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Modernizing Practice Paradigms for New Music

Periodization Theory and Peak Performance Exemplified Through Extended Techniques


Jennifer Borkowski

The author examines how new music scores with extended playing techniques call for new practice structures. YouTube access to basic instructional videos and the streaming of sound files allows musicians today to learn easily and independently. Yet, the trailblazers in new music tackled new scores without these aids; they used imagination, experimentation and tenacity. Conscious use of both learning modalities can augment ideas of practice and performance preparation; expanding new music’s reach while preserving its fire. Practice is differentiated between the quick learning for an upcoming performance and the transformative learning that new music offers. Periodization theory from sport science provides a pedagogical framework for building both mental and physical stamina leading to peak performance.
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VIII. A Periodized Daily Studies Program


VIII.   A Periodized Daily Studies Program

Many flutists who specialize in modern music have commented that they do not use extended techniques in daily studies. They probably get enough of a work-out since they are playing repertoire using them very often. This is not true of most flute students or professionals who do not play much new music. Learning the techniques only when they need to be performed causes unnecessary stress on the body and mind. Assimilation in daily studies is a must.

I have assigned the following techniques a value based on the physical energy level they require. The values are as follows:

These levels are based on a scale of 1 to 10, with traditional playing lying between 3 and 5. Eventually, some of the levels will even out as the techniques become better trained. Flutter tongue and harmonics will become second nature as the muscles learn to play more efficiently. Constants in this list are jet whistle, tongue ram, pizzicato and whistle tones. Jet whistle, being an “anti-flute” technique, is meant to free up the performer not only with fresh breathing, but also from other confining thoughts. An option is to add in an improvisation after the jet whistle. The player can chose how much energy to spend during the improvisation.

   Figure 26:  Jennifer Borkowski, Periodization Micro-Cycle Line Graph ← 99 | 100 →

Periodization charts of work and recovery follow this type of pattern. Short term charts...

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