Thursday, April 20, 2006

NAF Playing Tip #16: Echo Canyon Exercise

As the first duet exercise in this series of playing tips designed to provide you with some ideas to help broaden your playing ability, I wanted to start with the simplest exercise which I've developed called "Echo canyon". This exercise is designed for two flute players of any skill level, and I suggest that you start by selecting two flutes in the same key, especially if the players are beginners. Each of the exercises over the next 6 weeks will have a set of "rules" to follow which outline how the exercise is played. They will get progressively harder, so if you start with this first one and practice each week, you should be able to progress nicely. Each exercise will have a lead role and a follower role, but I expect that these roles can be shifted between the two flute players, either by discussing who's doing what or by the "look" that you be able to share with one another as you switch roles in the midst of playing.

The "rules" for this exercise are simple: One person leads, the other person follows. Play simple, short, mini-scales and repeat exactly.

Lead Role

The lead plays a short (3-4 note) “mini scale” where all the notes are contiguous either up or down the scale. After the follower plays the phrase, play a new one short phrase starting and ending somewhere else in the scale. The idea is not to out do the follower, in fact a good leader will shorten the number of notes if the follower is less skilled and having difficulty repeating the phrase.

Follower Role

Follow by watching the leads’ fingers and listening, and then playing the exact same notes as the lead played.

Note: If you don't have another friend to try this exercise with, then practice it by yourself. Play a phrase and then repeat it exactly. Try to create longer and longer phrases to test/push yourself and your memory.

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