For many of us, our lives have become so hectic that we forget about the little things that bring us joy.
A few weeks ago, I enrolled on a couple of flute improvisation courses with The Shift Network hosted by Christine Stevens, a renowned music therapist based in the US, called “The Flute as Sound Medicine” and “Deepen your Flute Journey”.
As soon as I saw this flute course advertised, I knew I wanted to do it more than anything. It grabbed my attention as I knew I wanted to develop my flute practice further and especially with the lack of social interaction, I needed a positive distraction to refuel my energy and keep me feeling more positive during this difficult period in our lives.
Lockdown is definitely not the same in the winter as it is in the warmer spring and summer months – I know I don’t venture outdoors as much I would normally do and take in enough sunlight. I often prefer to stay in the warm in the winter.
Music is my source of sunshine. I like to plug into this positive feeling every morning as often as I can. Since starting my flute course, I have developed a daily practice, even if just to play a couple of songs or improvise with the sounds of nature, drum beats or wind chimes. That’s all it takes sometimes to give me a mental boost and make me feel more productive and creative.
Starting your day on the right track can really help your day go more smoothly. I find short bursts of activities to refuel my energy work well, whether it’s playing or listening to music, exercise, meditation, reading a book or watching an inspiring talk, or anything you love to “get your teeth into” or know makes you feel good afterwards.
I am a traditional musician. I have always learnt music by just playing a tune from “old school” paper sheet music that has been created essentially by someone else. I didn’t learn any other way, so I haven’t really had much experience with improvisation.
So I dived into the unknown… What could I lose? I had no idea what I was in for and how this will all turn out but all I knew at the time of booking myself on the course was that I loved playing this beautiful instrument and wanted to explore.
As long as you don’t overthink it or overwhelm yourself worrying about what other people think, improvisation can be a really fun, relaxing experience – even though you may have no idea what you are going to play, and whether it actually makes any sense or sounds right. In reality, it has become quite an adventure as I learn new techniques, increase my confidence in playing on the spot using my own intuition without any sheet music in front of me and becoming inspired more and more each day by new instruments I can play along to to help increase my creativity, create a better rhythm and bring out the best of me – altogether an enlightening experience.