Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:
What this podcast will be all about
- Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
- What type of flute practice area you need
- Supplies for your new flute practice area
- Benefits of having this flute practice area
Learn Flute Podcast 115
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Well hey there, you probably didn’t know there could be so many things to say about how to set up your flute practice space for optimal success, but actually there is.
Enough to fill this entire episode, and get all geeking out over our practice area. So, let’s get right to it!
Hey there, it’s me, Rebecca the expert at Learn Flute Online and of this podcast, your flute teacher, and I am super excited today because we’re going to talk about something really fun, and that is how to set up your flute practice spot.
You know, your area.
Your special place that you’ve designated for optimal learning and success. I’m going to help you with this.
Now since this is the podcast that helps you with your musical mindset, it seems like a natural thing that we take some time to talk about the physical logistics of learning, right?
I am determined to help you become a better flute player.
No matter if you’re just starting out or if you’ve been playing for years, Learn Flute Online is the place that will help you become the confident flutist you’ve always wanted to be.
For anyone wanting to become said confident flute player, Learn Flute Online is the perfect system, with organized curriculum and community where you can learn from a true expert (yours truly) and get the support you need.
Unlike traditional in-person lessons Learn Flute Online is set perfectly to allow you to learn from your own home at your own pace, and on your own schedule.
Find Your Space
Whether you’ve had a practice space before or if you’re just setting up a new one today, I’m going to be going over the important things you should take into consideration. And I’m going to share some tips that will make your current practice space even better.
I’ve been fortunate to have been a musician for many years already before meeting my husband and starting our lives together.
In fact, making a music space in our home was much of a standard. As much of a standard as making sure we had a kitchen and a separate room for the bathroom and bedrooms. Music and I were a package deal when we met just as much as the fact that I’d be spending a lot of my days on the bleachers watching my husband and all of my boys play football games.
It was just part of us.
Here are some of the reasons you can consider creating your own space where you live very soon:
It’s best that your practice space can help you have some sort of separation from daily life. A place where you can set your other things aside, a place to think and be present with yourself.
Many people forget to tailor their lives with time and a place for themselves. It’s really quite cathartic to have this.
Music practice isn’t the only time where this concept is reasonable in your life… I oftentimes find my husband out in the barn just leaning on a shovel, deep in thought as he watches the irrigation float by.
That is his space.
We all need a place. If you don’t have one, well, today is your lucky day because I hope I can convince you that you need one.
If you’re used to practicing where others can hear you, and there’s people around you, that is fine – you can keep that up if you wish. But it’s also a really good idea to be able to get away to a place where you can feel free to try and do things on your flute without worrying what someone else might hear and think while you’re doing that.
I know better than anyone that we have to experiment as we practice. We make some squeaks and squawks as we learn how to relax in, and use good technique. That helps make us better flute players, and it takes some experimentation for sure.
I personally like to practice my mistakes for myself mostly.
Now, here’s another thing for you to think: Having an ‘always clean’ and distraction free room or area is kind of a big deal. I cannot focus with chaos around me. I just can’t do it.
And if you’ve learned to function with craziness and junk all around, I challenge you to come to the other side, clean up an area and make it just about you and your instrument.
You’re going to find an inner focus and more relaxation than you even knew was possible.
I want to caution you against creating yourself a dark corner in the farest part of the basement. The spiders are great company, but you’ll enjoy being able to have some room to literally breathe, so give yourself enough space.
Even though we do put our breath basically right into our flute, we do need a larger space around us to find resonance and not feel like we are stuffy, stuffed in a closet.
Have you ever tried playing your flute in the closet?
It’s really not that fun.
So, give yourself some space, and make your practice area quick and easy to get to. If you have to travel several flights of stairs, turn on a heater for an hour before you go in, or even drive somewhere to a different place, or weed through a major lineup of junk to get there… You’re going to find excuses not to go – or it’ll be so far out of sight that, it’ll be also out of mind.
Make Sure You Have All Your Supplies
The next thing we need to talk about in making sure that you have your practice area ready for you is that we need to make it really easy to get started.
“Easy to get started”. By that I mean that it’s not going to take minutes to get going. In fact, the less time the better- seconds even.
Have what you need right there. Waiting for you. Don’t move it.
Any of it.
You want to make sure you respect and value yourself and your time by being prepared. And, the preparation really only needs to be done once.
Get your area ready with all of these checkpoints. Are you ready? Okay, here they are:
You need a set of basics that you leave in your practice space is what I’m talking about:
And the top of the basics list is:
Well, you probaby guessed it… Your flute – kind of obvious, I know. But, do you have more than one flute? Which one are you currently using the most?
Why are you using that flute the most?
Is it a good idea to have multiple flutes?
Well, that depends.
I’d say that most people learning to play the flute have one or maybe two different flutes.
In my experience over the past 33 years, I’ve noticed that most people aspire to have one flute that is their “good flute” and another that ‘was’ their good flute and now it’s their backup instrument.
Or they have more than one flute because of playing style or song personality. Also, of course we have our spinoff instruments like piccolo or Irish whistle as well, so have those ready.
