How I Discovered + Released Tongue Tension for Effortless, Clear Articulation 

flutearticulation

While experimenting with articulation yesterday, I had a moment where I thought to notice how much effort my tongue was exerting. 

I played a few notes, removed the flute from my face, and looked in the mirror.

I was pulling my jaw down too forcefully, which was pulling my bottom lip back, and my tongue was being pulled up and back within my mouth.


I know that letting the tongue lie low in the mouth helps resonance, and I also know that clear, short articulation is possible with the tongue forward in the mouth.

 

My good intentions of creating space within the mouth - dropping the jaw - actually led me to increase tension and compromise space.

My tongue felt tight and heavy as well, but what was most surprising was how much I wanted to pull the tongue up and back!

 

This might not happen as drastically for everyone, as I may habitually try to bring to my tongue down when I bring the jaw down. When I do both of these things in a forceful way, I end up in a place that feels tight and difficult. 

 

I decided to have a look at how and why my tongue moves the way it does, and uncovered some important relationships between the tongue and jaw.


How Does The Tongue Move?

Take a look at how many muscles move the tongue in all directions. 

In simple terms, there are four extrinsic tongue muscles that move the tongue and connect outside the tongue, and four intrinsic tongue muscles located within the tongue that allow us to change the the shape of the tongue. 

 

The extrinsic muscles that move the tongue:

  • The styloglossus muscle retracts and elevates the tongue.

  • The palatoglossus muscle raises the back of the tongue and lowers the soft palate - required movement for swallowing. 

  • The genioglossus muscle lowers the tongue and brings it forward in the mouth.

  • The hyoglossus lowers the tongue and brings it back in the mouth.

(For a quick chart and simple visual of these muslces, click here! It's enlightening to know just where they are and what they do!)

Understanding that there's a muscle that's both pulling my tongue up and retracting it back gives me some insights about what I was noticing.

Gaining clarity about the relationships between the tongue muscles and their origins, insertions, and functions gave me direction in deciding how to use myself in a different way for different results.


Experiment + Observe Tongue Movement

Try pulling your jaw down far but keeping your lips together, actively aiming to create space inside the mouth:

  • Where is the tongue inside your mouth?
  • Watch the back of the tongue - does it become tense? Is it raised?
  • Does the tip of the tongue move backward?  
  • What happens to the bottom lip? How does this position affect embouchure?

Allow the jaw to become neutral and soft, simply hanging rather than pulling down:

  • What happens to the tongue? 
  • Where is the tip of the tongue naturally lying?
  • How does the back of the tongue feel?
  • What about the soft palate?
  • What happens to the lower lip?

 

Discovery

When I re-set and let my jaw release back up towards neutral, I immediately felt my tongue release down and forward toward the teeth.

Where I was before, I had to actively bring my tongue towards the teeth to get a short articulation. The tongue was heavy and effortful in this movement.

Because I was holding it in a pulled back and up position within my mouth, it was naturally wanting to hit the roof of the mouth further back, where we create a "D" syllable, rather than a "T" syllable at the alveolar ridge. (Where the upper teeth meet the hard palate.) This might be good for a legato articulation, but for short, light, and quick, it wasn't effortless.

From a neutral jaw and a naturally relaxed and forward tongue, I didn't have to exert so much effort in bringing my tongue forward, it was already there. My tongue and articulations could more easily become short, light and quick. Beyond that, my lower lip was more available, allowing me greater freedom to angle well.

 



You Might Also Like...

What I Learned (+ Changed) About My Relationship With Self-Trust From a Golf Book

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of D-I-YHOLY GRAIL (12).jpg

 

Back in my most recent audition preparation experience, I bought a book called: Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella. I first heard about it in Rob Knopper's interview with Matt Howard on his strategies to win his audition with the LA Phil, where he discussed his elevated mental strategies and focus on his pre-shot routine. 

 

I recently picked it up again and started over from the beginning. 

 

Dr. Rotella is a performance consultant who specifically works with pro golfers on the mental side of their game.

There are some general, common sense ideas in there, and Dr. Rotella even attests that his simple methods often surprise his clients. 

The thing about reading and processing these concepts again and again is that every time, a new light bulb goes off. I can digest it in a new way that allows me to really become aware of my mindset and try something new.


