We’re in the middle of the Corona crisis. This is causing anxiety and uncertainty on a global scale. People are forced to stay inside. Social contact is reduced to a minimum. In a sector that revolves around social contact this has kicked up some extra challenges. Concerts are cancelled and even teaching and rehearsing with an orchestra or choir has become difficult.
Yet, at the same time I find this quite an exciting time as I appreciate so many people trying to find creative solutions. This to me is extremely inspiring. From their classrooms tutors are going online via Skype for example and on social media many experiences, ideas and materials are exchanged. We’ve all started thinking outside of the box. It is making us more flexible and stronger for the time after Corona.
‘How can I apply this strength to modern playing techniques?’, is the question I asked myself writing this blog. I believe studying can feel similar at times. At one point or another we all face a technical challenge that seems insurmountable. However, varying articulation, pace and rhythm tends to go a long way. These are effective tools. Personally I like to go one step further even to make sure that during a concert I’m in the driving seat. One of the exercises I find interesting is studying scales with harmonics. This makes you think about grips, it improves the breathing support and, by extension, your sound. Let’s give it a go with a short exercise:
- Play the scale of F.
- Now play the scale of F, but with harmonics. Use the fingering of the diamond-shaped notes.
- Now play the scale of F again as in step 1. Notice the difference between the 1st and the 3rd time. Pay attention to sound and technique.
This is just one example of how you can apply modern playing techniques to improve your flute playing. You might also study the scale with flutter tongue, wind sounds, tone bending, key clicks, singing and playing, pizzicato and tongue stops: a myriad of extra practice opportunities with just one scale.
As much as possible try to focus on the beautiful things that are happening, for example all the new ideas and possibilities. Enjoy these opportunities that we are discovering and that enrich us.
Translation: Elise Bikker