How to Practice without Your Instrument

After coming down with a cold recently, I thought it would be the perfect time to write about practicing flute without your flute. There are multiple reasons why you might need to do this.

If you’re sick, if your flute is in the shop, or even if a roommate or family member needs quiet, you may need to find other ways to “practice” than simply picking up your instrument.

Hannah B Flute | Practicing without Your Instrument

These ideas are not the same as playing your instrument, but they can help you improve your skills. At the very least, you can learn a little bit more about your instrument.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Click here for my full disclosure policy.

Listen to recordings

I have mentioned this before, but you can learn a lot about music from listening to some recordings. If you are learning a new piece of music, recordings will give you a sense of the tempo and the feel of the piece.

You can also listen to recordings after you have learned a piece. This will help you figure out how others interpret the music. You can then create your own unique version of the piece.

If you are playing an arrangement (i.e. a piece not written originally for your instrument), you can listen to recordings on the original instrument. This will give you a good idea as to how the composer wanted the piece to sound. Each instrument does have its own quirks after all.

Related: The Importance of Listening

Watch videos/read blogs

If you can’t practice your instrument, you can learn about it. Get on YouTube or social media and watch videos or read blogs. The internet is a great place to learn about music.

A lot of videos and blogs are free to use, and there are some premium sites where you can spend a bit of money for more specialized content. I am working on premium content, and I hope to release some of it early next year.

However, there are tons of great websites where you can learn about music and the flute. This blog is, of course, one of those resources. I also have a ton of other favorites that I wrote about awhile back.

Related: Online Resources & Websites for Music

Study the scores

Whether you are working on a solo piece or an ensemble work, you can study the score. I wrote a whole post on how to get started with score study, so use those tips to help.

Studying a music score allows you to know what other players are doing. You can compare the different parts to your own. This means you can change how you play a certain phrase based on what else is happening.

I don’t study scores as much as I should, but when I do, I am able to make more educated decisions for tempo, articulation, and dynamics. Score study also tells me where I am in a chord. Am I the root? The third? The fifth?

Related: The What & Why of Score Study

Brush up on theory

If you are fairly new to your instrument, or even if you have been playing for years, you can always study up on music theory. Music theory (and ear training) is at the core of music.

You need to have a working knowledge of music theory to know how music works. Solid ear training also helps you “hear” a phrase or piece before playing.

You can check out music theory books or download an ear training app to your phone. With a book or app, you can practice in the comfort of your own bed, even when you’re super sick.

Recommended: Guide to Music Theory

Rest. A lot…

This tip doesn’t exactly relate to flute playing or to practicing without your flute. It does, however, help you get back to flute playing sooner rather than later.

Winter is approaching, and that means so is cold and flu season. If at all possible, don’t be afraid to take a few days off from the flute. If you’re really sick, you want to recover. Playing while sick isn’t productive.

Heck, sometimes music study isn’t even productive when you’re sick. So listen to your body and know when you should take a break. Sometimes it is more important to sleep than to prepare for you next performance.

I have had to perform while sick…twice. And it wasn’t fun. I got through it, but I didn’t push myself. As soon as the performance was over, I left. I went to sleep. I rested. Your health is important. Don’t let a performance or practice session impede your recovery.

So…

Have you played flute while sick? Were you able to take time off to get better? Let me know in the comments!

And be sure to subscribe below for access to freebies and updates!

Subscribe to HBF!

* indicates required



Getting Personal

Hey all. I know I don’t normally post on Saturdays, but…

I’ve got a confession. I’m not a huge fan of the name “Killer Harmony.” I chose the name almost two years ago now, but I don’t really feel like it fits the blog. I was a college junior; I had just thought I lost my entire blog. It was time for a change.

I don’t regret the name Killer Harmony. It’s a cool name. But it’s not the best. So, I think it’s time for a change. I want to share it with you before I actually make the change, so you know it’s coming.

I have a few names in mind, and I want to share them, and my thoughts, with all of you.

