means you won’t have to push in any more. High “E” and “F#” will automatically be easier to play and more in tune.
Enjoy your new found skill!