• Renate Yotti

5 things music teaches us

Updated: May 5


Hello everyone! I am so happy to be back on The Flute Practice for another blog post. I enjoy following this community and having a small part in witnessing your musical journeys across the globe.


Although I have been a language teacher for the last twenty years, music has always been a part of my life. It has accompanied various seasons and times and always added beauty. It is a great gift.


I am by nature quite a deep thinker and found myself pondering the value of music and what we can learn from it. So, in this blog post, I invite you to join me in considering what music can teach us…


1. Music teaches us to be present

Most people’s lives are very busy – a lot of us are trying to balance multiple responsibilities, not to mention the constant flow of input from our devices. It is hard to switch off sometimes, and we may feel as though we are constantly chasing the next thing on our to-do list.

When we listen to our play music, time may seem irrelevant. We are immersed in the moment, enjoying the sounds and melodies, being transported into a different world. We tell a story on our instrument and for this time, the outside world seems to disappear. Music helps us to focus on the here and now and to be present in the moment.


2. Music teaches us about order, timing, and rhythm

Music can be described as expressive and creative on the one hand, but it is also very logical and precise on the other. I can still hear my ‘cello teacher’s voice ringing in my ears as a child: Renate, you must count! I really struggled with this aspect of music – the precision of counting and sticking to the rhythm and the timing. Yet, it is essential! Without it – especially in a group context – there will be chaos and disharmony.



So, what can we learn from this? I believe that structure and routine fulfil an important purpose in our lives. They serve as the framework for our pursuits. If we are not willing to get up at a certain time or do the things that need to be done in an orderly, disciplined manner, we will be poorer off for it.


3. Music teaches us to embrace emotions


Emotions are a very human part of life. Music gives us a beautiful expressive outlet for these feelings and experiences. We get to showcase feelings when we play. Nobody likes a wooden performance; we want to see expression and passion in the player. Music is a perfect, artistic outlet for this. Where else but in music do you angrily get to play notes furioso and then quietly tread through a piece that requires you to play it softly and sweetly? Music encompasses such a wide range of emotions and when we play or listen to it, we get to be a part of that experience.


4. Music reminds us to enjoy life


What is a party without music…? Or a road trip without your favourite tunes blasting on the radio? Whatever music you may enjoy, I think most people would agree that they listen to music because it adds joy to their lives.



Hopefully, you would say the same about playing your instrument, even if you are trying to reach certain goals or playing it professionally.


5. Music puts us in touch with our universal humanity


We have all heard it said that music is a universal language. How true that is. Music transcends borders and language and can unite people. I think of this community and all the wonderful flutists it has connected across the globe. Music is deeply human, making it accessible to anyone. We can share our music with others and in doing so, connect with them. We can enjoy music from another country without even being able to speak the local language. Music reminds us of our own humanity and everything that goes with that.


Music is one of life’s beautiful gifts. If you play an instrument, you have special access to this gift. Embrace it and learn from it. Happy playing!




Renate Yotti can look back on a long-standing career as a foreign language teacher. She also loves words and has co-authored a poetry collection entitled Cross-Over. She wrote the book under her second name, Linda, together with Tacham Deowm (available on Amazon). Just recently, Renate launched a new, conversational blog entitled https://fireplace-chats.blogspot.com



 

Do you sometimes want to throw your flute against the wall?


We all have those bad habits that get in the way of us being able to play our instruments to our full potential and it is SOOOO frustrating.


Here's the thing. Tension in our bodies, fingers, and embouchure or an unhealthy attitude to our playing and practice prevents us from taking on the learning process fully. The most frustrating part of this is that the more we try, the worse it gets.


Over the past 20 years years of playing and teaching the flute, I have discovered that a fundamental process of improving on the flute, is learning to LET GO. We need to learn to let go of tension, trying too hard, preconceived ideas of what we should sound like, and even some of our internal beliefs around our playing and practice.


Letting Go is an online video course that takes you through a 6-week process to help you let go of bad habits and patterns of thinking and start to see some significant changes in your playing.


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