Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:
In this episode, you will learn an easy 3 step practice routine.
What this podcast will be all about
- Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
- An easy 3 step practice routine.
- Why this new routine is helpful.
- What you can look forward to learning from listening
Learn Flute Podcast 111
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In today’s episode I’ll be boiling down and showing you an easy 3 step flute practice routine – Learn Flute Online style.. Because It doesn’t matter how fancy your instrument is or how many wonderful complicated pieces of music are in your file cabinet, you’ll always struggle to see consistent progress unless you have a nice framework you can follow. Are you ready? Let’s get going!
Ahhh, at the first of year especially I like to make sure we start things right at Learn Flute Online, in fact, in the members area I’ve rolled out new lessons targeting especially what we’re going to talk about today, which answers a question many people have for me… and the question is: “Rebecca, how do I know what to practice so that I see consistent results from my efforts?”
Now, this is a question I really love to hear because it means that someone is really taking this serious enough to dig in, and I love it!
If you’re working on learning how to play and sound great on the flute, then you probably have already figured out that not having any sort of routine or a real pathway as you learn- you’ve figured out that that will slow your efforts. If you’re like me, you don’t really want to wait years and years before your effort pays off.
So, today we’re going to take a structure and we’re going to break it down into three specific chunks for you so that you can easily take the complications out of a practice routine.
Now, of course there are different elements within this framework that you can and will change out as you progress, and you learn more and more about music and, playing the flute well. But for now we’re going to start with the broad overview as we talk about this easy, 3 step, flute practice routine- Learn Flute Online style- I have to add.
In case you’re new here, I want to introduce myself. I’m Rebecca Fuller the global flute instructor and the creator of the Learn Flute Online programs where people just like you can come and learn to play the flute in an easy to understand, organized format from the comfort of your own home, at your own pace, and on your own schedule.
This isn’t just a fluffy little short course. What we do at Learn Flute Online is true music education. I take the guesswork out of what you need to do to make consistent progress and enjoy your instrument. You’ll be healthy, wealthier, and wiser as you move through my program.
So let’s get started right now with this first pillar to a good practice routine, and this is number one: to warm-up.
You thought I was going to say something way more complicated, weren’t you?
Well, it doesn’t need to be. In fact, each of these structures or pillars need to be thought of like shelves on your wall, and as you learn more and more you can place things on your shelves and you can add different things to use during any given warm-up session- Like we’re talking about here, number one is the warm-up session.
So what are the types of things you could use duing your warm-ups? And how long should they last? Well, these are great questions, and you’ll be glad to know that it varies. You will use a variety depending on your level and what you’ve been learning, and what you are learning, and where it’s going, and what I’ve shown you in the level lessons. Now, you’re going to use a variety of notes, passages, finger patterns, long tones, etc. to basically get you in the ‘zone’.
During this warm-up session you’re going to be spending time (on your level of course) doing exercises that benefit your technique – like certain small movements and adjustments that will eliminate tension in your playing. If you’ve been here at Learn Flute Online very long you’ll know that I help you with tension and what you can do as a learning flute player to cut to the front of the line (if you will) as far as skill goes, because you could, possibly spend twenty years of your life trying to advance your skills to no avail because there are some little important details in flute playing you may just not have been taught yet.
Now, these little details in your technique can possibly be the reason why for example playing at faster speeds has just always been out of reach for you. Now this is just an example, but during your warm-up session your job is to take these little skills and work on them, nice and slowly.
In the Learn Flute Online programs like the Gold Level, the Intermediate or Advanced Levels, I have designed special lessons for you that take you through this exact process. I’ll show you warm-ups, special techniques, pit fouls to watch out for, and of course the backbones to proper scale-learning processes and patterns, arpeggios, harmonics, classical instruction, theory and all the good stuff that makes the next pillars in our discussion today possible.
So again, our first pillar is the Warm-Up and when we work slowly on important techniques and skills that get us in the zone, and gets our tone all revved up and ready for what we’re going to do next… Which is number two in our list of easy three step flute practice routine: Which we will call the Challenge section.
Now the reason I’m calling this number two pillar the Challenge section is because this is the part of our practice routine that is full of things we’re working on. Like our new etudes, our exercises, and solos.. You know, the things we don’t really have polished yet, but we’re working towards.
We may be working on small sections at a time and really breaking down what it takes to put it together.
In the modules at Learn Flute Online, I call these practice spots, and sometimes it takes quite a few repetitions to get them down. No worries, there are usually slight tricks or tips or breakdown hints that I can give you to break these down and make things easier – for example, there’s a common pattern we hear in music that sounds really cool. To me, it sounds kind of like climbing a ladder… Here, I’ll demonstrate: (demonstrate) well, until you’ve seen me break down what’s really happening here, you might think this is super duper complicated..
Well, it’s not. And, I’d love to be the one to show you what I’m doing that makes this type of playing pattern that we find in music all over the place, especially as you progress higher and higher in the levels, you’ll find this everywhere. And because you’ve already stopped and isolated the skill that is happening, oh it’s going to be so much easier. And I can’t wait to show it to you if you haven’t already come across it in the level lessons.
