We can think of flute-playing very much like violin-playing (or singing actually, but violin-playing is visually more helpful). There is one place on the string which produces the pitch. Our breath also needs to be at the right place for the desired pitch. We have to train our air so that it arrives at the right place at the right time, along with the corresponding dynamic, sound color, and coordination with articulation.
I think, however, that first and foremost the air has to be at the right place for the note. We play the note not just with our fingers, but the air has to be prepared first. This is very noticeable especially when large leaps involving above the second octave or chromatics happen - if the air wasn't ready for that next position, the note will feel unstable and uncontrollable. It may feel "wobbly", not sitting "right" in the body, intonation problems happen. The fingers were there but the air wasn't there yet, which then causes the embouchure to work unnecessarily and inefficiently. This is against achieving the maximum with the minimum.
Remember, don't play! (here's my explanation of this)
Once this is conscious, other elements are much easier to add on (dynamics, articulation etc.). We train our body to have that "sound position" internalized, just as a string player recalls the correct position on the string.
Play the notes internally with the breath and not with the fingers or lips.
ABOUT THE BLOG:
I got inspired to document my own observations in flute-playing and music-making. Also, I thought it's important to pass on the teachings of the great Wilbert Hazelzet, as well as many other mentors who have influenced my artistic visions one way or the other. Enjoy this potpourri of tips, inspirations, and musings.
I'm specialized in coaching historical and modern flutists. CONTACT ME directly to set up a session, in person or online.