Reply To: Beginner saying hello

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Patricia Tapiav

Hello Maggie, Luis, Lucca and everyone! I was so happy to find out this morning about this forum, in the group of recorder players in FB. I am also a self -taught recorder player. I tried earlier to learn (about a couple of years ago) and I couldn’t go pass simple tunes and with a lot of mistakes in them. So I put them away. I feel it really helps to know the piece you are trying to play. The ear knows where to go or guide you. Since I don’t have a teacher either, I usually pick pieces I can listen to and that I truly love, this is how I have learned the fingering and to play the recorder by my own. I do a great deal of listening, specially the great recorder players. They are my teachers! I try to imitate what they do or what I believe they are doing. I have discovered some sounds or how to produce them by listening. Sounds I didn’t know I could make. I have been playing the recorder for about 8 months now and I am playing mainly Baroque, I love Vivaldi! his music is my reason for wanting to learn the recorder. At one point I was experiencing pain in my hands, forearm, shoulder ! too much tension, and I was probably grabbing the recorder with too much force. So I had to basically learn to relax while playing. I was really worry! I feared I would have to give it up. That has been the enemy for me. Tension, (fear of making mistakes) I am trying to be very careful of my posture ( watch videos of Alexander technique)and I try to play as relax as I can, so much sometimes I feel my recorder is going to fall out of my hands. Besides deciding to dedicate myself completely to only one type of recorder at the time(alto in this case ) and the other thing that has helped me greatly (Miracle!!!) was an article I read about the difference between a virtuoso and the rest of us. It said that the difference is about 10.000 hours (practice) approx. That would mean we would have practice for at least 3 hour each day for 10 years. But it also said the virtuoso usually concentrate or practice what is wrong, their mistakes. This is the best advice I have ever read. Till then I used to practice everything from beginning to end, (Piano & voice) I would keep on going with all kind of mistakes, sound, tempo phrasing etc. then do it all over again. No wonder I cannot play well one single piece on the piano!! (One of my piano teachers told me to keep on going not matter what, to concentrate on the melody). So my old way of practicing was time consuming and fruitless. So it seems, I have “learned” to teach myself and practice basically. I do not have as much free time as I wish for practice. So, now when I practice, I try to practice every day even if is only 15 minutes, I go over the sections which are the most difficult; I pick 2 or 3 bars at most. And do them until I get them as good as I can. Or until I can sense I am not “feeling it” or is beginning to sound too mechanical. Then learn another 2 or 3 bars. Then at the end I let myself go and play the whole thing. So I can have the “fun” I cry sometimes, I feel overwhelmed with emotion when I sound “good” Which is not that often. Yet each time I go back to the piece is better and better. I have divided my practice time to the pieces I can play already, the ones I wish to play one day and lots of sight reading. I never thought I could love an instrument so much as I love my recorder. It has taught me so much. As Luis says we have to be good listeners and our best critics. Lastly if it hurts, we more likely are doing it wrong, or perhaps practicing too much. Our bodies have to get use to something new.
Thank you Tony for this forum!!