Video Lessons

Top Tips For Improving Articulation [Video]

The Secret to Nailing Difficult Runs [Video]

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

I recently received a message from a flutist on Instagram. She is preparing for an audition and having a hard time nailing particular runs in her piece, despite having spent a lot of time practicing slowly.

 

In addition to just practicing slowly to learn the notes and ingrain muscle memory, there are a few extra dimensions to slow practice that I find crucial when it comes to effortless technique.

 

Watch the video below to find out the Secret to Nailing Difficult Runs!

 


(Samples played from Karg-Elert's Sonata Appassionata, Op.140 for Solo Flute)

 

1. Mental and Physical Influence (0:38)

2. Replacing Doubt with Positive Alternatives (0:58)

3. 3 Ways to Practice to Observe the Startle Response in the Body (1:33)

4. The Whole Picture Surrounds a Musical Intention (4:53)



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...

How I Practice Using the Pomodoro Technique + The Most Effective Practice Journal For You [+ Video]

Last week, I had a lot on my plate with work and taking care of tasks around the house. On Friday, though, I finally had loads of free time, and I was beyond excited to dive into a day a of thoughtful practicing! On a whim, I decided to write out my intentions for the day and shared it in my Instagram story.

I used the Pomodoro Technique to help me focus, and before I knew it, I had practiced for three productive hours! 

I decided to keep sharing my journal for the rest of the day, and it really got me thinking about practicing efficiently and how I use my own practice journal now, plus other ways I’ve approached them over the years.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of D-I-YHOLY GRAIL (5).jpg

Watch the full video here!

 

The Pomodoro Technique (0:47)

The Pomodoro Technique is essentially a method using a timer to stay focused and productive while eliminating burnout. They recommend 25 minutes followed by intentional breaks.

I set a timer for 25 minutes, and went forth practicing.

I didn’t write anything down until after. This let me totally focus on playing for the 25 minutes. When the timer went off, I was ready for a break – I took a few seconds to write, then did some stretching, laid in constructive rest, watched TV, etc.

I wasn’t tracking the number of minutes I spent on each task – I was just putting in what I worked on during my 25 minutes, plus anything that I noticed that I thought would be useful to me in picking up tomorrow.

All-in-all, this method helped me practice effectively and mindfully for a total of three hours without feeling fatigued or frustrated.

 

  • When Your Goals Stop You Before You Start (1:47)

Set yourself up for success by avoiding a huge, unattainable to-do list before you've even started.

Read all about how I changed my own issue what that here: How I Learned to Put Paralyzing Perfection Aside and Improve a Little Bit Each Day Instead

 

  • Intentions vs. Goals (3:14)

    • Intentions are ongoing ideas to carry with you through your practice session.
    • Goals are the individual, specific tasks to accomplish.

It's a good idea to include both!

 

  • Several Mini-Sessions vs. One Long Session (4:09)

For me, attempting to complete an entire practice session in one large chunk with a few smaller breaks in between feels overwhelming. I often become frustrated and give up when I set this expectation.

I'm now intentional about practicing in multiple phases throughout the day to have time away to rest and feel refreshed before coming back.

 

Put your instrument down during breaks, even quick ones in between tasks. If you're prone to developing pain or discomfort, give your arms and hands a rest before you feel like you need a break.

 

  • When to Do What During Mini-Sessions (5:33)

You can get to your tone, technique, etudes, and repertoire over the course of your mini-sessions throughout the day, or you can go for all four in each mini-session!


Practice Journals (6:09)

 

  • Checklists + Free Practice Tracker (6:30)

    • If making a to-do list before practicing motivates you, do that.
    • If making a to-do list overwhelms you from practicing at all, don't do that.
  • If having a single, sprawling list of what you've accomplished each day for a month holds you accountable, a Practice Tracker like this one is for you!

Most Useful Information to Include in Your Practice Journal (7:36)

 

1. Metronome Markings (8:17)

Track your progress with technique, repertoire, breath capacity... you'll want to know where you were yesterday to work a little bit faster or slower today.

 

2. The Most Difficult Keys or Two-Note Patterns in Your Exercises (8:57)

If you played a technique exercise in several keys and one key was a train wreck, write it down. You might forget which one it was tomorrow. If you don't do any of the other keys tomorrow to save time, just do the train wreck key. 

Doing what needs work is the only way to improve!

 

3. The Measures in Repertoire That Will Need More Work Next Time (9:51)

The exact same idea as the above, but related to repertoire.

When you come back tomorrow, you'll want to know which bars were a train wreck yesterday. Be efficient by focusing just on those bars instead of starting over with the whole thing.

 

4. Breakthroughs! (10:10)

If something goes right or you solve an issue, document it for the next time something is frustrating. Writing it down helps you ingrain the idea to reproduce it!

 

5. Simple Key Words (10:46)

If writing too much detail in your practice journal feels like a chore, go for one key word only. This goes back to your intentions. How do you want to feel while playing that exercise? How do you want to sound?

Then, write one word of feedback for how it did feel or sound. You'll begin to notice words that are more effective than others, and this can help you for next time.

 

6. Ideas +  Inspiration (11:26)

I recently heard an idea about resonance while watching a master class, and I decided to write it in my practice journal. When I went to practice, I dove into the idea and had a major breakthrough!

Have inspiration ready to go the next time you practice!

 

The Takeaway (12:29)

 

The rule of thumb for determining what's useful to put in your practice journal:

 

"Is this going to motivate me today?"

