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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:03 pm 
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My dad taught me that you could learn anything in a half-hour a day: touch-typing, foreign-language, musical instrument, etc. I can agree that his rule might be sufficient - consistent, daily effort does produce results. The other side of the coin is asking what it takes to achieve intuition and mastery. Personally, I think to get there you need to pass through a period of immersion or obsession.

My second thought is that I'm an adult learner on flute. I accept that my brain doesn't learn as quickly as it did when I was younger. If I'm going to get good, I know that need to put more effort into it than. 10,000 hours? (Hmmm, 3 hours/day 333 days per year 10 years ). You can take it as a rule or approximation, but that amount of time is not at all unreasonable for a professional musician or athlete.

Where does that leave us who might not be training for Carnegie Hall?

If practice is play, then it is fun, not a burden. When I was a kid, I hated to practice, to the point where my parents let me give up music. Now that I'm older, I'm in love with playing and can spend hours playing and watching myself improve.

When I was between jobs, I could spend many hours (obsessing or immersing). Now that I have a full-time job, I have to schedule my practice and strategize what to work on.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:06 am 
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tstermitz wrote:
My dad taught me that you could learn anything in a half-hour a day: touch-typing, foreign-language, musical instrument, etc. I can agree that his rule might be sufficient - consistent, daily effort does produce results. The other side of the coin is asking what it takes to achieve intuition and mastery. Personally, I think to get there you need to pass through a period of immersion or obsession.

My second thought is that I'm an adult learner on flute. I accept that my brain doesn't learn as quickly as it did when I was younger. If I'm going to get good, I know that need to put more effort into it than. 10,000 hours? (Hmmm, 3 hours/day 333 days per year 10 years ). You can take it as a rule or approximation, but that amount of time is not at all unreasonable for a professional musician or athlete.


I’ve been following a blog on performance psychology for a few years and it seems that the current thinking on neurogenesis (the growth of neurons) primarily happens when you are resting and when you are asleep. In practice, taking restful 15 minute breaks when trying to learn something new helps more than spending hours of focused time. The restful breaks also help with better retention. For me, I will work on ear training or a fingering technique that is difficult for me and take a few minutes to rest before moving onto the next thing. I find that if I rush, I retain less day to day.

(If anyone is interested in more information here is one article that brought the concept home to me. The article references a study as well as related articles by the same author: https://bulletproofmusician.com/memoriz ... ess-pause/ )

Like Jim, I’m working toward mastery of the flute. I’m not musically skilled so there are tons of challenges and I have to work very hard to make any progress, but it is good for me and I enjoy the results. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:55 am 
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Yes,I think some people just play for the joy of playing, which is fine.
Some people need something difficult to master.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:41 pm 
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You can have it both ways. And I hope no one thought I was suggesting that practicing by playing simply for the joy of it is a waste of time! Not at all. How could it be? If that is your goal, that is your goal, and achieve it in good health. Speaking of goals, I confess an ulterior motive: neurogenesis, to stave off senile dementia. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:25 pm 
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This is a great thread!

My perspective is a lot like Keith’s. I like to play ITM because I enjoy it. I don’t need to make any money playing it or teaching it. I don’t want to win any awards- I just really like how it sounds and feels.

That being said, I have an expectation for myself of not sounding terrible, so I have taken some lessons from some really good teachers.

It’s just really refreshing to play for the simple enjoyment of it. I was a professional woodwind player and teacher in a previous life. I practiced at least 3 hours a day, performed with multiple ensembles, recorded at a couple of studios and taught saxophone and oboe. When that didn’t pay the bills, I learned professional band instrument repair and did that on top of the gigging and teaching.

If I was “serious” about playing ITM, I’d be regulating my practice with technique drills (scales, fingering exercises, ornamentation drills and arpeggios for about an hour), tone exercises (long tones, overtones, oral articulation drills and pitch and volume control for half an hour) and ear training (reproducing random passages by ear for half an hour). Then I’d work through repertoire for an hour. In the Jazz world, this is known as “Going to the woodshed.” THEN...I could noodle around. SHEESH- NO FUN!

I’m at a place, now, where it’s not too painful for people to listen to me and I can play about 70% of the tunes at sessions in most of the US cities I visit for work.

I’m not going to give up my steady career in telecom to starve as a folk musician- so just like Keith, I don’t actually “practice” as defined by the professional world. And that makes me happy!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:00 pm 
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I've been playing flute for 6 months. As a beginner I have no option but to practice every day if I want to progress. Fortunately I enjoy practice time and find no problem with commitment and discipline but have to agree with the previous comment that quality is what matters. Regular, structured, intelligently focused and efficient practice is what delivers progress not simply the duration of practice.

My daily practice is currently 30-40 minutes and I find that the time I can maintain the necessary focus has gradually increased. We fool only ourselves that we're benefiting if we keep on pushing beyond the point where we lose focus.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:47 am 
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In truth I never stop practicing. I keep a cheap old Gen on me pretty much constantly and my fidgeting takes the form of practicing tunes via the "air whistle" effect. I've learned more tunes at my desk at work than in my studio!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:23 pm 
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My commitment has been to play EVERY DAY, even if that's just 10 minutes (or even less than that at times). Over the last 10 years, I have missed very few days. 30 minutes is probably my average. There are times when I'll play for hours if at a camp or have lots of gigs. Usually the most I'll play is an hour or 2. Bottom line, I think it's critical to play every day because flute (or any instrument played at a high level) takes the coordination of very fine motor skills, muscle control, breath control, etc. that only daily practice/playing can achieve.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:06 pm 
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PS I avoid playing whistle. It adversely affects my flute embouchure and takes away from time on flute. Playing whistle may be useful for learning tunes, but it does not improve flute playing. Two very different instruments.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:55 pm 
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Akiba wrote:
PS I avoid playing whistle. It adversely affects my flute embouchure and takes away from time on flute. Playing whistle may be useful for learning tunes, but it does not improve flute playing. Two very different instruments.

I completely agree. I've heard people argue otherwise, but I find the exact same thing you mention, so I usually avoid whistle as well, unless I'm sitting in front of the telly picking away at some half-remembered tune. Somehow, in my mind, that doesn't count.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:12 am 
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Also, practicing with tuner and metronome are essential for me to improve my intonation and timing. Gots to play in tune and in time.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:19 pm 
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I can see why this would be important, Akiba, if you play with others. I don't. My enchantment is with the sound of the flute so I look for a tune's meaning with whatever key, timing, volume, ornamentation, and phrasing that gets that. It's like reading purposeful ryhming poetry aloud in a way that penetrates the tingle and awe of it's meaning, but in powerfully ephiphanous flute sounds. Other people's interpretations and technical disciplines can be a distraction in my case.

Best wishes, Keith.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:52 pm 
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keithsandra wrote:
I can see why this would be important, Akiba, if you play with others. I don't. My enchantment is with the sound of the flute so I look for a tune's meaning with whatever key, timing, volume, ornamentation, and phrasing that gets that. It's like reading purposeful ryhming poetry aloud in a way that penetrates the tingle and awe of it's meaning, but in powerfully ephiphanous flute sounds. Other people's interpretations and technical disciplines can be a distraction in my case.

Best wishes, Keith.


All right, then. Sounds noble. Carry on...

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