Imagine answering your phone and it is the local TV station asking if they could do a video about you. That is exactly what happened to me a few months back, Shaw cable approached me about doing a one minute video for there Where You Live feature and of course I said yes. This was an exciting moment. I hope you enjoy it.
Breaking out of the Rut when you are playing.
By Terry Mack, Intuitive player of the Native American Style Flute and Musical Explorer
Hello fellow musical explorers. Whether you are new to playing the flute or creating your own music and sound or a seasoned player there will be times when you simply get stuck and/or bored with your playing. Here are a few fun things to explore to change up your approach to playing. I always find it more fun to start with the concept of beginner mind when I explore my flute. It helps silence the critic that gets in the way.
For just one little minute or two, forget about making songs or learning to play other peoples songs and focus on getting to know your flute.
Let’s start with playing contrasting sounds and elements. Imagine the emotions that come you feel around some of these things and see if you can capture them with your flute. Remember, there is no right and wrong with this, just the simple joy and learning that comes from the exploration.
As you explore these fun little techniques they become part of your musical tools that begin to wind themselves into your playing. This type of musical exploration helps you to add texture, richness and depth to your playing.
Go ahead, give it a whirl and have fun with some joyful, musical exploration
PEACEFUL SPIRIT FLUTES FLUTE CARE TIPS - Terry Mack
Flutes will get better with age providing you look after them.
Wooden flutes experience wetting out. As you blow your warm breath into the short air chamber of the flute, the moisture from your breath condenses and leaves water droplets building up in the slow air chamber and in the flue, (air channel under the block). When this happens, you will notice a change in the quality of the sound you are making with the flute.
If you have been playing for awhile and your flute is quite wet, I recommend taking the block off to let the air chamber dry out and to let the bottom of the block dry out as well. Looking after your flute in this way, helps to prevent the development of cracks in the air chamber. This is especially important in humid climates.
It is recommended to avoid eating or drinking when you play your flute. Food particles carried on your breath can be a source for anything that that might grow in the slow air chamber. Liquids will make your flute wet out faster.
Here are a few more tips on caring for your flute.
Some people suggest using a clean, dry cloth to dry the air channel but make sure it is a cloth that does not leave little bits of it in or on the flute.
strapping, and take the block off, to let the flute dry, you can always check with the maker to find out if alcohol will have an impact on the finishes used.
OILING OR WAXING YOUR FLUTE
Most flutes will not require any extensive oiling on the inside. When in doubt check with the flute maker or your flute seller for further information.
For more information you can visit: http://www.woodenflute.com/maintaining
Use Back Tracks to Develop Your Flute Playing Skills By Terry Mack, Owner of Peaceful Spirit Flutes
If you are out there playing on your own and have not been able to connect to another flute player or other musical type a great way to explore and develop your playing is to play to a back track. A back track is a recording of music or rhythms usually instrumental or drum tracks.
I have been able to create some very lovely pieces by using back tracks in several different ways. Some musicians are creating backtracks to their own music that you can buy and others like Clint Goss and the late Stephen deRuby create backtracks that can be used with Native American Flutes.
For easier playing it is best to buy the track in the same key as your flute or in a key that you can harmonize with. This is less of a concern when you are buying straight drum tracks. If you have an opportunity to listen to parts of the track before you buy or download that will give you a better idea of whether it works with your flutes.
If you are new to playing to a back track choosing backtracks with simple rhythms are often easier to start out with and play along to. An excellent percussion CD to start with is Stephen DeRuby’s Rhythms To Accompany the Native American Flute. It offers a wide range of sounds and rhythms that you can easily follow along to.
Before you buy a CD or compilation of back tracks, check to see if all of the songs on the CD are for one key. Backtrack CD’s will sometimes have a variety of songs recorded in different keys so you do want to make sure that the CD does have a song that your flute can play along with.
Jonny Lipford has one back track with the same songs but recorded so that you can play in the different keys of the flutes (at the time of writing these are available for digital download for $5.00)
Clint Goss has created a wonderful set of Jam Tracks for each key of the flute. I really enjoy playing to these different CD’s. They are more complicated with changing rhythms and key changes in the middle of songs providing interesting opportunities to explore.
Another interesting resource to check out is http://brokensky.biz/backingtracks/
This link is generously provided by William Hopper, a member of the facebook page, Native American Flute Musicians. There is a very wide range of tracks to play along to.
Try connecting various techniques to playing along. If a rhythm or musical phrase is long and slow, feel what fits with it. You can follow along with the rhythm or see if you could play a faster counter point to it or short fast notes. You can play along to a track or you can add bits of sounds for impact that work with the piece. I like to think of my playing as adding a story along to the music so I incorporate pauses for effect and try different embellishments. However, you decide to explore, playing along to back tracks can enhance your flute playing journey
In this class Terry will help you break away from your normal patterns of playing and explore the many ways you can sculpt and shape sound in the beautiful basic scale.
