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dexFlute Instruction - Wyndfall Conservatorydec

Flute, Piano, Harp and Composition Instruction

Flute Instruction with Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician Tracy Harris. Click an Option Below:

Online Lessons via Skype

Studio Membership

"Tracy’s Twenty Tips to Better Flute Performance"

Performance Biography

Tracy Harris Flute Boot Camps


Tracy Harris With Svetlana

Studio Memberships

Available From Beginning-to-Professional Level Students
Membership in Tracy’s studio consists of:

* Private flute lessons
* Group Rates Available
* Yearly solo recitals
* Masterclasses and Clinics with guest artists
* MACCC Honor Band
* Automatic membership in the Wyndfall Flute Orchestra which performs throughout the year at select venues throughout Tulare County.
*Tracy welcomes students from all across the nation, and her studio is in Exeter, CA. Students from Tulare, Kings and Kern counties are welcome to contact Tracy concerning flute instruction.

Membership in Tracy’s studio consists of private flute lessons, masterclasses and clinics yearly solo recitals, masterclasses with guest artists, and automatic membership in the Wyndfall Flute Orchestra which performs throughout the year at concert halls throughout Tulare County. To view complete information concerning Tracy's Annual Flute Boot Camps, Click Here Now.

With twenty years of experience, Ms. Harris’ students have gone on to win scholarships and grants to many of the most prestigious universities and conservatories.  Locally Tracy has students who have won the Tulare County Symphony Concerto Competition as well as students she has led to victory in the CBDA honor band competition as well as the TKMEA honor band yearly competition.   Ms. Harris has current and former students in principal chairs in symphonies, wind ensembles, military bands, concert bands and chamber music ensembles. 

Tracy’s lessons focus on performance preparation for band or orchestra concerts as well as competition and recital preparation.  All fundamentals are covered with a daily routine outlined for each student.  Ms. Harris believes that each student is a unique individual and tailors her approach and practice routine with an emphasis placed on the well being of the student so that the student may reach his or her maximum potential.  Tracy teaches masterclasses and clinics throughout the United States and is currently teaching flute throughout Tulare, Kings, and Kern Counties, including: Visalia, Tulare, Hanford, Fresno, Springville, Exeter, Lemon Cove, Three Rivers, Dinuba, Porterville, Farmersville, Woodlake, Lindsay, Arvin, Bakersfield, Delano, Taft, Tehapachi, Clovis, and many other cities throughout Tulare, Kings, and Kern Counties.

For further information and Monthly membership rates please Contact Us.

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skype New! Tracy is now acepting students to study remotely via Skype. Study the Flute from home via your own computer, or anywhere you have an internet connection with Skype. Please click here for complete information

Tracy’s Twenty Tips to Better Flute Performance

1. To improve one's left and right hand positions, practice in front of a mirror always watching that your fingers maintain a “hovering position” over the keys at all times and are always curved over the keys in the shape of a “C”. The fingers should never be tensed or straight. Always grip your flute like it is fine china, so you never squeeze too hard!

2. To help achieve the best tonal quality make sure your head tilt always matches your flute tilt. The flute’s embouchure plate should always be perpendicular to the lip at a perfect 90 degree angle.

3. To improve one's tapering skills – practice harmonics on a low C, C#, D and D#. Do this everyday for two to three minutes as softly as you can without cracking. This improves your upper lip strength and allows for more controlled tapers!

4. To ensure a fruitful daily practice experience, don’t crowd the music stand when practicing. Stand about a flute’s length away from the stand at a 45 degree angle, feet about one foot apart with your left foot forward. The more a flutist crowds the stand the more a flutist tends to lower their head, sinking their arms into their chest and narrowing substantially ones field of vision.

5. To improve technique, tone, flexibility, intonation and articulation I recommend the following practice books: Daily Exercises for the Flute by Julius Baker, Taffanel-Gaubert 17 Grandes Exercices Journalieres de Méchanisme and Mary Karen Clardy Flute Etudes Book.

6. To improve flute intonation purchase a chromatic tuner – Yamaha makes a nice one (YT250) – Make sure you tune everyday before and during practice to a A=442htz (some orchestras tune even higher but in general I think you are safe with a A=442htz.

7. To work on your intonation practice octaves, thirds and fifths in all registers at all dynamics! Different dynamics will alter intonation drastically and you must be ready for this with appropriate embouchure/air speed adjustments or alternate fingerings as needed. There are alternate fingering guides out there for flute and piccolo. James Pellerite – A Modern Guide to Fingerings for the Flute and The Complete. Piccolo. Gippo, Jan. Theodore Presser. A comprehensive guide to fingerings, repertoire and history.