My Relationship with Trust: Doubt Comes First

 

"Many weekend golfers don't even wait for a bad shot to stop trusting their swing. They step onto the first tee thinking of a dozen mechanical concepts...Without realizing it, they're doing everything possible to undermine their own game." (pg. 48)

 

"The hot streak represents the golfer's true capability. It results, essentially, from trust. The golfer trusts his abilities. He steps up to the ball knowing that he can pick a target and hit it there. He does things unconsciously. The swing repeats itself. It feels effortless." (pg. 49)


I initially realized how often I direct the mechanics of my own playing thinking about my recent recordings for Etude of the Week.

 

I always think about the "what-I'm-doing" portion in practice. Of course, it's important to observe oneself and make corrections. 

 

I also know that thinking about what to do hinders a performance, but I have continuously obsessed over self-directing while recording my etudes due to fear of failure:

I want to create the best possible outcome, so I hang onto all the little instructions that steered me well in practice.

 

Ultimately, this becomes exhausting.

 

My intentions are always to let go and direct myself to freedom, but I often end up adding tension when it comes to performing or recording. I physically feel the weight of it.

 

Self-directing is a form of self-doubt.

 

I am not exercising trust.


TRUST IS A HABIT. (And So Is Doubt.)

 

Great golf players trust themselves. They put in highly effective practice, and then let go and trust on game day. They trust no matter what happens - they keep locking in on their targets, and going for them.

 

Thinking about the amount of time I spend over-thinking, especially in practice, I recognize that my habit is doubt:

 

On a deeper level with how I think and act, I am doubting that I can create a beautiful sound without telling myself all the steps first.

 

I spend so little time cultivating trust with my mindset during practice and in life, that it's almost impossible to fully access trust in a performance. Starting to think about cultivating trust comes way too late in the process for me.


Embodying Trust as a Habit

 

After this revelation, I recorded my Etude of the Week, and I dove in without overthinking.

 

I didn't analyze myself first. I didn't double check how to play all the low notes, or the short notes, or the trills.. I gave myself permission to trust and not direct anything.

 

Not only was it more fun to play, it went better than I expected.

 

My only goals were to think in terms of targets:

I imagined myself hitting them, and then I did. 

 

More importantly, I didn't spend an hour recording take after take, physically exhausting myself. I felt light and free without instructing myself to feel light and free.

 

I carried this into my fundamentals practice, where I am almost 100% of the time living in careful instruction mode. My default this time was to choose to trust and live affirmatively in the moment, and if anything went wrong, I could go back and fix it. 

 

Trust first, not doubt: Play affirmatively, not with a question mark.

 

This eased an enormous amount of the frustrations I felt earlier that day. This also made it possible to have a pretty successful sight-reading session, as well! 


Here are my reflections for the week:

 

  • Do I play, practice, and think with a question mark of doubt over my head?

 

  • What happens if I stop waiting to ingrain trust?

 

  • What happens if I decide I'm worthy of trust right from the beginning?

 

  • What happens if I embody trust as a habit, as my default?


What is your relationship with trust like? Do you notice when you're trusting vs. doubting? What is your default? Do you cultivate trust every day?



 

 

 

Are You Mentally Practicing Mistakes? Finding Awareness in Mental Practice

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of D-I-YHOLY GRAIL (2).jpg

Earlier this week while teaching two separate students, we came across some difficult technical passages. While playing, there were a couple slip-ups.

Before going any further, I asked each of them to mentally read through the passage and absorb all the notes - no moving fingers, just reading.

I did it, too.

 

What did I notice?

 

I was reading it fairly quickly and made mistakes and stumbled in my own head

 

So I asked: "Did your mental run-through involve mistakes?"

 

They responded: "Yes!!"

 

"Isn't that interesting!?"


This really struck me as an opportunity to investigate and gain some clarity for myself and my students.

 

Mistakes and stumbles aren't necessarily directly caused by fingers slipping up.

The fingers slip up because the eyes haven't looked long and closely enough to allow the brain to process the notes that are there, meaning the correct message hasn't been delivered to the fingers.

 

Why did we stumble?

When reading through the difficult pattern quickly, we didn't have time to stop and process every note visually. We only saw some of the notes, so we had to anticipate what note was next.

The fingers took over from patterns we've already learned and muscle-memorized. We then realized the note we wanted to play wasn't the note that was actually written, so we stumbled.

 

Why do we go slower?