Change is natural

I have grown and changed a lot in the last two years. I finished college and moved back home. And I found a “big girl” day job. Over the past two years, I have come to realize that Killer Harmony is not a very professional name. It’s cute and spunky, but it’s not professional.

I care about music and blogging, and I want to take it seriously. It’s hard to take a blog with a cute, spunky name seriously.

I know the change will be hard. I’ll have to make sure everything transfers correctly, and that you can continue to find my blog and all its content.

Looking forward

My blog has grown. It’s still very small, but it has grown and changed just as much as I have. I need a name that reflects that change and that can work for me for years to come.

Killer Harmony is a great name for a hobby blog, but I want this to be more than that. I want to create a community of flutists and other musicians. I want to share tips and tricks and to advocate for music education…for all ages.

There’s a lot I want to do with this blog, and I need a name that can handle that.

A new name?

I have narrowed the options down to two different names.

The first one is my full name: Hannah Haefele.

It’s clear that it’s my website, and it allows me to do what I want.

It’s also hard to spell and pronounce.

The second option I’m considering is Hannah B Flute.

B is my middle initial, so it represents me and what I write about. As long as I write about flute or music.

But it’s catchier and easier to spell than my full name.

My Thoughts

I’m really leaning toward Hannah B Flute. I love the flow of the name, and I don’t see myself drifting from writing about music anytime soon.

So…

I have been thinking about changing the blog name for awhile now, and I really think it’s time. The name Killer Harmony just doesn’t do it for me. Though, the name will still be found on older posts, and I plan on making sure all of the current links will work with the new domain!

So be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter (@HannahHaefele)! I really want this to be a community, so I want your input!

Posting Rough Cut Recordings

Hello friends! It is officially December! As you may have noticed by now, I am not participating in Blogmas this year. I am just too busy with my full time job and making music my little side hustle. I couldn’t think of enough topics to cover it. But today, I did want to talk about something I have been doing: rough cut recordings!

Killer Harmony | Posting Rough Cut Recordings

Back in October, I started posting videos on YouTube! I am not much of a video person, so I decided to start my channel by posting rough cuts of me playing different pieces of the flute repertoire.

Today, I want to talk about why I am doing rough cuts at this point, and how I think they can help you all as well as myself.

No Editing Required

Rough cuts are easy, because I can film myself playing a work or excerpt and then post it. I don’t need to spend a ton of time editing the footage to make it perfect. The video can go up as soon as I am done filming it.

As a busy musician with a full time day job, being able to film and immediately upload the video is awesome. I don’t have all that much time to dedicate to editing videos much less filming them in the first place.

Filming and uploading a rough cut is a lot easier and less time consuming than if I were to edit. I can share more content with you guys more quickly.

Teaching Tool

Rough cut videos are a great tool to use for every musician. They are great for my own use, because I can learn from my mistakes. They are great for viewers, because you can see that I am not perfect. Rough cuts go behind the scenes to reveal the “secrets” of pro and semi-pro musicians.

I can learn from myself, but my real goal is for you all to learn from my rough cuts. These videos show my mistakes, and if you make those mistakes, you can then understand mistakes aren’t bad.

If you make my same mistakes, you can then learn from them, knowing that you are not the problem. Some pieces are not written to be easy.

Vulnerability

A lot of musicians have to use social media and the internet to build their careers these days. That means that skilled musicians could come off as perfect. If a musician knows how to edit their photos or videos to appear as this perfect person, they aren’t relatable.

Posting unedited footage leaves the musician vulnerable. They show the world what musicians a generation ago showed their audition committees. The openness of rough cut videos shows a side to me (or any musician) that the internet would otherwise allow to stay hidden.

I love showing off a vulnerable part of me, because it proves that I am human. I make mistakes. Being a perfect musician is not a fact of life for many of us. That’s okay.

So…

I hope you enjoyed this shorter post. I think it’s important to share the unedited version of myself once in awhile. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my latest video. I want to start posting weekly on there and to continue to show off what a real musician looks and sounds like.