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The Physical Flute by Fiona Wilkinson

As I branch into the new year, I wish to place a little more focus maybe on methods that aren’t just for beginners. For this post, I found this book by accident (I ordered the wrong thing – oops – and kept it). I found myself drawn into the exercises as they gave me the traditional exercises with more of a melodic approach. The melodies aren’t necessarily actual songs but more than just a straight up long tone exercise or dynamics on a note exercise. Along with the exercises are gentle sections of about a page of reading with some light graphic reinforces. Some of these are even presented again, not as reminders but as “Thought Packages” – a little box of reminders! What a great idea!


I would describe this maybe as a book of warm-ups for when you need a freshen up or a new way to warm up. The book has broken down playing the flute into body and breathing, tone exercises, dynamics, phrasing, tapers, and vibrato. Each chapter of exercises is preceded by some explanations about what and how the things you are going to do are going to be accomplished by you. Many of the exercises include a wide range of speeds with metronome markings and are transposed to hit all the keys. The final large section covers flexibility with mini melodies to put it all together. There are even charts to help you gain flexibility in quite the variety of ways! With a final farewell on applying in the wild and identifying if problems are you or your flute.


Overall this was quite the happy accidental purchase. It will require a great deal of time and methodical, patient practice to work through everything in the book. I assure you, however, that you will not get bored for quite some time. Cheers to happy accidents!



The Physical Flute Cheat Sheet
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Highlights

  • Exercises for consistent tone, consistent embouchure, depth of sound, dynamics, phrasing, tuning, vibrato, and flexibility

  • Vowel exercise to help learn to keep dynamics and low/high registers in tune

  • Exercises for dynamics using long tones and later interval leaps

  • Phrasing exercises to use tapers and dynamics

  • A lot of exercises could be doubled in with technique as they use scales and arpeggios

  • Tuning exercises with piano (some no accompanist, some with accompanist)

  • Large section on vibrato

  • Many exercises at different speeds, some include dynamics

  • Most importantly, spiral bound!

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