Linda’s Learning Lessons – Start Slow

21st October 2019

As an adult learning a new skill, it is very easy to get frustrated at yourself for not making faster progress than expected! I feel this frustration can lead to the opposite of progress, and trying to learn something fast only leads to later problems.

“Don’t run before you can walk…”

When I first began playing the flute, there were some hurdles that I felt were extremely hard as it was all new. Reading music, finger positions for each note, breathing in the right place, and so on. Now, they seem like a distant memory.

Also remember that you’re using your body in a whole new way. The muscles in your face, your posture, and use of breath are engaged in almost entirely unfamiliar ways. If you feel uncomfortable, take a break!

Dawkes produced a couple of wonderful videos with Nick Carpenter, demonstrating and explaining his tone exercises and practice routine.  One point made was concentrating on the details in moving from one note to the next. Doing so quietly then getting louder, with different rhythms, short notes and long notes, helps develop a sensitivity to these details. But what I found most fascinating was his comment…

“Play at the speed of no mistakes.”

Clarinet Practice Techniques with Nick Carpenter

Practice pieces by focusing on getting all the notes in the right place. Testing this in practice made each piece more enjoyable to play! I was able to give each note its full attention. I had to engage my core strength to support the airflow, and I picked up on the mistakes I was making a lot more easily.

Clarinet Tips – Warm Up Routine with Nick Carpenter

“Practicing little and often is one of the most effective ways to develop techniques and become accustomed new skills”