Monday, October 10, 2016

Preparing to Inhale

Three of my violin students happen to also play the flute. I consider it tremendous fortune to be able to teach them because I find myself identifying all sorts of "flute brain" things that happen that can hamper good violin playing. And then sometimes a violin-based observation can identify a flute problem.

For instance, one student has the habit of picking up all of her fingers when she lifts her bow. My sense of flute reflex (which has been activated of late because I have been practicing the flute every day) made me think of the way I tend to lift my fingers off the flute keys when I take a breath. She told me that she does the same thing when playing the flute.

While practicing the flute the other day, I noticed how often I pick up my fingers when I take a breath, and how much better everything sounds and feels when I keep my fingers on the keys while taking in air. Perhaps the process of inhalation is more complete without lifting the fingers because the only muscles that are working are the ones that control breathing, so all the energy goes to the task at hand.

I'm excited to talk about this with my recorder student (who will be here soon).


Jean Petree said...

Good points. I also find the reverse -- that certain things about flute really help me with violin. Like, how I maneuver through interruptions like bow changes, string changes, shifts, etc. I think about how I had learned to kind of "relax and support" through similar things on flute, and somehow the idea transfers a bit to violin.

Elaine Fine said...

Absolutely, Jean. I think that support transfers a lot.