To better process, of course! 

It's hard to go fast with confidence until we know it well! Aim to deeply know and understand what's written before trying to play it. 

For example, in order to recite the lyrics to One Week by Barenaked Ladies at full speed, you have to know all the words first, and you'll probably need to spend a good amount of time reading and studying the actual words before you're ready to impress your friends in the car!

 

So, What Did We Discover?

Taking finger movement out of the picture to simply read and process was a simple and powerful means of absorbing the notes.

If we really took the time to process first, we had an easier time playing. 

Beyond simply playing the correct notes, the subsequent times were also accompanied by a deep sense of confidence and clarity in phrasing.


These realizations really got me thinking - am I really utilizing mental practice in a powerful, mindful way every time I practice? 

Do I really take the time to process without playing often enough?


Awareness questions for mental practice:

  • Does my mental read-through contain the same mistakes as when I play?
  • Do I mentally practice at a tempo slow enough to process and absorb all the notes and patterns?
  • What notes do I see?
  • What notes do I not see or process as easily?
  • Does my mental practice seek out an understanding of patterns to assist with processing and an understanding of structure?
  • Do my practice sessions involve reading the music without my instrument, or do I always play?
  • If I do mentally read through the notes without playing, do I move my fingers silently?
  • What is it like to only read and hear the phrase in my head?
  • Is it the same or different when I begin to move my fingers silently? Do I hear the phrase in the same way? 
  • Am I ingraining confidence in my mental practice?
  • Does my body remain easy and effortless while thinking through the notes?
  • Do I imagine a beautiful sound in my mental practice?
  • Is it slow enough to consider all of these things?


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...

 

 

 

 

The Priorities of Good Sound for Flute & Piccolo [+ Free Download]

 

Several band directors have recently asked for my thoughts regarding flute embouchure:

  • What should the embouchure look like?
  • How would I help a student with a tight embouchure?
  • How do I help students develop sound?

 

My answer:

 

Most often, attempting to fix an embouchure is like fixing only the surface-level symptom of a deeper problem.

 

Many students (including my younger self) put a lot of focus on the embouchure because it's the one thing we can see clearly, and our band directors can see, too.

 

I didn't come to understand and refine the fundamental aspects of sound until I came to understand the anatomy involved in playing.

 

When all three aspects are refined and prioritized, sound becomes full and resonant, and students can begin to gain control and flexibility.


1. Airstream

Airstream is at the base of the pyramid because of course, without air, there's no sound. The most important element of this foundation is the understanding that:

  • An exhale creates sound,
  • Our inhale determines our exhale,
  • Our self-use a whole determines the quality of the breath, and therefore the quality of the sound. 
    • To experience the difference, stand on your tip-toes and take a big breath. Then, stand on both feet and take a big breath.
    • Which is more comfortable? Is there a difference in how each feels between these two different ways of using yourself?
    • There are subtle habits of use embedded in our playing that can affect breathing in the same way.
    • Therefore, looking at the whole can improve breathing, and thereby, sound.

 

Posts to Refine Breathing + Self-Use

 

Resources for Refining Breathing Anatomy


2. Internal Set-Up: Jaw, Tongue, Mouth

So, we've mentioned embouchure and airstream, but the structures between the lungs and the lips play a crucial role in developing sound, as well. As before, understanding the anatomy of these structures can lead to a more refined and effective means of use.

Statements like "open the throat" or "drop the jaw" are well-meaning tips to help students create openness and fullness to the sound. If the foundation of breathing or anatomical knowledge isn't there, attempting to open the throat may turn into forcing and lead to throat tension or noise.

 

Refine Your Knowledge

Have a look at this video.

Although it's about swallowing, in the first 60 seconds, the narrator points out just how large the tongue is, and that the base of the tongue is in the oral pharynx.

She'll also point out the hard palate and soft palates.

 

  • The tongue is the floor of our mouth, and the palates are the ceiling.
  • Increasing the amount of space in the mouth creates resonance.
  • Therefore, tongue down, soft palate lifted will increase the space in the oral cavity.

