August 2008 Convention
Kansas City, MO

Pedagogy Potpourri

Speaking to a standing-room only crowd, presenters Kathy Blocki and Patricia George shared many useful teaching tips. (Unfortunately, Christine Taylor was not able to participate in the presentation as planned.)

Patricia George

Blocki, founder of the award-winning Blocki Flute Method, shared her stress-free approach to teaching the rhythmically challenged student. Her method clearly shows rhythm relationships by taking out rests and ties and filling in the rhythmic patterns (i.e. filling in all the eighth notes or 16th notes). The student is asked to tongue the pattern, using all the eighth notes (putting the rhythm in the tongue is important). Next, ties are added, followed by replacement with the new note value. From the outset, students are trained for sub-division.

George focused on The Art of PractiSING. Practice should not be drudgery; it should sound like SINGING! George encourages students to practice in one-inch chunks, with a rest between each chunk. This method ties into the scientific study, which explains how our brain works visually by observing in small fixations, which are then strung together to give us a clear picture. In practicing this chunking method, the student should play each chunk at performance tempo, observing proper articulation, dynamics, etc. Chunking the passage three times a day (morning, afternoon, evening) for three to five days helps one learn the music very quickly.

Other useful practice tips shared by George:

  • Cut a broomstick the length of a flute, and practice the passage on the broomstick, with hands reversed (right hand on top and left hand on bottom, with the stick held out to the LEFT side of the body).
  • Sing or whistle the passage.
  • Visualize yourself playing the passage without moving your fingers or lips.
  • With technical problems, figure out the confusing spot and create your own exercise to correct it; get rid of the problem early on—don’t let it ruin the piece forever!
  • Use enharmonic spellings if it makes the passage easier.

—Rosene Rohrer