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The Glissando Flute: How to play it, and why you should by Melissa Keeling

The glissando flute is a C flute played with a Glissando Headjoint. This headjoint greatly expands the expressivity, flexibility, and timbral possibilities of the Boehm flute. The culmination of many decades of work by Robert Dick, it has been commercially available for over a decade. Beyond playing glissandi, there are many potential benefits for your overall flute playing: increased aural awareness, greater flexibility of intonation, and a slew of new timbres and harmonies, which dramatically increases the expressive potential available to flutists and composers.

In addition to playing bends and glissandi, the headjoint:

  • Extends the low range of the flute to A1 (when using a B footjoint)
  • Creates new multiphonic possibilities
  • Allows for simple transposition of many multiphonics
  • Makes microtones and quartertones much easier to play, by eliminating the need for many alternate fingerings
  • Greatly expands the timbral palette

I have personally been using the Glissando Headjoint for three years and consider it to be my primary headjoint for composing and improvising. My newest composition, Tilt, is for solo glissando flute. In this article, I’d like to share how this headjoint works, and how to use it to sculpt the sound in new ways.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
The Glissando Headjoint works by using two telescoping tubes to lengthen the instrument. The headjoint is in “home position” when the tube is slid in completely (where it functions as a regular headjoint); when slid all the way out, it is at “full extension.”
Attached near the lip plate are two metal wings, which rest on the player’s cheeks to allow the headjoint to change length. Players should gently bend the wings to fit comfortably (slightly touching the

Home position (I)
Full extension (o)

The range of the glissando varies between a major second to a major third, depending on the pitch. Alternate fingerings are sometimes required to produce a smooth glissando from home position to full extension. Some pitches, particularly in the third octave, will “flip” to another harmonic before the headjoint reaches full extension.

BENEFITS FOR TRADITIONAL FLUTE PLAYING
Like many other contemporary flute techniques (such as singing, harmonics, and whistle tones), playing the Glissando Headjoint has benefits for traditional playing. The Glissando Headjoint’s flexible intonation forces the player to develop a higher sensitivity to pitch, a sensitivity that carries over even when playing on a regular headjoint. To improve intonation, a few weeks of mindful work with the headjoint and a tuner should improve the player’s ability to discern small differences in pitch.

NOTATION
The letters “I” (in) and “o” (out) indicate home position and full extension in musical notation, respectively. A fraction indicates how far to extend the headjoint for partial extensions (“-½” represents halfway out). A straight line between two notes, coupled with an arrow between I or o to show the direction the headjoint is moving, indicates a glissando between those notes.
For clarity, two staves are shown below: the top shows the sounding pitches, while the bottom shows the fingered note (using a diamond notehead) and headjoint position (I, o, -½).

Glissando Headjoint notation

GLISSANDO HEADJOINT TECHNIQUES

Upwards glissando (or bend)
Finger the note you would like the glissando to end on. As you play the note, slide the headjoint to home position. The farther you extend the headjoint, the wider the range of the glissando. The player controls the speed of the glissando by how fast the headjoint slides.

Notation for an upwards glissando

Downwards glissando
Reverse the motion above. Finger the note you would like the glissando to start on, place the headjoint in home position, then extend it.

Notation for a downwards glissando

Upper- or lower-neighbor bend
To bend to the upper-neighbor, such as a whole-step bend from A-B-A, finger the upper neighbor tone (in this example, B) and extend the headjoint halfway (to produce the sounding A). Then, retract the headjoint to home position (for the upper note). Because the top note is played in home position, its intonation is stable. You will need to experiment with the length of the headjoint so the lower note is in tune.

Notation for an upper-neighbor bend

Low Range
The Glissando Headjoint extends the low range of the instrument to include A1 and B-flat1 (by fingering B1 at full or half extension). This could be especially useful when playing transcriptions, since violin and oboe music frequently descend to that range.

EXERCISE

“One note, many positions” – Glissando Headjoint exercise (excerpt) by Melissa Keeling

I highly recommend the glissando flute to composers and performers wanting to explore new sonic possibilities, and anyone curious about new music. Every flutist should try one, if you have the chance!

