Monday, January 4, 2016

Free... Printable... The Self-Inspired Flutist Ultimate Rhythm Guide!

Scroll down for a link to the printable PDF!

I never knew how much rhythmic integrity I was lacking until I taught private lessons for 60-75 students a week, 3 years in a row.  Those were some crazy, busy years (between receiving my undergraduate degree and beginning graduate school), but I am so grateful for the countless hours I spent counting and clapping right along with my students.

Somewhere along the way, in the middle of sing-songing "Pie - Je-llo - Straw-ber-ry - Pie" for the thousandth time, it finally clicked.  I had crossed over to the other side.  I was now the proud owner of a steady internal pulse and the ability to spread rhythms evenly across the beat (and in proportion to one another).  Keep in mind, I was already playing my flute at an advanced level and had plenty of performances and teaching experience under my belt.  I did have a functional understanding of rhythm that, in hindsight, I wouldn't call 100% "honest" rhythm.    

Unfortunately, in my experience interacting with a very large number of flutists of all levels and ages, it is absolutely amazing how many of them lack these skills (... and don't realize they lack them, just like I didn't!).  Symptoms often include "figuring out" rhythms by thinking of them only as "slower" or "faster" than the previous rhythm, playing by ear in a not quite right manner, and/or inadvertently changing tempos due to incorrect "interpretations" of changing rhythmic patterns.  There is wide variety of levels on the
rhythmically challenged spectrum, ranging from musicians that have an almost complete lack of connection to rhythmic principles and feeling, all the way to expert fakers (those players that might even seem extremely advanced, but still have some degree of "guessing" in their approach to rhythm).  

If you click on the link below, you will be able to view and print "The Self-Inspired Flutist Ultimate Rhythm Guide," which I hope you will enjoy and use as much as possible (feel free to pass out to students and band directors for their use)!  Rhythm is the heart of music and deserves attention, respect, and connection, just as much as any other element of flute playing (and perhaps even more!).     

*There is one small typo.  "Ect." should obviously be "etc."  
Feel free to correct before copying and/or 
use it as an opportunity for an impromptu grammar lesson for students!

Next week, I'll be writing more about some of the different elements in the rhythm guide, along with some teaching and practicing suggestions.  A special thank you to Brooke David, UTA Flute Studio alumna, who added the charming illustrations to my original guide.   

Happy Practicing!

Terri Sánchez

P.S. Do you or your students have an upcoming audition and feel the pressure? Try reading Go Ahead and Sweat It: A Flutist's Unconventional Guide to Handling Performance Anxiety!