New Year New Decade New Flute YOU.
Don’t you think it’s time? It’s January 2020 and it’s about time we pulled off the sheets of the new ‘you’ that’s been laying dormant for awhile.
Let’s get our declarations on so you can have the most productive and meaningful year EVER with your instrument… and your life.
In today’s episode you’ll learn:
- How to make the decision to keep-on-keepin on
- 2019 is in the past.. leave it there and look forward!
- We’ll count down from 10 to 1 with the perfect list of what you can do specifically to move forward as a musician especially.
- I’ll teach you exactly what I do to have a productive practice session.
- We’ll talk about Recording Yourself and what we can do to share music at any stage of learning.
Learn Flute Podcast | New Year New Decade New Flute YOU
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Welcome Welcome everybody – we are here in January of the year 20-20 and it’s an exciting time to be alive, my friends.
I’m actually just going to jump right into this wonderful webinar because we have some very important tasks at hand that you will thoroughly enjoy. So, take care of all the distractions that might be around you at this time.. Put your phone on airplane mode because I’d like you to sit back and realize that as an online community, we.. or at least I take our meetings together very seriously as if we are one-on-one. I’m treating today like you have just walked through the door of my studio for your first lesson of the year.. Which is a special lesson because we get to take a little time to reflect on what has happened in our past and look forward to the future.
Now wait a minute.. I don’t want you to sigh and assume I’m going to talk about New Year’s Resolutions – because I’m not going to. I think that that phrase of “New Year’s Resolutions” is kind of getting a bad wrap nowadays with most of us proving that we can’t exactly lose those 30 extra pounds in the first month of the year or that our bank accounts don’t exactly sit at several million dollars by the end of April. Ok- I’m probably exaggerating and teasing a bit, but you know exactly what I mean.
BUT – if we’re going to talk about our FUN in life.. Our music and flute… then we’re all ears for New Year’s and it’s a completely different story.
So, we’re not going to talk about diets and budgets (thank goodness) – we’re going to talk about easy and specific things you can do to enhance your FLUTE journey This year.
In an online education environment, it’s easy to get swallowed up in a couple of directions.. One being that there’s so much information at your hands that you have a hard time focusing on which and where to stop or stay. .. which usually results in doing nothing at all. For some reason humans are wired like that. I know I am. And the other direction could be seeing where this is all going and getting overwhelmed with the thought that you might never get there.
Well, I have ten incredible suggestions that will enhance your entire FLute Year of two thousand and twenty. Sounds kind of futuristic, doesn’t it?
Okay- ****(their own paper?) I have provided you with a PDF to open and look at during this class. Whether you printed it or have it there online with you to look at, let’s do that now. You can fill it out as we go along, and I’m going to call each of these ‘declarations’ because the suggestion I have to you is that you treat these like more than just goals you have for this year.
Think of each of these as I go through the countdown as fireworks in the sky in a Pre-Celebration of the year 2020.
Let me explain:
The year 2020 is very different from many other years in history. In fact, if you are a history buff you’ll note that the year 19-20 was different from decades of the past.. And the twenties shaped many things that happened in the future that ended up being extremely changing for the entire globe.
When we end a year, it’s nice to look back for a second at all the things that happened. This is why I asked you to write down your answers to those questions I sent you the other day. Did you do it?
Did you answer what your frustrations or failures were? Did you write down your 2019 successes and what went well? Good! I’m glad.
Now.. take that paper and tear it up.
Just rip it right up into little pieces because that, my friends- is now the past. And we only now have today and the future.
I’ll start with The word GOAL. Now, a Goal is called a GOAL because it isn’t reality yet. Otherwise it would be a FACT and not something to be looked forward to. Anyway, a goal is NOT today’s reality, but something we WISH to become real.. And it’s something we think we have the power to bring to past.
What does reality or realistic mean anyway? Well, what you think is possible for YOU.. we humans want to be safe and that usually means that we are staying within our current boundaries, but we don’t realize that we have the power to create HOLY – SPAMOLY Miracles for ourselves. We can do cool .. Stuff.
