Get better results out of your practice – Part 2 – Practice as if you were a scientist
Ory’s Flute Tips
Get better results out of your practice – Part 2 Practice as if you were a scientist
In Part 1 you learned about the various playing techniques you have to develop in order to play better and control them better. In this part we’ll take a deeper look on how exactly you should practice those techniques.
Imagine for a moment that you were a scientist who’s about to perform a research – the topic: What would be the effect of ‘X’ on ‘Y’? In order to conduct such a research, you will have to reduce ‘X’ into the smallest parameter you can change and control. For example, if the scientists would like to know the effect of humanity on the global warming they would have to define all the parameters that might fit under ‘the effect of humanity’, such as for example the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is a much smaller definition that allows the experiments to be more precise and effective.
As you practice, you can use the same method – remove as many variables you can and concentrate on one at a time only.
🔬 Play exercises as a scientist conducts experiments
Experimentation is an extremely important part of your practicing (and idyllically, so I believe, of your lessons with a teacher as well) and it is needed for you if you wish to know what works better or what makes something worse. It allows you to learn what you should do and what you should avoid doing.
In Part 1 I have explained why if you wish to improve your tone quality, you should not practice your ‘tone quality’ but rather the various techniques that effect your tone quality. Now I would like to discuss a bit more into details the work you have to do with one technique.
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✅ My tip for the success of your practicing – Simplify your exercises
I strongly encourage the students I work with to start with the most simple exercise – Play one note. In fact, playing only one note is enough to hear whether you can play with a focused tone, in tune, with a rich and resonant tone from the beginning of the note till the last moment of it. In addition, playing only one note reduces many aspects that might interrupt the sound while changing between the various notes.
With only one long note you can create many exercises that would serve different techniques: You can play for example that note and concentrate only on your air speed – increasing and decreasing the air speed. You can see what happens when your lips embouchure hole is closer or rather more far away than the headjoint embouchure hole. You can experiment with various shapes of apertures and figure out how each shape effects the color of the note. You can practice the different air directions you blow and see how that changes the intonation and color of the note. And there are many more exercises you can play only on one single note.
In each one of these exercises you have to make sure you keep all other parameters, other than the one you wish to practice, exactly the same. If you are able to do so, you’ll gain extremely important insights on how each little movement and adjustment you make effect your tone color, intonation, intensity, focus, pureness etc.