Our instruments have different personalities and most of the time we have one particular flute that we are using to strive for improvement on – So that’s the one you need right there and ready.
It’s Important to have an instrument that you’re also inspired to play on – so if it’s in poor condition, difficult to play, sluggish, super airy, clicky, painful or hard to press the keys, etc. it’s time to get it looked at by a technician.
Spend the money to get it set up properly so that practicing is super-duper fun! Playing the flute doesn’t need to feel hard.
Let’s make sure that you’re set up for success before you even start practicing.
Okay, so with that you need two different types of stands in your practice area: You need a Flute stand, and a music stand.
Here’s the difference: The flute stand is what you actually put your flute on when you’re not playing it.
Now this isn’t meant to replace your flute case, it’s just a kind of a dowel with a heavy base that you slip your flute onto vertically when you have to mess with your sheet music, write something down, change the screen on your iPad, or go get a drink of water because you forgot to refill your water bottle before you began.
You know what I mean? It holds your flute while you’re not playing, keeps it safe too.
The other type of stand in this area would be your music stand. This stand holds your sheet music or your tablet, your iPad or the device you’re reading it digitally on.
There are different types of stands out there, and I prefer the nice heavy duty kind like you’d see an orchestra using. They’re usually black, and really heavy duty looking.
Now, there are fold up metal ones and they are pretty flimsy and honestly, they are kind of a pain.
They’re not strong enough to hold even a notebook, and they are usually crooked. These types of fold up stands are cheaper to purchase its true, and they are portable it’s true.
But seriously, they don’t even raise to the height you need to stand while you’re playing your flute.
So, I don’t really ever recommend them unless you truly have a reason to cart a stand around. But, for the purposes of this podcast today, we’re talking about setting up a more permanent space so I highly suggest a real, heavy duty stand.
And I do have recommendations on my website for my favorite stands, and I’ll help you get to a quality stand.
Alright, let’s talk about cleaning equipment for a second. It’s important to have your cleaning equipment so that it makes getting in and out easy and quick.
I know some people who have made the excuse that they don’t even want to get their flute out to practice because they’re going to have to clean it and put it away.
You know, that’s really funny and very out of proportion, you know?
It’s actually the best idea to be sure you have your cleaning cloth and rod right there at your practice space and also a separate set for your travel bag – if you also have reasons to play your flute out of the home like if you’re in a community band or at church or something.
Just keep it easy for yourself. You’re human and humans prefer some sort of short cut all the time. Having this step organized in your space will make ALL the difference in the world for you.
I’m going to give more tips inside the members area for how I accomplish this – for example I have some home made devices that really have made a difference for me.
Okay, chair or no chair?
Even though I 100% teach and prefer that you stand while playing and practicing the flute, you do need a chair in the space because it’s really great and safe to clean your flute while sitting down.
So, don’t get tempted to slump over in it during your scales practice, but yes, I suggest you have a chair or bench in your area.
I know a lot of people like to have some visual inspiration also right there in their space like a painting, picture, or special colors that soothe, focus, and relax them. It’s totally up to you.
Everyone has their own personal style and flare for this. Just remember to keep it simple and leave a lot of empty space in the area. You need it. You’re going to be filling it with beautiful sound, so no need to stuff up the space already.
This idea is to be able to feel you have a ready-made space you can enter and just fly with your flute, very quickly and easily.
Tuners and Phones
As we continue on our quest for how to set up your flute practice space for optimal success, I also want you to be sure to have a tuner handy. Right there on the stand or a nearby shelf.
If you’re going to use a tuning app from your smart phone as your tuner, be sure to flip your phone to focus mode when you walk into your practice area or you’re going to have all sorts of issues getting through even a short session – at least that’s how it is for me.
I have enough other people and things going in my life that it seems there’s some sort of telepathy that happens as I go to my special practice space and time… the phone rings or it buzzes, or someone strategically walks through the door for a visit. Well, it just happens, but I can pre-prevent a lot of this by flipping my phone to focus before I begin.
If you’re not sure how to do this on your own phone, let me tell you that it’s basically like putting your phone on airplane mode.
And if you need help with this, just ask someone younger – they’ve got your back and will point it right out for you.
Another small reminder:
If you’re a piccolo player or have a loud tin whistle, you’ll want your special high-fidelity ear plugs. Have you heard of these before? They’re relatively new to the world and they work pretty good.
Your room where you practice may be really echoy or loud or you may have hearing damage or sensitive ears, so it’s a good idea to look into these and make sure they stay right there in your practice space as well.
The toddlers will eat these, so keep them in a case out of reach.
Your best friend
Ahhh okay, the next item is your handy-dandy Metronome – make it your friend. In fact, name it.
The Metronome gives you a sense of steady rhythm and most people have to have years of training with it to learn to have a nice steady internal beat.
Keep it handy and use it. I’ll show you how in the members area here as you move along. Also, if you have specific questions on this – just ask me.
Let’s make Monte-the-metronome your best friend.
You will want to have a small tote or a little bin for Accessories – like chapstick, your water bottle, pad papers, you know all of the little things.
How about your NOTES – do you have a notebook? I know people like to get techy and try to keep their notes inside a cloud or computer, but really, an old fashioned notebook should not be discounted.
