singing and playing

My Go-To Exercises and Tips for Getting Into Shape Quickly

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After any amount of time away from practicing, these are the exercises and ideas I go for to ease back into playing!

They’re the things I like to focus on first, and they're all about getting air flowing, finding my best sound, and building on success and ease.

I really notice that all of these help me feel warmed-up especially quickly!



More Tips for Finding Your Sound:

 
 

How My Philosophy On Warming Up Has Changed (And How It Helped Me Learn To Love Long Tones!)

I just completed my first Instagram Live session which was All About Exercises! In preparing for the discussion, I began to sort out the what, why and how of each of the initial steps of my typical practice session.

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In doing this, I realized that I’ve come to value my warm-up, tone, and technique studies as independent tasks with specific goals of their own. Viewing them as separate tasks that build upon one another has helped me to find more freedom and enjoyment while practicing.

Let me tell you why...

Up until the past year, I never truly distinguished a difference between warming up and working on tone and technique exercises. I would jump in and start warming up with scales, long tones, harmonics… and by the time I had completed several exercises, I would feel "warmed up."

Some days I would love long tones, and sometimes I would dread them. It felt like the thing I was supposed to do first to warm-up *slash* work-on-tone, but it often felt frustrating to jump in and try to make my best sound right out of the gate. I was missing a step.

 

What Changed My Mind About Warming Up?

I finally realized the benefits of distinguishing my warm-up from my tone studies when I discovered Dr. Terri Sanchez's Epic Flute Warm Up! In doing this warm-up each day, I’ve come to realize that I have one primary goal for warming up:

 

It's All About Getting Air Moving.

 

We normally take shallow, automatic breaths during the day, but when it comes time to play, we need to begin to breathe deeper and with greater intention to make sound. Just like we need to stretch our arms and legs in the morning, we need to stretch the muscles surrounding the structures of breathing to prepare to play.

Think Of It Like This...

When we warm-up at the gym, we're preparing for our workout. The first 5 minutes on the treadmill are about loosening up and getting the heart ready (Warm-Up). Then we're ready to strength train (tone), and jump into more cardio (technique). When the basics are refined, we can use these tools to enhance our artistic choreography (repertoire).


Messy Sounds = Less Perfectionist's Tension

The first page of the Epic Warm-Up provides the perfect opportunity to begin breathing deeply and flowing through notes without forcing to transition from not playing into playing. I don’t analyze my sound or try to perfect anything.

I especially love the singing and playing and breath kicks, because opening up with messy sounds is a great way to start off a practice session - it’s freeing and fun! I add in even more “air movers” with jet whistles and beat-boxing syllables.

Dr. Sanchez strategically includes a warm-up for the lips, fingers, and tongue towards the end of the warm-up once you’ve had a chance to open up the sound with freer breathing.

Warming up in a fun way that addresses what the body needs to transition from not playing into creating a beautiful, resonant sound has been key for allowing me to enjoy long tones and subsequent tone studies!

 

I Can Achieve More When I've Prioritized Air First

My mind is ready and I’m no longer dreading how I’ll sound. I’ve invited more of my whole self into breathing, and from here, I can refine the focus, resonance, and projection of my sound, and translate this to all register with long tones. I can work more in depth on lip flexibility because I’ve prioritized air first. I can more easily practice phrasing with shapes, dynamics, and colors because I can support efficiently from the start of my tone practice.


In Conclusion

I was missing out on really digging in and refining all the good stuff when I was using my exercises as my warm-up! Now that I’ve made the distinction, I’m enjoying my warm-up, and I'm diving in to bigger and better goals and improving with intention each day!



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Top Technique Tips for Flute [+ VIDEO]

As a part of my May Technique Workout, this video will break down my top technique tips for faster fingers, better sound, and easier double and triple tonguing!

Here are my Top Technique Tips:

1. Hand Position (0:30)

Should include ease beginning in the entire body and the entire arm. The hands and fingers can move freely as a result. 

2. Keep Fingers Close to the Keys (2:30)

Precision and speed are diminished when fingers need to travel a long distance to close the keys. In addition, the fingers require more effort to move. Fingers must move at exactly the same moment with exacting precision. Keeping them close to the keys allows them to be light and precise.

3. Airstream (3:00)

An airstream that encourages smoother fast playing is one that can remain constant and adequate. In a long run of notes that spans several octaves, play the highest note and the lowest note. Find an airstream that can accommodate both to use throughout: The high register needs a faster airstream, but the low register can accommodate this faster speed when the mouth and embouchure are positioned low and with openness. 

4. Singing & Playing or Flutter Tonguing (4:45)

To encourage the adequate airstream throughout your technique exercises, try singing and playing or adding a flutter tongue. This is especially useful when practicing double and triple tonguing, as the airstream typically wants to slow down when we begin tonguing. Transition from singing and playing into double tonguing and feel the speed of air traveling through the mouth. 

5. Flute Balance (5:35)

Utilize the repetitions in Taffanel & Gaubert Exercise No. 1 to determine if your flute balance becomes unstable during fingering exchanges that alternate between hands. Middle C to D is a good example of an exchange that may cause the flute to rock forward and back. Find a comfortable, balanced hand position that prevents rocking while still encouraging ease in the hands.

6. Use Good Habits in Slow Practice (8:19)

Put all your best habits into slow practice. When breaking down a difficult technical spot, think of it as a tone exercise. Use your best airstream, resonance, tone color, expression, and effortlessness in the body and fingers. Repeat several times with a heightened level of performance at a very slow tempo to ensure you're not ingraining mistakes through faster, but lower quality repetitions. 

May Technique Workout Plan Exercise Demonstrations (9:15)



MAY TECHNIQUE WORKOUT


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