We all know that to start of the day, making sure we are ‘toned up’ and ready to meet the challenges and demands of the instrument, along with the session of practice ahead of us, is of major importance.
However, never far away is the possibility that at the beginning of these sessions, we end up playing the same material. Over time, with such a monotonous routine, concentration and committed engagement will steadily fade away and any benefits, if any, will be minimal.
When this occurs, alarm bells should be ringing and loudly so!
The idea behind the seven exercises (one for each day of the week) in Coffee Noodles, is to work on material that will warm up those key areas (fingers, lips, breathing, tongue, stamina and brain), whilst at the same time being stimulating, engaging, enjoyable and comparatively simple to play.
Then, to add some cream into the mix, Coffee Noodles also swing through all the major and minor keys. By doing so, different sounds can be incorporated and our potential to explore expression can be put through its paces.
Because each Coffee Noodle is lengthy, this will take a while. If time to practise is an issue, I suggest that you select one or two different keys from each Noodle and aim to make them as smooth, even and shapely as possible. Everyone knows that G flat major and E flat minor are keys to conveniently brush under the carpet, in the hope that they might fade into the background or even drop off the radar. If though, you can regularly work on these and other ultimately not so threatening ‘irritations’, they might even one day become your friends!
On the other hand, if you have time to kill, playing all the way through a Coffee Noodle, will most definitely provide a more intensely flavoured double espresso start to your day!
Initially, it is of absolute importance to work on these exercises slowly, so as not to ‘bully’ your fingers. They will always appreciate and respond better to a gentle, kind and sympathetic approach. As recognition and muscle memory grow, naturally, the tempo can gradually be notched up.