You will learn and practice breathe control, embellishments, simple sound structure, fingering patterns and techniques and get a chance to play along with another flute player
This exciting session runs on October 14 from 2: 00 to 4:00 PM at Terry's house. The class is limited to 5 participants to ensure you get lots of time to practice and play.
The registration fee is $40.00.
Location: Terry's house - Nanaimo, BC Canada. The address will be provided at the time of registration.
To learn more or to register, contact Terry Mack at 250-740-0473 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
New flute playshop from Terry Mack, Intuitive and accomplished player of the Native American Style Flute
Terry Mack is offering a new and excting playshop for people wishing to move beyond playing the basic scale with your flute.
Date: Saturday, September 9
Time: 2:00 to 4:30
Location: Terry's house (address will be provided to people who register.
Registration Fee: $40.00
Participants should be comfortable playing the basic scale of the flute.
For more information visit:
Often when we are learning new things we get stuck in the same routines and patterns. Here are a few tips that can you help develop a deeper understanding of the range of sounds your flutes can produce.
EXPLORE EACH NOTE.
Make a song on one note and repeat this for every note. You can explore this by varying your breath. Try long breaths, interspersed with short breaths.
Blow harder, blow softer, stutter the sound, flutter your tongue, pause for a bit and then begin playing again, tell a story in your head expressing it through the one note Find as many ways as you can to vary the sound on that one note. Start with a gentle breath creating a soft sound and increase the air pressure raising the volume of the sound to the point where it is no longer a pleasant sound. And then add in a second note and have some even more fun with it.
PLAY A DIFFERENT SCALE
According to Clint Goss in his Flutopedia website there are over 1200 scales that people can explore. I am not sure how many of those will work on the Native American Style Flute I am willing to try as many as I can. Trying out different scales is a great way to expand your playing techniques, connect to more of the sounds you can produce with your flutes and build more fingering skills. To explore more scales, you can check out the 66 scales that Clint has collected on this page:
One of the reasons I enjoy playing with the different scales is that it helps me to learn how the notes sound together in that scale. As a player we get very used to hearing the notes in the basic pentatonic scale. I find playing the flute to be a real exercise in listening. When I step into a new scale and play within the notes in that scale, new music begins to emerge from the playing. I have to listen with my ears, and pay attention to my fingers to try the new fingering and make sure I don't slip back into playing in the basic scale. It expands my playing skills and if you challenge yourself to play with a new scale every week you will hear some interesting developments with your own playing.
So go ahead and take the plunge. Have some fun trying a new scale toda
It make so much sense.... Listening that is. The flutes have taught me more about listening than anything else in my life. When I connected with the CD that Clint Goss produced with Walter Mathieu, the importance of listening gained even more significance.
In this CD of Mathieu reading segments from his powerful written material in the Listening book ( which I have and have read) and The Musical Life ( which I now must get) I have found an even deeper understanding of the concept of and the process of listening.
After playing the CD several times, I found myself reaching further inside expanding my own awareness of sound and 'musicalness' moving into and integrating a more delicious sense of the world around me and its expressive nature.
Coming from a bad musical education experience as a child, I have stayed away from any technical teachings of music and don't even read music. When people talk to me about scales and timbre and other musical terms, I freeze up inside, my eyes glaze over while I try to sink into invisibility. Listening to these powerful CD's has brought a deeper awareness, an experiential opportunity to grasp hold of in both listening and in my playing. His material turns fearfulness into playfulness.
Mathieu is a musical explorer offering anyone from any background a true opportunity to grasp and connect to the wonderful world of sounds and music. His own deep connection to sound and music and his love of this come through in the rich sound of his voice as he reads the material. He artfully uses musical accompaniment to emphasize his points making what he is speaking of all the more real and easy to understand. I find in this approach a brilliance that I simply did not get from simply reading the Listening Book. Somehow listening to his voice, and his music twining around his words, moves you out of the intellectual mind and into the experiential realm.
In listening to Mathieu, I have been moved to explore and experiment with sounds. In the second disc the section “What Should I Practice?” motivates me to make my practicing something that comes alive with joy. All the rest of the tracks continue on offering you a way to take action and in doing so integrate at an almost cellular level a truer sense of where you are in the creation of sound, music and song. The material is inspirational. It can be listened to in short snippets or you can take the plunge and listen to both CD's in one setting. However you decide to approach this material you will always find something new to bring to your own musical journey.
It is an experience to listen to Mathieu's material. Anyone who enjoys music from a beginning player to a seasoned expert can enhance their own playing and listening from this CD set.
To purchase your own copy of this wonderful CD, click on the link below.
Looking for some basic steps in how to get started playing your Native American Style flute? I have some good news. I have just added by beginners booklet, First Steps With Your Native American Style flute to my website at www.peacefulspiritflutes.com You can view it on line or you can download your own copy.
