The Simple Flute by Michel Debost

Title: The Simple Flute
Author: Michel Debost
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Released: February 2010
Source: my personal library


Drawing from his highly praised French work, Une simple flûte, distinguished flutist and teacher Michel Debost has compiled a useful and imaginative introduction to playing the flute. This compendium of advice and insight covers essential topics such as breathing, articulation, and tone, but also explores “jawboning,” “finger phrasing,” “the little devils,” and other quirky and vexing aspects of flute playing. Full of practical advice on technique and axioms that lend moral support during tough practice sessions, The Simple Flute will be a welcome addition to any serious or novice flutist’s library. Offering concise, common-sense solutions for flutists of all levels, this book is an ideal reference guide on flute performance.

Please allow me to delve into my area of expertise for this post. I’m a professional flutist and flute teacher. The Simple Flute: From A to Z by Michel Debost is a staple in my studio, but one that I should have purchased years before I finally did. I thought I’d review this title because the flute is such a common instrument. Even if you don’t play, I’d be willing to bet that many of you know someone who does. This book is an outstanding resource, one every dedicated flutist should own.

Debost organized the book alphabetically by topic. Take a look inside and view the table of contents and index. You can see that any flute-related issue you may have, from breathing to the delicate release of notes, from fundamental tone production to avant-garde techniques, is addressed somewhere in the book.

Debost’s humor shines through often, which keeps the reading enjoyable. He explains each topic clearly, offering practical advice, common sense, and sample practice exercises (see photo).

The Simple Flute is a treasure. I wouldn’t recommend it to younger students just starting out unless they already have knowledge of basic music terminology and are reading on at least a high school level. But it is certainly a must-have for serious high school flutists, college flute majors, flute teachers, and amateur and professional players alike.

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