Posts Tagged ‘Boulder flute teacher’

Staying (Musically) Fit

May 7, 2010

By Hollie Bennett, Intern at The Lesson Studio

There are many benefits to staying in shape. It keeps you in a better mood by setting off various endorphins that keep you happier and more relaxed. It helps you deal with or prevent chronic diseases, manage your weight, boost your energy level, and promotes better sleep. It improves your skin, keeps your bones strong, strengthens your muscles, plus you’ll be able to fit into your old pair of jeans that you cast away into the farthest corner of your bottom drawer.  It lowers your heart rate, boosts your immune system, and enhances the blood flow to your brain. Whether it’s lifting weights, running on a treadmill, walking around the park with the dog, swimming laps, or riding your bike, anything that gets your heart moving and gets you a little out of breath works. So many benefits and one of the most rewarding, for myself, is the way exercising regularly affects the way I play my instrument.

Making music requires a lot of control and regular exercise helps you to develop your muscles so they can work in more intricate ways. One of the most important parts of your body to playing any instrument, wind, string, percussion, etc. or even singing can be your core. Your abdominal and back muscles control your posture and air intake and support. These are very important components to maintaining good control while practicing or performing. Also keeping muscles like your arms and legs helps when standing or playing an instrument for long periods of time. Also, I feel like exercising regularly can help you deal with performance nerves. When you run, bike or swim, it helps to build up the strength of your lungs which can be the first to suffer when you become nervous. Not taking deep enough breaths or not being able to maintain steady airflow are very common occurrences when a performer becomes nervous. The stronger your lungs are, the more likely they are to not go into “survival mode” and cause you to lose focus on what really matters: the music.

The Little Things

April 22, 2010

By Mike Gersten, Woodwinds Instructor at The Lesson Studio

Mike Gersten, Woodwinds Instructor at The Lesson Studio

Mike Gersten

You may be familiar with the expression “it’s the little things that count”.  In track winners can be decided by a tenth of a second; in baseball an inch can decide whether a pitch is a ball or a strike; and being just a little out of tune can turn an amazing performance into a catastrophe.  When it comes to practicing and taking care of a woodwind instrument it is the little things that make all the difference.  This Sunday I’ll be doing a woodwinds workshop at the lesson studio and I’ll be talking about little things we all can do as woodwind players to help make us better players.  Here is a little preview:

We all know that we need to practice in order to get better, but no one has a lot of time.  By using certain practice techniques you can maximize the efficiency of your practice sessions.  Now, I won’t tell you that you’ll be able to learn a very difficult piece in five minutes.  This isn’t a late-night infomercial.  However, I will say that these techniques will help you learn to play the music well in the quickest way possible.

What good is knowing how to play your instrument if you’re instrument doesn’t work?  You’re instrument should run like a well-oiled machine.  After all, your instrument is a machine with you as the motor.  We will discuss how to take care of your reeds, keys, and pads so your instrument will sound its best and you can avoid hefty repair costs.

In addition to these topics we will talk about listening to music and anything you else you want!  Feel free to bring your instrument and any music you are currently working on or have questions about.  Please call The Lesson Studio to reserve your spot as space is limited.  Oh yeah, did I mention that it’s FREE!  See you there!

Colorado Flute Association’s 2010 Flute Day with Jill Felber

April 18, 2010

By Hollie Bennett, Intern at The Lesson Studio

This year’s flute fair with the Colorado Flute Association was a Saturday full of fun flute activities and amazing performances by local flutists in the area. The day began with a warm-up class run by Ysmael Reyes, a local private flute instructor, performer and recent DMA graduate of the University of Colorado. He taught his warm up fundamentals and really exposed the importance of cementing good playing habits from the moment a flutist brings their flute to their face at the very beginning of the day. Dividing routine into three basic areas (breath control, tone, and technique) he went through each showing different ways of developing each with examples from standard exercises books for the flute including Taffanel and Gaubert’s 17 Daily Exercises, Marcel Moyse’s Daily Exercises for the Flute and De La Sonorité, Robert Dick’s Tone Development Through Extended Techniques, and M.A. Reichert’s Seven Daily Exercises for the Flute.

After the warm-up class, there were several great performances beginning with those in the master class led by Jill Felber, professor of flute at University of California at Santa Barbara. It began with Syrinx by Claude Debussy played by Erin Miller, a senior at Douglas County High School and student of Jayne Copland. Then continued on to the fourth movement of the Undine Sonata, Op. 167 by Carl Reinecke played by Sasha Haft, undergraduate student of Christina Jennings at the University of Colorado. Followed by Three Preludes by Robert Muczynski played by Andrew Steward, student of Pam Endsley, and finally, Voice for solo flute by Toru Takemitsu played by Cobus DuToit, graduate student of Christina Jennings at the University of Colorado. Ms. Felber’s charismatic teaching helped each performer learn even more about their and refine their musical ideas. Following the master class was a wonderful Flute Choir concert featuring Boulder Suzuki Flutes, Colorado State University’s Flute Choir, and Longs Peak Flute Ensemble.

