Assessing the damage!

So, I’ve had a bit of time to get reacquainted with my flute since getting braces on Tuesday, and here’s how I got on…

I can still pitch notes!  Low register is a bit thin and I can hear the airstream wavering at the top, but all is not lost.  The first few minutes did sound like a child who has just started learning though… 

The challenge is in moving between notes, especially bigger intervals.  My gums are still adjusting to rubbing against the brackets on my teeth, so I’m hoping in a few days I’ll find it easier to get more movement in my embouchure once the pain subsides. 

A piccolo surprise!


I wasn’t expecting this to go so well, as the embouchure is so much more precise for piccolo playing and my lips are now in a different position.  I feel like I’m in a good starting position to work on getting back to where I was before (just last month I managed to crack some super high notes and really tricky fast stuff), although again movement between notes and articulation etc might prove trickier…

What does my practice diary look like?

Here’s a quick run down of what I’ve been doing:

  • long tones (to see what I could actually pitch)
  • slow scales (to see if I move between notes)
  • octaves (to identify the point at which intervals become tricky)
  • a couple of Moyse’s Little Melodic Studies to work on my tone
  • a couple of Andersen’s studies to see what it was like moving between notes quicker (slowly to figure out what’s changed with braces, and to use as a benchmark of where I was at pre-braces)

The Plan

The biggest issue seems to be in intervals involving any notes above the stave, so I’ll be making this is a focus. I’m going to take it easy for the next few days until my gums are a bit better, so will be focussing on improving the steadiness of notes above the stave, doing mostly long tones, being conscious of how I am using my air, support and embouchure.

A call for help from the flute world

If anyone has any advice, studies, exercises, tips, or similar stories and experiences, please do share them with me!  When I first found out I was getting braces again, I turned to the internet to find that this is a hurdle that has only really been documented for younger flute players, so hopefully my #braceface blog posts will be useful for anyone else who suddenly has to deal with getting braces as a working musician.


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