10- 15 minutes flute practise drills.

10- 15 minutes flute practise drills.

I will give the flute another try.
I will not try to play tunes
I will try to play just a little bit at a time but frequently
What would be nice drills, total about 10-15 minutes?

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Re: 10- 15 minutes flute practise drills.

Check out Brendan Mulholland’s recently launched online flute school. Some great exercises on that.

Re: 10- 15 minutes flute practise drills.

I’ve also played flute, and my advice from fiddle applies. Based on the video clip Ketil posted recently, I’d suggest focusing time on embouchure, breath support, and finding the most effortless way to play. You can certainly do long tone, interval jump, and other exercises to do this in a concentrated way, but it’s also possible (and way more fun) to develop the same skills and awareness by playing tunes (also in a concentrated way).

When I was first starting out on flute, I developed my embouchure by playing long tones—I did this mostly by playing slow tunes (and then at a slower tempo than usual), and really focusing on the embouchure and tone quality. The tunes held my interest, I learned how to transition between a wide range of note combinations and hold a strong tone, and it helped me think about breath support and breathing within a tune. Waltzes, polkas played as airs, and genuine slow airs all worked well for this. Things like Inisheer, Aran Boat, Skye Boat Song, Eleanor Plunkett….

Similarly, I found tunes with octave or large interval jumps to work on that, for example, McGoldrick’s Jig, Pigtown Fling, O’Keeffe’s Polka, etc.

The key to this approach is to pay serious attention to the skills, techniques, concepts that you’re focused on. The tunes are there to provide context. The goal is to gain the skills, etc., and do it *musically* by making actual music. This helps sustain the "lightheartedness" you mentioned in a previous post.

10 to 15 minutes isn’t much, especially for developing tone. Ketil, do you plan on picking up the flute only once per day for that amount of time? Or can you do that several (ideally at least 3 or 4) times a day? It’s fine to do short blocks and then take a break, but you’ll make more progress the more time you can put in overall. I say this knowing that you’ll be playing whistle and pipes as well, and no doubt there’s a day job too. 🙂

FWIW, I think it’s fine to use exercises if that’s what floats your boat. I just prefer the tuneful approach, as it was given to me by several brilliant trad musicians.

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Re: 10- 15 minutes flute practise drills.

I just glanced at the Brendan Mulholland classes mentioned above (https://www.brendanmulholland.com/gigs-and-workshops), and in his demo video, introducing the beginner course, he apparently starts by teaching the song, The Sally Gardens.

Seems like he uses a blend of tunes and exercises. Looks like an excellent program. If you don’t have access to an in-person mentor (or even if you do), this would be a great way to focus your learning.

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Re: 10- 15 minutes flute practise drills.

In fact, each of Mulholland’s lessons centers on a tune.

Tunes as learning etudes, what a novel notion. 😉

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Re: 10- 15 minutes flute practise drills.

If you look in Brendan’s technical video section Gimpy you will see he also provides exercises outwith tune settings.

Re: 10- 15 minutes flute practise drills.

NormanB, I’m glad to hear it! As I said before, "Seems like he uses a blend of tunes and exercises."

Another lens for looking at the overlap between isolated exercises and learning within tunes is to point out that they’re not mutually exclusive. You can do both. You can also choose how much time to spend doing one or the other.

In other words, it’s not that I’ve never done isolated technique exercises, but when I did, I used them far less frequently than tunes, they were nearly always derived from actual tunes, and I did them only as long as needed to get the idea and the kinetics into whatever of my appendages was the focus. Then I moved that skill into a tune and played the tune to hardwire the new skill into my head. On balance, such exercises have been less than 10% of the time I’ve spent learning, the other 90+% being skill-focused tune playing.

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Re: 10- 15 minutes flute practise drills.

An argument presented to me for using etudes rather than real pieces to practice is that you don’t spoil the real pieces for yourself by associating them with often frustrating technical struggles and endless repetition.
Also, etudes are usually written to focus on certain technical trouble areas and they concentrate a lot of the hard stuff into a small amount of playing.

Re: 10- 15 minutes flute practise drills.

Good points Crackpot.

I’ve sometimes wondered if certain tunes (particularly in Scottish trad) developed as intentional skill builders.

Can’t say I’ve ever felt a tune was "spoiled" by my own frustration, but maybe I’m overly selective, only playing the easy tunes. 😉

As for "endless repetition," that, in a nutshell, is what we trad musicians do, yes?

The notion of packing an etude with a chosen challenge is a good one, a way of concentrating on the "problem" in the least amount of space and time. For this reason, I’ll sometimes loop just a phrase or section of tune to woodshed on a specific bit. More focused than playing through the whole tune, but still addressing the bit within the context of the tune. I’ll stick with this approach until someone starts writing etudes for Irish trad. 🙂

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Re: 10- 15 minutes flute practise drills.

Thank you all!
I’ll go for easy, slow tunes I know well with skill-focused playing

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