Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What is your favorite practice ritual?

A: Because my high school flute teacher loved coffee, I forever associate flute lessons and flute practicing with coffee!  My favorite practice ritual is to wash my face, put my hair in a ponytail and have a fresh cup of coffee as my companion while I play my flute! 
Terri Sanchez - Carrollton, TX

A: My favorite practice ritual is to do warmups from my book!  
Paula Robison - Boston, MA

The Paula Robison Flute Warmups Book: 
Musical, Physical, Psychological Warmups for flutists of all ages!  

European American Music Corporation, 1989

A: Practice time, for me, happens at the same time of day that all the real "work" in my house gets done - after my kids are in bed.  For this reason, I invented a new word - practicleaning. I practice for 15 minutes, clear the dining room table, practice for 20 minutes, start some laundry, practice for 10 minutes, scrub the pots and pans, practice for 25 minutes, transfer the clothes from the washer to the dryer, practice for 15 minutes, put away some toys, practice for 25 minutes... you get the idea!  I try to be very focused with those practice "chunks", always asking, "What can I accomplish in these next few minutes? What is my goal?"  I let nothing distract me.  By splitting up my practice time, it recharges my brain.  I'm less likely to fall into the zombie-style of practicing, when I'm just going through the motions and not actually accomplishing anything.  Practicleaning lets me hone flute skills, AND keep an orderly house...  at least until the kids wake up!  
Jocelyn Goranson - Commerce, TX

I like to practice in the morning after walking the dog and having breakfast. If I have something coming up I have to promise myself not to touch the computer until I've practiced for at least an hour. (I don't always keep that promise:(. I start with tone studies on both flute and piccolo. Flute--harmonics, long tones, extended intervals... on piccolo I do a long tone exercise and couple of the exercises from Patricia Morris' Piccolo Study Book. Then I take one key a day and do a variety of scales/arpeggio exercises in that key then I rotate between the Maquarre, Stallman, Barrere's Flutist Formula, Gilbert's Sequences. the Flutist Vade Mecum and the Flute Scale book. From there i move to etudes...either sightreading or working on a technique that needs improvement for an upcoming performance. Finally, I work on whatever I have coming up or some new music if I've entered a "dry" period. If I have a piccolo performance, I tend to focus mostly on piccolo. Nan Raphael - Washington D. C. 

My favorite practice ritual is a bit wacky (at best, unique), I must admit.  I brush my teeth (have to have a clean mouth my teacher, Albert Tipton used to say), I light  candle and name off 3 things I'm grateful for in that moment, I light my favorite incense, Nag Champa, and sip my favorite herbal tea.  Ahhhh.... wonderful!  Ready to start my difference tone tuning exercises to tune my sound, my flute, my Self... HA! Viviana Guzman - San Francisco, CA

I almost always practice with the television on.  I find it easier for my conscious to focus if my subconscious is occupied :-). Nicole Esposito - Iowa City, IA

Chai tea and CNN on mute. Mercedes Smith - Houston, TX

My favorite place to practice is in my teacher's (Brad Garner) office when he is not there, because I can still imagine him correcting everything I play! It makes me hold myself to the same high standard that I would in a lesson! Shauna Kay Thompson - Cincinnati, OH