Gentle Warm-ups To Start The Day, Coffee Noodle 5.
Working on our fingers is neither easy nor comfortable. 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!
However, the human body is an amazing piece of apparatus and as we see time and time again, it is more than capable of being 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.
Under normal circumstances therefore, it would follow that the opening action is weaker. To establish a smooth and fluid finger operation on the flute, we need to encourage this opening movement to become stronger and equal to the closing one. We also should remember that these actions are required not just to open and close a hole but also to operate the mechanism on the instrument.
Coffee Noodle 5 focuses on this and over time, will hopefully create a greater feeling of independence in the fingers, in particular with those decidedly unruly characters in the 4th and 5th 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 1). 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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