I am super passionate about this – now come on, be honest with me– why do you think people conjure up a dream and then give up on them so quickly sometimes?
Well, I’ll tell you *number one; that once a dream or a vision of possibility is created, those people can’t either envision or find a way.. A path to get there. It’s not clear enough for them to hold onto the dream.
And number two is that they feel BIg TIME fear surrounding the idea that if the goal isn’t reached, that they won’t be able to handle the disappointment that they didn’t reach it. So… these two things start to outweigh desire they had in the first place for said dream or goal and they give up before they’ve even moved down the pathway a few weeks.
That’s CRAZY PANTS, everyone!
Let me give you a simple story that illustrates this point easily:
I have a friend named Judd and he has always loved insects and bugs. And one day he made himself a goal to collect one Hundred different BUGs before the end of the summer. Now the reason he wanted to collect the bugs was because he intended on using them in a fancy science fair that was going to win him several thousand dollars in scholarship money.
Now Judd went out every single day, very enthusiastically at the first of the summer with his butterfly net and jars. He turned over rocks and examined every single leaf and bush he could find. He took such good care of those specimins and showed his bug-loving-friends who squealed with delight as they saw what he was coming up with.
Well… then his parents took him on a vacation for a few days and when he came home the days got kind of hot and Judd started to spend more of his time at the pool instead of out in the fields.. And then one day, he realized school was going to begin soon and there was NO way he would make his goal. He had 68 insects collected and identified. He stared at the calendar and let his emotions sink.
Sooooooo, this is the important part of the story to listen to: He had two choices to make:
Number one: quit right then because he wasn’t going to make it by the date he decided on
Number two: rexamine why he made the goal in the first place and what could he do about it.
This story takes a positive spin because he simply took his due date of the first day of school and moved it out of the way so he could continue enjoying his love of finding new insects.
But, what I really want you to think about is.. What would Judd have experienced had he given up on his original dream of having the best collection around just because he didn’t make it by his original deadline.. That he made up himself?!
Well, he wouldn’t have had all that fun digging around, exploring and discovering new insects.. His favorite hobby of all time. And he wouldn’t have his amazing bug collection which now has over 400 different specimins in it or the big prize he collected at the science fair.
And that would just be sad.
The whole point here is that we need to create a benchmark.. A vision for something that is beyond what is already our current reality. That’s what makes the beginning of a New Year SO EXCITING!
We get to create a measurable target without a stressful deadline that we made up at the end of it. Flute Playing is for FUN people! THERE’s NO DEADLINE.
And, The benefits of those who continue their lives on a learning path of all sorts, like language and arts especially- enjoy greater mental and physical health for the rest of their lives. The only deadline we have here is when we’re dead.. And my hope and prayer is that there’s a whole lotta music going on in heaven.
So, let’s get to it.
You can declare to take better care of your instrument this year.
You know, I always have to remind friends new to the flute that FLUTES don’t age well like some instruments do.. I think a high quality violin does well, but a flute has part on it that deteriorate and cause issues over time.
It’s not a big deal though if you know what you’re doing.
My first suggestion is to make sure you have the correct type of cleaning cloths that it takes to keep your instrument lint free. I think lint is one of the leading of gummed up instruments in band settings – now the reason I singled out band is because those cleaning cloths look like t-shirts to most people, so when their original one gets lost they just cut up dad’s old undershirt and start running it through their flute.. Not realizing the damage that is being done.
I’ll give you two types of materials you can use without stress and they are: SILK and Microfiber. I had a student a few years back whose mother was a fabric artist.. I didn’t even know there was such thing, but yep- she was a fabric artist and was the one who designed the patterns that was to be printed on SILK. So, she used to bring me silk swatches all the time. And one day, she gave me a couple of them that she said she designed with ME in mind. Here they are- I LOVE them. I’ve had them for about twelve years already and they don’t look like they have any wear or tear on them. I use them swabbing out the inside of my flute. The silk is very absorbant. Just be sure NOT to store the cloth inside your flute case. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is that you can bend your keys with it in your case.. The case isn’t designed to have anything in it but your flute. And the second is that leaving all the moisture in your case with your flute and their pads all day and night will puff up your pads and cause them to deteriorate quickly. We need those pads to be in MINT condition or we will have tone issues. That’s a subject for another day though.
