Strength Gains and Flute Pains

In the practice room at 8:30 today. Started with flute.

The short version:

 

20 minutes flute

20 minutes long tones

1 hour Cheesecake (transcription)

20 minutes flute

 

Yesterday in Brazilian combo we got a tune with flute on the recording, so I'll be increasing the amount of time I spend on the flute. Plus I'm loving the flute in general.

 

With long tones on flute, I'm still paying a lot of attention to how efficiently I'm using my air. Today I held a middle B for 12 counts, my personal record. My intonation is also improving.

I also notice that my pre-playing warmups are having a significant impact. Raising my arms straight up, I inhale deeply and bend down to touch my toes. Then slowly exhale and rise to neutral. I also hum triads like Roy Cho described in my interview with him.

 

Also on the flute, during long tones, I focus on gently and smoothly pushing down the keys (less forcefully than the sax). And visualizing the note on a staff to simulate reading music.

 

On the sax, I was able to play long tones across almost the whole range of the horn before pausing. Usually, I can go about an octave and a half  but today I made it to two octaves before my lips were too tired. Lately I have paid more attention to working dynamics during long tones, but today I bent each pitch down then slowly raised it to tune it properly.

 

Later, since I made good progress on "Just Friends" yesterday, I revisited my transcription of Cheesecake by Dexter Gordon. It's always interesting to see what my brain and fingers remember. About half of it was solid.

 

For the parts that needed work, I slowed them way down. Sometimes I would use the technique of playing pairs of notes fast, pausing, then another pair, etc. Most of the time I would repeat these sections so much that they would be memorized.

When I can't play something, I see it as a potentially holistic problem. I made sure not just that notes/rhythms are correct, but I check carefully my overall technique. Finger positioning, tone, etc.

 

In an hour, I could play the whole thing top to bottom nearly perfectly.

 

At my apartment later, between loads of laundry, I got in some more flute practice. This time playing scale degrees 1-5 in all keys, focusing hard on technique. Flute fingerings are so similar to sax that the problem in learning the instrument lies in technique less than reading music/ fingering notes correctly.

 

The coming weeks will feature interviews with a flutist, trombonist, and bassoonist.

 

Happy practicing!

 

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