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This past week, I (Ixi) have been away with the family, first a fun-filled and touristy trip to New York City, then a couple of days in Vermont where Ted grew up. Traveling with kids is at once exciting (seeing the world through their eyes, especially them taking NYC all in) and grueling (with some form of "are we there yet" and "how long until lunch" filling the air at any given moment).
I should give them more credit, our kids are actually great travelers! They do look up occasionally from screens to look out the window, they like to know the itinerary, and they fill time playing… games.
Whether it's the License Plate Game, Twenty Questions, the ABC game, Word Association, or Trivia… whenever there was a lull in the action, someone would inevitably start a game.
So I got to thinking about a book I came across recently called Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games by Ian Bogost based on the premise that anything could be approached as a game, that there's FUN to be had in the boring, ordinary world.
What if you were to try this this week - make fun creative games out of long tones, scales, pieces?  
1. Create loops. Like a record player stuck on a groove, loop difficult sections a few times before seamlessly moving on
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2. Inside-Out practice. This works well for me in modern music, especially when there's no discernable pattern. Take a difficult passage and starting with the middle most note, add one note at a time before and after it until you have played the whole passage.
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 3. Phrasing on one note. Play the phrase with bow or air, but instead of playing all the notes, play it on one note only. Focus on how the quality, speed, and velocity of your air or bow or fingers change through the phrase. Pick one note then play with all the correct rhythms, articulations and dynamics: 
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 4. Play things backward and forward. Self explanatory! 
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I list a few more here in this week's blog
What other ideas do you have? Do you use any games in your practice?
Ixi ( and Ted & Tiffany)

Throughout the month there are opportunities to dig into your career, wellness and performance! 
These topics address the 360 of who you are and what you - and only you - can offer the world. 
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Always a good reminder…
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