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Flute Solo Advice from Jeffrey Khaner

The big flute solo from Beethoven’s 3rd Leonore Overture is almost always on orchestra auditions. The opening may not be, but when played, it requires good intonation on the high notes. It is very important to display perfect rhythmic discipline and metronomic control of tempo. Be sure to practice it very carefully with your metronome at every tempo, from much too slow to much too fast.

While doing this, try to memorize how it feels different at each new tempo – what you have to do ever so slightly differently in order to be perfect when the metronome has been moved only 1 notch. When you have done this, you will be able to play comfortably at any speed and accommodate any request for a tempo change at a flute audition.

flute solo

Notice the dynamic of this flute solo. It should all be piano. The character of the solo is excited, even agitated - whispering! There is a heroic tone to the overture, but it is the trumpet that portrays it, not the flute! Playing it this way makes the notorious ‘sneaked’ breath right before the last group of eighth notes unnecessary.

In fact, you’ll find that getting a good breath way back before the high A, and then just a little breath before the G octave will take you easily to the end of the pianissimo D. Practice holding the D as long as you can (with your metronome) and see how many bars extra you can add. 12 or 16 bars of the D will soon seem easy.

Remember, the pp under the long D indicates just that you are no longer the solo and must “disappear”. It is not a subito dynamic change from forte to pianissimo.

Always consider carefully the character of the orchestral excerpts you play. The dynamic markings will give you clues to this and trying to really bring out the correct character will reinforce the correct dynamics.

For further guidance on flute audition solo pieces, orchestral excerpts and more information about online flute lessons with Jeffrey Khaner through Video Exchange™ go to

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