8. When purchasing a Chromatic Tuner be sure and get one with an Audio Input Jack. This will allow you to purchase a wonderful accessory known as the Contact Microphone which is a device that connects your tuner to your instrument. This allows you to get a more sensitive reading of your intonation and allows you to tune in very noisy places or in large ensembles as the tuner will only pick up your tone and not that of anyone else around you. You always want to rely on your ear ultimately but this is a nifty device to have in your gig bag.

9. To ensure that you are breathing properly, lay flat on the floor and stack a couple of large books on your abdomen 2-3 inches below your ribcage. When inhaling the books should rise when exhaling the books should fall (breathe slowly – 5 seconds inhaling and 5 seconds exhaling). Once successful on the floor for 15 breaths in a row, stand and put hands in the same place below the ribcage and as you inhale your abdomen should protrude as much as possible like an expanding balloon as you inhale and as you exhale your abdomen should shrink back towards your spine like a deflating balloon. (Extra tip – once you have mastered true deep breathing – try exhaling while leaving your abdomen distended – each one your breaths will last a bit longer).

10. For better tone think of these three basic air stream directions (your arms should hold the flute as if you are in water up to your chest I call this "floaty arms" - let your elbows sink naturally in the water while the rest of your arm floats up):  For the low register aim your air stream towards the outer of edge of the flute’s embouchure hole and down under the left elbow.  For the middle register place the air stream through the elbow.  For the upper register place the air stream just over the left elbow.

11. Warm up means just that – “Warm-Up”. I always tell my students that a warming up of your muscles and a warming up of your respiratory system to the extra demands of flute playing is mandatory. So take 15-20 minutes to truly warm-up with tone studies, scales, arpeggios that start SLOWLY and only increase in speed gradually – this will avoid repetitive motion injuries down the road and lead to a much more fruitful practice session.

12. To take a deeper breath make it QUIET. A quiet breath = a deep breath. Drop your jaw and say Ahhhhh when you take a breath. Pretend a tongue depressor is pressing down the back of your tongue and this will ensure that your throat is open when you inhale. Quiet breaths will also come in very handy for all those recordings!

13. Struggling with projection? Maybe you are a “self-censoring” flutist. I have discovered many flutists in my years of teaching that unbeknownst to them are “self-censoring”, thinking they are really playing loudly when in fact they are holding back because their hearing is ultra sensitive! Earplugs can do wonders for the self-censoring flutist. It is miraculous what a pair of foam earplugs can do for a student. I have seen students go from their previous loudest volume of mp to ffff in the span of 10 seconds all due to a pair of earplugs! Try wearing earplugs during practice for two weeks and see what it does for your projection!

14. Want to crack the mystery of vibrato. Becoming an Owl is the quickest way to vibrato that I know! Turn on your metronome to mm=50 and say out loud “who” “who” to each beat moving as much air as possible with each “who”. Then on a 2nd register D wobble two times per beat blowing “who” “who” into your flute. Once you have mastered two “who’s” per beat at mm=50 try for 3, then 4 then 5 (make sure he wobbles are evenly spaced throughout the beat). Move up the tempo one click at a time on your metronome mastering 2-5 wobbles each metronome marking until you get to mm=63. You are shooting for 5 “who’s” or wobbles per beat at mm=63.

15. A Fixed flute is a Fantastic Flute! Make sure you take your flute in for regular maintenance at lease every 6 months and as needed if you detect a problem sooner like a leaking pad or a bad spring. Overhauls can be done as recommended by your flute technician. More flutists beat themselves up over tonal issues and technique flaws when in reality it is their flute that needs fixing not them!

16. Always wipe the oils from your hands from your flute when done playing and be sure and cover the tip of your cleaning rod with your cleaning cloth so as not to scratch the inside of your flute. Never store your cleaning cloth inside your flute case as the moisture will be re-absorbed back into your pads and I recommend a wooden or plastic cleaning rod not a metal one so you do not scratch the inside of your instrument.

17. Always put your flute together parallel to the floor and twist the joints together slowly, evenly and carefully! This keeps the wear on the tenons even and you will have a tight seal from head joint to body and body to foot joint. Leaking always means lesser tone quality.

18. Do you suffer from performance anxiety? It can be conquered. I refer my students to two wonderful books entitled; A Soprano on her Head and The Inner Game of Music. Both available through Amazon and are wonderful books that help performers with the anxiety’s that arise surrounding performance on the concert stage and in private lessons. Playing for family members and friends as often as possible is also helpful. The best cure for performance anxiety in the end is to perform.  Familiarity with the unknowns of the concert stage tend to diminish with every successive performance.