 

  • Understand that the tongue is large and dome shaped, and the base of which sits in the jaw and the oral pharynx. Therefore, the jaw and the tongue are closely related.
  • If "dropping the jaw" leads to pulling or forcing the jaw down, the freedom of the tongue is affected. (Jaw tension is a culprit of poor articulation and tongue speed, as well!)
  • The back or base of the tongue, as seen above, is essentially the front of the beginning of what we might consider to be the throat. Therefore, the tongue heavily influences our airsteam, and how "open" or "restricted" it is.
  • We use these structures to ensure airflow hasn't been restricted, and to create vowel shapes that add depth to the sound. 

 

Where's My Jaw in Relation to the Whole?

 

How to Practice?

  • Singing and playing is my favorite way to practice both airstream support and set-up:
    • Singing adds speed and volume to the air stream, allows the mouth to create vowel shapes, and allows "open the throat" to occur in a natural way. Intentionally creating sound by singing can help alleviate throat tension and throat noise.

3. Embouchure

Embouchure comes last because this is point at which we add structure and finesse to the airstream. When the fundamental elements are adequate and refined, the embouchure can begin to let go. A smiling, or tight embouchure with corners pulled back is a compensation for inadequate air, a closed throat or both.

Uncovering the bottom lip and allowing the corners to mush forward towards the lip plate is now possible when air and space are adequate. From here, flexibility and seamless intervals are possible. (Insert your favorite flexibility exercises and etudes here!)

 

Here's one more video to see the muscles that move the mouth and the lips.

The muscles below the the lower lip are important - often, the flute is too high on the bottom lip, and we can't use the lower lip for finesse and structure.

If we try to lower the flute on the lip without the foundations of the pyramid, students won't have the tools ready to begin supporting well, and they'll lose sound, which is a scary experience! One more reason to look at the whole to make effective changes to the embouchure.

 

Adequate support will also allow students to begin rolling out or uncovering more of the lip plate.

 

In addition, the angle of the embouchure and flute-to-face are also the final elements to refining sound.

 

Here are three experiments for making adjustments and finding the right angle!


Free Download!

Here's a free visual aid with some important reminders to use for yourself or for your students! Click the image or the button below to download a PDF.



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...

 

 

Spring Practice Favorites: Books + Apps

I'm always on the lookout for new resources to make my life easier and more inspired while practicing. Recently, I've been loving a few brand new and some new-to-me resources.

 

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of D-I-YHOLY GRAIL (2).jpg

Books


Enlight34.JPG

The Virtuosic Flutist

by Nina Assimakopoulos

 

Right when I saw the first sample of this book, I knew I'd love it! This book thoroughly explains how to practice and develop important expressive tools, and has inspired me to think in more dimensions with an elevated focus with everything else I'm practicing. I especially love the Grounding and Repertoire sections!

Available in Print and Digital Download!

 



Enlight35.JPG

The 28 Day Warm Up Book for All Flautists.... eventually!

by Paul Edmund-Davies

If you're trying to get yourself back into shape, this is the book to do it! There are four sections, Sonority, Fingers, Articulation, and Intervals with 7 exercises in each. There's a chart at the beginning of the book showing how to divide each section over 28 days. I've been loving this book to challenge myself beyond the typical tone and technique exercises, and it's paying off!

Learn More Here!


Enlight33.JPG

Indirect Procedures: A Musician's Guide to the Alexander Technique

by Pedro De Alcantara

 

This in-depth book gave me a lot of ideas in the first few pages alone. If you're learning to apply to Alexander Technique to your playing, this book will help you develop a deeper understanding of your thoughts and self-use as a musician.

 

See More on Amazon!


APPS


Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of D-I-YHOLY GRAIL (1).png

Seconds Pro Interval Timer

This app was introduced to me by two musicians on Instagram, and it's designed to assist with Interval workouts. If you read my "How I Practice Using the Pomodoro Technique" post, you'll know I love using a timer and dividing up my practice session into 25-minute chunks. This app lets me customize each task and duration, and will count down and lead me right into the next task. It's much easier to let go of each task and move right along into the next without dwelling or wasting time. If you need help focusing and getting through a number of tasks, give this one a try!

Apple App Store


Enlight36 (1).JPG

Drone Tuner

This genius app lets you tune to the sound of real instruments! I love using a drone to work on intonation, but sometimes it's difficult to blend into the only sound offered by other apps. I like to rotate through several instruments and pitches to prepare to play in tune with a variety of instruments and ranges. (The piano option is helpful to prepare students to tune to a piano!) Plus, you can tune chords and harmonies!

 

Learn More Here!



You Might Also Like...

