I have a new toy
I've long been after a melody instrument for playing at sessions that has a bit of gravitas and would be a challenge to learn. I thought of the fiddle but we already have a fiddler in the house so I looked elsewhere. I'd seen some wonderful Irish D flute players at sessions and gigs and had the idea of learning to play one in the back of my mind. This summer at Shrewsbury Folk Festival I met Jem Hammond. He was running some of the tune workshops and I got the chance to talk with him in the bar. He showed me the different types of flute he played, with keys and without, and suggested I buy a Gary Somers aluminium flute with a delrin head. He had one with him and said that they were well made with a great embouchure hole and solid tone across the octaves.
I emailed Gary in Brazil and he pointed me towards a shop in the UK that had one. Luckily I was working in Canterbury, where the shop was, a couple of weeks ago so I called them and collected the flute. I went straight from Canterbury to Lundy Island for a week's rock climbing. So as well as my dulcimer I also had a new flute to take across to the Island I carried the flute when walking around the island to various climbing areas and eventually managed to get a scale out of it!!! Getting any noise from it at all was (and still is) a bit hit or miss but my embouchure is starting to come. Having heard Jem play the same model of flute I know that there's bags of rich tone hidden within it and the more I practice the more I'll find.
I love the fact that it is such a kinaesthetic instrument to play and that the tone and intonation come from the player's skill. Like golf, as a beginner you'll hit one or two shots in a round that really feel good and with the flute I'll hit one or two notes that just resonate. I'm hoping that the more I play the more of those good notes I'll be able to hit and the stronger my overall tone will be.
Right now, a couple of weeks in, I'm at the very much a beginner stage. It is doing me good to struggle through the learning process. I've just recorded myself for the first time this morning coffee break so I can assess what I need to work on (mmm.... breath, tone and intonation would be good starters!!!!)
updated by @robin-clark: 10/05/16 07:11:46AM