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 Post subject: practicing by a river
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:58 am 
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We went on a family vacation to the tropics last week, and I brought my flute. I practiced regularly by the local river, which cascaded over large boulders and was very noisy.

It seems beside the river was a great practice space, because I had to work hard on getting an effective embouchure that would be audible over the roaring rapids. By the end of the week I'd made really substantial progress.

Now I guess I need to go practice by the side of the interstate


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:45 am 
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Practising on the shore of a calm lake facing the water is also very good, - you get almost no sound reflected back to you and you are forced to work hard to project your tone to a point where you get a reasonable sound back - the opposite of this would be practising in the bathroom (or any unfurnished, hard walled and floored enclosed space) - which is very flattering and a good idea if you are feeling depressed about your progress.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:32 am 
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Both great ideas. I find practicing in a hard-surfaced enclosed space also to be immediate feedback on phrasing, breathing starts and stops, controlled tone, tuning. and volume. In short, a whole lot. Recording with a close mic and playing back is also how to get those immediate feedback items. I am forced to play more smoothly and with a more controlled pulse to the music.
L


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:30 pm 
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I like the visual image of practicing by a river. In warmer months I love to play in the fields and hills where I live. Reading the posts above on location and tone interests and chimes with me. The way location may affect embouchure and tone is one that has been perplexing me recently. When I practice each day I have no difficulty or thought at all about playing in the middle register; that ability is just solidly there. But when I go into an indoor room space for my weekly lesson I find that my pitch often 'drops out' of the upper register. I haven't been able to figure out why this happens.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:35 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
We went on a family vacation to the tropics last week, and I brought my flute. I practiced regularly by the local river, which cascaded over large boulders and was very noisy.

It seems beside the river was a great practice space, because I had to work hard on getting an effective embouchure that would be audible over the roaring rapids. By the end of the week I'd made really substantial progress.

Now I guess I need to go practice by the side of the interstate

I much prefer the imagery of the river. I feel more peaceful just reading about it. I'm still working on getting good sound out of my Basketmaker rim-blown flute, but I also play a more traditional Lakota style Native American flute. I found it very difficult to get a good sound outdoors with any sort of breeze at all, but in stillness, it's wonderful. I was playing on my front porch the other day when the mail carrier came by and he really seemed to appreciate the music.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:35 am 
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I was just surprised how much the effort of competing with the river--it was a very noisy river--improved my tone and ability to play through a long phrase. I think it must be right that it matters where you practice, and I'm betting that where there is a lot of reflection I hear mistakes or changes in timbre or tone and that holds me up or checks me.

I've always felt that an hour of playing live, in a band, was worth weeks of solo practice, because live you just have to do it and get through it, whereas in solo practice perfection always looms.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:46 am 
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What river was it? :) I too feel more peaceful reading about it. Thanks for sharing.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:32 am 
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Thalatta wrote:
What river was it? :) I too feel more peaceful reading about it. Thanks for sharing.



Rio Chirripo Pacifico in San Gerardo De Rivas, Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is a lovely place to visit although I'm more inclined to gloomy northern European climates :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:35 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
I'm more inclined to gloomy northern European climates :)


Looking out on the world, I can assure you there's only so much lack of light, gloom and bleakness a person can take.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:33 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
PB+J wrote:
I'm more inclined to gloomy northern European climates :)


Looking out on the world, I can assure you there's only so much lack of light, gloom and bleakness a person can take.

Image



I'll take it! Sunshine is like a moral obligation, a scold. You are required to go outside and do something. I just get sunburned. We did a home exchange with a family from Claregalway. They stayed in our house in July. They said they nearly died of the soul-crushing 37 degrees C and 100% humidity, numbers I'm not making up. Also clouds of mosquitos. Gray winters are a relief after that.

I can't transpose Micho's version of Rolling in the Ryegrass to D in DAW software and practice it out in an actual field, now can I? And rolling in actual rye grass won't help either. I don't think.

Costa rica is nice and the people were very relaxed and allegedly, according to my wife, Costa Rica is the second happiest nation on earth, after Bhutan. (Bhutan? Who knew?) So maybe there's something to this warmth and sun after all.


Last edited by PB+J on Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:29 pm 
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You know this has made me think. I always play my instruments indoors, aware that I am possibly annoying other members of the household (flute and high whistle is loud even if I'm upstairs).
I should really sit in the garden and practice in the nice weather. Get my own back on noisy neighbours...

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:40 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
Sunshine is like a moral obligation, a scold.

:lol:

I love fog, rain and overcast skies - the difference being, I suppose, that we don't have it that way every day. But bright sunlight always has been a bit hard on my eyes.

Then Mr.Gumby posts an evocative pic of a misty boreen, and I'm like, Yes.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:58 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
PB+J wrote:
I'm more inclined to gloomy northern European climates :)

Looking out on the world, I can assure you there's only so much lack of light, gloom and bleakness a person can take.

I'm from Colorado, where we get 300+ days of sunshine per year, on a par with Florida or sunny Spain. I go bonkers in gloomy climates. I can sit in the sun for hours, sometimes playing my flute, sometimes not. Just works that way, I guess.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:11 am 
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It makes me think on some of the unusual places I've played flute or whistle. They include:
- inside the dome of the 48" Schmidt telescope at Siding Springs in the Wurrumbungle Ranges in NSW
- in the bushland around the said telescope (exact opposite acoustic)
- in the dome of the biggest telescope at Mt Stromlo, Canberra
- inside the 19th century Martello tower on Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour
- on the stage in the main performance hall at the Sydney Opera House
- on stage in the Sydney Town Hall (the slapback echo from the back wall was frightening!)
- in my car, waiting for about 20 minutes to go over the inspection pits at the old motor registry in Canberra. After doing the inspection, the chap came out from under the car, leaned on my door and casually mentioned he'd just picked up a first edition copy of O'Neills 1001 Gems from a garage sale....
- on the ferry from Dublin to England
- on the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria
- on the ferry across the Shannon estuary
- on ferries in Sydney Harbour
- on a ferry in Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra
- on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin, where a small fish swam up to my feet
- on aeroplanes and airports
- in the restaurant at the top of the T-lift at Mount Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains in a blizzard. Highest place in Australia (6000'). They fed us apple strudel and gluwein to keep us and the crowd there. We argued that made us the highest paid musicians in Australia at the time....
- in the bar of the Sleibh Luchra in Listowel. Fellow sitting beside me said "Good man", then borrowed a whistle from behind the bar and joined in. Joe Burke.
- in The Favourite, and the Sugawn Kitchen, back in the day.

Yep. Always shameless! Nothing changes....


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:49 am 
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michaelpthompson wrote:
Mr.Gumby wrote:
PB+J wrote:
I'm more inclined to gloomy northern European climates :)

Looking out on the world, I can assure you there's only so much lack of light, gloom and bleakness a person can take.

I'm from Colorado, where we get 300+ days of sunshine per year, on a par with Florida or sunny Spain. I go bonkers in gloomy climates. I can sit in the sun for hours, sometimes playing my flute, sometimes not. Just works that way, I guess.

I'm not a sun worshipper. When we get hot days in summer I wilt and just want to find cool shade. I hate hot weather.

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