I just came across this article, written by a flute player who got braces when she was well into her career (making her the 2nd person I’ve come across in a 6-month search, the first being Andrea, my last flute tutor). I’m now armed with more new things to try to get my sound back to where it was.
Octave slurs, lots of octave slurs…
Now that my gums have toughened up, I can do this relatively pain-free and it is helping with flexibility so much. It’s also helping with sound – taking my fairly solid middle register sound to my lower register.
Re-finding my sound
I’ve been playing lots of pieces that I know inside out and was happy with my sound pre-braces – so that I can “hear” in my head what I’m aiming to sound like, which I find easier than not knowing what it could sound like it. I’m finding this exercise helpful for flexibility too – remembering specific things I do for certain phrases/pieces, and then almost over-exaggerating everything to achieve the same thing with braces on.
This is beginning to feel like a bigger hurdle – the higher the notes, the harder it is to clearly articulate at speed. In an effort to get a more open sound, I’ve been playing with my upper and lower jaws further apart than before, particularly for high register notes, so I’m not tonguing between my teeth anymore which is slowing me down. I think some work away from the flute will help, to re-strengthen my tongue muscles.
Onwards we go…