Despite constant reminders by our teachers to do so, we often struggle to come up with a disciplined routine for our practice sessions. Even though we might start with good intentions, as the exercises we need to work on are invariably to be found in numerous books, our concentration momentarily becomes diverted, as we close one book, put it on a table, pick up the next, place it on the music stand, open it at the relevant page, pick up the flute and then get ready to start work again. We might even spare a few moments for a visit to the kitchen to put the kettle on!
That all important initial momentum will have been lost. Of course, as we gradually get back into playing, we will hopefully regain those high levels of focus, but time is of crucial importance and in particular when practising. We should be aiming to use it as efficiently and profitably as possible. Breaks in concentration, however small, are rarely beneficial.
There is now a substantial collection of exercises and studies, covering all essential areas of flute work on the Simply Flute website. However, by using conventional technology, to access the next exercise requires us to close one page and open another. Although the amount of time taken up in order to do this is comparatively brief, even with high internet speeds, clicking merrily away on a computer keyboard becomes a further distraction. Any focus and momentum already gained will have been lost.
However, by utilising further aspects of available technology, we believe that we might have come up with a viable and dynamically refreshing new alternative, with Practice Wizard!
Following concepts laid out in the Four Pillars Exercises on the website, with one continuous progressive pdf file to be downloaded, printed off or read off the screen, Practice Wizard, at Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced levels, can take subscribers through a dedicated and uninterrupted routine, using selected exercises from the various sections of the site. These cover the established disciplines of Breathing and Phrasing, Fingerwork, Articulation and Intervals, with each section clearly marked.
In order to break up the musical limitations often associated with continuous exercise work and to provide further stimulation, at all three levels, selections of studies by Gallay and Köhler and single movement Sonatas by Rabboni, have been interspersed into the groups. These in turn provide an opportunity to explore the improvements gained from practising the various exercises, whilst at the same time integrating them into examples of the music we play.
Variety is of course crucially important in a regular practice regime and this is guaranteed with two clearly marked complete sets of exercises and studies in every pdf folder, which can either be alternated or combined as you wish. By providing added variety with a Session 1 and Session 2 of exercises in every file, progress should be clearly evident and swift. There should be no danger of boredom creeping into your dedicated regime!
The music from both sets can be independently organised in such a way to create a personalised workbook. Once downloaded, should you wish to, sections may be moved around, in the process creating a practice schedule to suit the disciplines which you feel warrant greater attention and time.
You might choose to work straight through either Session 1 or Session 2, or mix and match. For example, you may prefer to start with Session 1: Breathing and Phrasing and then move to Session 2: Fingerwork, Session 2: Study 2, Session 1: Articulation, Session 2: Intervals, finishing with Session 1: Study 1.
Playing through the exercises in each group will lead to some technical progress. However, a speedier, more complete and beneficial journey will be realised if participants follow the imbedded links to detailed descriptions, along with specific instructions and demonstrations by myself, to be found on the Simply Flute website. In following this advice, rather than merely focusing on a selection of exercises to work through, you will effectively be receiving a much more in depth lesson from me on every single exercise. We should always be curious and inquisitive as to how and why!
This particular thought train is very much at the heart of Simply Flute, both now and in the future.
The scope for variety with this innovative new product is of course enormous. As Simply Flute progresses, the aim is to grow Practice Wizard and along with my exercises, editions of further studies by Soussmann, Berbiguier, Köhler, Rabboni, Briccialdi, Andersen and others, will increasingly become an integral part of this section of the site.
Our subscription starts at just £4.99 per month or £45 per year.
More than 1750 pages of sheet music and text to work on and download and in excess of 370 performance and demonstration videos, with play along piano accompaniments