Seasons, and a Practice Idea

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Great for practice breaks

Great for practice breaks

I have been thinking about practicing freely and vacation time from the flute. In the past, I have put the flute down for long periods of time (8 weeks was my longest break, when I was juggling a big decision of where to settle down). However, despite my long vacation time this year I realized how much I enjoy vacation practice when the sun is warm and everyone is relaxed and enjoying themselves. I play a bit, go pick some raspberries, play some more, sit in the sun and read. It is a healthy rhythm that is denied to me under normal circumstances.

When the weather is cold or rainy (like most of the time where I live), I just want to be under a blanket curled up with a cup of tea. When temperatures climb over 20 Celsius (ca. 69 Fahrenheit), most of the people around me start complaining how warm it is, but that is when I come alive and want to actually accomplish something (maybe because I am a snake, according to the Chinese horoscope).

So I took breaks from the flute this summer, but only a few days at a time. Now I face the challenge of a new season with a dizzying amount of pieces to prepare. How can I stay free and relaxed? I took a very simple idea from traveling. When on the road, the simple thing to do is count your bags so you don’t leave them behind. Don’t worry about how big or what color, just count them. In flute practice, I will try to do this with my stress points, just count them. At the moment I have 3, so when I re-take the flute after a break or a breath, or when I stop a passage, I do a count. It is so much simpler than thinking: right shoulder-blade out, left shoulder down, lower back open. Just 1-2-3 and I am aligned again. So stress gets left behind, not good practice habits 🙂

Just for the my records and for those who give a rat’s, here are the pieces I will be performing between the 22nd of August and the 18th of November. (Not including December because I am not sure yet, but there will be concerts!)

Solo:
Rebecca Saunders – Bite for bass flute (premiere)
Farzia Fallah – Poshte Hichestan (premiere for C flute)

Ensemble:
Gordon Kampe – Arien/Zitronen
Tom Johnson – Self Portrait
G. Ligeti – Aventures/Nouvelles Aventures
Frank Zappa – Black Page and other works
Edgar Varese – Ionisation (Castanets and Guiro)
Luciano Berio – Points on a Curve to Find
Steve Reich – Radio Rewrite
Harry Partch – Delusion of the Fury
Hanspeter Kyburz – Danse Aveugle
Toshio Hosokawa – Slow Dance
Michael Finnessy – MuFa
John Cage – 16 Dances
Liza Lim – Tree of Codes (opera)
Claudia Molitor – Walking with Partch
Harry Partch – Li Po “Intruder’ (maybe!)
Michael WertmĂĽller – antagonisme controle
G. Kurtag – Bagatellen
Enno Poppe – Stoff 

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