MP Day 2: Scaling back


In day 2 of this project it seems I remembered how to play the flute. The goal of the day was control and fluidity, so I slowed everything down and focused on keeping everything even and tension-free. The second day of the schedule is the same as the first, with exercises A, B, C, and D. I slowed the tempo down to 80bpm and concentrated on keeping my air stream steady and constant.

Exercise A was stronger, more even, with a better tone, yet towards the end my right arm started to tense up again. I largely attribute this to how the exercises were composed, as going down to low C or C-sharp puts tremendous strain on the right pinky finger. I have a Bo-Pep finger thumb saddle that I loan out to beginner students sometimes when they're having trouble with right thumb placement or balancing the instrument, so I clipped it on to my own flute to see if it could act as a temporary fix until I found the most comfortable position again. By the end of exercise B I remembered what it was like to hold a flute and removed the saddle. There were a couple minor scales that still gave me some trouble: F and B-flat. I just find them really awkward in the low register.

In C and D, the triads and 7th chords, things went rather smoothly overall, but I'm sure when I raise the tempo again more work will have to be done. D-sharp minor, G-sharp diminished, and Bmaj7 all required very slow, methodical practice just to get them to my already slow tempo. This exercise has been wonderful in showing me where weaknesses are in my technique. It doesn't exactly feel good to know that piece of information, but it's the kind of thing I should know if I don't want my technique to let me down again.

The four little exercises - chromatic and whole tone scales, augmented 5ths and diminished 7ths - were all fairly solid once I remembered that fluid finger control stems largely from good air control. Blowing through the scales and intervals is the only way to really smooth out those bumps that come from uneven fingers (especially cross fingerings! A-sharp to F-sharp is my favourite!).

Overall there was good improvement, as one would expect from slow, methodical practice. Day 3 introduces more difficult exercises, should be fun!


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