"When you begin a note, it comes from somewhere and keeps going forever after you have finished. It comes from your impulse to sing, from your mind and heart, all the way back to the beginning of time. It goes into thin air, into walls, patient trees, open sky, molecules, heat, radiation, and on into vibrations there aren't names for. Part of it does, anyway. The rest of it goes into the hearts and minds of others. Nothing is lost. Everything keeps going around." from The Listening Book, by W.A. Mathieu.
Isn't that a powerful thought?
One of the things I have been learning as a flute player is that setting the intention to play from the heart opens up a channel to allow beautiful sounds to find their way from my heart to the flute. Sometimes it doesn't seem to matter what sounds I play as long as I am not fussing about "being right" , then a flow begins to happen and it almost seems like the flute is telling its own story. I have just become the tool to set it free. I am learning to listen to the spaces between the sounds of the flutes and just let those be. Instead of creating a song I often feel like a soundscape unfolds from my fingertips through the flute.
Our world is such a busy place and the thoughts spin so quickly in our head that sometimes we can't catch up with our own thoughts. The only time this stops for me is when I am with the flute playing that beginning note. As I started my adventure with the Native American Flute, the phrase " the flute will teach you how it wants to be played" was one I heard often. It perplexed me at first until I began to let go of playing the right note or playing the right way. What I am continuing to learn is the art of listening to the flute, to the world around me and to the gentle guidance that flows through me as I play.
Keeping Mathieu's quote in the back of my head reminds me to set the intention with my playing that as it reaches out to be heard by others that it fill them with whatever they need most in that moment. Sometimes people will come up to me at the same time and tell me a song sounds like a Peruvian flute and another will say that the same song has a celtic flavour. The first time this happened to me I was taken aback as I felt the song I was playing was simply meant to be a bit mysterious. As people listen connecting to their own lifetime of experiences the song takes on a meaning for the listener that fits with them in that moment.
When you play whether you feel like a master player or a stumbling beginner, your thoughts, your desire to express something through the flute connects to the world. I encourage you to 'silence the inner critic', that person who needs to be right and acknowledge that anything you do to produce sound with the flute is right and is teaching you, if you are willing to learn to listen.
Set the intention and play on fellow flutie, play on
Getting started playing the flute is a most enjoyable activity, soon becoming a journey. Sometimes on the journey we forget to stray from the path to see and experience new things. We slip into the familiar and the comfortable. As humans we like to create patterns and work in with them because the familiar is comfortable place to hang around in. In my circle of flute players and explorers I often hear people tell me they are stuck and there not sure how to move beyond playing the basic scale.
The first thing to do is simply make one change in your playing. In the basic scale, if you always start playing the flute with all 6 holes covered, then simply start with the third hole from the top covered and the rest uncovered. If you always play in your living room, get outside to play or play in a corner of the house to see what the flute sounds like. Give yourself permission to discover the sounds of the flute and try new things. It doesn't have to be "right" . Your growth as a player is connected to how much exploration you so with your flute. If you have never played to a drum beat, find a simple drumbeat song and play along with it. The moving beyond the basics or the stuck pattern that you are in only requires that you change one or two little things you do. These will quickly become part of your flute playing tool box. Think of yourself as a musical explorer. It's what I do when I play.
Here's to a happy few moments of exploring the flute.!
Intuitive Player of the Native American Flute
People are always asking me about tablature for songs to play. I have recently run across a great resource for tablature from the Lousiana Native American Flute Circle. They have a wide range of songs set out in tablature for both 5 hole and 6 hole flutes. http://lanaflutes.com/?page_id=223
Check it out, You just mind find some song you have been wanting to learn to play,
See the video of the presentation of this beautiful flute below.
The Native American Flute is a wonderful instrument to play in a hospice environment, a hospital or in a palliative care unit. I have been affiliated with the Nanaimo Hospice since 2007, first as a Board member, then as a staff member and now simply as a supporter for the organization.
I play my flutes at the annual Gathering to Remember candlelight service, have wandered the halls of the Palliative Care unit at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and at a few other events. A few years back a beautiful, large redwood tree had to be removed from Hospice House in Nanaimo. I kept a few branches from the tree and arranged for a flute maker to dry the wood and craft a flute from it for Nanaimo Hospice.
The cost of creating the flute is $200.00 .I am looking for donations to help pay for its creation. This beautiful flute captures an important memory for many, many people at Nanaimo Hospice. The flute will be presented to Nanaimo Hospice on October 19th at a Performance fundraiser event I am organizing along with 3 other talented Nanaimo musicians. All of the proceeds from the ticket sales and the silent auction will go to Nanaimo Hospice.
All donors to the project will be acknowledged in a certificate presented to Nanaimo Hospice.
To support this project click the link below.
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