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You’ll learn: 5 great steps to improving your practice routine.
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Well, now that you’re here getting the right information how can you make sure you avoid the most common practice mistakes for flute players especially? Let’s take a closer look today so that you can keep on the up and up! Let’s do this!
Well welcome back to this episode of the Learn Flute Podcast, I’m Rebecca Fuller your host and expert of all things flute and especially related to learning how to play the flute and being able to play it beautifully!
I’m excited you’re here, and if it’s your first time, I welcome you especially and hope you have a great time here today.
I release these episodes every other week so that you can improve not just your flute playing, but your mindset on how to keep yourself on the right path as a learning musician.
You know, all musicians are constantly striving to do and be better. It’s just the nature of the skill.
What’s so cool about it, is that musicians not only learn to improve their muscial skills, but they also become improved people in the process.
This is why when you meet a fellow musician, you understand and you might have an instant connection – it’s so much fun to make friends that also are practicing their craft.
One thing all musicians have in common, is that we are all striving for more and more efficiency. We have a goal to get the maximum results in the minimum amount of time.. Right?
Does this feel like something you could use more study on?
Well, that’s what we’re going to do today- especially so as you move through the module lessons at Learn Flute Online in the member’s area, you can know how to manage your time, implementing these things in your practice room.
Last year, I put out a really great episode on how to organize your practice space. I really had a lot of positive feedback on that one because it really helped flute players especially get everything they needed in the right place so that when it was time to practice, that it doesn’t seem like a chore to run around finding and gathering everything.
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to that one, I invite you to go back – I’ll put the link here in the description area of the podcast page- if you’re listening from an app or something like itunes, no worries, just hop on over to Learn FluteOnline.com and you’ll find the podcast there in the top menu bar under resources.
This is where you can find all past episodes, and you can see the links or even read along with the transcript at the same time.
Some people find this helps them with an added layer of learning.
So anyway, what we’re going to be talking about especially today is a short list of 5 common practice mistakes for flute players, and what we can do to avoid them so that we can maximize our learning in the time we have.
In the modules I give you a structure for what’s being learned (that’s the modules inside the Learn Flute Online program). Make sure you pay attention to this because using the exercises I give you first instead of just jumping ahead to the song or piece being shown in that module, you’ll find that you progress well and learning will feel more effortless, and a lot easier.
Many striving musicians fall into certain habits with their practicing that can really slow or even halt their progress.. You don’t want to have this happen to you, right? I didn’t think so.
So today we’re going to talk about what to avoid and some winning strategies that you can put into place.
As your teacher I feel like this is going to be paramount to your advancement, so get a pencil and paper to take notes, and listen up.
We’re going to be going through 5 strategies that you’ll want to take and analyze for your own life. You’ll find what each one means to you and examine if you are culprit to these things also. They’re common, so I’m guessing something will hit home here today.
The first thing we’ll put on our list is that picking up your instrument to gain some headway requires also to prepare your time to not include any distractions.
Here are some ways I’ve been able to take care of this in my own life. I have a busy house. There are people coming and going all the time, and we like to hang out with each other.
I am also the mom here, and the grandma, and I am the point of all communication. So, I get a lot of texts and phone calls at all times of the day.
Of course, I want the communication, but when I’m going to start a full on practice or recording session, I send out a quick text to my little family to let them know I won’t be available for a couple of hours. This solves it. It’s pretty easy, actually.
My family does the same – when anyone is starting something they cannot be disturbed during, they just let us know. It’s casual and very easy.
I have college kids still in the house and the way they have to test nowadays is that it’s all online with this software that detects if the person is cheating or not. They cannot be disturbed in the least or they get in trouble. No one wants to be the source of a bad grade, so we respect each other’s time and space when needed, for sure.
So I’d say that number one on today’s list of common practice mistakes for flute players is not having a way to carve out the time we need to be effective. We just need to look at the clock, look at how much time we think we’d like to spend in full concentration with our instrument, let our household know about it, and turn off notifications on our phone. It works!
The second thing on our list today will be that if we have a plan, then we have planned to succeed.
I’ve noticed that many people just pick up their instrument and have an idea that they’ll just start and see where it leads…. Well, this is sort of fun for a few minutes, but then floundering and not really having a direction to go in kind of kills your motivation. I bet you’ve had days of practicing like this. And having practice sessions like this makes the next day and the next full of uncertainty and it really kills our mojo even more.
Let me help you keep organized with what you’re going to be working on. Remember that the modules here at Learn Flute Online are in the perfect learning sequence, and there are also progress sheets to help you stay organized.
We’ll definitely be talking a lot more about this in the future because it’s an important subject that will keep you not only moving forward with your progress, but also it will help you look forward to the next session. Your time will feel so productive.
So let’s recap as we move along today through this episode:
The first item we’ll be watching out for as a common practice mistake is to allow distractions to mess up our focus time, and the second is to not really have a plan before we start.
So, let’s move into number three- which is probably a very normal habit for many musicians, and this is to pick up your instrument and just start playing and practicing repertoire without even doing a proper warm-up.
