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Summerflute, Part Four and Reflections

The Sensible Flutist: Summerflute, Part Four and Reflections

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summerflute, Part Four and Reflections

So far, I've written about how each of my Summerflute experiences opened my eyes to something new. In this final post to wrap up the series, I had two more private lessons and a performance to finish the week.

Performing in a trio with Melanie Sever (C) and Kristin Hayes (R)
On Wednesday night, I had a private lesson with my twitter friend and colleague Meerenai Shim. As a trainee, I'm interested in taking lessons with licensed Andover Educators when the opportunity presents itself in order to see how each AE teaches. Meerenai approaches this work differently than I do, and it was great to work from a new perspective in our lesson. While I like to study and retain detailed information to get a better grasp of my body map, Meerenai uses and teaches the information in a very practical way for musical results.

I used the Allemande from the Bach Partita in the lesson, and we explored breathing and the space in the nasal cavities, which married well with Liisa's suggestions for me to resonate with my whole head including the mouth, back of skull and nasal cavities. At this point in time, I haven't really explored nose breathing a lot so Meerenai provided helpful suggestions on how to breathe in through the mouth and nose at the same time. Getting used to this type of breathing is going to be a process, but I have useful information to work with now which has the potential to make helpful and beneficial changes to my breathing habits.

On Thursday afternoon, I had my second private lesson with Amy Likar. I used the Reinecke in this lesson and Amy helped clarify any translation issues I may have had the day before in my performance for Liisa. At this point of the week, I had reached my saturation point for new information so this lesson contained less Body Mapping information and more integration with the information we had already talked about through the week.

Body Mapping wise, I am bringing into my awareness my tendency to thrust my hips and pelvis forward when I bring my flute up to play. This "hip magnet" action can be connected to a narrowing across my chest and shoulders as I play. Knowing that these movement patterns are connected is incredibly helpful when remapping these parts of my body in relation to my flute. It takes away the temptation to scan or focus on only one part of the body while trying to play, too. While being aware of these elements, Amy had me explore the opening phrase of the Reinecke using harmonic tones while noticing what was happening physically. Every time I played the phrase as written, I felt a more whole body-whole instrument integration.

Finally, Amy had me drape over a physio ball for a minute to think about the work I had just done. When I got up to play, it was AMAZING. The music poured out of me and the sound was unbelievably powerful and organized around my movement. It was a great lesson to help cement the trust and translation lessons from the previous day.

Friday was the last day of Summerflute. We wrapped up the morning with our final Feldenkrais ATM session (with a pelvic clock lesson, yay!) and the last hour of What Every Musician Needs to Know about the Body. The final event of the class was a student recital. I had opted to perform the first movement of Peter Amsel's Museum Triptych, the piece I premiered earlier this year.

My warm up for the performance was short and sweet. I played through a trio that I was also performing with two other students, and I then opted to warm up a little bit more and get some constructive rest in.

The performance was my best of the week. I felt more integrated, more aware, more comfortable. I felt more like myself, which was a positive note to end the week on. I had moments where I lost myself, but I did notice that as I felt myself gripping to control and return to my "normal" self, I could unlock my knees and the performance improved. This was a performance that I felt happy with, and I felt that it showcased my best work of the week.

I was meant to be at Summerflute this year. Not only did it reinforce that I'm on the right track with my Andover Educator training, but it helped pave the way for the next level. In the two weeks since, my head has cleared and I'm making some great improvements in my playing.

I came home with new strategies in my toolbox, and my teaching has benefited significantly. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of these classes, I highly recommend it. It has the potential to change your life! Check out Summerflute's website and bookmark it for updates on the next class!

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At July 12, 2012 at 4:07 PM , Anonymous Christina VanNostrand said...

Alexis ~ I have been following along quietly as you've posted your blogs to the Summerflute page on Facebook. I have loved reading about your experiences and wish I was able to attend Summerflute this year! I had attended in 2010 and it changed my life. Thanks again for sharing your experiences!

At July 12, 2012 at 4:41 PM , Blogger The Sensible Flutist said...

Christina, thanks for reading and commenting! I'm so passionate about this work that I tell everyone I know. I hope that your comment here affirms for my readers that this is a worthwhile class for ANY instrumentalist.


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