-or-

"Is this going to help me tomorrow?"



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...

3 Tips for Effortless Technique in the Upper Register [Video]

EffortlessTechniqueFlute.jpg
 

This video was inspired by a flutist who asked for advice for achieving more eveness in the third octave of the chromatic scale. I'm sharing my favorite tips for playing faster with greater precision in the upper register, including practice tips, exercises, and resources. 

Click Below to Watch!

 

1. Stability & Hand Balance [0:09]

2. Even Note Groupings and Anchor Notes [2:29]

3. Practicing Smaller Chunks in All Octaves [4:40]


 

want some more practice inspiration?



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...

Improve Your Double Tonguing: Tips + Exercises [Video]

1. Air Stream and Support (0:20)

Without the instrument, get to know the feeling of support in the body. Use air sounds through the teeth to listen, and feel the natural response and engagement in the body.

2. Add Syllables to Your Air Sounds (1:09)

We often spend time practicing the double tonguing syllables away from the flute, however, using the through-the-teeth airstream exercise, we can multi-task. Airstream and double tonguing syllables should go hand-in-hand! 

Try the exercise of going from closed teeth and air sounds to a relaxed jaw and increased space in the mouth, and consciously keep the air speed fast. (1:24)

3. Breath Accents (2:12)

Improve single tongue articulations by prioritizing air speed and quality with breath accents. Once the attack feels clean and consistent, add in the T and the K syllables on top. This especially helps us understand the feeling of air when using the more difficult back-of-the-tongue syllables.

4. Double Tonguing Syllables: T-K vs. D-G (4:16)

Rather than sticking with just one or the other, I find it useful to understand the difference between both T-K-T-K and D-G-D-G, and practice them both. T-K tends to be more staccato and pointed, while D-G tends to be more smooth and legato. Having both under your belt gives you greater options in the context of a piece!

5. High Maintenance Notes: Low and Middle Register (5:07)

The low register and right hand middle notes tend to be the most prone to cracking if space in the mouth is not abundant. When we play a resonant long tone without articulating, we may be thinking of an "aww" shape in the mouth. Utilize that same "aww" feeling while double tonguing ("daww-gaww") to help these high maintenance notes!

6. Practicing For Longer, Faster Lines (5:58)

In the exercise linked above, use a single note to build up from breath accents to a long, fast line of double-tonguing. Holding the first note (as we did in the initial breath support exercise using only air), reminds us to get the speed going, and keep it the moment the tongue first moves.

7. 3-Stage Chromatic Scale Exercise (Beginning to Add Finger Movement) (7:03)

Use the notes of the chromatic scale to begin translating the single note exercises up the range. With each repetition, begin decreasing the number of articulations per note as you begin coordinating finger movement with tongue movement.

8. Coordinating Finger and Tongue Movement (7:53)

Try saying or whispering the syllables while moving the fingers slowly and precisely to encourage better coordination. This provides a chance to isolate the tongue and fingers without producing a flute sound, so we can really focus and uncover difficulties. Even if you're relatively coordinated, I always find this exercise enhances the connection between movements!

9. The First Note Influences The Rest! (8:31)

Use an expressive tenuto to translate the resonance of the first note of a run into the double-tongued notes that follow. Begin with a held note, and practice making the first note shorter and shorter without losing the sound quality.

10. 2-Octave Major Scales: Slur and Double-Tongue Back-to-Back (9:00)

Break up your 2 octave scales into one octave at a time, first slurred with a singing quality, then translating the feeling to double-tonguing. Try 2 articulations per note, and think of a smooth, legato sound that resembles your singing slurred sound.

11. Singing and Playing (10:56)

Using the first notes of Exercise No. 1 from Taffanel and Gaubert's Daily Exercises, sing and play, slur, and double-tongue in one breath to reap the benefits of a relaxed throat and naturally supported airstream!



"What's On Your Flute?"
https://www.lefreque.com/

Practice Room Revelations Blog
joleneharju.com/practiceroomrevelations

Instagram @joleneflute
Facebook.com/PracticeRoomRevelations

#PracticeRoomRevelations

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


CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE ON YOUTUBE!

"What's On Your Flute?"
https://www.lefreque.com/

Practice Room Revelations Blog
joleneharju.com/practiceroomrevelations

Skype Flute Lessons
https://www.joleneharju.com/skype-flute-lessons/

Instagram @joleneflute
Twitter @joleneflute
Facebook.com/PracticeRoomRevelations

Multiphonics Tutorial + 5 Daily Exercises [Video]

Hello, friends! Here is my first in-depth extended techniques tutorial on Multiphonics! I've included 5 ways to practice them as a part of your daily warm-up! These really open your awareness to your airstream, embouchure, and ability to resonate with space in the mouth, making them great additions to your tone study!


Fingerings Mentioned:

  • Fingering for High D / Sounds High D + Middle C
  • Fingering for E Natural without L1 + TR1 / Sounds Middle E + Middle C#
  • Fingering for Middle F + Both Trill Keys / Sounds Middle F + Middle D

Additional fingerings can be found online via Flutecolors' Multiphonics Finder and the publications by Robert Dick listed below.




Click here to Subscribe on Youtube!

"What's On Your Flute?"
https://www.lefreque.com/

Practice Room Revelations Blog
joleneharju.com/practiceroomrevelations

Skype Flute Lessons
https://www.joleneharju.com/skype-flute-lessons/

Instagram @joleneflute
Twitter @joleneflute
Facebook.com/PracticeRoomRevelations