Q&A - How to visualize musical intervals on the flute


I just purchased your book from Amazon and would like to clarify a point. When the exercise says to visualize all five notes at once on my flute, does this mean the sound or the letter name of the note? I.e. as I am playing one of five chromatic notes on my flute what do I visualize? Many thanks.


David's response:

Hi Shane,

Great question. You're talking about the Exercise 1 Daily Meditation, in which we "zoom in" on a tiny portion of our musical range and we focus all our attention on just 5 notes. This is one of the best exercises I know for developing confidence moving effortlessly all across your musical range.

This activity is part of IFR Exercise 1: Landscape, and at this level you are learning to master the physical aspects of moving around your instrument. So at this stage we're not concerned as much with harmony as we are with the physical details of simply moving around the musical terrain.

You might picture the names of the notes written out in a horizontal line in front of you. Or you might just imagine the series of fingerings on your flute, and try to picture all five fingerings at once so that you can imagine how to jump from any note to any other. Some people even prefer to imagine the notes on a music staff.

Try not to get too hung up on worrying about which is the "best" way to visualize these notes because each person is different. The exercise itself will make sure that you develop the skills we want, so you can just relax and enjoy making music with these sounds each day.

Just practicing the meditation and improvising with these notes forces you to learn how to move comfortably between them. So there isn't really any "wrong" way to practice the exercise. Just visualize the notes in whatever way feels most natural to you, and practice the exercise in a different part of your musical range each day.