The first Coffee Noodle is a slightly different take on scales.
The first Coffee Noodle is a slightly different take on scales, broken down into passages that encompass the interval of a perfect fourth.
With conventional scales, fingers raise and lower systematically, but there is little in the way of any form of repetitive action of the fingers, so as such, strengthening this part of our flute playing takes rather too long a period of time before improvements are evident.
However, by repeating small groups of finger movement (in this case a perfect fourth), over a lesser period of time, we can gradually build individual finger strength, that will in turn lead to greater and more confident finger independence. Once this high level of independence is established, we should have greater and more precise control of our overall technique.
Subsequently any doubts or fears on seeing something challenging in the music in front of us, potentially inducing a state of ‘blind panic’, should fade swiftly and even evaporate altogether.
Shape or direction is important in this exercise, if we are to cross the bridge between straightforward technical practice and making music. Hence, dynamic markings are there to encourage us to engage in a musical journey.
Major keys should be played with joy and hope, whilst minor keys can be that little bit more introverted and at times melancholic.
Coming in at just under 27 pages, Coffee Noodle 1 is a bit of a ‘marathon’, but most definitely worth the effort, if you have time.
As with all of these exercises, I would urge you to use the long B flat (not the left hand ‘Briccialdi’ thumb key) as a point of discipline. Of course, in performance it is only logical to use the most economical and sensible fingerings. However, consummate control of the flute, can only truly be achieved by working with the long B flat fingering on a regular basis.
In order to make those horrible ledger line moments in the top octave more palatable, we have spread out such bars so that there are no continuous tram line collisions, where you are obliged to work out exactly where the top of the stave ends and where those rail tracks start!
Hopefully this will also prove to be more comfortable on the eyes and the music easier to read.
There are several examples that can be put up the octave (even the opening C major, if you are happy going up to a top D!) and once you have the Coffee Noodle under your fingers, please do try some of these out in the third octave. You shouldn’t require a degree in rocket science to work out which keys this applies to!
As always with repetitive exercises, start slowly.
I firmly believe that we can’t run before we can walk and success with all Coffee Noodles will come if tension is kept to a minimum and relaxation to a maximum. Let the muscles learn what is expected of them rather than embarking on a detrimental regime of bullying!
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