During this Challenge section of your practice routine, we not only work on breaking down our new skills and tricky spots, but we’ll also work on putting together our musical selections as a whole, whether it’s an ensemble piece, or something for the community band you play in, or a solo you’re working on for here at Learn Flute Online, or something from your personal life.
You’ll be pushing your boundaries a bit. You’ll be working on things you are working towards like new tempos, rhythms, or finger patterns and phrases, and being able to play beginning to end. Sometimes that’s the biggest challenge of them all, right?
So I’m going to give you a big huge giant tip here today that will make this section of your practice day not only more effective, but more enjoyable as well- and that is to give yourself permission to not only slow down substantially, but to not feel guilty about using your pencil to mark what you need to do on your music.
I think learners of all ages tend to look at other professionals or even just others who are performing some music, maybe on a higher level than they are, and they assume that they have learned how to play perfectly on the first try. Know that this is definitely a mis-thought (is that a word? Misthought? haha).
Professionals, and musicians of all ages and stages improve more rapidly by slowing down and using tools to help themselves organize these new thoughts in their music. Metronomes help.. If you know how to use one effectively (no worries, I’ll show you that as well), pencils, highlighters, sticky notes, scissors, whatever it takes to know how to break down what’s to happen and understand it in your music. Then it is just a matter of perfect repetition for a while. Which, I also show you and help you with.
Let’s move on into the third pillar in our practice routine. We’re now going to totally abandon and leave the previous ideas of working on technique and challenging ourselves to do something completely opposite.. Which is to spend a lot of time celebrating what we’ve already accomplished. I like to call this section our “repertoire” part of the day, or “repertoire” however you want to say it.
The word repertoire is basically the list of music, the list of what you already know. It pertains to all sorts of fun in music… like basically, anything you already know how to do and have spent the time learning. It also can include playing on a lower level than your challenge section, we can play on a lower level for enjoyment.
I especially like to do this, I call this “music making”. ..and if I could guess right, I would say that this is the reason you wanted to play the flute in the first place. Right? You want to make music. Yourself. You didn’t just pick up the flute thinking, “you know, I’m going to make scales, and small finger exercises” this was not your end goal, I know it. You wanted to make music. Songs. Sounds that portray emotions and spark memories and feelings. You wanted to do it yourself. Not just play the radio. Music makes your soul come alive. As it does mine. This is why we’re friends.
So, during this third portion of your practice session you get to do what you’ve aspired to do.. And that is just make music. Enjoy it. Milk it. Have fun exploring past pieces that you’ve learned, new genres, and melodies that are within your range at the moment.
You know, besides the learning modules (which include a really lot of great standards, classics, and enjoyable melodies), I have a large and growing set of genre-based mini-courses that I offer at Learn Flute Online as well. These include the perfect types of pieces for you to enjoy your instrument and what you’re learning to do.
These include genres that you can explore and have fun playing with the skills that you’re already learning in like folk rock, Irish, jazz, Gospel Hymns, Christmas duets, and even more. Keep sticking around and you’re going to find your repertoire list getting longer and longer.
Let’s both observe our accomplishments and entertain ourselves with our skills and the sound we can make on this ‘beautiful of them all’ instrument, the flute!
Okay, let’s take a quick recap of what we’ve talked about today because I know it’s going to help you on your journey.
We took an entire practice session.. No matter the length, and we broke it down into only three chunks. Easy to remember, right?
The first being the warm-up section where we use our specific tone technique studies that we’re learning in our lessons, and use them to tighten our skills and get into the ready to play stuff zone. I guess we could say, and we get all warmed up. This is where we improve our tone over time as well, and our technique.
The second chunk is our “challenge” section where we are basically learning newer things like new etudes, new pieces for band, new solos, new ensembles, new duets, new.. Well, anything that is not considered polished yet. Of course, this will all depend on your unique level and what you are exactly working on. We’re all different, we’re in a different spot. Don’t be tempted to try to learn everything all at once, and have marathon practice sessions- that will tire you out. And definitely remember the break-it-down tips that I’ve given you.
And then number three in our practice routine, we get to have an appreciation, celebration time which includes familiar and lower level repertoire that you’ve accumulated over your time of learning to play the flute. You can even keep a list. This can include familiar pieces that are fun for you to play… which, in my experience I find a special love for all music as soon as I can successfully play it. Haha.
Thanks for listening!
I’ve really enjoyed having you here today. I really want to know your takeaways from this episode. Did this lesson impact you in any way? Did this practice section breakdown help you? This practice routine? I cannot wait for you to take what we’ve just talked about and start using it today. Of course, we’ll go even more in depth in the level lessons at Learn Flute Online to increase your knowledge, motivation, and appreciation for music and you can add them to your routines. It is going to be so great!
I invite you to join us here in Learn Flute Online, it’s going to be awesome. Leave a comment and let me know how this particular episode of my easy 3 step flute practice routine Learn Flute Online style has affected you.
See you soon!
Thank you for Tuning In!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about this easy 3 step practice routine. Join us for the next episode!