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The Complete Flute Player by John Sands

What is fun about this book (and why I use it with adult beginners) is the use of pop music! Specifically, music of the Beatles, Pete Seger, John Denver, etc. Nowhere in sight are nursery rhymes. I am not attempting to devalue the importance or usefulness of the traditional “Mary had a Little Lamb” or “Hot Cross Buns,” but sometimes I just want to hear adult tunes. My adults have usually appreciated this as well, so they do not feel too degraded learning a new thing. (Isn’t learning something new hard enough?) The book is also studded with more “classical” tunes from Mozart and Offenbach, in case you were worried. What kind of attracted me in the first place too was the fact that when you buy all four (also comes in Omnibus edition), you can line up the books and they make a flute! I know, so shallow…….love this feature anyway.


I use this as an adult book for other reasons, like I can show the adults (and sometimes younger students) what NOT to do. Particularly, the pictures depicting hand position and fingering chart. The left hand is in mostly the correct placement with a strange first finger position and thumb clear out in space (when not on the thumb key), and (avert your eyes) the right hand is totally backward with the right thumb UNDER the rods holding the flute up. Yet the fingering chart shows the right-hand pinky should be down. Later the right hand is corrected in photos. If you have to, take pictures of yourself and replace them in your students’ books. Speaking of photos, in the beginning are black and white photos of putting the instrument together and forming the embouchure/headjoint playing in some glorious 80’s fashion!


Many of the lessons in this book are laid out in 2-3 pages. They usually start off with some explanation of new concepts and very brief exercises to show and practice said new concept. This is then followed by a “real” song. Caution: the student may not be able to finish the songs at first. They are long. The first is four lines long, consisting of 16 measures of 3/4. Again, as I use this as an adult beginner book, students are motivated to play a little longer and get a little dizzy to finish the song. Lung capacity as an adult probably helps too. Be on the look-out for rests, as these are only explained in the front “Rudiments of Music” reference pages that also structure of a scale, intervals, and some major chords? Question mark included for lack of explanation and no actual chord shown, only root.



The Flutist's Companion Cheat Sheet
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Highlights

  • Range of notes: D1-C3

  • Order of notes: B1, A1, G1, C2, F1, E1, Bb1, D2, E2, F2, F#1 and 2, C#2, G#1 and 2, Eb2, Eb1, D1, C3

  • Key Signatures: no sharps/flats, one flat, one sharp, two sharps, three sharps, two flats, three flats

  • Other musical things: repeat sign, breath marks, slurs, 1st and 2nd ending, pick up note, enharmonics, D.C. al Coda

  • Counts written under notes

  • Black and white pictures, many of what not to do

  • Large standard fingering charts for all new notes

  • Lessons run 2-3 pages, with a long song at the end

  • Music is mostly pop music

  • Probably should only be used for adult beginners/doublers

  • Pull out fingering chart in the middle

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