So, let’s move on!
Numero Nueve – NINE
Declare that you will Record Yourself in 2020 – you don’t have to share it with anyone, but with technology right in your hands, you have no reason to skip this one. Record yourself often – listen to what’s really going on. You can hear things happening that you might not have noticed while you’re playing live.. It takes all we have sometimes to just bust out the exercise or tune we’re studying.
If you’re not sure how to go about this, let me give you a couple of hints: if you have a smart phone, which I know 95% of you do, then you have all you need right there.
You can use either the camera – swap it over to video and go for it. You don’t need to get fancied up just to play for yourself. And, if you don’t enjoy looking at yourself somedays (I know I don’t), then just point the camera at your fingers or the wall.
-or- You can use the Voice Memos app on your phone. This app actually records sound very well. I use it all the TIME.
It’s slick and keeps them all organized for you. You just press the red button to get started and then press it again to finish. If you’re like me, you might press it and stop it 6 times before you get a decent take. That’s okay. That’s just how it goes!
This always reminds me of the show La Bamba with Lou Diamond Phillips where it portrays the singer Ritchie Valens as he scraps his way up the charts. In this particular scene he is recording the song “La Bamba” and he has to sing it over and over and over until his voice is so tired just to try and get a perfect take. I had a little brother and a mother who were such fans of that show that we watched this clip over and over too. It took 60 takes to get it just the way the producer wanted it.
When I found myself in a recording studio some years later as a professional musician and – this was before personal recording devices were invented- I recognized exactly what it felt like. I remember doing fourteen takes of a 4 measure segment of a piece in a studio recording session once quite a few years ago. I stayed focused and knew the sound I was trying to find. And so it is for learning artists as well. 60 could be a magical number… who knows? The neat thing is that you start to really hear your flute voice just like they are an extension of your vocal chords. It’s fun to experiement and learn to get new colors, textures, and sounds from it as you progress along.
Who is going to hear it anyway? ….YOU are!
Be your own teacher as you listen back. ANd, cut yourself some slack.
What are you listening for exactly?
Well, I can give you an example from inside the doors of Learn Flute Online-
During the video lessons here in the Learn Flute Online Modules, I get very specific with the skills that are being learned. There’s even a checklist for you.
Write them down and as you listen back, go through the checklist to make sure you are keeping yourself on the path of skill progression. You’ll thank yourself later. That’s for sure!
Ocho! Number EIGHT
Attend at least one live concert or musical production this year.
You may not have the opportunity to see a professional flutist in action, but you can support ANY live concert or musical production that is being put on by REAL people who are.. Believe it or not.. Just like YOU. They are learning and practicing musicians as well.. They’ve just moved up a step into a performing role as well. I guarantee you will get something from it.
I am a HUGE supporter of musicals and young talent especially. It’s my joy. It’s not sterile or old or boring. It’s alive and real. I love it.
I recently took my mom to a concert by David Archuleta. If you don’t know who that is, you can look him up. He is one of my heros.
I’ve been able to watch him grow into who he is today. And, he’s the first one to say that he’s still figuring out where he is going with it all.
He is a Utah boy who just loves to sing. He sings well. Really well. He has a lot of heart too.
He also admits he has a real fear of stages and speaking, and has had some real challenges along the way. My son (who is also a musician) and he were able to spend some quality time together a few years ago on the streets of Africa as missionaries where they both agreed that there’s more to life than a singing competition. David was the runner up winner in the American Idol competition in the year two thousand and eight and has gone on to great heights in his music career which is only getting better each year.
My MOM – who is now seventy six years old claims she is the reason he had the success he did. She voted for him more times than any one on the planet. And now, she will follow him anywhere she can get tickets. I spend good money on play and concert tickets every year to make sure my mom is fulfilled in this area. It makes her so happy to see people giving the gift of talent and music.
Think about it for a minute. Make sure this goal is on your calendar this year.