Flute Room Tour [Video]

Thank you for coming on a tour of the flute room today!

I'm beyond grateful to have a room dedicated to flute in our home, and very excited to share it with you! I've put a lot of time and energy into making this room a reflection of me and a place I love being, and it certainly is!

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of D-I-YHOLY GRAIL.png
 

Click Below to Watch!

 
 

Products Mentioned:

Desk: IKEA with Alex Drawers

Bookshelves: IKEA Kallax

Acrylic Chair: IKEA

Green Velvet Chair: World Market

Desk Lamp: Target

Gallery Wall Frames: Michaels

3 Large Canvas Art Pieces: Kirklands

Gold 3-Tiered Cart: World Market

Teal Area Rug: Bed Bath and Beyond

Acrylic Tabletop File Holder: Amazon

Flute Lamp: Gift

I Heart Flute Pillow: Thirty-One Custom Gift

iPad Stand: K&M

Flute Stand: Made by my Dad

Flute Bag: FluterScooter Cedar Wood Bag

Magazine Boxes: Target

Various Items Found at HomeGoods: Floor Mirror, Wall File Storage, Frames, Candles & Misc. Decor Items



You Might Also Like...

My Top 17 Inspirational Flute Recordings

When I first became serious about playing, I was in high school and had started taking lessons with a great teacher, Donald Zook.

 

We were working on festival audition pieces, and one of them was Mozart's G Major Concerto! He gave me a list of flutists, orchestras, and orchestral repertoire to listen to, and stressed that listening and playing A LOT was essential for growth.

 

I got myself a James Galway's CD of Mozart Concerti, and let me tell you, listening to James Galway helped me develop a bigger sound.

 

I listened to that recording in the car with my mom everywhere we went. It was winter in New England at the time I was preparing for the audition, so every time I hear that concerto, I picture us in the car driving by snow-covered trees. 

 

Of course, I started adopting some of the little nuances of that recording, leaning on the same notes, attempting to open my sound and use vibrato the way he did. There were things my teacher had me change from the habits I adopted, but all-in-all, listening allowed me to create new possibilities.

 

I tried on a sound and a style, and it helped me learn how to achieve new possibilities.

 

To this day, I still listen to recordings for inspiration, and my tastes have continued to develop and change over time. At this stage, I have a better understanding of how I want to sound as an individual, and I've been able to refine this by hearing what kind of sounds are possible as heard in others.

 

My high school flute teacher was absolutely right to have me listen and play as much as possible, and ultimately, I developed a genuine love for the repertoire and was overjoyed to play as often as possible.


Listening Inspiration

 

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite albums and flutists that inspire me. (Many listed have inspired me since high school!)

 

I'd like to share this list for younger students beginning to explore recordings and repertoire, and introduce them to some of the wonderful flutists and masterworks for our instrument, as well as advanced players! (I know I'm always curious about what others' favorites are and why!)

 

(This list is by no means complete, and narrows in primarily solo flute repertoire. There are countless other flutists, pieces, orchestral recordings, chamber works, and non-flute recordings that inspire me, too!)


Copy of Copy of Flute Advent Calendar.jpg

1. Elizabeth Rowe with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players: Profanes et Sacrées: 20th-Century French Chamber Music

  • Ravel, Introduction and Allegro for harp, accompanied by string quartet, flute, and clarinet
  • Debussy, Sonata for flute, viola, and harp

2. Marianne Gedigian: Voice of the Flute

  • Hüe, Fantaisie
  • Copland, Duo for Flute and Piano
  • Taktakishvili, Sonata for Flute and Piano
  • Foote, Trois Pieces, Op. 31
  • Boehm, Grand Polonaise, Op. 16

3. Amy Porter: Passacaglia

  • Rózsa, Sonata for Solo Flute
  • Karg-Elert, Sonata Appassionata in f-sharp minor for Flute Solo, Op. 140
  • Hindemith, Acht Stücke für flöte allein
  • Dohnányi, Passacaglia for Flute Solo, Op. 48, No. 2
  • Karg-Elert, 30 Caprices for Solo Flute, Op. 107

4. Jasmine Choi: Claude Bolling Suite for Flute & Jazz Trio

  • Bolling, Suite for Flute and Jazz Trio
  • Schocker, Winter Jasmine for Flute and Piano
  • Schoenfield, Four Souvenirs
  • Yiruma, Wait There for Flute and Piano

