The Physical Flute: reviewing a classic

March 21, 2011

As I am studying body mapping with body mapping specialist/flutist/author Vanessa Mulvey and gaining more efficiency, freedom and knowledge in using my body as a human, musician and flutist, I am reminded of a resource that should be on the bookshelf of every flutist.  The Physical Flute by Canadian teacher and flutist Fiona Wilkinson offers wonderful descriptive and practical flute exercises in body awareness and allows flutists to work slowly towards building freedom in their bodies and playing as they progress through the book.  The first chapter is titled “The Body – Alive and Well”, and Wilkinson gives simple but incredibly helpful reminders and guidances about each part of our body, such as:

Legs:  Is your weight locked at the knees?  Put spring in your stance as if you were standing up in a rowboat.

Hips:  Are the pelvis or hips locked? Lift your weight up away from the hips, up through your head.

Back:  Lift your weight off your pelvis, elongate the sides of the torso. Draw your weight up from the floor creating a feeling of length and width in your back.  Imagine space between the shoulder-blades.

Neck:  Keep your head loose and free.

Face:  Let the jaw relax.  Let the mouth cavity become large. Really open your eyes.

Upper torso relaxtion:  Imagine you are a puppet doll, head held high and everything hanging loosely away from the head. The neck-chest area should be a feeling of relaxed openness.

Setting the body-maximum breath intake:  Let your front become soft and pliable by supporting your weight in your back. Take in a huge amount of air.  Let it seep into your sides, up and down your front.

The Well-Assembled Breath:  Feel the air cool on the back of your throat.  Feel the sides of the throat open.

(As a side-note, at a recent lesson with Alberto Almarza he said that ” the lack of air affects muscles”, and the more I really focus on taking well-assembled breaths the more I’m taking care of being able to be relaxed overall)

The book is available through Flute World and is published by Mayfair Music Co:

Laura Lentz ©2011

5 Responses to “The Physical Flute: reviewing a classic”

  1. fluteangel Says:

    LOVED this post – I think I’m going to post a link to it in my post about body awareness!

  2. […] The Physical Flute – Alexander Technique and more body awareness exercises […]

  3. […] The Physical Flute – Alexander Technique and more body awareness exercises […]

  4. Laura Lentz Says:

    I continue to love this book–today while practicing with a new position for my headjoint (rolled out a bunch more) and struggling a bit with sound and tension, I pulled this book out and just worked through the first chapter again and using her marvelous descriptions and exercises I’m now newly inspired and love my sound!!!! Another thumbs up once again for this terrific resource!

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