Saturday, May 20, 2017

Family and personal reasons for taking a week off, but I'm going to do double posts every day when I'm back in town so I can complete my 31 posts in May challenge!

In the meantime, I hope you'll check out the 18 posts from this month so far, browse past posts, and donate to the Maverick Flute Choir GoFundMe Campaign HERE.

Thanks so much and Happy Practicing!!
Terri Sánchez

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Design Your Own Warm-ups!

The sheet above was designed by yours truly in 1998. I find it a little funny, a little sad (notice how intense I was - LOL), but also a great reminder!

Only YOU know the specific flute projects you need to be reviewing every day, so why not design the perfect warm-up for yourself? 

Of course, I'm a fan of the Epic Warm-up (old version HERE and updated version found in The Aspiring Flutist's Practice Companion), but I am also excited for the unlimited possibilities available to you when you create something just for yourself. 

Here are some ideas for a daily warm-up boost tailored to your specific flute playing needs!

*Exercises you've learned from your teacher
*Simple exercises addressing specific personal projects
*Creative exercises designed by you
*Practice versions of the "hard parts" in your repertoire
*Motivational stretches, visualization, or other exercises
*Beautiful melodies that inspire you
*Selections of favorite music you've played in the past
*Helpful reminders to review each day

Happy Practicing!
Terri Sànchez

P.S. I did a double post today (to make up for missing yesterday). Here is a link to the other post!

P.P.S. Please click HERE to donate to the Maverick Flute Choir GoFundMe Campaign. Thank you!!!

Inside Out Practicing

I'm still very committed to my 31 posts in May promise (it's VERY important to me to help the Maverick Flute Choir raise money to go to NFA), so I owe you a double post for missing yesterday!

In the picture above, you will see the project that has been all-consuming for me this week. All-consuming and a ridiculous amount of fun! I'm so crazy proud of my students and of this musical play we've created for the Texas Flute Society Flute Festival this weekend. 

If you look at the picture above, you can see the "inner voices" of the flute student. As she listens to her teacher and plays music in her lesson, the voices of her inner voice characters chime in with what she's actually thinking.

The teacher says: "Take a deep breath and give yourself a fresh start!"

Perfectionist hears: "Take a deep breath and play it perfectly..."

People Pleaser is constantly cheering when she feels validated and depressed when she thinks she's disappointed the teacher or the audience. 

Busy Brain is chattering on at breakneck speed, reminding the student of all the details she had "better keep track of!"

Procrastination has a million reasons why she was going to practice but didn't, and Stage Fright is obsessed with the judgment of the thousands of people (well... feels like thousands) in the audience tomorrow night. 

The villain of the story, Shame, is there to remind the poor student that she will never, ever, ever be good enough.

Spoiler alert!

Over the course of the play, Procrastination gets upgraded to Patience (because when you start early there actually IS plenty of time!). Busy Brain gets upgraded to Focus, because the reminders ARE helpful, but just one at a time please :-). 

People Pleaser finds a new way to be happy. Having self-respect and being happy with herself is way more fun anyway! Stage Fright learns that breathing is a way to turn fear into excitement and gets upgraded to Confidence.

Perfectionist is slow to come around, but is ultimately pleased with her new job of finding Beauty instead of Perfection. Last, but certainly not least, Shame discovers that being vulnerable is not a weakness but a strength. There is a lovely inner voice group hug when Shame agrees to help the student "just be herself."

This play cracks me up, makes me cry, and most of all reminds me that we all have inner voices as we practice and work on improving ourselves as musicians. 

Next time you are plagued by inner voices that are anything but helpful, remember to give them a brand new job... 

after all, YOU are in charge!

Happy Practicing!
Terri Sànchez

P.S. Hopefully the Inside Out reference in the title of this post makes sense now!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Three of My Favorite Past Posts!

Long story short it's been a wonderful but very busy day and since I didn't want to skip Day 16 of the 31 posts in May promise I made, as a fun and easy solution, I will share with you three of my favorite past posts!

