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Turning problem spots into old friends

OK, now you have spotted and analyzed the difficult passage in your solo or etude. You have played it correctly eight times, at a slow tempo where you are totally in control and confident that you can do it again and again with no trouble. Now, you will turn that spot into the easiest old friend in the piece.

First, rest for a few seconds. I like to practice where I can look out at my garden and believe me, I look out there a lot! The secret is to rest briefly, but often, when you are doing intense work.

Now, go back ONE NOTE from the passage that we are no longer going to call the "difficult passage". Start from there, and add ONE NOTE after it. Do this at least four times. Then add one more note at the beginning, and one note at the end.

Keep in mind that you are playing at a tempo where you are in control, relaxed, confident, and always play the notes perfectly.

Continue to do this, with short rests about every two minutes, until you have achieved the entire passage, or line, or section, whatever makes sense to you.

Rest, congratulate yourself, then speed up the tempo and do it all over again. You can vary this routine by adding two notes at the beginning and the end, or four notes, whatever pattern makes sense to you. Notice what you have done. The area which used to give you trouble is now the most practiced part of the section, right? So as you approach that part, you are feeling more and more confident and prepared! Now it is an old friend.

Next blog, how to make a more beautiful sound on the flute!



Mary H.

Professional Flutist and Teacher in San Mateo