Monday, June 3, 2013

What's on YOUR music stand???

Summer!  Yay!  My favorite time of the year!  Greenery, warmth, swimming outdoors, barbecues, outdoor concerts....

....And!!  Time to repair and renew my flute technique.

Technique gets a beating during the concert season.  Everything from having to play when not really warmed up, to matching pitch to another's uneven scale, to playing in hot, humid air that does not want to move.

So I have a summer practicing routine I like to do every year, and thought I'd share it with you all.

First, if I haven't swum in the day, I use the Power Lung.  PL lets me start playing and feel as if I have already done 20 minutes.  It opens the throat, warms up the lips and the cheeks, and oxygenates the blood.  Poof!  You are ready to go.

Then, my favorite part: Long Tones, or LT's for short.  For me, these function like a picture frame: they separate my practicing from the rest of life.  I can put down all the things that are getting me down, causing pressure, or just plain yucky stuff, and settle into my little world of moving air and making sound.  I layer in vibrato exercise, dynamic changes, and breath control.

Next: chromatic scales.  I play these very slowly, feeling for a smoothness in the fingers, again challenging breath control, going for a nice tonal match low to high.

Then: Diatonic scales.  Major, harmonic and melodic scales, the entire range of the instrument.  Passing tonic on the way up and going to C# or D; passing tonic on the way down and going to C or B.  Picking up speed as the fingers wake up.

Reichert Exercises come next.  I focus on one each week.  These I break down into different rhythmic patterns and articulations, depending on my mood, the weather, and my relative creativity for the day.

And then, the faithful Taffanel-Gaubert.  No. 1 or 2 double tongued is first, followed by 10/11; 12/13;

The final finger work is No.17, which is counted, of course!

Warming down, I do harmonics. the twist is: Diminuendo as the partials ascend.  Fun!  Crescendo as they come back to the fundamental note.

Now: I am ready for ANYTHING.  Well, maybe not a 400 IM, but almost anything musical. On the flute.

What's on YOUR music stand???

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