What inspires a musician to practice

Learn Flute Podcast Episode Overview:

The five reasons: 

  • Church gives a very accepting audience
  • The pieces you are playing aren’t/ shouldn’t be too complicated
  • These small performances give you something to practice towards
  • Church is a great place to practice your performing
  • It also gives you the opportunity to give service with your talent – Music brings joy to your audience AND you

Learn Flute Podcast 096

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5 Reasons Flute and Church Go Together

Well Hello Hello all my flutie friends! And welcome to this podcast episode where we are going to discover a list I put together of the 5 reasons flute and church go together… Like bread and buttah folks. Let’s get right to it!

Well hi, I’m Rebecca Fuller the expert and your instructor here in the Learn Flute Online programs, and greetings to this episode!

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always been a church-goer.. But when I was a teenager church took on a new meaning for me as I became known in my area as a flute performer. Now that was many decades ago, and now that I look back on those early days performing in church, I see the MAJOR benefits and wonder if I would be where I am had I shied away from those experience opportunities, instead of taking them as they came my way.

So today, I have put together a little list of 5 reasons flute and church go together, Because they just do. I am living proof of this concept.

Number 1

Let’s dive in to number one right now which is that unlike some venues, the congregations you find in church are always a very accepting audience. They love you already before you even play your first note.

Not all performers are seasoned enough to feel super confident in their skin, so to put yourself on display in front of an audience can feel a little hairy, but not in church. Get it in your mind that those people watching are ready to receive what you are offering. Most churches don’t pay their performers.. So pressure is off.

I especially enjoy playing for people I don’t know, and there are a lot of churches that might be looking and willing to give you a spot every few months. Check out your options – you never know. Of course, it depends on the denomination and other special details, but you can get familiar with your area and ask your friends. 

Number 2 

Number two is that the music you play in church shouldn’t be too complicated. Remembering the point of playing in church is to invite a special feeling, not to show off every trick in the book. In fact, some churches have a special list, Hymnal, or mood that they will dictate to you when you are preparing to bring a musical selection to their congregation. Heed their instructions to the letter so you are appropriate, enjoyed, and invited back.

Number 3

We’re moving through these quickly now and are onto number three already which is that signing yourself up for a performance in church gives you something to practice towards. You know, not everyone has a back-up orchestra or professional tour lined up. Church is the perfect place to point your practice focus a couple of times a year at least.

In fact, many musicians aspire to be part of a church band or choir, and that is their number one and only goal. It depends on where you live and your denomination, but if you have an opportunity to play in a group or solo at church, t ake it because your talent will grow ten-fold by seizing these types of opportunities.

I remember that once word got out about me and my accompanist it seemed my phone was ringing every other week with another group wanting me to come play at their service or fireside. Not only was it fun for me, but it made me feel good that I had something unique that they wanted to see and participate in. THIS fostered my desire to continue and get even better at it.

I also had to up my game. I mean, I had to practice differently. Think about this: if you’re practicing a piece just to kind of sort of learn it, how deep do you really go? And do you push yourself to make sure to finish the piece 100% and learn all of the skills deeply? Or, do you let it slide and say to yourself that you kind of sort of have the idea of how to play it and now you’d like to see what might be next in line to dabble with?

-OR-  you could have the date set of performing ‘said piece’ in church on a certain day that has been calendared with an entire congregation who will be listening. Boy… does that make you perk up and decide to take your practice time with a bit more purpose now?

Yes, it does.

So, this number three of signing up to play in church gives you something to practice towards, could actually be a pinnacle of your musical development. I know it was for me, it changed how I practiced.

And like I mentioned, I also had the opportunity of performing in many different churches so I didn’t have to worry about seeing the same audience or congregation more than once. I was able to take the same pieces and perform them over and over and over. And wow did I improve!

I was fortunate enough to have an accompanist who cared and felt ever much of a part of the performance as I did. He used to evaluate how we did after each time. And I’ll never ever forget the day he complimented me the highest saying that I sounded and played my best when I had accidentally taken a short nap right before it was our turn.

Well, I was kind of embarrassed about that, but I was still kind of drowsy when he elbowed me that it was our turn to get up and play. Apparently it was really good for my nerves. I was loose and relaxed, which, if you’ve been studying for very long here with me at Learn Flute Online, you’ll note that the relaxed positions are prime for nice sound and bio-mechanics on the flute. Love it!

So let’s take a quick recap of what we’ve talked about so far; number one was that church audiences seem to be very accepting which makes them a prime place to perform on many levels. You definitely don’t need to be a professional to enhance a church meeting with beautiful music.

Number two was that we can relax and know that the music that should be played in church is usually expected to be more simple as to invite the spirit of the meeting in .. instead of creating a space for a talent show. So you can start taking small performances in church as someone who has not been learning for too long even.

