technique workout

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

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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?



 

 

 

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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May Technique Workout [+ 3 Free Downloads!]

I am excited to start May off with a boatload of fun ways to re-energize your daily technique workout! I received multiple requests for technique tips and a request for a technique plan or calendar. The possibilities are endless with regards to technique, books, schedules, and so on, but with some careful thought and lots of great feedback from Instagram, here is what I came up with!

There are three main parts with corresponding downloads! The first is my own flute-specific workout plan containing my core technique exercises and a breakdown of ways to practice them. Second, a prompt sheet containing ideas to invigorate your technique workout. Third, a 31-day tracker to view your progress!

A video complete with tips and demonstrations of the exercises in the Workout Plan will be shared soon!


1. WORKOUT PLAN

I have nailed down my top 6 most-utilized technique exercises (and some others that I want to bring back into my daily/weekly routine), and have listed several ways to approach them. Embrace the possibilities within each exercise and enjoy the beginner's attitude each new day!

Scale Game for Taffanel and Gaubert No. 4:


2. Prompt Sheet

In need of more inspiration for your scales? Use the prompt sheet to change the mood, play in a spectrum of colors, and add ornaments and trills to spice up your daily exercises! This is merely a jumping-off point and a reminder to always be musical!


3. WORKOUT TRACKER

If you're a visual person, the bullet-journal style Workout Tracker will break down your technique menu for the month, providing visual motivation to fill in as many boxes and days as possible!

  • Write the name of your exercises in the boxes on the left.
  • The numbers 1-31 represent each day in May. Upon completing an exercise, mark the box! 
  • If you are rotating through exercises, the tracker will make it easier to see which exercise comes next. For example, if time allows only playing the Flat or the Sharp keys, fill in # or b so you'll know which keys to focus on the next day!
  • There are lots of spaces to fill this up with anything you'd like to keep track of!

Following Along?

Use #practiceroomrevelations and tag me @JoleneFlute! 

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