Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday. One of the perks about being stuck in quarantine is that we all suddenly have more time to practice. This is a great opportunity to change up your normal practice routine because, let’s face it, “normal” no longer exists. In today’s blog I will discuss my top 10 Quarantine Challenges to spruce up your practice time. Give them a try! You might find some new and interesting connections between pieces you had not noticed before (thanks Quarantine!).
Top 10 Quarantine Practice Challenges
- Practice music by one composer each day for 10 days. This include repertoire, excerpts, etudes, and transcriptions of pieces originally written for other instruments.
- Memorize one orchestral excerpt per day. Yeah, okay – I know….We practice excerpts so much that most of them are practically memorized anyways under normal circumstances. This challenge will help you memorize the excerpts that are not often asked for during standard auditions.
- Practice only music written in the same key each day. This includes scales, etudes, excerpts, and repertoire. For an added challenge, sight-read in the same key at the conclusion of your practice session.
- Set a practice time goal and bump it up gradually each week. If you are a working professional with very limited practice time under normal circumstances, this challenge will be more difficult than you think.
- The Many Keys of Mozart. Practice your favorite Mozart concerto (G or D) in a new key each week. This will test your transposition chops and challenge your ear.
- Memorize (or re-memorize) one piece a week. Who needs the music anyways! Play from your heart.
- Sunday Night Mock Auditions. Set up a curtain or wall of blankets between your family and yourself and hold a mock audition. Give them a list of excerpts to call out and a time limit. Tell them to be cold and ruthless – They will love it!
- Practice music from one era each week. You don’t necessary need to practice them chronologically either. Week One could be works from the Romantic era while Week Two could be all Baroque all the time.
- 10 Days of Improvisation. Record yourself improvising for five minutes per day for 10 days. How do you play when there are no rules? What can you take into your regular practice routine?
- Practice only works, excerpts, and etudes by composers from one country each day for 10 days. Are there elements that connect their music? Is there an underlying “national” character?
Do you have any of your own quarantine challenges? Which challenge inspires you the most? Have you learned anything new from these challenges? Please comment below.
Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday! There has been a lot of discussion about practicing “self care” while in quarantine. This term, of course, means different things to different people. Meditating? Sure! Going for a walk outside? Perfect. But how can we use music to practice self care? In today’s blog, I will discuss my top 10 self care tips for flutists. This is a great opportunity to use music as a form of relaxation.
Top 10 Self Care Ideas for Flutists
- The most important thing to remember is that music should be fun (aka a natural source of self care). With that in mind, carve out at least 20-30 minutes (or more) to practice music that you genuinely love or, better yet, pieces that bring back happy memories. This week I have spent time practicing a piece that I performed at the Idaho State Solo Contest back in my high school days when my ambitions were high and my expectations low. It brought back wonderful memories and reminded me of a time when performing was new and exciting.
- Read a book about a famous musician or composer. There are fabulous biographies out there about everyone from Mozart to Beethoven, and, for us fluties, Taffanel and Moyse. Brew up some tea and cozy up with one of these classics.
- Listen to (or watch) a symphony. When was the last time that you listened to a Beethoven Symphony from start to finish without outside distractions? Probably in the concert hall. Since we are all social distancing from the concert hall, however, this is a good time to turn your home into a performance venue and watch a performance of your favorite symphony played by your favorite symphony on YouTube.
- Watch a music-themed movie. There are plenty of movies available on streaming services about composers and performers. One of my all-time favorites is Amadeus. Good music, good acting, and that high-pitched laugh is iconic. You might even find yourself inspired to add those old school Mozart concerti to your practice docket.
- Write a flute blog. What inspires you about the flute? Is there a composer that you enjoy? Is there a particular teaching tip that you would love to share with the world? Write it down and post it to your blog. Or, if you do not yet have a flute blog, this is a great time to set one up!
- Check your flute horoscope! Shameless plug warning. If you are curious about what is in store for your flute playing this month, be sure to check out your flute horoscope here: https://thefluteview.com/2020/04/dr-gs-flute-horoscopes-april-2020/
- Watch as many versions of the same piece on YouTube that you can find. Chose one of your favorite pieces and type its title into the YouTube search box. Pour a glass of wine and binge watch as many videos as you can. What elements change from performance to performance? What interpretations work well? Is there anything that you would like to emulate in your own performance?
- Perform duets with yourself. When I was a kid, I used to practice duets by recording myself playing the top line (in those days via cassette tape) and play along to the recording with the bottom line. This can easily be duplicated using your phone’s recording device or even by creating a video. If you are brave, you might even share your performance on your YouTube page.
- Deep clean your flute. I am not talking about the quick wipe down of fingerprints. I am talking about getting all of the yucky crud out from the tops of keys and between the joints, cleaning or replacing any accessories such as flute gels or lip plate covers, polishing the outside, and even cleaning out the inner and outer flute cases.
- Retail therapy. You may not be able to go to the local music shop, but online businesses such as Flute World are still shipping fun accessories and music. Buy a new piece. Invest in a beautiful yet functional flute stand. Treat yourself to a new flute bag. Have fun shopping!
What are you doing to practice self care? What self care item are you most looking forward to? What other self care tips do you have? Please comment below.