Wanting, Waiting, Dreaming
Wanting, dreaming and practicing are great and wonderful aspects of a flutist’s life. However, the aspects of listening, learning, and of opening up to new levels of awareness are equally as important.
Practice intelligently and mindfully. Record your practicing and lessons to understand what it is you might not be hearing in your playing. Listen to your recordings with a teacher’s ear, an objective ear. This can be one of the most humbling and sometimes lonely experiences. This helps to aid in your improvement as a musician and flutist. You must learn to flap your wings before you can fly!
Don’t waste time pretending you’re on stage in the beginning of your practicing process. Three to five months before a recital or competition, practice like you are really in the practice room. Then, three weeks before the performance imagine yourself in the setting of your performance.
A musician must always understand that there will never be an end to the quest for a higher level of playing. When you embrace this idea, you will step back and practice the fundamentals of flute playing. For instance, playing no “music” for a few weeks and practicing slow scales, long tones with a tuner, etudes that promote healthy technique, vibrato exercises, interpretive studies etc. will strengthen your musical foundation.
There is plenty of time to grow and mature as a musician. One cannot put an end to discipline and commitment and say “I am finished with tone study and scales.” Thinking about fundamentals is important even when you are striving for that performance or competition. It is necessary to add the basic skills of flute playing to the next step of performing.
Focusing on the basics will lead to improvement through discipline. Beginning every day with attention to tone, intonation, technique, breathing, vibrato and phrasing is essential. Never sacrifice the basic fundamentals of flute playing for the ego’s satisfaction of performing the recital or the competition. You cannot be a complete musician by believing that you are fine in most areas and need to only work on the notes. Anyone can blow and finger the notes on the flute. It’s a true gift to play as a musician and not just a flutist.
If you don’t have the basics, you don’t have anything. We all have the gift of talent. It’s what we do with it that counts.
Given with honesty and love. AP
Posted: November 27th, 2018