5. Karl-Heinz Schütz: Prokofiev Sonata, Op. 94

  • Prokofiev, Sonata for Flute and Piano in D Major, Op. 94
  • Hindemith, Sonata for Flute and Piano
  • Lauber, Grand Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 52
  • Martin, Ballade

6. Emmanuel Pahud: Paris - French Flute Music

  • Poulenc, Sonata
  • Dutilleux, Sonatine
  • Sancan, Sonatine
  • Ibert, Jeux
  • Milhaud, Sonatine
  • Ibert, Vocalise
  • Messiaen, Le Merle Noir
  • Jolivet, Chant de Linos

7. Mark Sparks: French Album

  • Saint-Saëns, Romance, Op. 37
  • Gaubert, Berceuse
  • Lefebvre, Piece Romantique
  • Gaubert, Sur l'eau
  • Roussel, Joueurs de Flute
  • Caplet, Reverie & Petite Valse
  • Faure, Morceau de concours
  • Gaubert, Romance
  • Roussel, Aria
  • Gaubert, Divertissement grec
  • Gaubert, Sicilienne
  • Gaubert, Soir sur la plaine
  • Taffanel, Andantino
  • Taffanel, Andante
  • D'un matin de printemps

8. Alexa Still: Alexa Still Flute

  • Barber, Canzone
  • Copland, Vocalise
  • Burton, Sonatina
  • Porter, Blues Lointains
  • Copland, Duo for Flute and Piano
  • Rochberg, Between Two Worlds
  • Muczynski, Sonata
  • Bloch, Last Two Poems

9. Alexa Still: Matthew Hindson Flute Concerto "House Music"

10. Barthold Kuijken: The Artistry of Barthold Kuijken

  • Telemann, Fantasia VII in D Major
  • Couperin, Concerts Royauxm Premier Concert
  • J.S. Bach, Sonata in E minor, BWV 1034
  • C.P.E. Bach, Sonata for Flute and basso continuo in D Major, Wq. 131/H 561
  • Mozart, Flute Quartet in D Major K 285
  • Schubert, Introduction and Variations on "Trockne Blumen"

11. Ian Clarke: Within...

  • Clarke: Orange Dawn
  • Clarke: TRKS
  • Clarke: The Great Train Race
  • Clarke: Spiral Lament
  • Clarke: Tuberama
  • Clarke: Within...
  • Clarke: The Mad Hatter
  • Clarke: Maya
  • Clarke: Sunstreams
  • Clarke: Sunday Morning
  • Clarke: Zoom Tube

12. Susan Milan: Virtuoso French Flute Repertoire

  • Grovlez, Romance et Scherzo
  • Gaubert, Fantaisie
  • Enescu, Cantabile et Presto
  • Sancan, Sonatine
  • Taffanel, Andante Pastoral et Scherzettino
  • Gaubert, Nocturne et Allegro Scherzando
  • Faure, Morceau de Concours
  • Busser, Prelude et Scherzo
  • Faure, Fantaisie, Op. 79
  • Ganne, Andante et Scherzo

13. Paula Robison: Borne: Carmen Fantasy

  • Borne, Carmen Fantasy
  • Faure, Sicilienne
  • Delibes, Morceau de Concours
  • Massenet, Morceaux de Concours
  • Taffanel, Andante Pastorale et Scherzettino
  • Faure, Morceau de Concours
  • Dutilleux, Sonatina
  • Gaubert, Sonata No. 1

14. Julius Baker in Recital

  • Poulenc, Sonata
  • Muczynski, Sonata
  • Debussy, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
  • Franck, Sonata
  • Faure, Après un rêve, Op. 7, No. 1

 

 

Last but certainly not least, I'm grateful to have CDs from my teachers. There is nothing more heart-warming and inspiring than hearing your own teachers - I keep these CDs in my car at all times!

 

15. Eva Amsler & Karl-Heinz Schütz: W.F. Bach, 6 Flute Duets

  • W.F. Bach, Duet No. 1 - 6

 

16. Peggy Vagts: Persistence, Works by Women, 1850-1950

  • Boulanger, Nocturne
  • Boulanger, D'un Matin de Printemps
  • Bonis, Sonate
  • Clara Schumann, Drei Romanzen, Op. 22
  • Arrieu, Sonatina
  • Glanville-Hicks, Sonatina
  • Beach, Romance, Op. 23

 

17. Donald Zook: The Last Rose of Summer

  • Paggi, Rimembranze Napoletane
  • Mouquet, La Flute de Pan
  • Rheinberger, Rhapsodie
  • Kuhlau, The Last Rose of Summer
  • Demersseman, Sixieme Solo de Concert, op. 82

Please share your own favorites in the comments!



