Back to Basics

Summer goes by too fast every year! Like it or not, it’s that time again to prepare to go back to school.  This provides an opportunity to regroup, refocus, and realign ourselves.  For some, this would be referred to as going back to basics.

Dictionary.com defines back-to-basics as “stressing simplicity and adherence to fundamental principles.”  Dictionary.cambridge.org defines back to basics as “returning to the simple and most important things.”

What are the basics of school?  A backpack, notebook, paper, pencils, pen, or these days – a Chromebook, are things that will prepare students for basic classes, often referred to as required classes, such as English, Math, Science, or History.  

What are the basics of flute development? The most simple and essential elements are Tone, Technique, Etudes, Solos, and Sight Reading.  As you restructure your practice time with this new school year, be sure to spend time in each of these areas. 

Tone: Long tones, such as exercises found in De la Sonorite by Marcel Moyse

Technique: Major scales, minor scales, chromatic scales, and arpeggios, to name a few. Visit flutetunes.com to print some of these technique exercises or invest in Taffanel and Gaubert’s 17 Daily Exercises for Flute or other published technique books.

Etudes: Andersen, Berbiguier, Gariboldi, Karg-Elert etudes, Selected Studies, Melodious and Progressive Studies for Flute, or a myriad of other etudes exist to strengthen your flute playing.

Solos: Be working on two solos at once; either one slow and one fast or choose from various time periods or play something for “fun” like a Disney or other movie theme song or folk songs.

Sight Reading: Visit flutetunes.com for a daily sight reading piece or visit other websites that provide free music.  In addition, another fun way to sight read is to try new duets with someone, either 2 flutes or any other combination of instruments. 

What are the basics of life?  How can one regroup, refocus, and realign oneself?  What changes can be made to simplify life?  What is most important?  Only YOU can answer those questions for yourself. January is the traditional time for goal setting, but why not August or any other month of the year? Better yet, why not each day?  

As you prepare children, yourself, or students to return to school and homework routines, reflect on how you can improve your flute practice time, and above all, how to decide what’s most important in life and be sure to go back to basics.

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