RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Technique

The Five Day Flute Workout

The Five Day Flute Workout CoverIt’s here! The Five Day Flute Workout! Go to my new website, The Flute Stop, to sign up for the newsletter and get your FREE copy. If you’re already a subscriber at The Flute Stop, I’ll be sending a free copy out with the December newsletter, so don’t worry!

The workout book is designed to help you go through all your major scales and arpeggios, plus get in a full workout of high to low tone builders and flexibility studies each week, all in one place! Let me know what you guys think!

Summer Practice Challenge

20130720-140901.jpg

Backward Scale Practice Challenge:

  • Try practicing your scales by starting on the highest note of the scale first. Play down two octaves, then up two octaves.
  • Practice each one all slurred, all even eighth or sixteenth notes, depending on your level.
  • Use a metronome to help you build speed.
  • Try this with all twelve major scales.

Good luck! Let me know how you do!

Upcoming High School All-Region Masterclasses

20121024-164031.jpg

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!

7 Tips to Surviving the All-Region Audition

20120906-152852.jpg

The feeling of crickets hopping around in the pit of your stomach. Secretly wanting to throw your flute out. Wishing you’d miss the bus to the audition so you don’t have to play for the judges.

Sounds like the All-Region auditions are closing in on you.

Everyone goes through those nervous moments. The key to surviving and conquering them: preparation. Check out these seven tips to crush those annoying crickets. And maybe in the process, you might end up with a chair in the coveted All-Region Band.

  1. Practice Today: Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not when you win the lottery (wouldn’t that be awesome?). It’s always today. Procrastination never works.
  2. Routine Works: Set a practice schedule and stick to it. If possible, practice during the same time of day. Find a quiet room, free of distractions like Facebook, texting and TV. Use the Musician’s Practice Journal app for iPad and iPhone to help you log your time and activities. And don’t forget to use a metronome.
  3. Technique, Technique, Technique: Play your scales and arpeggios everyday. This will give you confidence and enhance your technique. The etudes are made up of tons of scales and arpeggios.
  4. Tackle the Tough Stuff: Mark the hardest measures, then practice them everyday, at least 5-10 times each. If there’s a crazy hard run, do the same thing. You can even break your etudes into manageable chunks to practice more efficiently. Check out Three Secrets to Efficient Practicing for more tips.
  5. Relax: Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy. Don’t demand perfection – allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes and keep going. If you start dwelling on the bad stuff during the audition, you’ll wind up making more mistakes.
  6. Give Yourself Time: Get a good night of rest. On the audition day, eat a healthy breakfast. Drink water plenty of water. Dress comfortably. And get there early to have ample warm-up time.
  7. Enjoy the Music: Find the beauty in the notes. Try to express the music on the page. Isn’t that what makes the flute so amazing?

“Failing to prepare is like preparing to fail.” ~ Sir James Galway

For more reading:

Upcoming High School All-Region Clinic

 

TFS Texas 4A & 5A All-Region Clinic

with Dr. Mark Trimble

10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
Wylie High School
Band Hall
2550 W FM 544
Wylie, Texas 75098
Admission: Free
~ Masterclass Format ~

Flute Tuning Mythbuster #3: Long Tones are Boring and Don’t Do Me any Good

20120602-125247.jpg

Long tones are the key to building muscle control and developing your sound. If you want to have that sparkling sound of great flutists like Galway or Pahud, you have to add long tones into your daily drill.

Preparing for the Race:

Building the embouchure muscles will help develop pitch control as well. If you’re just skipping long tones and technical exercises, diving right into the music, you’re setting yourself up for bad intonation and little endurance. It’s like training for a marathon and deciding to run a lap or two around the track the days proceeding the race, and then being frustrated when you can’t run more than a mile or two of the marathon on the day of the race.

You have to prepare and train those muscles just like an athlete would prepare for their sporting event.

Tips for Successful Tone Building:

* Use a metronome set at 60-72.
* Practice the long tone exercises with repeats.
* Practice with your best sound all the time.
* Use a tuner as you practice tone builders.
* Practice to control your vibrato. Practice in triplet pulses, evenly.

Check out Trevor Wye’s Practice Book for Flute, Volume 1, Tone, or Marcel Moyse’s De La Sonorite for some great long tone exercises.

The Challenge:

Stop making excuses for not having time to practice tone builders. The only way to develop a beautiful sound, brilliant intonation, and sparkling vibrato is to work at it everyday. With focus and intentionality.

Try if for a week. See how much your sound improves, and you may find long tones become fun!