Herfurth and Stuart: A Tune a Day for Flute
Updated: May 11, 2021
I’m not sure how much I would use this book in my regular flute life, but I am glad I took a look at it to gain ideas. A Tune a Day was written in the 1950s thus I have deemed it an oldy that is not quite moldy (mold may grow in a few years). It has a plethora of black and white photos of position, embouchure, and fingerings which aren’t quite clear (maybe these were the high resolution of the time?). The fingering chart is also jumbled and confusing, which makes me appreciative of the charts we use today! The descriptions accompanying the photos have left me wanting…..There are some questionable songs, and the focus on Christian hymns and American folk songs doesn’t excite me, even with the snippets of orchestral and operatic tunes. One thing that stood out to me most was the word “THINK” written above different concepts which might trip you up. For example, the word “THINK” is written over a B with a natural accidental in a key of one flat, or “THINK” over C in place of 4/4. Just looking at this almost sent me into a shame spiral. There were parts I really liked too.
The introduction has a section for teachers and students which emphasizes counting. There are descriptions of the staff, notes on the staff, and rhythms in the teacher intro, but not in the student page. In the student intro advice of “what you can’t think you can’t play” is given with reference to phrasing, tone, tonguing, fingering and advice of “Learn to intelligently criticize your own playing. I believe you know when you have done a good job and when you haven’t. Don’t’ be satisfied with a lesson half done, you are only fooling yourself.” – a reminder I think we all could use from time to time.
The focus on counting is emphasized throughout most of the book with counts written beneath the first few measures of each song. Fingerings for new notes are shown at the top of the page with a (hard to see) picture, and a vertical O fingering with letters for right hand thumb and left hand pinky. At the bottom of some pages are extra explanations and occasional composition activities. The top of almost every single page are objectives for each lesson like “Introduction to slur.”, or “to attain more facility in changing registers.” I like that because it keeps me as the teacher on track and is proven to help students retain knowledge. There are also fill in the blank questions over some songs like “Key with _____ flat is ______?”. These questions also cover note names, rhythms, and key words. Of note, there are also written tests throughout the book to test knowledge of playing concepts and musical terminology.
· Range of notes: D1-D3
· Order of notes as follows: B1, A1, G1, C2, F1, Bb1, D2, E1, E2, F2, F#1, F#2, G2, A2, B2, C3, Bb2, D1, C#2, C#3, Eb1, Eb2, Ab1, G#1, Ab2, G#2, D3
· Rhythms: whole/half/quarter notes/rests; eighth notes; dotted quarter; dotted half; sixteenth notes; dotted eighth; dotted sixteenth; triplets
· Other: Repeat sign; Fermata; Tie; Slur; Breath Mark; D.S. al Fine; 1st and 2nd Endings; Dynamics; tempo markings; D.C. al Fine; Enharmonics/Chromatics;
· Gives objectives for each lesson.
· Uses numbers and vertical fingering picture for fingerings.
· Bottoms of pages sometimes have extra explanations and homework (composition).
· Includes tests with written questions throughout the book for naming items such as the staff, quarter notes, rests, and letter names.
· Uses arrows to help with key signature. Sometimes looks like mega-slurs.
· Places word “THINK” over potential pitfalls, like B-natural in F Major Key signature or over slurs after lots of tongued notes.
· Uses fill in the blank questions to reinforce time signatures, note names, accidentals, key signatures, etc.
· Provides long tone exercises of whole notes (learned) with fermatas (play individual note and hold, breathe, next note) going up and down in scales.
· Heavy emphasis on Christian hymns, American folk tunes, and short excerpts of the traditional “classical” repertoire.
· Nice rhythm diagrams showing subdivisions. For example: four sets of sixteenths under a whole note; comparing 2/4 with alla breve.
· Teaches 6/8 BEFORE triplets.