19. Looking for that perfect flute? Start with whose sound you like the best. Most artists have web sites like mine www.TracyHarrisFlute.com where you can download live performances and judge which sound you like best for yourself. Often it is listed on the web site what instrument the artist plays on right down to the model number. I play on the Yamaha Julius Baker Model 892 Heavy Wall with a 14K Gold K cut head joint. The same goes for most flute CD’s. Often it will be listed somewhere in the CD notes what instrument the artist is playing on. This is most helpful in starting your search for your perfect flute – of course after you discover the tone of your dreams you must go out to your local dealer and give them your own true “field test” then you must determine all of the bells and whistles that you want from low b foot to C# trill key to roller key options. I find that the Chaminade Concertino is a fabulous test piece for the flute and of course always test a flute's harmonics – if they do not sing easily there might be a problem!

20. Want to improve your double tonguing? Practice J.S. Bach’s Sonata in C Major – the Allegro movement from memory every day. Get this movement up to mm=144 and you will be amazed at how wonderful your double tonguing is. Be sure and practice Too Koo and Doo Goo articulations and as needed reverse the Koo and practice Koo Too to strengthen the Koo syllable for a more even double tongue over all.
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Performance Biography

Click Here to view Tracy's Full Performance Biography


"Tracy Harris is a talented flutist with a professional demeanor and is a consummate musician in every sense of the word."
Julius Baker- Juilliard School of Music, New York Philharmonic

 "I consider Tracy  Harris  a  superiorly  talented  musician and  instrumentalist.    She is a perfectionist in the best sense of the word and  will leave no stone  unturned until she has found her answer, either technically or interpretively.   Her sound is big, solid and beautiful, she can control  it  to  suit  the  character of  the  music, and she  performs  with  gusto.    Tracy  is  also a friendly and generous person,  makes friends easily and  can  contribute  greatly toward  a warm atmosphere in any situation."
Claude Monteaux – Flute Faculty New England Conservatory of Music, Conductor St. Martin Academy in the Field -  Guest  conductor  New York  Philharmonic and London Symphony

"Tracy Harris is an amazing flutist! Her ability to teach at any level and truly communicate with her students is a very rare thing indeed. She is that incredible and hard to find combination of fantastic player and wonderful teacher. Her expertise combined with her warm heart and compassionate personality are perfect for the teaching world.
Harry T. Bulow Ph.D. Award winning composer

"Her repertoire of concerti, sonatas, virtuoso pieces, and orchestral excerpts exceed requirements of the great conservatories in this country and in France. My support of this gifted flutist is absolute. She must be treated with respect and is an artist of unlimited scope."
Wendy Denbaum – Concert Flutist/Juilliard School of Music

 "The remarkable flutist Tracy Harris gave a fine performance of a "Carmen Fantasy" a musical triumph."
Kenneth Brown - Santa Barbara News Press

 "Flutist  Tracy Harris presented  her  credentials  with a  work containing  tongue defying flute licks..some razzle and a lot of dazzle.  Harris whose beautiful tone and sensitive playing have  been  remarked  upon  many  times  by  this critic  over  the years,  made  high  art  of  it  all.." "If a  single award were  to  be  given  for  highest intellectual achievement of the most  subtle nature, I'd bestow  in on principal flutist Tracy Harris, whose  playing  throughout  the  symphony  was  poignant,  elegantly nuanced, beautifully cognizant."
Daniel Kepl - Santa Maria Times

 "The  afternoon  closed with the  3rd  movement  of  Poulenc's delightful  Sonata  for Flute and Piano, with Tracy Harris in top form in this tricky fast number"
Santa Barbara News Press

 "Tracy is a fine flautist who demonstrated the kind of serious commitment which is so important to a professional career in music.  I think you will find her possessing the kind of mature professional attitude which will contribute to both your own educational environment and the professional standards which you will try and instill in your organization.  I recommend her without reservation.”
Gary Woodward - Paramount and Tri-Star studio flutist

 "Tracy comes from a very brilliant and musical family.  She is a very talented girl who works very hard, very well, and is completely devoted to her music.
Mary Jane Barton - Principal Harpist - NBC Orchestra

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Additional Links
Guest Artists

Music Lessons, Wyndfall Conservatory
Tracy Harris - Flute
Skype™ Lessons Now Available
Svetlana Harris - Piano
Wendy LeBlanc - Harp
Composition-2008 Subito Grant Winner

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