My Intern wrote this little essay “One Day in the Flute Studio with Molly” as I was teaching in my studio on Wednesday. This is just a smattering of what I do every day, (6 days a week!) as I am constantly developing new ways to teach every student, from the 4 year olds to the retirees! I have so many ideas that pop into my head to adapt to each student’s needs and musical interests, and it was so nice to have InternMichele Arnold observe and write this little essay to explain a bit about how I teach! Of course, there are lots more ways that I teach each person, and I am always trying to adapt activities to fit each and every personality and ability level. I find my career to be so interesting and an absolute joy (most of the time!).
One day in the Flute studio with Molly…
…I played a super fun ice-cream game!
At Molly’s studio we play a game that consists of trying to stack an ice cream cone with as many scoops of ice cream as possible. When it gets to high and the ice cream falls, Molly picks out a corresponding number of rhythm cards for the student to clap, say, and then play. Whoever knocks the ice-cream over has to give the other person the cards after playing them, to counts as points. This is an innovative and creative game that gets students excited to play more challenging rhythms.
…I won m&ms in the five note pattern challenge!
In Molly’s studio, specifically for the younger and intermediate students, we begin learning all 12 of our five note patterns, which are the foundation for playing many different pieces. When the student comes in the room they are asked to play a certain five note pattern and for every pattern they get correct they will receive m&ms in a baggie. At the end of the challenge period the student with the most m&ms wins and of course they get to eat all of their hard work in the form of m&ms!!!
…I played my song and there were lots of blips!
Never fear…Molly’s metronome is here! When students are having trouble with smoothly transitioning from note to note we call this a blip. When this occurs in the studio we first identify what is causing the problem (tension, finger coordination, mental focus, etc). Then we practice the transition correctly with the metronome (at a slow speed). Once we achieve our goal at the slow tempo we speed up the tempo (ad nauseum). The notes that are causing trouble are recorded on the students special blip page called “Baffling Blips That Drive You Bonkers”, and that page goes in their binder to take home and practice.
…I just could not play a hard passage correctly…
Never fear… Molly’s awesome learning techniques are here! When this occurs in the studio Molly will have the student practice the passage with a learning technique. Some techniques that we do are chunking, syncopating, playing at different speeds, slurring/tonguing everything, saying the rhythms, playing a passage backwards and repetition with the metronome.
…We played warmups!
Some awesome warmups we do are galaxy/space notes in which we play a low note and over blow to get an overtone out… This dynamic warmup prepares and works the student’s embouchure to play notes in the correct register!
Today in the studio to try and encourage a student to put more energy and soul into their playing we danced around to get a feel for the music. Molly and Miss Michele were both waltzing around the studio with excitement and thus the student showed more enthusiasm. Music is fun, which is easy to forget when your mind is wrapped around trying to get the rhythms and notes correct but it’s important to remember to have fun and love what you’re doing!