5 Ways for Intermediate-Advanced Flute Players to Improve Their Practice
Updated: Oct 17, 2021
Hello fluters! Welcome back to another blog post. Today I'll be going through five ways for intermediate-advanced flute players to improve their practice.
Remember this is only my personal advice so if you already have a flute teacher, you should consult with them for suggestions tailored to your specific situation. These tips can just be some extra information for you to consider alongside the advice you receive from your teacher.
Let's get started!
1. Come up with a weekly practice plan
One of the easiest things for an intermediate-advanced flute player to do to improve their practice is to come up with a structured weekly plan. You can start by listing all the short-term technical exercises and pieces you need to be working on.
It's very easy for us to fall into the trap of only practising certain skills/pieces that we like and neglect the things that we aren't as fond of doing. Scheduling pieces/technical exercises across the week can help you stay focused and manage your workload evenly.
The key is to have a schedule in place to help you get through everything on your list during the week.
I know during peak performance months, I physically can’t get through everything on my list in one day, so I like to split my entire workload across two to three days of practice. This means I get to practise everything on my list at least twice during the week.
2. Split your practice session into sections
Splitting each practice session into sections can ensure that you aren't spending too much time on certain aspects of your playing, helping you stay focused, on-task and encourage you to become more efficient with your practice time.
Now that you have your weekly practice plan, you can now create a plan for each individual practice session.
Here is an example on how you can structure a one-hour practice session:
1hr practice session:
20-minutes tone (long-notes, interval exercises)
20-minutes technique (scales, exercises)
20-minutes repertoire (studies, pieces)
3. Know what's happening within 6 months
It's important to make sure that you keep an eye out on the repertoire you need to have ready within a six to eight month period.
Take a look at your list of repertoire and prioritise works via the date they need to be ready by or their difficulty level.
Having an idea of what I need to be working over six to eight months informs me on how I can make each of my practise sessions work towards a bigger picture.
This way you can keep track of everything and avoid accidentally missing repertoire you need to learn.
4. Record yourself
You've probably heard this from various teachers already, but a good way to gain some insights to your own playing is to record yourself.
I know that the extra pressure of doing a recording can be quite unpleasant, however if you are able to make it through, you'll end up with a very useful tool for constructive feedback.
Recordings can also be a great opportunity for you to discover some things about your playing that you wouldn't be aware of otherwise.
You don't need any fancy equipment to do this - recording yourself through the voice memo app of your phone will suffice.
5. Practise 'performing'
So often we get caught up in fixing little details and doing minute corrections that we lose sight of the piece as a whole.
I am definitely guilty of this - when you get used to playing in a small boxy room, especially during lockdown, it can be easy to neglect practising your performance skills.
It can be useful to dedicate a couple of practice sessions during the week to performing an entire piece or excerpt list from start to finish.
When you set your intention to practise performing, try to resist the urge to go back and correct something if you make a mistake. This way you can simulate a real performance scenario and test out your stamina. Plus you can always go back and work whatever you like when you return to normal practise-mode again.
I also find it very helpful to record my practice performances because you can use the camera as your audience.
The bonus is that you can also listen back to your 'performance' for additional feedback!
So those are five ways for an intermediate-advanced flute player to improve their practice. I hope that these tips will help your pratice in some way or at least give you some food for thought.
For more flute-related resources please feel free to check out my other blog posts! Happy fluting and see you in the next post!