La vie est belle !

SoCS — Fingering charts

Now that I am back to playing my flute with a renewed sense of seriousness, I am thinking a lot about my fingers. How strange it is, that connection between fingers and brain, and how tenuous.  I’ve been playing the flute since I was in 7th grade (you figure it out! It’s a long time!) and I started on the piano before that.  I can play many things without thinking too hard about it, but some things I really have to concentrate on! For example, my new flute teacher asked me to do this exercise with groups of four notes. And he said to play this in as many ways as possible, for example to take a group of four and play one direction, then right away in the other direction (reading backward), then jump to the next group and do the same. He said this is “très bon pour développer la concentration et la connaissance de détails.” (that is, very good for developing concentration and an understanding or grasp of details.) Having studied music in various ways for most of my life, this is not a new concept, exactly, but I honestly have never played an exercise backwards before!   After having practiced this now for several days, I really do see the value of it. Reading backwards causes me to let go of the patterns that my fingers think they “know” and consciously attach a fingering to a written note…which involves attaching my brain anew to the fingerings that go with it. I really do have to concentrate. It’s good! To make beautiful music, the brain must be engaged, you see. But very often, we train our fingers to recognize patterns and in this way our brains become passive, almost idle.

 

This is true for so many activities! Knitting, typing, slicing carrots, buttoning a shirt.  For example. I taught myself to touch-type in college, in order that I could type up my papers faster. I worked myself up to about 80wpm, not terribly fast but not horribly slow either. I don’t really know what I do these days. But after doing so many exercises during that time, the pattern for certain words becomes automatic. The word “the”, for example. The the the the the. Super easy and fast. But it is very hard to type “Teh.” teh teh. teh. teh. arrgh. Typing that, I had to go back and change “the” to “teh” about three times. In order to break this brain-finger-pattern connection, I had to slow down.

 

That’s what I have to do with the music also. Slow down. Engage. Speed up a little. Get into a “groove” where I can “forget” brain-finger-pattern connections and just make single note-finger-brain connections. The more I do this, and the more random ways I can do it, the more cognizant I will become when reading music, paying attention to each note in its turn, and each fingering, each detail and nuance. The more I do this (hopefully) the more skills and tools I will have in my brain-finger connections for playing “plus vite.” Maybe then I can give every note its proper value.  I remember when I was sixteen, taking piano lessons (from a dreamy Polish concert pianist, but I think I have already written about that!) And him saying to me, with that amazing accent, “Do you love this note more than you love this note?” pointing to the music, and me saying, “no…” very timidly. He then said very strongly, “Then…why do you play this one louder!” He gave me a finger-strength exercise after that to help, and an exercise which I was to play in about four different rhythms, not unlike my new flute exercises in a way. Anyway, there you go…my Saturday Stream of Consciousness.  And now I must go try to break and re-build some finger-brain-patterns. Wish me luck 🙂

 

This post is part of Linda G Hill’s “Stream of Consciousness Saturday”  — Click and read, click and join in! Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “finger.”  Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “SoCS — Fingering charts”

  1. Deborah Drucker

    Interesting point. It is like being mindful with reading music and I liked the remark of your Polish piano teacher who asked if you liked that note better because you are playing it louder. Funny. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. LindaGHill

    I suppose there is a lot of value in concentrating on each move, one the body has trained itself to do things a certain way. In karate, our teacher had us doing the first kata (series of about 60 moves) not only forward but backward, slow, fast, and with our eyes closed. THAT was fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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