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Relying on Other Disciplines

So, I have this recital coming up, quickly, and I’ve found that I’ve become more tense everywhere, which obviously adversely affects my flute playing and, well, everything. Believe me, I found that it really could permeate every aspect of my day. I have been focusing intently on staying relaxed through my playing, even taking tiny breaks fairly often to soften my muscles and regroup mentally. That process is good, but it’s really only part of the solution, I’ve discovered. I noticed that even though my face consistently stayed relaxed and ready to play, my arms and especially my fingers ached and hurt after only a few hours of practice. By my third or fourth day in a row of taking a lot of ibuprofen (nuprophen in the UK, if I remember correctly) I thought to myself that something is definitely wrong here.

I messaged my friend Lynne ( http://flyingflutistas.com/ ) who is a skilled Andover Educator ( http://bodymap.org/main/ ) and talented flutist. She recommended some positions for me that allowed me to relax my spine, which, in turn, relaxed my entire body and mind. I’ve not had to take any medication today for pain, and practicing was fun and felt easy. Since my conversation with her a few days ago, I’ve also added yoga back into my routine and have started running on a more regular basis — not just on Saturdays after the farmers market with the promise of blueberry and dark chocolate pancakes at the end!

In order to be a more well-rounded musician, or parent, or anything, we need to rely on other disciplines to help keep us focused, balanced, and grounded. Even lying flat on the floor with our knees up for 5-10 minutes a few times a day helps a great deal and is a fabulous place to start. I certainly know how busy we can get trying to juggle work, parenting, etc., but we can only do our best when our bodies and minds are at their best. I use several means to make me the best flutist and parent I can be: I run to keep up my stamina and improve my lung function for playing; I now lie flat on the floor a few times a day to allow my spine to lengthen and spinal fluid to reposition; I’ve added yoga back in for concentration and body control; I pray a lot; and I use “mental practice” (imagining myself playing a particularly hard passage) to help with my flute playing. I know without all of these different disciplines working together I would consistently be run-down, frantic, and feeling out of control. I’m certainly not saying that every day is perfect — it’s not! — but I can have more good days and more healthy days when I take the time to do the above for my body, mind, and, in turn, for my flute playing and FAMILY.

A huge thank you to Lynne for reminding me of the importance of the above! ( http://flyingflutistas.com/ )

Author:

I have been active as a freelance performer since 1992 and as a teacher since 1996. I currently serve as Second Flute with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic orchestra and have performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Winds, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, Danville (Illinois) Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Chamber Singers Orchestra, and the United States Collegiate Wind Band’s European Tour, among other ensembles. I have also enjoyed performing for various occasions such as formal and charitable recitals as well as giving master classes at Butler University in Indianapolis and at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. I am also Adjunct Professor of Flute at Indiana Wesleyan University. I earned a Master of Music in Performance with Distinction at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England studying with Peter Lloyd and Laura Jellicoe. While in England, I played in charitable concerts for St. Augustine’s Catholic Church. I was featured as a soloist at the Pennine Spring Music Festival in Heptonstall, England in addition to performing in the music festival’s orchestral and solo events. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Performance with Distinction at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where I studied principally with Kathryn Lukas. While at Indiana University, I also had the incredible opportunity to study for several weeks with Barbara Kallaur on baroque flute, Donald Peck, Thomas Robertello, and Kate Hill. I am lucky to be the mother of three beautiful and talented children, and I play on a wonderful David Straubinger 10K gold flute with 14K head joint.

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