Top 10 Self Care Tips for Flutists
by Rachel Taylor Geier
Love is in the air during the month of February, including the love you have for yourself and your flute playing. Ever since the not-so-distance days of COVID quarantining, there has been a lot of discussion about embracing “self-care.” This term, of course, means different things to different people. Meditating? Sure! Going for a walk outside? Perfect. But how can we use music to practice self-care? Below I discuss my top 10 self-care tips for flutists. This is a great opportunity to use music as a form of relaxation rather than an object of anxiety.
Top 10 Self Care Ideas for Flutists:
1. The most important thing to remember is that music should be fun (aka a natural source of self-care). With that in mind, carve out at least 20-30 minutes (or more) to practice music you genuinely love or, better yet, pieces that bring back happy memories. Earlier this week, I spent time practicing a piece I performed at the Idaho State Solo Contest back in high school when my ambitions were high and my expectations were low. It brought back wonderful memories and reminded me of a time when performing was new and exciting.
2. Read a book about a famous musician or composer. There are fabulous biographies about everyone from Mozart to Beethoven, and, for us fluties, Taffanel and Moyse. Brew up some tea and cozy up with one of these classics.
3. Listen to (or watch) a symphony. When did you last listen to a Beethoven symphony from start to finish without outside distractions? Probably in the concert hall. Turn your home into a performance venue by watching a recording of your favorite symphony played by your favorite orchestra on YouTube.
4. Watch a music-themed movie. There are plenty of movies available on streaming services about composers and performers. One of my all-time favorites is Amadeus. Good music, good acting, and that high-pitched laugh is iconic. You might even be inspired to add those old-school Mozart concerti to your practice docket.
5. Write a flute blog. What inspires you about the flute? Is there a composer that you enjoy? Is there a particular teaching tip that you would love to share with the world? Write it down and post it to your blog. Or, if you do not yet have a flute blog, this is a great time to set one up!
6. Check your flute horoscope! Shameless plug warning. If you are curious about what is in store for your flute playing this month, be sure to check out your flute horoscope here.
7. Watch as many versions as possible of the same piece on YouTube that you can find. Choose one of your favorite pieces and type its title into the YouTube search box. Pour a glass of wine and binge-watch as many videos as you can. What elements change from performance to performance? What interpretations work well? Is there anything that you would like to emulate in your own performance?
8. Perform duets with yourself. As a kid, I practiced duets by recording myself playing the top line (in those days via cassette tape) and playing along to the recording on the bottom line. This can easily be duplicated using your phone’s recording device or even video creation. You might even share your performance on your YouTube page if you are brave.
9. Deep clean your flute. I am not talking about the quick wipe-down of fingerprints. I am talking about getting all the yucky crud out from the tops of keys and between the joints, cleaning or replacing any accessories such as flute gels or lip plate covers, polishing the outside, and even cleaning out the inner and outer flute cases.
10. Retail therapy. Buy a new piece of music. Invest in a beautiful yet functional flute stand. Treat yourself to a new flute bag. Have fun shopping!
What are you doing to practice self-care? What self-care item are you most looking forward to? What other self-care tips do you have?
Rachel Taylor Geier holds a DMA in Flute Performance from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, an MM in Flute Performance from San Francisco State University, and a BM in Music Performance from DePauw University. Former applied instructors include Immanuel Davis, Linda Lukas, Anne Reynolds, and Rhonda Bradetich. Dr. Geier currently teaches and freelances in Davis, California.