Gentle Warm-ups To Start The Day, Coffee Noodle 5.
Working on our fingers is neither easy, nor comfortable.
As already indicated, the very fact that we have to spend so much time on this subject in our daily practice routines, highlights the bottom line that our hands were not necessarily designed with the initial idea of them being used to play flutes. There are also no short cuts.
However, the human body is an amazing piece of apparatus and as we see time and time again, it is more than capable of becoming adapted to the various tasks demanded of it.
As I have mentioned many times in the past, it is as important to have strength in lifting the fingers away from the keywork, as it is to utilise that strength when pressing down the keys.
We are very familiar with the concept of closing our hands swiftly, but rarely do we open them in haste, unless we touch something hot or sharp. In which case, this process is more of an ‘emergency’ or reflex reaction, making the natural opening action of the fingers weaker.
To establish a smooth and fluid finger operation on the flute, over a period of time, we need to encourage this opening movement to become stronger and as equal to the closing one.
It is also worth remembering that we are not simply closing and opening holes with our fingers. There is mechanism and metal between us and the note that has to be shifted prior to the hole or holes being closed or opened. This in turn means that we are just that little bit more detached from what we are doing and as a result will need to compensate for something that potentially can reduce our aims of musical expression.
Coffee Noodle 5 focuses on this and over time, will hopefully create a greater feeling of connection and of independence in the fingers, in particular with those decidedly unruly characters in the fourth and fifth fingers of both hands!
As always, fingers are to be coaxed and never bullied.
In terms of a work plan, take one key (for now let us use C major as the example) and play the exercise at crotchet or quarter note equals 60. Repeat this, each time gradually increasing the metronome marking. There will come a point where everything feels uncomfortable and out of control. This is the time to stop.
The following day, start the same exercise, but at crotchet or quarter note equals 63 (in other words just that little bit faster than day one). The next day start at 66 and so on. In this way, over a period of time, evenness and fluidity will become more certain and will be executed with greater ease.
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