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 Post subject: Speeding up flute warmup
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:00 pm 
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Hi All,
I noticed the tone on my flute gets much nicer after about 1/2 hr of playing. Is there a way to accelerate this or make a better maintenance routine for it?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:57 pm 
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How new/old is your flute? Newer flutes may still be absorbing moisture. That would argue for an oiling schedule. Well oiled older flutes may not. Are you playing in an extremely cold or warm room? Just curious.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:34 pm 
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There is a recurring theme in fretted instrument forums about whether it's the instrument that "wakes up" or the player "waking up," that results in a better sound after a few minutes or a half hour in a practice session. It could be the player getting more comfortable with what the instrument wants for best results, which may take a little while to get dialed in during a daily practice session.

I'm sure there are other things going on especially with a wooden flute, involving temperature and humidity. I just don't know how to separate the possibility that it's me "finding my embouchure," or my fingers warming up and being more flexible after a certain period of time.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 2:26 am 
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We play our instruments using our breath, & until our instruments are at the same temperature, they can sound a bit off.
I usually blow gently through my flutes/whistles, to warm them up slightly before playing.

With harmonicas too, especially valved chromatics, whose valves can stick, our breath contains moisture which will condense on, or inside, a colder instrument.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:28 am 
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busterbill wrote:
How new/old is your flute? Newer flutes may still be absorbing moisture. That would argue for an oiling schedule. Well oiled older flutes may not. Are you playing in an extremely cold or warm room? Just curious.


It’s about 9 months old, so you may be right. Do you think it needs less oil or more?
Also it maybe me waking up rather than the flute, quite likely :)


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 2:16 pm 
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I noticed this too... but I think it's the player is warmed up moreso than the instrument. Flute always a bit rough for the first 5 minutes while it acclimatises to the environment.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 2:29 pm 
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tradlad123 wrote:
busterbill wrote:
How new/old is your flute? Newer flutes may still be absorbing moisture. That would argue for an oiling schedule. Well oiled older flutes may not. Are you playing in an extremely cold or warm room? Just curious.


It’s about 9 months old, so you may be right. Do you think it needs less oil or more?
Also it maybe me waking up rather than the flute, quite likely :)



It may be you waking up, haha, the flute acclimating to your breath, or anything mentioned in the other posts. I'd recommend you contact the flute's maker and see what they recommend. You likely got a schedule of sorts from the maker when you got it. At nine months it is likely pretty stable, but I don't know how often you have oiled it over the time you've had it, or how often you play etc. So any advice I might give would likely be irrelevant.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 4:06 pm 
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I've always assumed that ambient temperature aside, I was always the one warming up, never the flute. I still think it's true, by and large.

I've played outdoors in the cold and snow - not happily, either, for my mind was more on that poor wooden flute than anything else - but it seemed to go well enough. The timbre wasn't quite ideal, IIRC, but it served. What concerned me most was that while the flute's interior might be warmed at least in part, the exterior couldn't be, and not caring to tempt fate, I swore off being a part of quaint winter atmospheres after that. My fingers thanked me, too.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:38 am 
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The only real thing that I notice with a flute warming up is that the tone becomes more stable. I am firmly convinced, that, for me, it is the player that warms up. I can see this when I play for a while until I feel the warmed up performance and then switch to a different flute on which I can then, within 1 or 2 minutes, play with that same dialed-in, warmed up feeling, even though they may be substantially different instruments, e.g. Windward keyed Pratten <-> Metal Boehm Flute.

If you have more than one flute available, then try that test yourselves and let me know how it goes.

Outdoor playing is always challenging, but in ice or snow it is my fingers that I worry about most. I believe that indoor central heating in winter is much worse for a wooden flute.

(BTW - I know from checking, that none of my flutes leak out of the case, but that can be a problem that goes away with extended playing due to swelling of pads/joints... Check your flutes for this too.)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:38 am 
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Considering that ambient temperature is not cold, play ten minutes in the upper second octave. That is the best you can do.


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