Things I wish I had spent more time on as a student:
- Sight reading
- Scales in intervals of a sixth – and sevenths and ninths! There are too many of those intervals flying around in contemporary music.
- Improving my writing skills
- Yoga or sports
- Learning acoustics. I wasted a lot of time trying to blow, blow, blow in order to play loudly. A little studying to understand how the flute sound is produced and travels will really help.
- Practicing piano or harpsichord to keep up my keyboard skills. They do come in handy, especially for arranging and teaching.
Oh dear, this list could go on if I list everything I wish I had studied more of (traverso, Jazz), and it will lose the thread of attempting to make a sort of temporal commentary on my past, hopefully with some relevance to students of the present. Besides, one does not have to be a student to study these things.
Things I wish I had spent less time on:
- Studying for academic stuff that would go in and out of my short-term memory. (OK, grades are important for academic scholarships and grants, or if you are going to continue studying. But if getting a playing job is your next step, consider signing up for something physical instead of academic.) Nobody looking to hire me as a flutist has given a crap that I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh way back in the 20th Century.
- Soliciting criticism at random. It’s great to play for as many people as possible and to be exposed to many points of view, but the earlier you can choose people you trust to be honest and constructively critical about your abilities, the better.
These lists will probably grow as my experiences sift through time.
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