Would you like to enhance your flute practice?
It’s not good enough to just practice more time. You have to practice much better. More effectively. And as an element of our ‘Beginner’s Guide To Learning The Flute’, we shall show you all of the skills you need to practice the flute much better.
Vital Flute Practice Suggestions
Practice. If you do it regularly enough, you’ll become excellent. You know this. Exactly why is practice so difficult?
Motivation is a vital thing. Without motivation, you will not force yourself to return to the instrument day after day. Exactly how do you get motivated?
By winning. Yes, that’s what I said. Winning. You are in regular competition with yourself, and when things go very well, you feel like you are winning. When you’re in this mindset, it’s effortless to practice. It’s the circle of life – winning a lot more gives you even more motivation, so you practice more. Practising a lot more usually means you win more, thus it provides you with more motivation. Which continues exponentially.
So if it’s that straightforward, how come practice still so difficult?
Drum roll… The answer? Because it’s not that simple! Just practising isn’t adequate. You might practice for fifteen hours on a daily basis but not progress.
Therefore if it’s not the quantity of practice that sets you on the circle of life, what does?
The level of quality.
Practising for 15 minutes every day, concentrated, useful top-quality practice is significantly more beneficial than 8 hours of vague, ‘auto-pilot’ practice.
So you simply need quality practice to be able to leap aboard the circle of life train?
In your dreams! It’s not that easy. Combine quantity and quality, and you’ll finally turn into a first-class passenger.
Stay with me to discover how to buy your first-class ticket, and ways to remain on the train as long as you want…
Structure Your Flute Practice
How long should I practice per day?
15 to 20 minutes is a superb starting point, and probably no longer than 45 minutes at the same time. After this time frame, we human beings tend to zone out – and therefore the practising gets to be less useful. As a rule of thumb, any time you sense your concentration waning, stop. Be proud that you just showed up to your practice session, and don’t worry how much time you practice for.
How frequently should I be practising the Flute?
This one is a straightforward answer – practice day-to-day. This way, you’ll convert your flute practice into a routine. A short targeted regular practice is more effective than twice every week 1 hour at the same time. And keep in mind, if perhaps you’re pondering “but how will I find the time to do twenty minutes per day? !? – just steal some of your energy and time from social media over to the flute. We all do, after all, dedicate on average 142 minutes on social media daily!
When should you do my flute practice?
It makes no significant difference whenever you practice, simply just so long as you do practice. Try creating a fixed schedule for yourself as opposed to being ad-hok. See which options are best, and stick to it.
Flute Practice Top Tips
1. Remove Possible Distractions
Think of your practice moment as ‘you time’. You are hopefully enjoying the flute because you want to; so turn off your mobile phone, pc tablet, computer, watch, as well as any other gizmo that’ll distract you!
2. Be Certain You're Comfy
As you’ll be playing for hours and many years to come, it’s really vital that you are comfortable. The more at ease that you are, the better you’ll perform. Strain is invariably our opponent, and so ensure that it stays out of your practice area.
3. Set Yourself Targets
Concentrate on an end result. And to accomplish this, you’ll have to set yourself some targets. ‘Mini-Goals’ are better than one massive goal…
Create a plan, and adhere to it. Monday, Wednesday and Friday can be studying 8 brand new bars/measures; with Tuesday and Thursday piecing together everything you know. Fix yourself a reward, and when you achieve your selected aims, open up that reward by using a corkscrew!
4. Discover Your Bad Habits
We all get it drastically wrong, well before we get it correct. It’s called practice! The most obvious key is to eliminate incorrect things as fast as possible. If we don’t make this happen, then we start to produce bad habits.
So when you notice a bad habit developing out from no-where, shout out a nice big HELLO to it. Then swat it just like the most annoying fly.
The same thing goes for fixing technical issues with stuff like posture and your technique. Although it can take longer in advance, it’ll pay dividends in the future and can help you save loads of time.
5. Keeping It Unique
Perhaps you have driven to a location, and once you arrived, you had absolutely no memory or recall in regards to the journey. You drove completely on ‘brain auto-pilot’. Exactly the same thing can happen when practicing the flute.
When you play exactly the same thing, over and over, you will not improve. You will become bored. Your inspiration will disappear altogether. But what is the solution? Switching you practice strategies!
This really is as easy as playing with your eyes shut. Performing one hand only. Missing out every other note. Skipping every note that your thumb plays. Playing everything really quietly, or maybe extremely noisy. The list is never-ending. Be inventive. And whatever you decide to do – don’t ‘just’ perform the same thing again, and all over again, and again…
6. Educate Yourself To Learn
All of us understand best when we have someone over our shoulders, giving us their comments. Unfortunately, if you do not own Amazon, you are not likely to be able to afford to pay for a personal flute instructor 365 days a year. But Mr Bezos can keep his squillions because we don’t need them. We have our unique teacher inside us.