- Numero Siete!
Organize a musical Journal this year.
I mention this one because I think we get so focused on what’s coming ahead that we forget to document the past. Well isn’t that just sad. All that effort .. just to be forgotten. No. Not you. Not this year.
My hope is that you have a loooooong, beautiful list of accomplishments that you can flipped back through at the end of the year. You’ll be so proud.
Learn to celebrate the small things. It’s the small things that add up to wonderful achievements. IN fact, it’s usually the ONLY way to fabulous creations.
Skill upon Skill – piece upon piece.
I have a box in one of my closets – this is undisclosed information,.. But it’s filled to the brim with programs and thank you notes from musical performances either of my own, my boys, or my students gave. I have instructed my husband and family to please display it at my funeral. It will prove that I lived and mattered to someone.
Keep track of your journey. It’s a beautiful one.
Make a Music Friend this year – You already have me, and you are invited to join us and enjoy being around those who are like-minded and on the same ADVENTURE that you’re on. They don’t necessarily have to be learning the flute.. If you meet someone learning say guitar, you could keep in touch about your pilgrimage and progress and in the future play some neato duets together. You never know where it will lead you.
My best friend in music was someone I met thirty seven years ago! That’s real friendship.
Teach someone else something about music or flute.
Uh Oh. I just scared you. 🙂
I didn’t say to suddenly open a music teaching studio claiming complete proficiency. I said, teach someone something about music or the flute.
Once you place this notion in your mind, you’ll find an opportunity this year. I know it. It’ll come up and you’ll find yourself opening your mouth and adding to the conversation as if it was the most natural thing ever.
And it will be. Continue learning and becoming fluent in the language of music. You know, music is a language, right? It’s one that spans all cultures and nations.
Have you heard that American Country music is extremely popular in Asia? It is! Not sure they know what the lyrics are all the time, but they can definitely feel the spirit of melody and song. That’s all you need in music, folks.
Learn to Memorize this year.
You know, I think I could give an entire discourse on this one haha. Here is my main reason for letting you know that ‘memorizing’ some music should be on your list for this year. It’s because I’ve seen this sad scenario time and time again.
Here’s how it goes: I’ll play both of the parts:
“Hi there, I see you have an instrument case with you. That’s really cool. What do you play?”
“Oh thanks for noticing. I’ve been playing the .. clarinet for 5 years.”
“Neat! Can you play me a song?”
“ Umm… fidgeting… I don’t have any music with me ”
(Um… eyeballs side to side) .. Okay.
You’d think after 5 years of playing an instrument there’d be SOMETHING you could play without having a piece of paper in front of you. Don’t you? I definitely think so. In fact, I know so.
And, memorizing music does more than just give you something to play in a pinch. It gives you FREEDOM from paper. You can start expressing yourself with the other, more advanced music skills you are gaining.
Also, you know what sticks in your head when you’re super old and grey?
Things that have been moved to your long term memory.
Ever seen this?
(youtube video of young dude singing in alzheimer’s home with his grandmother – she remembers every word, chord, and note but doesn’t know his name)
It doesn’t need to be an entire concerto or the hardest thing you’ve ever imagined in music… just some simple, beautiful tunes that you love.
I have a little story about my students who have come into my studio who have the goal of being able to play along with other musicians for fun. That’s a perfect goal for learning to play an instrument. I have a little trick I do with them- you can learn from this and use it starting today:
What we do is keep a little card – like the size of a business card that can go right in your wallet.. Or an index card if you’d like something a little bigger. The idea is that it be something that is portable.
Each time you memorize a new piece, write it down on the card.
Now, this isn’t the end of it- because the trick is to keep these tunes in your DAILY
Practice routine. EVERY SINGLE DAY!
If you think this is overkill, let me teach you a lesson from successful musicians. Review is the KEY to long term memory.
My students all play every single tune they know every single day up to a certain point. Like for the first three years of playing.
It’s NORMAL in the successful music world. My students are able to play volumes, and I mean volumes of music memorized at very young ages because of this method.
