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March 2017 book review in the British Flute Association publication PAN

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March 2017 book review in the British Flute Association publication PAN

FLUTE PLAYING & the ART OF DOING LESS Timothy Lane Paper Route Press 979-0-692-64880-3

These attractively titled books are well presented and clearly laid out with useful illustrations, taking the player step by step through every aspect of sound production and promoting the notion that ‘the less your physical work load, the more effective your work will be on the flute’ or put more simply ‘Doing Less enables you to do more.’ For the player who wishes to better understand how to produce their notes or for the teacher who would like a useful tool for teaching, these reasonably priced books would make a very worth while investment. The two volumes can be used alone or in tandem. Volume 1: Air, Lip, and Tongue focuses largely on the lips, looking at the fundamental mechanical actions related to tone production and explaining the movements of each lip separately. There is also a detailed discussion of breathing and tongue work. At every fresh point, the author gives step by step exercises and instructions. The player is asked to reflect on useful questions such as ‘are you over-opening or over moving the air angle when changing dynamics?’ or ‘Can you move your tongue without pinching the glottal muscle?’ Volume 2: Intonation, Resonance, and Color, covers the issue of how tone production and finger actions relate to the acoustic properties of the flute. It is similarly detailed in its approach and the notion of ‘Mechanical Separation’ [i.e. not using muscles that are unnecessary to the action] is developed further. The effect of energy levels and aperture on tone colour is discussed, as are whistle tones and resonance, but the largest part of the book is given over to explanations and exercises for good intonation. I feel that Tim Lane, who among other things teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, expresses the aim of his books very clearly when he writes: ‘No one can teach or give another person the inner ‘feeling-ness’ that they will experience after learning a new set of actions. A description can point a person towards a particular action, but a description will always and only be a description. Learning a new skill means that you have gained the ability to feel what it is like to engage in that new action’. ROZ TRUBGER