Anne Fontenay: My Flute Book 1
Updated: May 11, 2021
The first large section of pages is an introduction to the parts, practicing, exercises for breathing, and the proper posture and position of the body. There are several pictures throughout to aid in finding the correct placement of mouth/lips/headjoint to make sound. Headjoint exercises are the next large section, and include sounds, tonguing, melodies in pictures, and long/short notes with areas for students to compose their own song in pictures. Notes are presented with fingerings, but not on the staff at all. They are only in boxes showing long vs. short notes and higher vs. lower notes with letter names to indicate the notes to play and lyrics underneath to help make a song. The box system continues to show rests with the letter “z”. It isn’t until about the midway through the first book when the staff with notes is introduced. Note values corresponding to staff notation (stems and heads) of half notes and quarter notes are introduced near the end of the book. Throughout both books are composition opportunities. You’ll likely note, in the Highlights section and on the Cheat Sheet, this book moves slowly and deliberately. There isn’t much on each page, and each presents simple tasks and advice (depending which part of the book you’re in) which aid in adding breaks or games to your lessons. The best part of the book comes at the end with a certificate of completion.
Stay tuned, in my next blog I’ll talk about Book 2 which will also have a “From the Author” section. See you on March 17!
From the Author:
In Denmark, where I come from, we have public music schools. In the vast majority of music schools, flute lessons are offered, but you often have to be 10 years old to start playing flute at the music school. Since I myself start much earlier with the students, in fact all the way down to 4-5 years, I needed a book that could be used for the very young students and for the students who just needed to start at a really slow pace.
The books we have available in Danish are old and written with an educational direction that does not suit today's children. After many years of irritation, I therefore started writing my own flute book.
Both books start in the same way with exercises on how to warm up the body well before starting to play. There are exercises on how to blow and a detailed explanation of how to hold the flute and practice at home. All of these things are incredibly important in my world and often an overlooked chapter in many books. In addition, the books are turned horizontally, as I would rather have students move their heads from side to side than from top to bottom.
When I had to choose songs for the book, I chose to write brand new songs for both books. Partly to get beyond having to apply for rights to use all the well-known songs, partly because you could just find the well-known songs in other books if you needed them. Virtually all books contain the same songs, and mine should be different.
In both books there is a lot of space and only one song on each page. There must be room for the students to draw or color the drawings in the books. Another reason is that students in that age group are easily distracted and need there to be only one thing they need to concentrate on the page.
“My Flute Book 1” is a book for the young students or for students who just need a little more time. It is based on the fact that small students are only just beginning to learn to read, cannot stand with the flute for a long time and need to first and foremost get to know the flute. I had previously played a bit with graphic notation and started developing it more and more because it made sense to use it for those students who were not ready to read sheet music. They need to have time to develop their musical sense and their ears. The book is therefore full of games and small tasks, all of which help to support their musical journey.
· Order of notes: B1 A1 G1 F1 Bb1
· Rhythms: Long notes, short notes, long/short rests, half notes, quarter notes
· Other: Repeat Signs
· Written for very young students, and pre-readers.
· Does not display staff and written music until middle of the book.
· Very little on each page with pictures for
coloring and space for doodling.
· Notation uses letter names and boxes showing length and higher/lower.
· Composition opportunities, body warm ups and musical games/activities.
· Opening of book shows exercises for embouchure and body.