Part of my crazy fun busy day today was working with my UTA students on our brand new musical play! We're preparing for their performance at The Texas Flute Society Flute Festival this weekend. 

Click HERE to support their trip to NFA in a couple of months!

Happy Practicing!
Terri Sànchez

P.S. Finished at 11:55pm with 
5 minutes to spare :-).

Monday, May 15, 2017

Flying Fingers Tempo Chart (Free Printable!)

Flying Fingers Tempo Chart PDF

Post 15 of 31 for May 2017

Click on the link above to download The Flying Fingers Tempo Chart guide!

It's an example of how to create inspiring, efficient tempo and practice game charts for yourself.

Fill in with check marks or stickers for a fun and easy way to have productive practice sessions, achieve goal tempos, and refine your technique with patient repetitions and creative practice techniques.

Happy Practicing!
Terri Sànchez

Click HERE to support my fabulous flute choir and help us go to NFA this summer!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

My First YouTube (Tutorial) Video!

Post 14 of 31 for May 2017!

Okay... I've been meaning to do this for a long time...

And finally, I did it. 

I felt nervous, it felt awkward, and I feel self-conscious putting it out there, but I wanted to challenge myself and get outside of my comfort zone!

The angle's not quite right, the sound volume gets softer and then louder at one point, the microphone placement was too close, BUT... it's got some good advice!

I also think it's totally worth it to let people know about The Aspiring Flutist's Practice Companion, to raise money for the Maverick Flute Choir's trip to NFA (Donate HERE please! Thank you!!), and to share why I don't think double tonguing or thirty-second notes should be scary :-). 

Dangerously Daring Double/Triple Tonguing

I might replace the video with a more polished one some time or I might just leave it. For great flute playing I know that accepting and learning from your mistakes (while appreciating the beauty in what you are doing) is essential, so I'm guessing the same must be true for making great YouTube tutorials! 

Looking forward to sharing more exercises with you in the future...

Happy Practicing!
Terri Sànchez

P.S. A few corrections to things I said in the video! 

1) When I said most people use diphthongs, I meant to say most flutists that struggle with tonguing are using diphthongs. 

2) Younger students may not know the Poulenc Sonata, but most advanced and professional students do! If you haven't listened to it enough to know it, it's definitely time :-). 

3) When I said "the rhythms and the tempos" I actually meant the rhythms and tempo (singular). Didn't want any confusion! 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Homer Simpson Brain

Post 13 of 31 for May 2017!

What do you see when you look at the picture above? 

I see a thing of beauty!

One thought... a beautiful thought... and nothing else disturbing a single-minded focus.

Often, musicians can fall into the trap of keeping long lists of to-dos, voices of music teachers past and present, and a seemingly impossible to achieve wishlist of perfection in their minds AT THE SAME TIME that they are trying to play their instruments! 

To me... this is like trying to fix a car while you are driving it. Ridiculous and flat out dangerous. 

I am a strong believer in the one idea at a time, single-minded focus style of practicing and performing. I feel that musical to-dos should be accomplished slowly and steadily and discoveries should be savored individually. 

Given enough time and space, single improvements merge into more wholistic upgrades and little baby steps add up to giant leaps. 

Next time you are practicing and feel your brain might look like this...

Take a page out of Homer Simpson's book and keep it simple instead! Focus on one beautiful thing at a time and your path will lead you to more pleasurable music making. 

Happy Practicing!
Terri Sànchez

P.S. I am getting extremely excited about the NEW play the Maverick Flute Choir will be performing soon at the Texas Flute Society Festival! It's called "As the Fog Descends Upon Us: A Musical Mini-Play for Flute Choir." It's like a flute-playing version of the movie Inside Out - so much fun :-). To support the Maverick Flute Choir's upcoming trip to the National Flute Association Convention and their performance of the first play they created "The Princess & The Dragon: A Musical Play for Flute Choir" click HERE to donate to their GoFundMe Campaign!