It’s fast, easy, very easy to just grab a pen and a pencil to jot word notes or music notation on, and you can flip back through these pages so easily.
Here’s a big pro tip right now:
Keep your notes organized or they will not be useful.
IF you’ve gone more techy and you want to get nerdy, I have some trainings inside the members area in the search function on the Learn Flute Online Member website that will show you more about digitally organizing your music life by using things like Google docs for your notes. And a tip I have for you is to use the same format each time for your notes.
Much like Like runners who keep a miles calendar or a miles journal, we’re going to track things in our flute playing and our practice sessions like our warm ups, our scales, a particular skill that we’re working on that week, the tempos of our pieces, our review repertoire, etc.
Inside LFO and in the lessons I give outlines for practicing and exactly what you should be practicing also.
And by the way, the best way to improve and learn is to not focus on playing ‘songs’ but instead focus on ‘skills’ that we’re learning. Those of you who are members here are lucky because I’ve taken most of the guesswork out of this factor because I have it all lined up for you.
Then you can keep your laptop, your tablet, your ipad right there in your practice space and it’s all wrapped up neatly right there for you.
Visualizing your goals in your Practice Space
The next thing is we get to talk about making sure that we also have some specific goals right there in a visual way in our practice area.
I am a sticky note user for this particular point and keeping my current specific goals front and center. And one thing I have learned is to not get too many sticky notes going on or you’ll get, I call it, sticky note blind.
Too many sticky notes make you not look at them at all- they’re not special anymore.
So make sure you only keep one or two because having too many spins us back into that realm of that messy, not relaxed feeling because we’ll really have a hard time focusing and not noticing what we should be working on anyway.
But I do like to have that one or two sticky notes to help me remember my one, most important focus right then.
Another thing for your area is a Mirror – when we are learning specific skills on the flute we need to see ourselves for certain reasons. And your camera on your smartphone or computer is also really helpful in this same way.
Using these tools strategically will lead to better posture and paying attention to things that you would have been otherwise blind to because you can’t see yourself.
Along with these devices, we will need ear phones or our air pods, whatever you want to call them. We need these for certain times of playing our accompaniments, duetting with ME (I give duets to you in the modules), or even closely listening back to a lesson video from inside the current module that you’re working on here at Learn Flute Online.
Okay.. we’re nearing the end of our list for today, but there’s one more thing I really want to talk to you about – and that is to strive to keep your sheet music organized.
I am anti stack, no stacks! No stacks of music. This is easier said than done I know because I am guilty of stacking myself sometimes.
But, using a file cabinet or even a rubbermaid, plastic file box will change your life if you haven’t already worked this out for yourself. Start the file early – it’ll fill up as you continue to play and learn, and I would keep a physical copy of your music, even if you have decided to go digital.
You’ll find many reasons to go find that music and use it.
So let’s go ahead and re-cap quickly what we’ve talked about so far as we learn how to set up your flute practice space for optimal success. Because why would we strive for anything else, but success right?
We’ve talked about finding a basically permanent space where you live so that you can organize it for easy access and easy focus.
Keep these things in mind because it’ll make a huge difference on how much you accomplish over time. It’ll help you feel relaxed and able to progress towards the achievements you’re looking for on flute.
Don’t worry about what exactly to play right now, I’ll show you that in the level lessons in the members area of Learn Flute Online.. Your job is to just set up a space that has everything there for you right now. And that these things are not removed for any reason.
If you have another place that you have to play, then you’ll need a second set of whatever it is in your flute bag. Which is a different subject for a different day.
It’s easy to talk about having our practice area set up, but it’s a challenge, and I’m going to make that challenge to you today to actually go and do it.
Make the list. In fact, re-listen to this episode and take notes.
Then make a game plan for each item – get it done this month and then report what your findings were.
I know setting up your flute practice space is going to have a positive impact on your playing over time.
Hey, these things we’ve talked about today will really help you with time, also. Because it’s a really common thing to worry about not having enough time to accomplish what you need to and get in the proper amount of practice time.
Well, don’t fret if you don’t have tons of this time we’re talking about. And, if you’re like me, you’ll eek out more than you thought you could once you get started, but it all hinges on actually getting started, and that’s what today is all about.
If you don’t start, you can never finish. And so you want to make it as easy as possible on yourself. Because having this area set up and all ready for you is literally half the battle.
If you haven’t yet joined us yet in the members area at Learn Flute Online, I invite you to check us out and join us. We are a real live full functioning, educational flute studio, we’re online, and are envisioning your success with us right now.
I hope you stop by again soon for another episode because we have more fun coming. You can also go back and you can binge listen to what you may have missed so far.
Be sure to check out the Learn Flute Podcast on your favorite listening device and app like apple podcasts or your favorite podcast app.
And subscribe! So you don’t miss any episodes. I make these for YOU.
Thank you again for stopping by today, we actually had kind of a lot of fun I think, learning how to set up your flute practice space for optimal success. Thank you for being here, we’ll see you next time.
Thank you for Tuning In!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about how to set up your flute practice area for optimal success. Join us for the next episode!