As a flute player, you spend a lot of time with your instrument - an inanimate object. You're alone with your thoughts, goals, and desires to improve your playing and it can feel like you have to pick the one "right way" to be productive.
But just like many activities, flute playing is a personal thing. No one plays exactly the same way as you, learns the same way, or has the same strengths and weaknesses as you. You offer a unique perspective into flute playing that can help you achieve your goals to be a strong flute player.
If you want to know how to turn flute playing into something more personal for you, check out these tips:
Understand how your reality differs from true reality.
Have you ever had an audition and thought that everything went wrong, but then you get your results and see that you actually played well?
Sometimes your reality doesn't line up with true reality. And that's okay! Instead of invalidating your reality or refusing to accept true reality, find a way to combine them in order to move forward. Maybe your results were favorable, but there were specific things that didn't go as planned for you. Find those things and reflect on how to make them better for the next audition, or how to approach them on a smaller scale in practice.
Give yourself permission to succeed.
Most of us have heard the speech that you need to give yourself permission to fail... but it's just as important to allow yourself to succeed!
Sometimes we only remember what it was like to do something horribly, so that even when we've learned how to do it well, we believe that it's still wrong. You are allowed to grow and acknowledge your new skills! And doing that doesn't mean you're don growing or that you're prideful. It means that you are giving yourself permission to change and be better.
Plan to do nothing.
Musicians are usually know for always being busy, so much that when we're NOT busy, it feels like we're being lazy or unproductive. But as humans we need "nothing" time, where our mind has an opportunity to empty out and refresh.
Think about activities that you can do without putting in too much effort, and plan for them in your schedule. My go-to activity is crocheting, because thinking of rows and stitches doesn't overload my brain.
Embrace being with yourself.
Have you felt uncomfortable just being with yourself and your thoughts? I used to keep myself busy in order to drown out my thoughts because the truth was, I didn't spend enough time with myself to truly understand my identity.
Spend a few minutes every day with yourself. What do you want? What do you need? What's stuck in your mind in that moment? Embrace getting to know yourself, and you'll find that you're actually a pretty cool human.
Forgive yourself the way you forgive others.
It can feel easier to forgive others, especially what you look for the best in them. However, when it comes to forgiving yourself, the inner dialogue can seems harsher. Why is that?
You are so up-close and personal with all of your flaws, so you give yourself less grace and room for error. But you are filled with as much good as the next person. So the next time you're beating yourself up for a mistake or bad decision, remember to find the best in yourself.
Feel encouraged to share yourself with others.
For the longest time, I compartmentalized every section of my life. I never talked about my person life with colleagues/peers, and only talked about professional things in professional settings.
But your thoughts, feelings, and experiences are a part of who you are, and help connect you to the people around you. Talk about your pets, or a yummy recipe you tried recently. Chance are, people will want to share their experiences and thoughts with you, too!
Final Flute Notes
Just because one way works for many flute players, doesn't mean it is guaranteed to work for you. You are an individual who knows yourself better than anyone, both as a person and as a flutist! Treat yourself as a human in the practice room and you'll notice how more personal and fulfilling playing the flute can be.
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