What and how do you practise?

Basics of Flute Playing, Tone Production and Fingerings, Using Metronomes, Scales, Tone, Studies, etc.

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What and how do you practise?

Post by zummerzet_lou »

After a long break from any serious flute practise, I'm back.

I did my grade 7 as an adult 7 years ago, and then stopped due to having my children.

I still play in a local orchestra, but certainly haven't been doing an hours practise daily.

So, what do you do?

I've just about got back to speed with my major scales, so usually go through those - tongued, slurred and then arpeggios.

I've got the bumper Trevor Wye practise books, so I am going back to tone exercises .. and just working through the first couple of the lower register.

and then I have a blast through a piece or 2. This isn't terribly structured though, and tend to get fed up of one, and then move on. I think I may find out the current grade 8 pieces, and start preparing those,

Any other suggestions?

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Post by kiwiflute »

Welcome back!

I sympathise with your problem, having made a middle-aged return to flute playing after 20+ years of not playing myself.

The problem for an adult amateur enthusiast is that a lot of advice on what to practice applies to students looking to improve to a very high level as quickly as possible with a view to making it in the cut-throat world of professional music and who often have several hours a day to devote to serious and prolonged practice of tone exercises, scales in many permutations, technical exercises, sight-reading and eventually repertoire. And this is great if you have many hours to practice and an eye on a possible career in music.

I followed this advice for a couple of years and became tolerable at etudes, scales and technical exercises but had no time to play actual music. Boredom and diminishing motivation set in.

Adult have different motivations, priorities and restrictions. We want to play music and we have limited practice time which we have to fit round family commitments and a job. Therefore practice time must be fun and it must be the most efficient use of available time.

These are my suggestions - they work for me; I look forward to my hour of practice every day, even if it is late at night when the rest of the family is sound asleep.

1. Have a goal: get those grade 8 pieces and practice them. My goal is to prepare an LTCL recital programme. Maybe I'll even sit the exam one day.

2. Practice playing the piece correctly every time. This means starting very slowly with a metronome and repeat many times before gradually increasing speed. "If you never make a mistake, you'll never make a mistake". Repetition, repetition, repetition and slow practice. This really does save time in the long run!

3. Every piece contains exercises for technique, scales, tone and articulation if you look hard enough. When practicing technical passages very slowly, you can treat them as tone exercises using the principles in the Wye tone book. On the same passages played faster, practice double/triple tonguing, different articulations and so on. This way you are learning the piece and practicing technique. Use your imagination to create your own exercises based on your repertoire pieces.

4. Practice your scales. I use Reichert 7 Daily Exercises for scales and exercises which I find very useful. Start slow and with one key signature at a time. Work through the exercises gradually - there is no rush.

5. Record your playing and listen critically.

6. Enjoy your practice!

Disclaimer - this is not a recipe for becoming the next James Galway! It is one way of practicing technique efficiently with limited practice time while playing some great music at the same time.

Good luck!

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Post by Fox »

When I have the time I try and do the following:

20 minutes long tones
10 minutes scales
10 minutes variable exercises
10 minutes beginner book
10 minutes new music

But because of work and limited time I sometimes don't get to all of it but I try and do long tones and scales every day.

I do wish sometimes that I could quit working and just focus on playing music, maybe going to school for music ... oh well, maybe one day.

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Post by zummerzet_lou »

Thanks ... I really need to find some focus. Have a good few days, and then a week goes by between practising.

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Post by flutepower »

Hey ,

Good luck on practicing your flute zummerzet_lou!!!
I need a book on tone exercises - because while I can
play a song correctly with the correct figurings I have
complete trouble holding my embouchure for high notes,
so the notes don't sound straight. Could this be because
I have braces?

Any way - do you have a title of a tone improvement
book I could buy?
~Melissa :P :P

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Post by zummerzet_lou »

I have the Trevor Wye bumper book ... I think Book 1 is Tone.

http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Books-Fl ... 797&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Trevor-Wye-Practi ... 797&sr=8-6

I've had my book for about 10 years, and still keep coming back to it - it really is a good investment!

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Post by zummerzet_lou »

I'm back again .... my practise is still quite intermittent at the moment, but am actively looking for a flute teacher which I hope will help me to become more motivated.

My major scales are more or less together now .. and I play them tongued, slurred and then their arpeggios.

Now, the minors ... and it feels as though I'm learning them all for the first time as have forgotten them.

So, for those that religiously practise their scales - in what order do you do them? Majors, then minors (melodic and harmonic)

One more question ... I'm trying to focus on a study. I have a book of them, and I try sooo hard to work on one at a time,. Trouble is, I get bored and start rattling through the later ones. how long should I stick with a single study, and at what point do you move on to another?

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Post by zummerzet_lou »

Just a wee update from me .. I have my first flute lesson this afternoon and am soooo nervous about it!

Very excited too, as I need some help to get some focus about my practise!

Will let you all know how I go,

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Post by asoalin »

So, how was your lesson? Did it help?

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