Saturday, February 27, 2010

Closed Eye Practicing

Down in the comments of this post, Jeffrey Agrell mentions the benefits of practicing with one's eyes closed. I've often done this working on guitar and my voice (and to pull down all the verses of long Dylan songs), but had never really tried it with the flute or horn. One reason for that being not having lots of stuff memorized for either instrument.

Just now, though, I was working on a flute part for the Presbyterian Ensemble. It has several high E naturals above high C, and those high E's are about the hardest note to play well on a flute. When you use the regular fingering the pitch is very sharp, so I've been trying the trill fingering, which is to finger an A below high C and play the harmonic a fifth above. While easier to play in tune, it's harder to get the note to speak, and I've been struggling with it in this particular piece for several weeks.

The short passages where the high E's appear are easy to memorize and play with my eyes closed. Doing so made it much easier to coordinate the fingering of the keys and the adjustments of the embouchure. With the eyes closed it's much easier to be more fully aware of all the proprioceptive feedback. 

With just this single practice technique added to the mix, that high E is popping out clearly and in tune (mostly).

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