August 2009 Convention
New York, NY

Wii Practice with Alexandra Aquirre

Interactive Roundtable Discussion

Alexandra Aquirre

Alexandra Aquirre immediately set everyone at ease in her session on using the Wii Fit to practice flute. Demonstrating pointers in her light-hearted manner, she led all through the user-friendly experience of the WiiFit Yoga program from starting-up the machine to productive practice. She won over even Wii skeptics and the inexperienced.

Inspired by a student who moved excessively while playing, Aquirre found an innovative way to entice her to practice better posture. Using a format with which the student was very familiar, the Nintendo Wii Fit, she encouraged her student to give it a go while practicing.

Aquirre encouraged volunteers to try their hand, or rather body, at re-enacting her students’ endeavors. Using the Yoga program on breathing and standing on the balance board, a device that brings the user’s movements “to life” on the screen, flutists could see their center of balance on the screen as a yellow circle; a red circle showed the actual movement of the flutist. The flutist played a scale; her goal was to minimize the movement of the red circle, thereby maintaining optimum center of balance. The outcome was an immediate and marked improvement in tonal center, intonation, and projection. By focusing on minimizing movement, the player was able to expend more energy in the air stream and maintain improved posture. Aquirre demonstrated the program’s ability to provide immediate feed-back, as well as previous session results, thereby allowing player and teacher to monitor progress.

Aquirre expanded flutists’ use of the WiiFit Yoga program further by verbally coaching volunteers in playing Marble and Bubble, balance games in the Yoga program. These more advanced games involved controlling body movement to move a marble as it goes on a track and a bubble on a roller-coaster-styled ride.

Thinking “out-of –the box,” Alexandra Aquirre has devised a highly motivating practice strategy. Her enthusiasm for the game and encouraging manner convinced even the traditionalists of the merits of this modern technology. The improvement each volunteer achieved during the session was substantial—and they had fun. All ages and skill levels benefitted from the session and enjoyed the flute yoga with coach Alexandra Aquirre.

—Sharon Winton

photo by Brian Covington