Wild confessions of a professional flutist.

Nightmare Circles

Summer is tricky.  Either there are lots of fun things to do, so practice time becomes rare OR you get a bit bored and don’t feel like doing anything, especially practicing.

This practice tip will help you to get better even when your motivation gets a little low.

Take some time to play through everything you are currently working on, and have a pencil handy.  When you come to a spot that is tricky or not readily playable for any reason, circle it.  I call these spots “nightmare circles” because they are little nightmares in the middle of the music.

On the days when you either don’t have much time or don’t feel like doing anything, commit to working on at least one or two of your nightmare circles.  There is really no need to play through all of the easy spots every day, but if you spend some time solving actual problems, you’ll hear your playing improve.  Nightmare circles can become your little musical vitamins!

When you are able to get in a better practice session, be sure to play through the whole piece to see how much progress you have made and to circle any new problem areas.  Use your nightmare circles as little stepping stones toward mastering your musical projects.


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