Firstly, it is more than likely that at least 50% of the time you are performing the flute, you’re too busy focusing as opposed to actually being attentive to what you’re playing! It sounds absurd, I am aware. But it’s true… So now that you’re conscious of it, correct it! Hear your playing WHILST you play…
Subsequent, with the miracles of modern technology, it’s now easier than ever to record your playing. So get your smartphone out, record, and critique yourself.
And even when the world’s wealthiest individuals wanted to retain the services of my own personal tutor, they couldn’t find the money for it!
7. The Curse Of The Beginning
You read a book, you locate page one. It’s totally normal. You play a sheet of music, you start out at the start. Once more, absolutely normal. But with regards to practising, it’s not a great idea. You’ll wind up being phenomenally good at the initial few notes, and pretty terrible at the rest. So change it up. Start out at the end, or perhaps halfway through. Then the next day, go with another random place to start your practice. But whatever you decide and do, don’t always start at the start!
8. Don't Cheat
We are all attracted to the path of least resistance. In music, that means playing the simple parts. When we find an easy little bit that sounds good, most of us tend to play it time and time again. The trouble with this is that we don’t advance. It’s actually a terrible practice technique. So ignore the simple pieces, and concentrate on the portions that you’ll have to work hard at.
Think logically now; which elements do you need to learn first? Yes, that’s correct. The complicated areas. The simple parts will sort themselves out.
So don’t overlook this. Go learn that difficult aspect and warm it up…
9. Have Fun With New Stuff
Sight-reading is a wonderful exercise to round off your practice with. There’s no pressure to perfect the piece, and it can be a lot of fun too! This also enables you to test your flute playing skills on an entirely different piece – or even a different genre.
10. Keeping The Beat
The metronome is there as your close friend, not foe. So make sure you use it and abuse it.
For speedier, complicated sections, fix your tempo at half of the ‘target’ tempo. Practice the part every day, and each day boost the tempo by 5 beats (BPM). You will have so gradually increased the speed, that before you realize it, you will be at full speed.
And right here is a bonus strategy – always try and overshoot by ten percent. When you have to be at 150BPM, ensure you can play it at 165bpm – that way 150bpm will seem to be easily achievable!
11. Establish Rewards For Yourself
Keep in mind in number three I mentioned a nice bottle of red? I figured that was crucial enough to mention it twice!
Exercises are not all bad. We have to do them in sports to warm-up, and playing the flute is absolutely a sport for your fingers (and mind). There are many different exercises that strengthen your fingers, but the main one is:
There are many flute books which offer a complete method for your practice. Find one which fits your style and use it daily to develop all areas of your flute playing – think of it as your flute gym!
Some of the most popular are:
- Taffanel and Gaubert – Methode Complete De Flute
- Moyse – Daily Exercises For Flute
- Trevor Wye – Practice Book For The Flute
- Robert Dick – Tone Development Through Extended Techniques
- Paul Edmund Davies – The 28 Day Warm-Up Book
Flute Practice Bonus Tips
1. Try And Be Consistent
The human brain learns each and every time you do new things. It generates a neuron, just like a very little branch of a tree. Every time you repeat the EXACT same thing, with absolutely no differentiation, that branch gets a little more robust. Should you do the task enough times, in the very same manner, that branch becomes a strong arm. This is the factor where your body and mind can simply do something ‘without thinking about it’.
Conversely, each and every time you adjust something, a different branch is generated. Should you play the very same passage of music four times, and every time you use a different fingering or are not completely consistent, you’re building four tree branches.
So what’s the matter with that? A branch acts similar to a path your brain walks down. It must choose one of the possibilities you’ve built. The problem is that instead of one strong option, you have other weaker possibilities. This just confuses your wobbly gel of a head and slows the processing time right down. The result is usually a slip-up.
So be consistently correct from the very first time of performing something. Understand things at a pace you can perform well. And take note of your neurons!
2. Recommended Reading
Here are some great books that really helped me when I was starting out and I regularly recommend them to students to this day.
Music Practice: The Musician’s Guide to Practicing and Mastering your Instrument like a professional
I also highly recommend you include How to Read Music in 30 Days in your must-read list. If haven’t already read our guide on How To Read Sheet Music, then do check that out as well.
Flute Practice - Summary
- Remember that variety is the spice of life…. Try not to get stuck on the same thing for too long in your practice as you will just get bored!
- Always make music, even when you are just practising techniques or studies, even scales can be expressive!
About the Author
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