Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Magic ATM: A Counterintuitive Philosophy for Breathing & Blowing

Post 28 of 31 for May 2017

Do you struggle to play long phrases? Do you feel as though you are always running out of air? Is it frustrating to feel like the beautiful music you want to play would be just that... beautiful... if it weren't for the pesky need to breathe and blow to make it happen?

If this applies to you or your students, I want you to imagine the following scenario. 

You walk up to the ATM shown in the picture above and put your bank card in. You take out $20 cash and then pause to check your balance before you finish. Much to your surprise, the balance has actually increased by $20!

Thinking this must surely be a mistake, you try taking out another $20 to see if the issue will correct itself. When you check your balance for the second time, you see that it has gone up yet again! 

Torn between the lucky "free money" and the guilt over possibly doing something illegal, you call your bank. The friendly customer service agent tells you that it's no problem at all, this is just how the magic ATM in that particular location works. Anytime you take out money, you have more in your account. 

Shaking your head in disbelief, you decide to play along and ask how many times you are allowed to take advantage of this extreme account perk. You laugh as the woman on the phone tells you that you are welcome to take out as much cash and accumulate as high a balance as you like. 

Sound too good to be true?

Well... in many ways, this is how breathing works on the flute! 

When you are stingy with your blowing, breathing in is harder and there is less momentum. When you blow freely, the momentum becomes more effortless and it is easier to inhale. The easier you blow, the easier you breathe, the easier you blow, and so on!

Even when budgeting your air over the course of a long, spinning, beautiful phrase, it is wise to blow a steady, flowing stream of air that feels alive and full of momentum. Without momentum and "generous air," the magical formula of "the more you give, the more you get" stops. With momentum, there is an unlimited, ever ready supply of air for you to enjoy. 

Hopefully, you've noticed that this is true in life and love as well!

Happy Practicing,
Terri Sànchez

P.S. Thanks to those of you that have donated and have been thinking about donating to the Maverick Flute Choir GoFundMe Campaign. Looking forward to showing you how beautiful The Musician's Inspirational Practice Journals look soon (a gift to those who donate $40 or more)!