While preparing to play a long passage of soft, repeated notes, I noticed my student's arm structure tense upward: her elbows and shoulders raised. I asked her if I could place my hands under her elbows as she played, and she agreed.
"Give me your elbows. Let them release into my hands." I asked her to play while letting me hold her elbows, and we were both amazed at how easy it was to play the long, difficult line at a very soft dynamic.
Amy Porter first introduced me to this idea, and it is astounding how much of a difference it makes. Inhibiting the habit of tensing the arm structure and bringing the elbows up is something that all flutists should be aware of. Not only does it become easier to breathe and move fingers freely, it also prevents pain.
Additionally, I have been promising myself that I would memorize Karg-Elert Caprice Number 4. I found myself having to stop to think logically about notes and patterns with this one, and I'm excited to take on more Caprices!