Mastering the Flute with William Bennett


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Mastering the Flute with William Bennett

Mastering the Flute with William Bennett

Author-Roderick Seed
Foreword by William Bennett
Indiana University Press


A comprehensive workbook featuring the exercises and teaching methods of the esteemed flautist, William Bennett.

Roderick Seed, having spent over a decade studying with Bennett and his students, meticulously documents the tools that have made Bennett renowned for infusing the flute with the depth, dignity, and grandeur reminiscent of the human voice or stringed instruments.

Topics range from how to overcome basic technical difficulties, such as pitch control, to the tools for phrasing, prosody, tone, and intonation needed for playing with different dynamics and ranges of expression.

Advanced musicians will find useful exercises and techniques in this book that will deepen their knowledge and enjoyment of making music and help them in their quest to master the flute.


Foreword / William Bennett
1. Finding a Sound
2. “Harmonics in Tune” Tone
3. Reaction in the Sound
4. Attacks, Articulation and Repeated Notes
5. Prosody: “Elephants And Taxis”
6. Harmonics Exercises
7. Shakuhachi Exercise for Embouchure Control
8. Intonation Exercises
9. Flexibility Exercises
10. Other Exercises: Whistle Tones and Vocalises
11. Approaching Melodies

William Bennett

William Ingham Brooke Bennett OBE (7 February 1936 – 11 May 2022) was a British flautist and teacher known for his significant contributions to the flute world. He played in various English orchestras, chamber ensembles, and as a soloist, making over 100 recordings throughout his career. Bennett premiered flute concertos by notable composers, including William Mathias, Diana Burrell, and Raimundo Pineda. He taught at esteemed institutions such as the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg and the Royal Academy of Music, while also conducting masterclasses worldwide.

Born in London, Bennett began his musical journey at a young age, studying the recorder at 8 and the flute at 12. He received guidance from prominent flautist Geoffrey Gilbert and pursued his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His talent led him to secure principal flute positions in renowned orchestras, including the BBC Northern Orchestra (now the BBC Philharmonic), and chamber ensembles including the Melos Ensemble and Nash Ensemble.

Bennett was also dedicated to teaching and promoting the flute. He established his own school, the International Flute Summer School, and served as the president of the British Flute Society.

Bennett’s innovative spirit extended to instrument design, as he sought to improve flute intonation and scale. He invented the tuning patch and even built his own flute. His efforts in collaboration with other flautists and makers, including the development of the renowned William Bennett scales, significantly contributed to the modern flute’s intonation.

Throughout his career, Bennett was widely known by his initials, WIBB.

Roderick Seed

Roderick Seed is a British flautist based in West Sussex and London, UK. He gained recognition after his debut at Carnegie Hall in 2010, following his win at the Alexander & Buono International Flute Competition. Seed graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2009, studying under William Bennett, OBE. He has performed with various orchestras and given concerts globally. Seed is also an author and active teacher, conducting masterclasses and serving on competition juries. He is known for his advocacy of new music and has premiered works by emerging composers.

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