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Reflections on NAF – Practice

Last post, I spoke of practice as it related to experience. Often the question arises, “What should I practice?” This question arises no matter what instrument you are learning. Many players wish to only “play from the heart.” For these musicians, the question does not arise. Yet, for many, the desire to move ahead in their playing leads them to the point where this question becomes important.
This is my opinion on the subject. A portion of your time should be spent on technique. On piano this means scales. On Native American flute it may mean scales, finger dexterity exercises, embellishments, breathing techniques or learning TAB. A portion of your time should be used to learn other people’s music. And a portion of your time should be used in improvisation or playing from the heart.
Most players have no problem agreeing with me on playing from the heart, or practicing embellishments. But why learn Nakai TAB? Or other people’s music? Other people’s music is easy to understand when you see how frequently people ask how to play “When the Saints Go Marching In” or a Beatles tune or “Amazing Grace” etc. However, many of these songs can be learned by ear or using flute diagrams. So why use Nakai TAB? That is a subject for another post.
Remember, this is my personal opinion. You must personally ask yourself, what it is you want to learn. Then design your time with your flute to bring you ever closer to your goals. Your practice will be different from mine. That is how it should be.

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