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  • Writer's picturet.seguritan.abalos

Introducing sound doodles

Building off my first post on teaching artistry, I decided to create a series where I post a clip of my flute playing and a reflection about where I am as a musician.

This stems from my favorite definition of teaching artistry: a teaching artist bridges the gap between their art and the community.

Within this definition, there are so many possibilities for musicians. One way is to be vulnerable about how we connect to the music we create.

How am I connecting to music right now?

Within days of sharing how I'd rediscovered a love for practicing, ironically enough, I didn't touch my flute for... a while. Mostly because of schoolwork, but also a lack of motivation (I can admit this after watching Jeanne Baxtresser's lovely message to flutists about not beating ourselves up for practicing less during the pandemic).

So I wasn't planning to pick up my flute today. The longer the break, the more disconnected I feel from this art I've supposedly dedicated my life to.

However, a spontaneous phone call with a friend (which I almost passed on, being tired from work & highly introverted) put me in a mindset where practicing felt possible.

Something about thoughtful human interaction, especially talking to an old friend, mobilized me from the internal rut where music-making felt distant and impractical.

In picking up my flute, I knew it would be rusty, so my goal was simply to re-center my sound and re-establish that vital link between creativity, breathing, and technique.

To do this, I started "doodling" with melodies just for fun.

Midway, it clicked — this joy where I just knew, this is how I'm meant to connect with the world.*

Usually, playing after a long break doesn't go that well. I'm more likely to be frustrated with my sound and experience a total lack of joy. The key is not letting those days define my relationship with music.

So here are the "sound doodles" I created today: from Harald Genzmer's Trio for flute, viola, & harp and Gabriela Lena Frank's Sueños de Chambi (by ear & from memory, so more like "Theresa's approximations of great music").

These "doodles" are exploratory than polished — far from my best playing — but they express where I am today, how music bridges me with the realities I'm facing.

For now, that's all I need as a musician.

* Inadvertently stole this phrase from Jen Fulwiler's memoir One Beautiful Dream

The audio quality drops because my audio recorder ran out of storage during the 2nd clip. Oops!

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