After these performances Ms. Felber led a workshop: Extreme Makeover – Flute Edition. this workshop covered topics that she covers in a six week course at her university in only an hour. Speeding through each exercise, Ms. Felber covered their importance and long term and short term benefits from practicing each. After the workshop, a flute choir reading session was run by Carolyn Keyes, graduate student of Christina Jennings and then to finish the day, a recital performed by Ms. Felber and pianist, Robert Koenig including pieces by Charles-Marie Widor, Albert Franz Doppler, and Shirish Korde.

Another Flute Day is coming up on April 24, 2010 at Mesa State College in Grand Junction with Rhonda Larson!

Meet other flute players!

February 23, 2010

By: Hollie Bennett, CU Intern at The Lesson Studio

Music is a social activity.  Meeting new people by playing in small or large ensembles such as duets, chamber groups, bands, etc., is one of the most basic parts of playing music that many people overlook as being as important.  Not only do you meet new people but you also can celebrate your love for music and personal growth with people you care about. In my opinion, this is the best part of music. It brings people together.

Although this is such a great aspect of music, it can also be the scariest. The way we criticize ourselves as musicians automatically seems to carry over into what we assume others think of us. Anyone has been nervous about performing in front of others, even if the people you are performing for aren’t going to judge you musically in any way, the nerves kick in causing us to not be the best we can be. Once you overcome those nerves of playing for someone else, it can show such beneficial results. As a stepping stone of getting there, playing with someone else can really help you get to where you want to be whether that’s playing your favorite etude in a round with the person who sits next to you in band class at school or just sight reading duets with your roommate or brother/sister. Doing something new with your musical routine can help you grow as a musician in different ways.

With some instruments, finding a group of people of people to play with can be more accessible than with some. As a flute player, it can be easier than you think. Joining a group like the Colorado Flute Association (or the CFA as most flutists call it) can link you in with other flutists in your area. Even if you don’t really want to pay the membership fee to become a part of this organization, you can always just visit their website. There you can find directories ranging from links for maintenance shops specializing in repairing flutes ranging from piccolo to bass flute, music groups to participate in such as flute choirs, orchestras, bands, and festivals, and even reputable flute teachers in your area. They even have information about local flute fairs coming up where you can meet other flute players your own age, sit in or participate in master classes, and learn all kinds of new things about your flute and your playing. So stretch out of your box and find a flute choir in your area or maybe even attend the next Flute Fair! (March 6th with Jill Felber on CU-Boulder’s campus)

Rock That Flute!

January 20, 2010
Flute instructor Michael Gersten, The Lesson Studio

Michael Gersten, Flute Teacher

Unfortunately in today’s society the flute is many times thought of as a one-dimensional instrument. Unlike the saxophone, which is frequently seen in classical, jazz, and rock settings, the flute is usually only seen as being at home in a concert band or marching band. My advice for flute players (and any other musician) is to try playing different styles of music. This experimentation can benefit you in numerous ways, both musical and non-musical.
It’s not unheard of to have a flute player playing in a rock setting; the most famous example would be the band Jethro Tull. However, at various times groups from The Beatles to Ray Charles have used certain “classical only” instruments or even full orchestras in their music. Of course, the flute has always been a staple of latin jazz music. Anyone who has seen the movie “Anchorman” certainly remembers Will Ferrell’s character busting out some jazz flute.
My suggestion is to try incorporating your flute into whatever kind of music you enjoy. You can get together with a friend who plays guitar or piano and play your favorite song (you play the vocal line). There are tons of books out there with music of popular songs that you can use. Go explore your local music store or ask the people at The Lesson Studio for advice. If you’re into jazz or jam music, don’t let someone tell you the flute doesn’t belong; go for it!
Practicing can sometimes seem like a chore, but when you incorporate music you enjoy into your flute playing, you’ll find that you will start practicing and playing your flute more often without even realizing it. Also, when you get other people in on the fun, playing your flute can help cultivate friendships that go beyond playing music together. There’s a lot of great classical music out there for flute, and it should be studied, but don’t be afraid to get out there and rock that flute!

For more information about Michael Gersten or Boulder flute lessons, please call 303-543-3777 or visit The Lesson Studio online!