You Might Also Like...

Effortless Octaves While Lying on the Floor

I originally wrote this post back in July of 2012, and I vividly remember being in New York and practicing in my room on this day! (I don't think I would've remembered it if I hadn't taken the time to write it down here.)

Since I'm currently thinking about octaves and tapers, this felt like the perfect time to dig up this old, but relevant post!

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of D-I-YHOLY GRAIL (1).jpg

I decided to really work on tone today until I actually noticed an improvement that I could describe in words.

I have played while lying on the floor in Body Mapping lessons to note how reducing effort can increase resonance and ease for breathing.


Semi-Supine Position

 

Today's revelations while practicing on the floor...

 

  • "Feel air entering through the nose or mouth and let the rest take care of itself."

  • I find myself trying to help my body move to inhale, but it just leads to tension and awkward movements. My body does a better job taking air in when I get out of the way and simply observe the journey the air takes.

  • Alexander Technique teachers suggest placing a book under your head when lying in this position. Without the book, I was very much aware of airway restriction. With the book raising my head a couple inches, I noticed an improvement in breathing and ease in the neck.

 

I was inspired by Jasmine Choi's Paganini Caprice this morning, specifically her flawless octave tapers!

Her playing is always effortless and stunning!

 

While lying on the floor, I used just my headjoint to see how effortless I could make my own octave changes. I noticed that I was the least successful when I used the most effort.

 

  • My habit was to move my jaw forward and pull my lips back.
  • When I inhibited this extra effort, I realized that I made the change in my aperture instead:
    • I noticed my aperture getting smaller and I became aware of the air moving beneath the center of my upper lip. (Never noticed that before!)

 

Simplifying my movements to focus on only the necessary effort of the aperture worked like magic. I stood up and added my headjoint to the rest of my flute.

Octave tapers were now so easy that they actually became fun!

 

Turn inspiration into intention: 

 

  • how effortless can my tapers be?

  • how effortless can octaves be?



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...

March Technique Challenge: Reichert

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of D-I-YHOLY GRAIL.jpg
 

In honor of a new month and the arrival of Spring, here's a new Technique Challenge to dive deeper into Reichert's Seven Daily Exercises, Op. 5!

 

first things first...

Reichert's exercises are available as a print version through most flute sheet music retailers.

They are also available as a free, downloadable PDF through IMSLP:


OVERVIEW

  • As with previous technique challenges, I've provided a practice guide filled with suggestions for practicing each of these exercises. They include varied articulations, styles, tips, and questions for self-observation.

 

  • If you are new to these exercises, no need to rush and risk learning mistakes. Consider this a chance to ingrain ease and your best sound at a comfortable tempo. 

 

  • Always make use of a metronome and record your markings. Should you choose to utilize the Practice Tracker below, you may find it useful to record your metronome markings there.

 

GOALS + INTENTIONS

  • Set an intention or goal for your work with these exercises. (Remember that intentions are overall ideas that can be brought into every practice session. Goals are more specific and measurable. Both are important!)

Here are some examples:

  • Intentions:
    • Ingrain Ease
    • Observe Physical Movements
    • Always Think Musically
    • Allow Natural Breath
  • Goals:
    • Apply Compound Triple Tonguing to Number One
    • Complete Number Two in One Breath at Quarter Note Equals 60
    • Memorize Number 4
    • Practice Each on Piccolo with Drone

 

Practice Videos

  • I will be sharing my own practice videos on Instagram and Facebook! Please feel free to join in, and be sure to tag me (@joleneflute)!

 

SCHEDULE

  • Since there are 7 exercises, I will be posting one per day beginning on Friday, March 2nd.
  • Once I post practice videos of the first seven exercises, I'll continue to practice one Reichert per day in order for the rest of the month! You're encouraged to post as many or as few videos as you'd like!
  • P.S. For week two, I'll be doing these on piccolo! 
 

Happy Practicing!





You May Also Like...