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The Flute Gym by Stephen Clark

The Flute Gym is a set of exercises for getting you back in super-flute shape with a variety of exercises to pick and choose from to target the areas you wish to work on. Many of the ideas are not necessarily brand-new but set up with fresh eyes. Before each exercise is an explanation with intention of the exercise as well as a QR code so you know how the exercise should sound/be practiced. Clark’s thoughtful instructions gently guide you on the path intended for each exercise. After each exercise are real life examples in the form of orchestral excerpts where the particular exercise may come in helpful!


Exercises include scales, breathing, breath control, articulation, flexibility and tuning. There are also many exercises using harmonics for different purposes. There are also appendices for singing and playing, performance anxiety, memorization, and some thoughts on etudes and studies. These come in the same thoughtful wording and gentle nudges of the explanations. My favorite part of the book, however, is in the introduction, “Has progress been made?” Thank you, Stephen Clark, for reminding me that I don’t need to solve every world problem in one practice session.


The Flute Gym Cheat Sheet
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Highlights:

  • Big fan of using harmonics in many ways

  • Demo videos can be accessed through QR code for each exercise

  • Provides “Real Life Examples” of orchestral excerpts for each piece

  • Purpose statements are placed before the explanation of each exercise

  • Thoughtful instructions with careful wording

  • Very interesting section with exercises for “support”

  • An exercise to be played in tune and out of tune – on purpose!

  • Final chapters offer appendices on a variety of practical subjects like choosing the right flute, performance anxiety, and other flute-related ideas.

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