Next month, August 2012: Stretching Exercises for Suppleness
We all know playing our instrument is good for us - we know because we feel it. Is
it because of the way it joins the physical, the mental and the emotional, or because
it is so connected to breathing, the most fundamental of processes? What other activity
joins up such detail - observing every mark and stoke on every note in every bar
- with over-arching large-scale ideas, be they an entire work or orchestra, blending
physical considerations such as posture and breathing with listening, reading, and
all the while linking your playing to your emotional centre?
In terms of keeping your brain ‘fit’ the benefits of music are well known - playing
away from the music enhances this even further. Also, it challenges you to find
your creative edge... and if you feel more than a little challenged by this idea,
then take the ‘risk’ and enjoy how you feel when you come out the other side!
How I can tell you what to improvise, that’s the point isn’t it? Yes it is, so you
must play from your heart. What I would like to do is encourage you to get started.
So this month EVERY time you put your flute together try to play for at least two
whole minutes before you get any music out of your bag.
Starting points: perhaps you know the first few bars of a piece you are learning
at the moment? Start there, and you may be surprised how much is already ‘in there’.
But to improvise completely freely try these for inspiration:
- ‘interpreting’ the scribble on a piece of paper (swap a doodle with a friend for
loads of fun!),
- lighting a candle,
- looking a picture or photograph, and interpreting the shapes, themes or light/shade,
So your gift this month is freedom - never needing to disappoint when someone excitedly
springs a flute on you and says “you’re a musician, play something!”
Myth of the Month - as you ascend you need to reach higher and higher in every way...
or do you? Certainly you need faster air, certainly the airstream is at a slightly
higher angle than for lower notes, however for many of us, this idea of ‘going up’
can go a bit too far, leading to stridency. Try this: working from B2 and moving
upwards note-by-note, increase the air pressure by supporting, and squeeze for a
small hole and fast air... But THINK low, and open your throat, listening for a warmer,
rounder tone. Let me know how you get on.
PS Please send your questions or comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to my flute-playing free Hints and Tips Page; a new page is posted here on
the first day of each month. Wow, those right hand fingers must be going so quickly
now after last month’s hard work! So, onto a subject which is pretty scary for ‘music-based’
musicians, that is playing with the aid of a music stand or music! Brave it out,
it’s so important!