what factors affect your playing?

Alternate Fingerings, Scales, Tone, Studies, etc.

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Callidor
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what factors affect your playing?

Post by Callidor » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:40 pm

I've had my "new" flute for a little over a week now. (See here for details: viewtopic.php?t=3153). One thing I've been noticing with it is I feel like my skill level is less..consistent than it was back when I was using my student flute. Let me explain. Sometimes I sound great. (By my standards at least). I can really hear and feel the superiority of the instrument over what I was playing before, and it feels great. Other times, however, my tone is airy and thin, and I feel like I'm playing worse than I have for a very long time. At first, I attributed this to getting used to a new flute; perhaps requiring a bit longer to get warmed up when playing, etc.

Although I still believe this is probably the case, I wanted to ask for some other opinions. I've noticed that I can pick the flute up, play for an hour or so, and still feel that my sound is pretty lousy. Then I can put it down for several hours, pick it right up and sound great. I keep the flute in its case when I'm not playing it, and the case stays in my room...temperature and conditions are always about the same to my knowledge.

Basically, I'd like to know if anyone has any thoughts - could this all be in my head...or is there some unknown variable with the flute or with me that could be so drastically affecting the quality of my playing. Are there are any particular warm-up exercises that you recommend to get me into my groove quickly after picking up the flute? Any and all advice is appreciated, especially since I have a performance with the little band I'm in on Saturday! Thanks in advance.
"There was never a bad peace or a good war" -Benjamin Franklin

"Those who dream by day are aware of much which escapes those who dream only by night." -Edgar Allen Poe

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Zevang
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Post by Zevang » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:19 pm

Even with the best flute available in the market you could have problems like the ones you told here.
The thing is that when you change to another flute it's like you are buying a new and better car. The resources are there, but you must learn to use them so you can drive it at its best performance.
I'm a pro, 20 years playing as principal at a symphony orchestra. 3 years ago I bought my new (and excelent) flute. It took me 5 months to get used to it and begin showing some good progress. I mean playing in an everyday rehearsing basis! After this, I bought my new (and wonderful) headjoint. Some more months to make it really work...
So don't worry. The keyword is practice and patience. Also, look for the new "focus" point of your new headjoint. Will require some extra work in terms of long tones, but you will eventually find it ;-)

Zevang

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Callidor
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Post by Callidor » Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:02 pm

thanks for the response. That's probably exactly what I needed to hear. :)
"There was never a bad peace or a good war" -Benjamin Franklin

"Those who dream by day are aware of much which escapes those who dream only by night." -Edgar Allen Poe

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JennyColville
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Post by JennyColville » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:49 am

I have had similar experiences. Even now, after having played on a higher standard flute for 8 years, I have 'off days'. I find it can be a number of factors like if I'm tired, hungry, if my flute is clean and even my temperature can affect how well I play! However, after adapting to the instrument I have less 'off days'. I tend to put it down to my mood when I don't sound so great and choose to practise later in the day or tomorrow :D

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Zevang
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Post by Zevang » Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:34 am

Guys, I live in a region that is very dry for almost 4 months a year (some days at 10% of humidity).
I found that this humidity issue is what affect the most my playing.
You can live in a humid city, but if you stay inside all day, say, in an air conditioned room, so you might have the same problem as living in a dry place.
I advise you to make a test. Just drink more water for some days and try to observe any difference. Note though that you must drink water more times during the day, not the quantity you drink at once, because instead you would have diarrhea.
Also, I try not to forget to use a lip protector with filter in sunny days.
Besides that, is practicing, practicing and then practicing...:-)

stewyflute13
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Post by stewyflute13 » Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:28 pm

Yeah, what I found out recently is that sometimes I just need a break, that's all! I also think that quality, consistent practice that has >50% of the time spent on real exercises (ie long tones, tounging exercises, harmonics, cresc./decrs. exercises, flexibility exercises, etc.) will also reduce "off days." Playing only for fun ALL the time is not something that will bring about a great improvement rate

I've sometimes wondered as to whether there is a scientific process to why some days we sound good, and other days we pick up the flute and think "Man, I just suck." At times I would even theorize that if I did all my basic exercises (above) plus playing for pure enjoyment every day for 2 weeks after being on a vacation or hiatus of the flute, I would be in good shape for a recital or such. Also, I have been told that once you have developed a beautiful sound or overcome a major obstacle in your flute work and it almost gets to the point of being habit, (which I really think is all in the ear of the player) you won't really ever lose it again. Then, however, one time last summer my grandma died and my mom said "hey grandma really wanted you to play at her funeral" but I hadn't practiced for a while and the memorial was in like 4 days, and I thought "I can't work this up in time," but then I did fine.

Then, another time, I practiced diligently every day (w/ exercises) all the way up to a college audition, and my tone was completely gone! :x
Another element to consider is: My teacher told me that when he entered the Manhattan School, he got a phone call a day or two before ensemble auditions (which he had no idea about and had been on vacation!) and he rushed down to Manhattan and just played the excerpt in a burst of spontaneity, rushed energy, and helpless anxiety and won 1st chair in the top orchestra as a Freshman!, which he says has never happened at MSM since! This kind of spontaneous, unexpected performance success has happened to me, too. So, what I have come to decide is that there is no absolute science behind why we sound the way we do, but generally, we will perform to where we have prepared! Sorry this was so long! :wink:

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