Support someone else who is on the same path you are on by encouraging them. In our Open Mic group inside our members area, the support is off the charts.
The sad thing is that it’s not like this in the normal world.. We’ve created an amazing bubble here. It’s one of the most positive and productive places on the planet. I’m proud to be part of it.
Do you know that I checked the stats yesterday, and there were 14.4 thousand module videos watched this past month inside Learn Flute Online?! You all are busy busy bees!
You can also support someone in other ways.. Whether they are farther down the path than you are or just getting started, you can boost their confidence By demonstrating to them that their efforts are inspiring. That you recognize that they are enhancing the world and the mood that surrounds the environment.
There’s never a wrong time to give someone a pat on the back.
- Watch or listen to a great of yester-year. You know, no one has made it to the highest of heights in the music world without learning from someone who has now passed on. Let’s honor them and take advantage of this miracle of technology and the internet today by watching. I’ll throw out a name here that will get you started. You can write it down on your notes:
Jean Pierre Rampal, an internationally acclaimed and popular French Professional -who I can’t believe has been gone since the year two thousand. (makes me feel old) He was seen often on Sesame Street. Just head on over to YouTube after this and type into the search bar: Rampal and MIss PIggy. Jean Pierre Rampal graced many-a cassette tape I had as a teen and definitely influenced my playing.
And the last one for today in the countdown is:
Number One -… Numero Uno:
Make FUN your Number One priority!
Let’s not get caught in the trap of thinking that once we learn enough we can have fun… there’s no reason to delay fun. Get in touch with WHY you started to collect bugs.. I mean, play the flute in the first place.
It doesn’t take a hundred insects for the year to be considered a success!
And lastly, I invite you to join us in the BEST non-competitive learning flute envirnonment here at Learn Flute Online. I know a bunch of you here are already members, and I think you’ll vouch for the good time we have learning together. We enjoy beautiful music and an envigorating educational setting where we all have fun exploring.
I have been mapping out each month carefully for you, and just KNOW that it’s going to be epic.. Starting with the Tone Course that’s in registration right now. We’re starting on Wednesday, January 8th and will dive pretty deep into how to exactly sound amazing on the flute. We’ll spend ten days with that and then… well, there are a lot of good surprises coming along that will help you have strong and powerful music skills that you will be able to use for the rest of… forever.
I got your back.
And as we move into this new decade we can learn a lot of things. We can look forward to learning new things, because we’re going to. It’s inevitable. Look back on your last decade. Even if you didn’t mean to you probably. What would happen if you spent this next decade being intentional about learning?
Being intentional, having a plan, having a support system, and knowing for a fact that we will emerge on the other side a complete success is going to get us there.
We all can learn to take our doubts and fears and that little voice that sometimes talks to you in the early morning hours to try and discourage you from getting out of bed and being epic. Does that voice ever talk to you?
Does it ever say, “you can’t do that. You’ll never be good enough. Why did you think you could?”
I hope not, but if it does:
Tell it something for me. I’m giving you an important tool right now. Take notes on this and use it!
Tell it, and say it out loud… every day if you need to: say, “you know, I appreciate your feedback… but I’m going to just put you over there in the corner, and I’m going to get up and keep moving forward with what I want to do”.
I cannot wait for this year of 20-20 to manifest itself. We are ALL going to be better people at the end of it. It’s going to be GREAT!
And … Let me know what you think!
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2 thoughts on “New Year New Decade New Flute YOU”
Thanks for all the great tips. One thing I noticed when I went to youtube to look for flute performances is that they all tilt their flutes when they play. Even the flutist with Miss Piggy had bad form. They are making great sound, but how can they play so well with such bad form? Do they practice like that as well? Are there any good flutists that actually have good form?
Hi Penny, I think this is a fun subject. You’re right that many of the ‘older men’ are playing with their flutes tipped. It’s kind of a style thing of a generation almost… Most professional flutists have very nice form. Now that you’ve noticed this you can start looking around as you see the symphonies etc play. I also happen to know from reading journal accounts of some of these players who play tipped, and they all talk about neck and back issues as well. So… go figure. 🙂 -Rebecca