Flute Choir: Beyond the Basics
by Gail Green
You might be thinking, how do I start a flute choir or how to transition being the new director of an established flute choir. It starts with 3 basic guidelines:
Plan – Organized planning before the first rehearsal will help with team building and trust.
- Listen to other flute choirs and get inspired and gather ideas. Flute festivals and Youtube are great resources.
- Name the flute choir.
- Find a place to rehearse. Churches are nice places.
- List concert venue possibilities. A few concert ideas can be at churches, libraries, museums, performing arts centers or clubs, nursing homes, hospital lobbies.
- I like to set the performance dates and work backwards to set the rehearsal schedule. If you are transitioning to an established flute choir, perhaps not change was has worked in the past. It is good to keep traditions and then add a few of your own ideas as time progresses.
- Decide if you want to have a membership fee to purchase music.
Suggestion: Set up a bank account to deposit money and debit card for purchases. Have a joint bank account with a member of the flute choir to be accountable to each other.
- Compose an email invitation for the upcoming season with all information that includes rehearsals, concerts, membership fee (if you decide). I have found that if people know up front your vision for the season before they commit, they appreciate it and can plan accordingly. Some flute choirs rehearse all year and some have certain times of the year. We have 2 seasons. One in the fall and one in the spring. It works for us.
- Send your Invitation letter of your upcoming season in emails to prospective members. Target your invitations to the caliber of your group. If anyone can join, then realize that there will be a span of abilities and choose music accordingly. If you have an elite group then you might have auditions or by invitation only. An idea would that the director would give the interested person a flute choir part, they rehearse on their own and submit a recording by a certain date via email. It saves time and takes off a little pressure on the individual.
- Keep a list of committed members with their emails for that season.
- Choose music that fits the group, also assess your audience and what they would find interesting and educational. If you only have C flutes and no alto flutes or bass flutes, then start with trio’s or quartets and double up on parts. Start simple.
- Assign and get parts to members. They practice and come prepared.
- Pre-Plan the warm up, tuning, seating arrangement and music schedule for the rehearsal.
Communication – It is very important to stay on top of sharing information to members.
- Initial invitation of the season to prospective members of the flute choir.
- Email reminder of the rehearsal dates to committed members of the time and place, bring music if you have permission to scan parts so members can print and practice, bring music stands if needed.
- Email what to prepare for the rehearsal and links of other groups performing the pieces you are playing.
- Advertise concerts through social media, local music shops, schools, churches, and your local flute association, if you have one.
- Create a website with information about your flute choir and information to join. Our is michiganfluteorchestra.com
- Create a Facebook page
- Order flute choir business cards, flyers with your flute choir photo with contact information
- It is very important to return emails and phone calls in a timely manner.
- It builds relationships, trust and rapport
- As you respond, be flexible, people have families and schedules that sometimes conflict. Don’t take it personal, enjoy who is there.
Have fun, be confident, stay the course. Planning and Conducting like anything else takes time, practice and consistency. As we experience and grow and learn from each season, it is exciting to evaluate and plan for the next season. And, how fun to cultivate new friendships along the way.
The Michigan Flute Orchestra to Perform at Detroit Institute of Arts and Madonna College
The Michigan Flute Orchestra has an exciting upcoming season. The Orchestra will be performing at the
Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) on Friday, October 14, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. in Rivera Court at 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI and Madonna University on Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in Kresge Hall at 36600 Schoolcraft Road, Livonia, MI.
The Michigan Flute Orchestra is an ensemble of dedicated and accomplished flutists from the southern Michigan area. The instrumentation consists of the entire spectrum of the flute family:
Piccolo, C Flute, Alto Flute, Bass Flute, Contra Bass Flute.
The Orchestra has a great program that will include Catherine Sherwin and Carol Marcus who will perform a duet from Ervin Monroe’s arrangement of “The Royal March from the Sonata in F Major” by Georg Telemann. In addition, Miranda Browne will perform on piccolo two movements from the “Concerto in C for Piccolo” by Vivaldi, arranged by Nancy Nourse and Robyn Myers will perform “Prayer from a Jewish Life, No. 1” by Ernest Bloch, arranged by Francine Ross Pancost.
Mark your calendars for engaging performances this fall!
MFO is under the direction of Gail Green. Gail received her Bachelor’s Degree in K-12 Instrumental and Vocal Music Education from Central Michigan University. She taught music in several public schools throughout Michigan and has performed in several community orchestras and bands, pit orchestras, flute choirs and a variety of chamber groups in Michigan and Canada. Gail is currently a member of Trio Dolce and the flutist with the Dexter Chamber Strings. She also serves on the board with the Southeast Michigan Flute Association, and adjudicates Solo & Ensemble Festivals. She lives in Brighton, Michigan where she has a private flute studio.