What I Learned After Two Months of Flute Classes

Photo by Nate Casey on Unsplash

It has been over two months since my first post about my journey with flute. It has been two months since I started going to the weekly classes.

This is where I am now:

  • I learned about twelve Alankaras out of which I can play about eight.
  • I am comfortable with the 24 inch G sharp flute now. The smaller flute that I first bought seems pretty easy but odd now.
  • I am able to hold a note for about 15 seconds with one breathe on a good day.

Apart from the progress, this is what I’ll try to include in my next post:

  • A sample audio recording of a piece that I can play best.
  • An image of my G sharp flute.

As promised in the title, coming to the lessons I learned:

The Power of Consistency and Non-Linear Nature of Progress:

I could not just pick the flute, put it on my lips and be sure that it will make the correct sound. Even though I could play basic notes, I had to adjust it to make sure it will produce the right sound before starting to play.
I remember practicing for seven consecutive days, and on the eighth day, I did not need the adjustment anymore.
I learned that progress is not a linear process. You have to keep putting efforts without seeing much difference and then you wake up one day to see the results.

The Value of Keep Trying Despite Failures:

When learning a new Alankara that is a combination of notes, I could hardly play a small part. It was just too much for me to recall the combination and play at the same time. And on top of that, the combination would sound very odd.
After a few days of getting frustrated by this and leaving the practice, I decided to play the combination a certain number of times, no matter how bad it sounded or how slow I was.
The result? after twenty or thirty repetitions, the combination was part of my muscle memory and I could focus on making it sound right.

To make it more effective, now I record myself playing after just four to five repetitions and then after over fifty repetitions and listen to the difference.

Breaking down the Task into Smaller Subtasks:

An entire combination with both Aroha (notes going to high pitch) and Avaroha (notes going to lower pitch) is hard to remember and it is harder to make sure every part sounds about right. The solution after contemplating about giving up on flute? I would start with and repeat the smallest portion and try to get only that part right. And then keep adding remaining portions until I get the complete combination.

I am still in the beginner classes and have a long way to go. The parts that I am still struggling with:

  1. Playing with Tempo. This is much harder than I expected. I have no idea how to take care of and follow the beats when playing. I tried multiple times but could not practice this for more than a few minutes. I will go and discuss this with my instructor in the next class.
  2. Clarity in notes: To reduce the breathing or whistling noise when playing. The solution to this is to practice long notes every day for at least fifteen minutes. This brings me to the next issue.
  3. Consistency: Despite learning the importance of consistency and repetition, I am still struggling to find time to practice every day or even four days per week.

This brings me to the end of this post. If you liked this and would like to read about my journey, feel free to clap and respond to let me know.

I share the parts of my life that I can not post here on Instagram, with the advantage of communicating with people using direct messages on Instagram. So…

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Pseudonym; https://www.instagram.com/alternativedoubt/

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