Photo Credit: Levi Civjan

Acclaimed for performing repertoire ranging from orchestral literature to experimental electronic music, flutist and composer Dr. Melissa Keeling is based in the New York City area. Melissa is a Trevor James International Flute Artist and an Endorsed Artist by K&K Sound. As a performer and composer, Dr. Keeling regularly presents chamber and solo music across the New York City area. She has appeared at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and the Firehouse Space, and at festivals such as the National Flute Association convention. As an orchestral musician, Dr. Keeling has served as principal flutist, piccoloist, and soloist with orchestras such as the Ureuk Symphony Orchestra and the New York Harmonic Band. Internationally, she has performed solo in Italy with Grammy-award winning artist Rhonda Larson. Dr. Keeling’s compositions have been premiered at the National Flute Association conventions and the Make Music New York Festival. As a teacher, Dr. Keeling has led masterclasses on Baroque performance practice, music technology, performance health, and improvisation. She has experience teaching undergraduate flute lessons, woodwind methods courses, and coaching chamber ensembles. Dr. Keeling has adjudicated a range of music competitions, including the Flute Society of Kentucky High School and Collegiate Soloist competitions. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Flute Society of Kentucky. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda (National Music Honor Society) and the National Flute Association. Dr. Keeling holds degrees from The Graduate Center, CUNY (D.M.A., Music Performance), Middle Tennessee State University (M.A., Music Performance), and Western Kentucky University (B.S., Music Education). She has performed in masterclasses with Michel Debost, Keith Underwood, Alexa Still, Brad Garner, and abroad with Rhonda Larson in Italy. Dr. Keeling has studied with Robert Dick, Deanna Hahn Little, and Heidi Pintner Álvarez.Melissa Keeling is best-known for her works for electric flute and Glissando Headjoint.

Acclaimed for performing repertoire ranging from orchestral literature to experimental electronic music, flutist and composer Dr. Melissa Keeling is based in the New York City area. Melissa is a Trevor James International Flute Artist and an Endorsed Artist by K&K Sound. As a performer and composer, Dr. Keeling regularly presents chamber and solo music across the New York City area. She has appeared at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and the Firehouse Space, and at festivals such as the National Flute Association convention. As an orchestral musician, Dr. Keeling has served as principal flutist, piccoloist, and soloist with orchestras such as the Ureuk Symphony Orchestra and the New York Harmonic Band. Internationally, she has performed solo in Italy with Grammy-award winning artist Rhonda Larson. Dr. Keeling’s compositions have been premiered at the National Flute Association conventions and the Make Music New York Festival. As a teacher, Dr. Keeling has led masterclasses on Baroque performance practice, music technology, performance health, and improvisation. She has experience teaching undergraduate flute lessons, woodwind methods courses, and coaching chamber ensembles. Dr. Keeling has adjudicated a range of music competitions, including the Flute Society of Kentucky High School and Collegiate Soloist competitions. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Flute Society of Kentucky. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda (National Music Honor Society) and the National Flute Association. Dr. Keeling holds degrees from The Graduate Center, CUNY (D.M.A., Music Performance), Middle Tennessee State University (M.A., Music Performance), and Western Kentucky University (B.S., Music Education). She has performed in masterclasses with Michel Debost, Keith Underwood, Alexa Still, Brad Garner, and abroad with Rhonda Larson in Italy. Dr. Keeling has studied with Robert Dick, Deanna Hahn Little, and Heidi Pintner Álvarez.Melissa Keeling is best-known for her works for electric flute and Glissando Headjoint.

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Don’t Forget the Piccolo! An Interview with Jeffery Zook

"Don't Forget the Piccolo!"

An Interview with Jeffery Zook

by Heather Neuenschwander

Over the relaxing Memorial Day holiday weekend, I had the joy of speaking with Detroit Symphony Orchestra Flutist and Piccoloist Jeffery Zook. On a perfect Michigan morning, 70 degrees with the sun shining brightly, Jeff strolled through his beautiful garden, sipping a cup of coffee as we caught up on recent life events and he told me all about his upcoming Mile High Piccolo Masterclass. I always enjoy every moment I have with Jeff Zook as we chat about music, flute and piccolo playing and some of the other details of life. He’s such a genuinely kind person with so much to share with those around him. I have always enjoyed his spark for life and playing music mixed with his quick wit and humor and I’m excited to share our discussion about his summer projects in hopes to inspire others to spend just a bit of time with their piccolo this summer.

