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Introduction of Flute Exercises

The most important and useful exercises from different teachers are compiled here alongside my own thoughts and ideas.

 Preparations

1. Start the D - Drone: 

 

2. Start the 60 bpm metronome: 

 

Jig or Reel does not matter. You can change it yourself depending on what mood you are in. Let these be playing in the background all the time, decrease / increase the volume of them both to your liking. Headphones are good but don't have it too loud for too long. Change the drone / bpm from time to time for variation or when you feel like practicing under a different key / tempo, but we will stick with D and 60 bpm for the rest of the exercises. But feel free to change depending on what key / tempo you want to practice. For more variety you can find more drones and play them at the same time to build chords. 

 

3. Have a glass of water next to you.

 

Mental attitude

  • Maintain a consistent tone and a steady tempo no matter what happens.

  • Do not attenuate the tone if you do not hear the metronome. Then you are practicing with a constant weak tone. Play OUT! It should be heard when you play.

  • Listen to HOW the tone sounds and that you are in tune with the metronome.

  • This whole text is primarily about making you more aware of everything that happens when you play.

"Things you do often you will be good at" - Markus Svensson (Teacher at Gotland Folk High School in Hemse). Which means that if you practice playing the tunes too fast and carelessly then you will be GOOD at playing the tunes too fast and carelessly. You do not want that. If you THINK too much then you will be good at THINKING too much which spills out into unnecessary thoughts and comments about your playing.


Always strive for quality before quantity. Nobody wants to play with someone who plays a thousand tunes badly. On the other hand if someone knows that you know "That Tune" very well then they will want to play that tune with you. If you have practised each tune individually, carefully and methodically with metronome, drone and the following exercises, many (if not all) tunes you learn will be of quality.

Take note of the following

  •  Are there any involuntary ornaments? (vibrato, cuts, rolls etc.)

  • How hard is your grip of the instrument?

  • Are there any tensions in your body?

  • Your posture. Are you leaning forward? Are you looking down? Will it get better if you sit or stand?

  • Your embouchure. (emb) Does it feel tense or relaxed? Do you have a so called "Smiley emb"?

  • Are there any involuntary articulations or other separations of the notes? (Eg. consonants like k, t, g, d)

  • Are any thoughts popping up? Are they of any use? Do they affect your playing?

  • When do you feel 100% certain of how the melody goes? Be completely honest with yourself.

  • Have you tuned the instrument? Where have you placed the hole in the headpiece? Have you made the flute longer or shorter? If so, why?

  • Do you make any facial expressions when you play? Almost every expression on your face is some form of comment or reaction to your playing or the music that usually is negative. It also takes unnecessary energy.

  • Do you weaken your tone because you don't hear the metronome or the drone?

  • When you play the wrong note do you make any kind of grimace, swearing or other unnecessary noises? Stop that.

  • When you practice by yourself does it happen that you sometimes fantasize that you are performing in front of an audience in a fictional future or a past situation?

  • Fill in your own points with everything you notice during the exercises.  

Exercise schedule

 

Purpose: To get a flow in the practise and get the feel of development

 

Here's an example of how long and in what order the exercises preferably should be done. See this as a source of inspiration. If you come up with a system that suits you better or if you want to practice something completely different, do so! As long as you are aware of what you are doing.

Tone:

  5min - Long notes

10min - The natural tone scale

10min - Intonation

10min - Whistletones

Fingers:

10min - The Snake

  7min - Rolls & Shortrolls

  7min - Cranns

Tonality:

10min - Chromatics

15min - Träskodansen

10min - Scales

This is a recommendation (feel free to change this however you want). Do the exercises from top to bottom. Get yourself and the body ready BEFORE you learn tunes. You refuel the car before you drive off. You warm up before you run.

If you just want a quicky you can prioritize: The natural tone scale, The Snake and Chromatics.

 

Learn tunes AFTER the exercises for as long as you want or can.

The most important thing is that you become more aware of everything you do and that you feels joy in playing.

 

Good luck!

All exercises are gathered in this video.

       Soon!         

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