Toronto Flute School

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Flutes, Large and Small

Flute students learn to play on a C or soprano flute. It’s called a C flute because the flute is pitched (manufactured) to play in C major. The alto flute is pitched in G, a fourth lower than the soprano flute. The bass flute is pitched in C, but an octave lower than the C (soprano) flute. The piccolo (which means little in Italian) is also pitched in C, but an octave higher than the C flute. There is also an Eb (E-flat) flute, which is a bit higher than the C flute, and lower than the piccolo. The Eb flute was originally created to play Eb clarinet parts in band music. Since the Eb clarinet is a very difficult instrument to play well, it seemed logical for the Eb flute to take over the role of the Eb clarinet even though their sounds were very different. The Eb flute went out of production in the 1960s but the Eb clarinet still exists!

The Toronto Flute School has an alto, bass, Eb flute and a piccolo. We use these instruments in ensembles at every concert. They add an amazing depth to the sound of the flute choirs, and the students all get a chance to play these instruments.

Flute Facts

Dr. Suzuki said that you only have to practice on the days
that you eat!

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Our Ensemble Program

Ensemble classes (which can also be classified as flute choirs) are a fun learning opportunity available to all students who study at the school.

In a typical class, the students will warm up with tone exercises and/or scales and arpeggios in the key of the piece they are about to rehearse. Although there is some unison playing particularly with the younger groups, the emphasis is on part playing. Even those students who are not yet reading music because of their age and level can still play harmony parts through the use of rounds (like “Frère Jacques”) and simple accompaniments to the pieces they already know. Because we create many of the arrangements for classes to accommodate the different levels of students, most of the music in the less advanced classes are tailored to the level of the participating students.

The more advanced students play works from the existing flute choir repertoire in addition to other arrangements by myself and other colleagues who write for advanced as well as mixed level ensembles.

The Toronto Flute School owns a professional quality alto flute, bass flute and piccolo, as well as a rare Eb flute, a size of flute that went out of production in the 1960s. The music we play in ensembles ranges from classical, to jazz, to film music, to world music and more. We feel that it is important to expose our students to as wide a variety of fine music as possible across all genres.

Playing in groups improves listening skills, intonation, tone, concentration, self-reliance and ultimately self-esteem. What never ceases to amaze me is how much fun students have while achieving these complex and often formidable goals.

Due to Covid-19, we are unable to offer our ensemble program at the moment. But we are working hard to bring it back, online to begin with. More details will be coming soon!

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