The first Coffee Noodle is a slightly different take on scales.
With conventional scales, fingers raise and lower, but there is little in the way of a repetitive action of the fingers, so strengthening this part of our flute playing in this way takes rather too long a period of time before improvements are evident. However, by repeating small groups of finger movement, we can over a lesser period of time gradually build individual finger strengths that will in turn lead to confident finger independence. If we have this independence, then we should have good control of our overall technique and the thought on seeing something challenging of ‘blind panic’, should be less at the forefront and swiftly fade.
Shape or direction is also important in this exercise, if we are to cross the bridge between straightforward technical practice and making music. Hence, dynamic markings are here 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 ‘monster’, 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 fingering. However, consummate control of the flute throughout, can only be achieved by working with that 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 should be no tram line collisions, whilst you try 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.
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. 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 of these 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 regime of bullying!
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