Patricia George's bio on Powell Flutes' website gives a bit of insight on her, as does the website for Fabulous Flute, a store owned and operated by Patricia George and Phyllis Louke. As well as contact info.
And here's the infamous T&G Practice Guide I've been rambling about:
If you're not a flutist, you probably will have no idea what exercises are contained in the 17 Grands Exercices Journaliers de Mécanisme pour la flûte, but trust me: they're good. I'd post more snippets, but it's still under copyright. It would be worth checking out though. In fact, I'd recommend that you borrow a copy from a flutist friend and maybe consider buying a copy for yourself. These exercises are easily adaptable to most every instrument! If you would like to buy a copy, I'll put a link at the bottom of this post.
When you look over her document, you'll see some same or similar ideas repeated with various exercises, which is great for people like me who just can't stay focused. I also like the systematic rotation of key signatures from day-to-day.
As you can see, it's a twelve-week plan for working through almost the entire book (Ms. George omits exercises 3 and 17). I appreciate the slow working method that she encourages. For me, it's great because anytime I begin to feel rushed or anxious I can remind myself: “I still have x weeks to learn this. Plenty of time!” My favorite part right now is the space she suggests that you insert between chunks of notes.
For example, here's the first line of Exercise No. 1 from Taffanel and Gaubert's 17 Grands Exercices Journaliers de Mécanisme pour la flûte:
For this Ms. George recommends playing eight notes and then inserting a quarter rest, as such:
I should note that the original book suggests ten different articulations, but so far I've been slurring each group to make sure the tone is consistent. The addition of these 'mini-breaks' grants many advantages. The space allows you to relax and sort of step back and reflect on what you just played:
How was the quality of sound?
Were all the notes connected gracefully and naturally?
Were the notes of equal proportions?
Of course, this also allows you to listen to what your body is telling you – are you holding negative energy or excess tension? If so, where?
I hope some of this discussion helps you in your own practicing. Let me know what you think, or if you have any suggestions!
I really owe a lot of my 'take a year to practice' idea to Ms. George. I remember reading in a Flute Talk magazine (for which she is the editor) recently where she mentioned that she likes taking a little bit of time every year to just go back to the basics. Now, I'm probably paraphrasing at best (my magazines are still packed up), but if I remember correctly, she talked about going back to very simple exercises to unlearn any bad habits that had crept in and relearn good habits. I thought that was just the best idea, and that was probably the first step to getting me to where I am with this blog today. And for that, I am very thankful to you, Ms. George!