Oh, wait.. Did you hear me? Okay- I said, it’s a very normal habit for many musicians, to just start playing repertoire without warming up first.
Okay, so, I know you want to just get to it as quickly as possible- play your favorite tunes- but if you can allow me to explain why we want to do a warm up on our instrument this really might just change your music life:
So, one reason we warm up is to do just that, ‘warm-up’. Our flute needs warming, our muscles in our face and hands need some movement to get going also. This is kind of like the base idea of it, BUT I’d say that after the initial temperature and movement changes, the entire reason for the warm-up is to give yourself time to focus on working slowly through the fundamental skills you’re working on.
In case you missed this or haven’t even heard about it before, musicians like to play songs… but true musicians are doing what it takes to feel and sound really really good while they’re playing these tunes and songs.
We get to work on our fundamentals for life, and reinforcing good techniques and habits strengthens everything about our core skills.
So skipping over this part of your practice session is kind of like going for a jog without lacing up your shoes first. Kind of necessary, and it’s something I’m going to encourage you to put at the top of your list this year – do not skip the warm up, and remember what it’s for:
First, it’s to get warm in our muscles and our instrument and second, it’s to take slow, focused time to think and work on our playing technique. It’s not the time to play our tunes, our pieces, you know our songs and all the different notes or whatever – that comes AFTER we’ve taken a few minutes.
More on this another day, but this should help you get yourself re-organized for this new year anyway.
Okay, the next thing and number four on our list of things to avoid as far as common practice mistakes for flute players is playing repetitions without a plan. Repetitions without a technical plan I’d say.
So what does this mean?
This means that you’re probably smart and have listened to me or other teachers and musicians talk about needing to practice repeats, right? We do things over and over.
This is really necessary, actually – we really do have to perform certain movements in our fingers and our faces, lips etcetera over and over and over and over again in order for them to get stuck in our muscle memory, so that we can perform the movements easily, right? It’s how we do what we do. We learn about a skill and then we have to do it hundreds if not thousands of times to make it easy, and easier.
But, the problem with this comes when we think that repetitions alone will make us be able to sound great, and play correctly. Sadly, this is not true. Not taking the time to stop, slow down and focus on having ‘accurate repetitions’ is the problem.
Practicing hundreds of repeats with a wrong fingering will only solidify the problem, even more. No matter how much good intent we have.
If you’d like my eyes and ears on your playing to help you with this, if you have a problem with this, just reach out. I’m here for you and we will make a plan.
Alrighty now, let’s recap quickly and then get to our last item for the day.
So number one was that we need to move distractions and carve our practice time out so it can be effective. Number two is to have a practice plan. Use the module progress notes, and the checklists that I’ve given you and consider getting my Ultimate Practice Guide to help you organize ALL of your practice sessions in life. You’ll find it quite effective, and it’s something I’ve used myself for my entire career since about age seventeen to help me keep track and continue progressing happily.
Number three is to instead of just picking up our flute and jumping right into practicing our tunes and repertoire, to take time to work through our warm-ups with a focus on learning and improving our playing technique. I’ll show you what these are if you’re not sure, and remember that each lesson inside Learn Flute Online has special videos that show the techniques that are being used and what to work on specifically.
Which brings us to number four which is to use repetitions smartly – meaning that we’ll be definitely using repetitions as a practice tool, but that we’ll be using them in a way that helps us gain the accuracy we’re wanting in our playing and this is by focusing on correct repetitions.
And this brings us to number five today on our list and I really love this one because it’s all about something that keeps us happy and motivated in our journey. You know that many players get so focused on the tasks at hand and how far they still have to go that they actually forget to enjoy the music and the skill of progressing.
Adults, especially, forget this. We get so impatient with ourselves and glance right over the entire point of what we’re doing. We are not just isolating ourselves to become more accomplished at playing our flutes well. We need to kind of look at it from a new light: We are actually spending time with ourselves in the art of progression.
Look back on how far you’ve come. We need to give ourselves a pat on the back when we finish a focused practice session. There’s much to be congratulated for. Believe me!
So forgetting to enjoy ourselves as we become more precise in the art of music is one thing, but forgetting that we are attracted to good music is another. Remember why you started, and look at the joy in this journey. I’m right here with you – as are hundreds and thousands of others all around this beautiful blue and green planet. We have such an amazing community, I just love it. You are awesome!
Thanks so much for being here, and let’s take our next month into another fun direction that will help us continue to have fun together.
Stay tuned because I have lots up my sleeve. I’ll play you out now as you check over your list you took today from the episode all about how to avoid certain common practice mistakes for flute players… that’s you! You’re a flute player, and learning to play beautiful music here. Congratulations, We’ll see you next time!
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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about 5 common mistakes for flute players. Join us for the next episode.
Links Used During the Show:
How to Update Your Practice Space for Optimal Success: https://learnfluteonline.com/how-to-set-up-your-flute-practice-space-for-optimal-success/
Ultimate Flute Guide: https://members.learnfluteonline.com/info-ultimate-flute-guide/