If you are interested in following along with Sir James Galway as he overhauls his technique, check out the following video. He has issued a “Practice Challenge,” where flutists from presumably around the world will all be working out of the same technique book. He will be using Marcel Moyse’s Daily Exercises book. I will be following along with the challenge loosely. I usually work out of this Moyse book every day, so I am going to be adapting the challenge by fiddling around with the articulations.
I’m also feeling rather sheepish about my short-lived experimentations with circular breathing. I started work on it a little over a year ago but didn’t commit to it like I should have. Now I’m kicking myself; if I had stuck with it, I would have probably been fairly fluent in the technique by this point. I’ve dug out my book and am considering adding it to my practice regimen. Anyone out there have any experience with circular breathing?
For me, the summer means working on flute technique. With a substantially pared-down teaching schedule, I transfer the time I would normally spend driving, preparing lectures, and grading exams into practice time. And while I do explore repertoire during this time, I primarily focus on technique. I normally don’t have recitals scheduled until the middle of fall semester or later, so my repertoire practice is limited so I don’t wear those pieces out.
So what do I practice? I keep a lot the same from summer to summer while adding in some new. Lots of Taffanel and Gaubert. I try to play through T&G once a day. Ok, maybe five days a week. It’s a lot of work, and it’s intense. No – I don’t play every single articulation pattern every day. Those are alternated throughout the week. It’s still a good technical kick in the pants.
I’ve also started playing Moyse’s Daily Exercises for the Flute. I try to stay a little more reasonable with this one; I follow the prescribed practice schedule outlined in the front of the book. It’s still a good workout.
This summer, I’m looking at the Jean-Michel Damase 24 Etudes book. I’ve played through a few of these before, but never the entire book. I’m not exactly going in order; yesterday I looked at number 20 and finished it up this morning. This afternoon, I’m looking at number 19. So far, the two are fairly similar. There’s a lot of double-tonguing and patterns that don’t quite match up with nice, clean double-tonguing patterns. There are also the occasional chromatic run and runs that are mostly chromatic but include just enough non-chromatic pitches to cause trouble. It isn’t a huge challenge, but I’m not sight-reading them perfectly, either. If these etudes prove to be very similar to each other, I might throw in the Piazzolla tango etudes for variety.