2019 January New Year Inspiration - FATB 3

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Playing Tips for Flute Players by Zoë Booth

Warm-Ups for Flute Players - Improve Your Playing by Exercises by Zoë Booth (published by Pipeblower Publishing, RRP £8.95)

If you’ve enjoyed Zoë’s hints and tips for free here, you can also purchase her book, packed with loads more exercises and in-depth descriptions  - a beautifully presented treat for yourself or a  flute-playing friend!

“Thank you. It’s brilliant! Looking forward to my practice session tomorow.”

“I love the prescriptions for 30 minute and 10 minute warm-ups; it’s easy to work out which exercises to do with limited time.”

January 2019
This month: New Year Inspiration!

Welcome to my flute-playing free Hints and Tips Page; a new page is posted here on the first day of each month.

Happy New Year! Looking back, 2018 has been a wonderful year for FATB, certainly achieving plenty of successes on a big and small scale, whether you're talking about the milestone of getting to our 50th residential course, holding the most FATB Flute Days so far, or the many inspiring "firsts" and performances achieved by FATBers - these are particularly satisfying and moving when we've been involved in the journey through lessons, classes and workshops over the course (or, in many cases, several courses)! Congratulations and huge thanks to everyone who contributed - let's make 2019 another FATB year to remember!

After all the celebrations, the new year - for many of us - feels like a time to get stuck back in achieving our goals, and why should our flute-playing be any different. So how are we going remain inspired in 2019, what do you want to achieve from your playing? It's great to have a goal, which is often where attending a flute course comes in, however I know some of you are brave enough to even go for an exam or diploma to this end? Perhaps this is the year you're going to finally get that grade five theory (a prerequisite of the high grade exams) that's been holding you back - working through the workbooks breaks this down into easily manageable steps, and there is also a new ABRSM Theory App - 'Theory Works' - which tests you in a fun way (although I still recommend revision through completing some past papers too). In terms of exams, we all know about the grades, but do you know about the ABRSM Performance Assessment (PA) and ABRSM ARSM Diploma? Both of these require no supporting tests such as scales, sight-reading and aural! The PA has no prerequisite at all, and you can also prepare your own programme (up to 15 minutes); on the day you perform to an ABRSM Examiner and receive immediate written (and, if time, oral) feedback. The ARSM (a lettered diploma qualification) has the prerequisite of grade 8, and the repertoire (up to 30 minutes) comes from a specified list; like the PA, both these exams can be easily booked at your local ABRSM centre, to be taken at the end of any of the three terms. Of course, if you are booked onto a Flute Day or Flute Course, there are more performance opportunities to be had in the masterclasses and - on the residential courses - daily Participant Concerts!

If you've just read that paragraph and broken out into a sweat at the thought of performing in front of other people, maybe your goals lie elsewhere?! The question of why we perform is a long and complicated one, but - if we've ever prepared to do so and gone through with it - we know how much it has brought our playing on. If you're very shy of playing in front of others, maybe you can introduce the idea in a bitesize way, perhaps by aiming to record yourself (for your own private use) initially, working up through playing to close friends or family before you feel ready to perform in front of a teacher or audience? More experienced performers: if you've played a piece in performance, I know how tempting it is to then put it to one side, but maybe this year could be the year to take what you learn from performance forward into a second or third outing of the same repertoire? Speaking from experience of this in my own playing, and encouraging many of my pupils to do the same, there is SO much to be gained in this way. Similarly - as recently demonstrated on the "Free Your Playing" Flute Day - pushing yourself to engage with the music from memory might be an ideal goal for those who are used to public playing and looking for the next challenge - it's so worthwhile to take music-making to the next level!

Long-term goals aside, let's go and get practising! No matter how short a session you might get, grab your flute at any occasion - in a busy life, lots of five minute practices can really add up, particularly if you have to admit that the alternative of waiting to find an hour with nothing to do (!) is, realistically, a myth! When you get to practise, make sure you enjoy it! That doesn't necessarily mean sight-reading all the time, or just playing repertoire - if you've never given a real "go" to short, targeted exercises (as are so commonly featured on this monthly page), you might not realise how satisfying it can be to focus on the basics and notice yourself making noticeable progress over a month - often these techniques can immediately be employed elsewhere! To get us started right this minute, let's do some harmonics, long notes and fast finger control, as found here:

Click here to open January 2019 New Year Inspiration (.pdf)>>

One quick final word of advice - set those goals, but don't defeat yourself! I'll let you be the judge of that, and I hope you have an inspiring start to the year!

Happy flute-ing,


P.S. Please send your questions and comments to me at info@flutesatthebarns.com
P.P.S. If you haven't yet seen, I've just opened booking for several new FATB courses in 2019 and 2020!

February 2019: The Lowest Notes

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