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The alto workshop was AMAZING. I have photos, I have videos, I have lots of new music, and I have gained a tremendous dose of knowledge!

Highlights include:
1. I can and should use the straight head on my alto! This is HUGE and wonderful and makes me SO HAPPY. I did have to kind of start over since I've been working hard on the curved head. :/
2. My alto is a particularly fine instrument! Despite being a base model, it has a fabulous sound that repeatedly impressed folks at the workshop! I lucked out BIG TIME.
3. I've been doing the harmonics exercises All Wrong. I now know how to do them right!

I have been working on long tones/breathing exercises this past week or two - every other day I'm going through a series of exercises from the Alto Method book. My times are improving a little.I am seeing definite improvement in my ability to "taper" notes, and I'm wasting less air by starting phrases more softly.

I have begun working on 2 of the audition pieces for the alto contest. BLECH. Today was one of those "I suck at everything forever and will never make progress" days. I know that is not true, but we all have those days... I need to pick up the 3rd piece. I keep forgetting to order it, no idea why.

In less happy but important news: I learned not to take my instruments to Dr. Note. He used GLUE to put in my cork on Mercedes (C flute)! Poor baby! Plus, he didn't use the right cork (which probably explains why he needed glue to keep it in place). And he did something untoward with Caroline (my alto), sanding the headjoint or something? Ugh. Thankfully, Judi was able to fix everything and get me back up to snuff.

For Caroline, she did a few adjustments that seem like magic to me... she adjusted my footjoint keys that makes rolling to low C more smooth/comfortable. Fixed a slight leak in a G/F key? And did something to the embouchure hole that improved my ability to get a sound out, too. For whatever reason, the curved head embouchure plays more clearly and easily than the straight head; slight differences in the hand-cut, I believe. And she suggested a lafreQue sound bridge for Caroline that demonstrably improved playability (responsiveness/clarity of tone), so I picked up a set (silver plated red brass). Very Nice.

I'm auditioning flutes to find a back up flute - any locals with a spare flute hit me up! At present, I might be buying a used Trevor James student flute from Judi... plays easily and is being offered at a nice discount.

Out of time!! more later!
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Since the KCFC performance season has ended and my alto workshop is a few weeks off, I took my flutes into Dr. Note for a look-over. Word on the street is he's good for minor repairs/basic maintenance things, where as for work requiring more expertise (intricate work, flute overhauls, etc) Judy is the place to go. The cork in my C flute needed replaced, and the B key on my alto needed adjustment. Just under $50 for both. Nice!

I'll be spending most of my summer focusing on alto flute, starting with the Alto/Bass Flute Retreat in June! Looking forward to that! Already have my music, and working to set up my lesson the day before. I had a long lesson with Gina this past Wednesday. We made more progress on my balance issues. I wish I could just use the straight head, darn it.

A friend encouraged me to go to the International Low Flutes Convention next year, and to enter the competition. Don't know how I feel about that right now. Part of me is all GO FOR IT!!! while the other part is hesitant. Like I need another thing to do, y'know? We'll see how this first workshop turns out. :)

For now, I'm going to log a little bit of practice time w/ my newly cleaned & adjusted alto!
gracegrey: (Default)
UUUUGH!! My alto flute practicing is not going well! I guess I didn't break the flute, so that's something. Killed some music. :(

My embouchure is LOUSY today. Maybe because my lips are really chapped? Or I've been chewing the insides of my cheeks too much?

My tone is thin & unsteady, intonation non-existent. Still struggling with balance issues; find a good balance, my posture isn't comfortable for fingering on the left hand. Adjust for the hand, then my air gets all screwy. Just a lost cause. Gonna wipe out the flute and turn my efforts to something else.

I am REALLY looking forward to the Chris Potter workshop this summer!
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Today's practicing didn't feel very good. I have a tendency to flub when descending scales. From my last lesson, this is most likely a breath support issue. Gotta keep that push-out of the abdomen, which still feels like some kind of unnatural contortion. Warmed up on The Swan (arr Allred). I hate that piece.

I wonder if I sound like an alto flute, or like a C flute on an alto instead? I don't have any basis for comparison.

Worked on Suite in A minor by Telemann (arr for alto/alto/bass flute trip by Chris Potter). m72-73 in the middle of some 8th notes it shifts from piano to forte. Pretty sure I run out of air before I can make that happen.

Did some repositioning of my head joint to improve the balance of holding the flute. Altos are longer and considerably heavier than C flutes. As a person with short arm, I am trying hard to learn to play with the curved head joint instead of the straight. I like straight better, but long-term use will not be a good choice for shoulder/arm/elbow/wrist health. The curved headjoint is a dire fire ant of a beast to balance easily. I want to balance comfortably enough that I can turn my attention to sound and air support; currently my attention is divided with anxiety of dropping the flute... :/

Spent the rest of my practice time on the Quartet #13 in A minor (arr Allred). Sometimes, I'm playing along just fine and suddenly *dead silence*. No noise coming out! Might be a positioning issue from the tricky balancing. I need to hold still when I play more. Weaving around destroys my balance and positioning, not to mention air direction.

Not all practicing feels like progress, even when it is. I certainly got through the tricky rhythms in 69-90 lot easier than last week! That's something.
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Tonight's brief practice was on an arrangement of the above for flute choir. I'm on alto flute, and this is very, very hard. I was struggling with some rhythms around measure 78, so I looked it up on YouTube and listened a few times, then played along.

I've got a long ways to go with building up the hand strength to support the weight of an alto flute while moving my fingers really, really fast!

No miracles will happen on this piece; I will have to drill diligently to develop muscle memory.

I do see where my part fits in the piece now, and I understand the "string style." It seems to me like flutes are always being pushed to mimic strings. I find this tedious. I hope as I am exposed to more repertoire I will find some pieces where a flute can be a flute instead of a violin.
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