Laura Chislett

Flutist Sydney, Australia 48 Followers

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Recent blog

When you play the flute you need to have your mouth cavity as "open" or "cavernous" as possible. This will enhance the resonance of your sound and will allow you to vary the vowel focus, or tone colour, from oo to ee/ng. Also, your tongue will be free to assist you in changing register.

As you need to blow deep down onto the chimney without covering too much of the embouchure hole to produce a strong and in-tune low register sound, the ideal shape for the tongue here is what I call the "slippery-slide", ie. with your tongue sloping down from near the roof of your mouth towards your lower teeth. This sets up the correct direction for the air-stream (deep into the flute) before the air has even left your mouth, and by not over-covering the embouchure hole, the intonation stays true. Then, you can place this slippery-slide tongue formation as far back as possible in your mouth to create a dark or "edgy" sound, or further forward to create a more "hollow" low register sound.

As you move up the registers the ideal tongue shape changes. In the middle register all of your tongue needs to be positioned lower down in your mouth than for the low register (still with an open/cavernous mouth cavity) but with the tongue curled up at the sides, like a tube with the top part missing (a U shape if it could be seen from the front). Again, this will increase the tonal resonance and focus of your sound.

For the high register, placing your tongue higher in your mouth can achieve good results. This can make a pp entry in the high register quite easy.

A good exercise to practise this sort of tongue control is to play slurred octaves from the low to the middle register and back using only the tongue (don't change the air speed or coverage by the lower lip of the embouchure hole).

The '24 Little Melodic Studies' by Marcel Moyse (Leduc) are also excellent to hone your tongue role skills.

Laura Chislett Jones
January 2014

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About Laura Chislett


Laura Chislett performs and records traditional and contemporary flute repertoire. The USA ‘Fanfare’ magazine said of her first solo CD, ‘the flute ascendant…’, “for reasons of repertoire and astonishing performance, there is nothing like this anywhere”. Since then she has performed as a soloist at festivals such as the Huddersfield Festival (UK), the Pittsburgh Festival of New Music (USA), The Galway Arts Festival (Ireland), the Darmstadt Summer Courses, The Turin Flute Festival, Insel Musik in Berlin, Horatiu Radulescu’s Festival Lucero in Paris, Fylkingen in Stockholm, the Kammermusiker Zürich, for Roger Woodward’s Sydney Spring International Festival of New Music, and at the UNBOUND Flute Festival in Brisbane. Recent performances include a recital at Manzi in Hanoi; she has lectures and recitals forthcoming at the Shanghai Conservatory in 2018.

Her CD recordings are published on ABC Classics, Vox Australis, Walsingham Classics, Etcetera Records, iTunes, Amazon and many other sites.
Laura is currently an Adjunct Academic for the School of Arts and Media, in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at The University of New South Wales.

She is available for flute lessons in Sydney, or through the B.Mus course at the University of New South Wales.