 I can help prepare you in my Hymns for Flute Course and also in the Hymn of the Month Club. There are fabulous ways to not only get the right style for a Hymn, but also to teach you how to take a basic melody that is written in your local hymnal and adapt it for flute, give it some beautiful, higher level embellishments, or even write your own arrangements.

And number three was that signing yourself up to play in church gives your practice a purpose. Which is a huge game-changer in the learning process. I mean, it honestly changes the whole way you practice and how you focus on finishing and preparing pieces.

Number 4 

So let’s move on to number four now which is similar to another that we mentioned here that playing the flute in church gives you places to practice your performance skills.

Since you’re learning online here from me, and some of you listening may not even have taken the plunge yet to come in to be a full member yet of Learn Flute Online… but you know, you may be wondering how you are supposed to gain your polishing and performance skills if you’re never in the same room as I am. 

Well, I wouldn’t worry one little bit about that because this is a big wide and wonderful blue and green earth with people and incredible communities all over it who have opportunities for you – reach out to a friend and plant the idea that you play the flute and are looking for a small performance opportunity. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you may be taken up on the offer. It could be in a youth Sunday school or nursery, or in a seminary, or the main adult meeting. 

Basically, what I’m saying is that in order to gain polishing and performance skills (like every good musician MUST have), you actually polish and perform. Over and over and over. It’s just how it goes. 

Some of you listening right now might be feeling kind of skeptical or have nervous butterflies already forming in your stomach. Well, I’ll tell you that you can and should start small and you just have to start somewhere… church is a great place to look is all I’m saying. Just think about it, that’s all I’m asking today.

If you’re not even close to performing yet, no worries- be an appreciative audience member to those who have stepped up to be the musical number themselves. Step your foot in that building, enjoy, and congratulate them on their preparation afterwards. You may not have any idea right now what that does to a musician. It’s a very big deal to get some recognition for the many months and years of work done in private. 

And.. I’ll thank you in advance. 

Number 5 

Alrighty, number five today in this list is that being able to give the gift of service with your talent brings joy, not only to your audience, but to you as well. If you’ve never tried it, then you’ll never believe me. But I know it’s 100% true.

You get a special feeling of satisfaction and reverence when you are able to bring someone else joy in their life because of your dedication and service. 

If you ask me, this same beautiful earth I was talking about can use a lot more of this. There’s room for every single one of you to strive to learn to play your instrument well enough that you can take a beautiful piece in church. There are no shortages of opportunities either.. Just a shortage of volunteers looking for them.

I have a few local places that I play several times per year, and I always enjoy the time. Also, each place has a unique personality and set of instructions for me to follow – it’s part of the experience. I love when they ask me to play some solemn classical pieces, or something from French Romantic repertoire. The variety is never-ending.

In fact, here at Learn Flute Online in the learning modules there are several appropriate pieces that you could learn and polish up for an upcoming church performance… not just in the Hymns for Flute Course or the Hymn of the Month Club (which by the way will be opening for enrollment soon if you’re interested – definitely keep an eye on your inbox so you don’t miss those mini-courses when they release).

But, back to what I was mentioning about appropriate pieces that are already taught here in the modules. There’s one in particular I’m thinking of right now that is called Orphee and Euridyce. It’s part of a Minuet and Dance by Christoph Willibald Gluck – composed in the seventeen hundreds. And used for an operatic production that became famous enough that it is still performed today at Opera Festivals all around the world especially. 

Well, here at Learn Flute Online, I go into great detail about this piece and all of the juicy details in the Intermediate Level. It has become one of the favorites here because there’s just so much history, story, intrigue, and feeling around it.

I have performed this one many times in church. And, if you choose to learn it and perform it yourself, one little extra hint I’ll give you here is to try and get yourself a really good live accompanist for it. And, practice it A LOT. A LOT A LOT because you’ll be able to grow leaps and bounds in your musical artistry as you prepare and learn to perform it- especially in a special place like church.

In fact, I’m going to use this one to play you out today since we’ve talked about it, oh, and for sure look forward to learning it in the Intermediate Level Modules here at Learn Flute Online where I’ll give you the history and the dramatic story that goes along with it so it can also become one of your favorites.

Well, there you have it, short and sweet: 5 reasons flute and church go together. I could probably come up with 5 more if we had more time, but I like to keep these podcasts quick, to the point, and in the hopes of inspiring you into more action and confidence with your instrument. We’re learning to play the flute here, but we’re also learning more about ourselves and finding out what we are really capable of. Which is oh so much more than you even know.

I believe in you. 

I’ll help you.

Have a wonderful week everyone. See you in the next episode!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about why flute and church go together. 

Have any questions? Comment below and I will help you out.

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller
Get Flutie with us! Learn and enjoy every musical minute.

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