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4 Tips for Building Speed on the E minor “Elegie-Etude” by Donjon

The All-Region audition is getting closer. Here are some tips I’ve shown my students to help them build their speed on the “fast etude” for this year’s Texas All-State Auditions. I hope they help!

1. Chunk by Chunk

  • Practice small chunks at a time, say two or three lines. Gradually increase your speed.
  • Start with a comfortable metronome tempo. When you can play the entire section easily without flaws at this tempo, bump the metronome up one click (generally 3-4 beats per minute depending on your metronome). Repeat, gradually increasing your tempo over the next few weeks until you reach your goal tempo.
  • Try piecing the chunks together a few at a time near the end of each week.

2. Use Alternate Fingerings

  • For measures 26-33, use the alternate F# fingering for all F#s in this section.

  • For measures 18, 19 and 20, you can leave your third finger on the right hand down as you play the first two groups of 32nd notes of each measure. Look for other measure that might work like that for you!

3. Daily Repetitions

  • Building speed takes time. The more daily repetitions, the better. It will probably take you many weeks to reach reach goal tempo. So start today – don’t wait!

Procrastination + Fast, Unsure Fingers = Fall Apart at the Audition.

4. Three Points of Balance

  • Check your balance points as you play. Are you putting too much pressure on the right hand? Or too much on the left? In order to play fast and fluid, you need to have equal pressure and balance between each hand.

  • Exercise: Try holding your flute with only the three balance points. At first, the flute may roll backwards on you. That means your not putting enough pressure on one of these three points. Practice over a bed or couch (for your flute’s safety!). When you can keep the flute from rolling backwards using only these three points, you’ve got your flute balanced!

Good luck building your speed, and good luck at the audition!

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