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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:00 am 
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Location: Somerset, England
Bcoopmando wrote:
Length of time practicing?


It's a personal thing and I can only speak for myself. The duration of my practice seems to find natural limits. No more than 10 or 15 minutes at the very beginning (I experienced hand discomfort) and then lengthening to typically around 30 minutes (without discomfort) by the end of my first year. I have practiced daily from Day 1. Now I'll play in shortish bursts throughout the day, though very rarely for more than 20 minutes in one go. That may be more to do with fitting flute around my daily routine. I don't know? I find that I don't get any more achieved if I play in fewer but longer bursts.

There is a direct contrast with the stringed instrument I play which I tend to practice for longer at one sitting. I'm interested to read how others structure their practice time.

When trying to memorise a tune, the same time-gap technique works for me on flute and stringed instrument. A very short run-through of the tune, maybe twice and then put the flute down. Go do something else. About an hour or two later do the same again and continue throughout the day with that same gap. The gap between putting down the flute and picking it up again needs to be sufficient so that you engage and exercise longer-term memory and not just rely on short-term memory and immediate recall. This is the most efficient way I have found to quickly commit a tune to long-term memory. If the playing gap is too short we don't exercise longer term memory. If the playing gap is too long we're likely to forget the tune and disrupt the process that way. The ideal playing gap will vary from person to person and sometimes from day to day.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:50 am 
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I'll 2nd playing/practicing for about 20~30mins at a time, It's just enough to achieve something, but not long enough to bore you, doing it 2 or 3 times a day seems ideal. :thumbsup:

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Trying to do justice to my various musical instruments.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:40 am 
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If there's no one home I'll happily do 15 minutes to an hour multiple times a day. I work at my job for an hour, play the flute, back to work, play the flute, work, flute--alternative all day unless the family is being irked.

It's more compulsive behavior than discipline


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 1:52 pm 
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Bcoopmando wrote:
Some days I surprise myself and produce a lovely tone on a few notes and other days the flute sounds nicer in it’s case! I am a persevering type of person and at least trying to enjoy the journey.

At what point in time should I begin trying out some of the Ornamentations?



Making sure you take some time each day to play some long slow notes will do wonders for your breath, embouchure and tone. Back in grade school when most woodwind, brass and string players are young, the lesson plans start with something very simple and slow, like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for violins and cellos and Hot Cross Buns for brass and woodwinds. Then each week a new note is added until the player has the whole of the instrument's range under their belts. In Irish music beginning tunes are sometimes Rattlin' Bog, Castlebar Races, The Lilting Banshee, Out on the Ocean, Shoe the Donkey and the melody line of the song Sally Gardens. Opening up my Complete Guide to Learning the Flute by Vintan Vallely and Conal O Grada's Tirsh traditonal Flute technique book I see I could happily recommend these books with their included CDs. as well as Grey's.

When we were in grade school bands or orchestras we had technique books that had us doing scales. But adults in trad often skip that step and go straight into tunes. That's ok. But sometimes we need to be OK with using those tunes as exercises to build skills.

As for ornamentation, adding as you go is the best. These ornaments will become second nature.

When I first started out I had two world class teachers (one moved away and passed me along) who broke down tunes into small chunks. In the first year or so I would seldom get a tune handed to me all at once. I would more likely be introduced to all the details of the A part or even part of an A part, learned with a call and response technique, then a week later the B. These details would include the notes, breathing spots and ornamentation. I would record the lesson and practice with my recording. Over the period of a month I would learn maybe two tunes.

This foundation got me to the point where I can fearlessly sit in a session with excellent players playing along on the fly with the fact paced tune I've never heard before after I've heard it the first time or two. That learning by ear in my early days was instrumental in that being possible.

If there are no teachers around and the budget is tight I still continue to recommend the Online Academy of Irish Music, which mimics as closely as possible my experience as a student. It is the neighborhood of $20 or 20 pounds a month and is a bargain. The videos give you a sense of a personal teacher, you can contact them with questions, and they build very systematically giving you tunes and ornaments as you go. You can give as much time as you want to a tune. I do believe they still have a trial week for free.

Alternatively a book with a Cd like the Grey Larsen book followed as written will give you a similar foundation, though you don't get to see the man's fingers. HaHa.

But again sometime each day playing long slow notes will help that flute sound better out of the case than in. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 6:55 am 
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I have adjusted my practice sessions taking into account all of the proposed suggestions. Most importantly I am being easier and kinder to myself. You all have helped me reformulate my expectations! I am practicing those longer tones savouring the sound steadiness and quality. I work on fewer and shorter phrases trying to make them sound better. I agree shorter and more frequent practice sessions are easier on my beginner absent embouchure musculature! I already had purchased the Larsen book. My interest in ornaments developed from his book as he brings up ornament practice quite early. I guess this book is directed more towards the intermediate-advanced player. I will look into the online ITM course but presently I take an online lessons with a local player. I look forward to meeting personally with him once this COVID settles down.
I checked out Brother a Steve’s website! Lots of stuff out there on the internet to distract me! Way too much!
I’m checking out the tunes suggested by all you folks.
Thanks once again for all your interest to help me sort this all out. Be safe,
Barry


Last edited by Bcoopmando on Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 7:34 am 
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Good luck Barry. Keep us updated on your progress


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:40 am 
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Location: Hamburg, Germany
I always like to think of flute playing as splitting at the lips - half the work is in front of the lips, but most people forget that the other half happens behind the lips.
(And the other half either side of the head...)

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19th October, 2012:
Flute: Rookery
Flute: Musical Priest
Flute: Swinging on the Gate
Flute: Sally Gardens
4th June 2012:
Flute: Rolling in the Ryegrass, Green Gates
2 April, 2012:
Smallpipes: The Meeting of the Waters. Corn Riggs
Smallpipes: Mrs Hamilton of Pithcaithland


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