LFP 026 | A Common Mistake When Learning How To Play The Flute

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LFP 026 | A Common Mistake When Learning How To Play The Flute

Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:

In this episode, you will learn all about a very common mistake when learning how to play the flute…skipping rests!!

This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 026.

Super excited!

You’ll learn:

What this podcast will be all about

  • Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
  • The most common mistake students make when learning a new piece
  • Why it is so bad to skip the rests when practicing
  • How to make sure you don’t skip rests
  • What you can look forward to learning from listening

Learn Flute Podcast 026

Press the Play Button to Listen Now:

Welcome to the learn flute podcast. Today we’re going to be chatting it up a little bit all on the subject around a costly ( and a little bit lazy I might add) mistake that many students make when learning how to play the flute. This is episode number twenty six

Well hello again. It’s always fun to meet you here on this podcast where we get to discuss some important information all surrounding the subject of learning how to play the flute.

I’ve been teaching a lot of workshops, And have noticed another little subject that we can talk about here today. I think it will be very enlightening and show you even more about how to help yourself become a really great musician. Which I know is your goal.

So, the subject for talking about today doesn’t really necessarily have to do with only learning how to play the flute, but it’s a skill every single musician in the whole entire world can spend a few minutes contemplating on.

Let me see if I can explain. Imagine you are playing a new piece of music, and you find a measure that has a bar rest in it. Being the busy person you are and just excited to play the actual music, you decide to skip these rests and move on.

Here’s another little scenario: you may be playing along and find there’s only one note– Let’s say it’s a quarter note just for this example–and the rest of the measure has only rests in it. You are so excited again to just get going with the music that you skip over these and start right onto the next note.

Now this doesn’t seem to be very harmful as you’re practicing, but you may not even know the issue you’re causing for yourself as a musician.

I actually feel a little bit bad for these rests. They just get skipped over quite often. I want you to think about the time that this really really matters a lot now. Here are a few examples of when this issue will come to light like a bright laser beam spotlighting your flaws as a musician. Ha Ha I know that sounds dramatic, but this is a big enough issue that we can joke about a little bit.

Number one would be when you are trying to play with the accompaniment for the first few times after practicing the piece all by yourself.

Number two would be a noticeable moment and you are playing with a group such as your band or and orchestra again, after practicing by yourself for a few days first.

And the third time this issue would be noticed is when you’re trying to play duet with someone. What happens is really quite human, but since we are all human I guess we need to talk about how to be on the offense instead of the defense.

We tend to only know how to play what we have practiced. A lot of it is muscle memory. Some of it is laziness. But no matter which it is- the issue of practicing without respecting the rests causes us to skip right over them even in performance time! It’s a problem.

I think you’ve all done it before. The reason I know this is because I have also done this myself. And, I see it in my students all the time.

I get emails from some of you online students telling me that playing by yourself is super easy, a  nd that trying to play with the accompaniment is way more difficult. There are several reasons for this, But one of them is that when we practice by ourselves we may not be obeying the beat and paying attention to those rest perfectly.

Now way to combat this for yourself is of course, to just start paying attention and making a habit of never ever skipping over these rest areas in your music. But, if that doesn’t seem to work for you at first you can use a little pencil magic.

Sometimes I have to  call this pen magic, Or marker magic. Ha ha it just depends on what you decide to write with. You will want to write every single count in the numbers above the measure during the rest. For example the measure we were talking about earlier only had one quarter note and it. If we were in four four time, we would mark in pencil number two, three, four. 

That way our eyes have a better chance of seeing that there is actually something there and not just see the remaining portion of that measure as being empty or ghostlike and skipping over it. We have to realize that there really is something there and that it’s importnat.

Or, if you have for example two measures or more of rest you can write the numbers 1234, 1234 in the space that you are allotted. Don’t worry if this seems kind of beginner. I do it all the time, and I’ve been playing for like 30 something years! I don’t have to do it all the time but I would rather practice perfectly and not have any problems during performance than worry about writing on my music a little bit.

I’m thinking about all of the different recitals and performances I have been in along with my students. There’s always someone who rushes ahead and it doesn’t wait for the full measure to end before beginning the next one. 

It makes the accompanists kinda raise their eyebrows and wonder what in the world is going on. It really is kind of a rookie mistake, but we can all stay on top of this by learning right from the beginning and now  to always count out the rest while we are practicing. Never skip never ever skip them.

I guess this kind of sounded like a serious subject today. Definitely is an important one though!

I’d like to invite you to join in on this conversation in the comment section over at the LearnFluteOnline.com website. On this exact podcast page you can let me know your experience with teaching yourself to obey the” law of the rest”we can all it . 

Perhaps you even have a better idea than I have about making sure you never miss– Even when it’s just practice time. Practice time is the only time to teach yourself how to get it ready exactly. Then you can just enjoy yourself with your friends or colleagues, or whoever you are performing with an four. I always tell my students that they should perform for their pets because they love it too… we hope.

This has been episode number twenty six. I’m glad you are learning how to play the flute. Good luck in your efforts this week. I’m Rebecca Fuller and we’ll see you next time.


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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about the flute today and how to avoid a common mistake when learning how to play the flute. Join us for the next episode.

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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