HN: Tell me about the Mile High Piccolo Masterclass.

JZ: The Mile High Piccolo Masterclass will be in Denver, Colorado from August 16 to 18. My goal for the class is to help flutists become more comfortable on the piccolo and to help piccoloists become better musicians. What I want to do is share what I’ve learned over my career in terms of how to exercise my technique on the instrument every day. So the morning classes are going to be fundamentals basics on both the flute and the piccolo and how they relate. This will be an opportunity for people to explore different ways of approaching the piccolo. The afternoon will be where we go over solo repertoire and orchestral excerpts, the art of auditioning, and give people a chance to play their instruments in a solo capacity.

HN: How did this event come to be? Is this the first time you’ve held this event?

JZ: Yes this is the first one! I wanted to hold a piccolo masterclass and my friends in the Colorado Symphony graciously offered to put this together in Denver.

HN: What is the venue like?

JZ: The Highlands Center is a new space in Denver.

HN: I saw that you have three books listed for use in the class. How did you choose these materials?

JZ: I’d like to start by saying they are all available at Flute Specialists! The Mazzanti book is something I use everyday in my own personal piccolo warmup. I had the fortune of hearing Mr. Mazzanti in masterclass several times and I actually took a lesson with him a few years ago and that lesson changed my way of playing the piccolo in such a positive way. He’s one of the greatest piccoloists in the world. I enjoy using his book with my students. I developed a curriculum at Oakland University with my piccolo students and we use that book in conjunction with Learning the Piccolo. Clem Barone was the predecessor of the piccolo job here in Detroit Symphony and he was my teacher as well. That book is a compilation of flute literature that’s adaptable on the piccolo that he chose in particular to help piccoloists with the problems of the instrument. So Mazzanti as well as Barone together I think is a good study foundation for anyone trying to improve on their piccolo skills.

HN: And the third book is the Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo?

JZ: Yes correct.

HN: What type of flutist or piccoloist do you think would best benefit from this masterclass?

JZ: My goal is to help people be more comfortable on piccolo. Even a good flutist who has a good piccolo is going to benefit from this and also anyone who’s on the audition war path will definitely benefit from this as well.

HN: I see that you are also giving a recital. Can you tell me a bit more about the recital?

JZ: The recital is going to feature myself as well as Cathy Peterson who is in the Colorado Symphony and Michael Williams who is the class coordinator and a freelancer in the Denver area. So the three of us are giving a recital together. The details of which have not been released yet.

HN: So no sneak peaks for us?

JZ: (with a wry chuckle) Mmm…No. (another chuckle) Sorry.

Me: (Laughing) All right! So… What are you most looking forward to during this masterclass?

JZ: I am looking forward to giving the information that I have. I have seen it help young, up and coming piccolo players and it’s stuff that I’ve gotten from Clem Barone, stuff I’ve gotten from just experience playing piccolo for 28 years in the DSO. I’m ready to give! I’m excited to have a piccolo audience. I’ve never really had a piccolo audience before. It will be my first piccolo masterclass like this.

HN: I was thinking that you tend to do more events for the flute so I was surprised to see that you’re doing an exclusive piccolo event.

JZ: Yeah! It’s time to feature the piccolo!

HN: Does that mean there will be more piccolo events to follow?

JZ: I hope so. I think this might be a new trend.

HN: What other projects do you have going on this summer that you’d like to tell me about?

JZ: I have a couple performances at the White Lake Chamber Festival which is a summer music festival near Muskegon, Michigan. Some of the events are on Lake Michigan and in and around Muskegon. The first concert is with Bret Hoag on Friday June 21 at 7:30 and it will be a flute and guitar recital. Then August 5th I’m playing in a Detroit Symphony Trio which is myself, a violinist and a cellist also at the White Lake Chamber Festival and I may also do a Baroque concert with them. I’m really looking forward to that. Other than that just DSO, DSO, DSO!

HN: Do you have any tips for flutists or piccoloists for the summer?

JZ: Don’t ignore the piccolo! That’s my tip. I’d say try to dedicate 10-20 minutes in the middle of your practice to bring out the piccolo using these books. The Mazzanti and the Barone will give you a good start and a good basis. I like to always begin my piccolo practice with flute and end my piccolo practice with flute. Make a concerted effort to play it every day for at least 10-20 minutes. That’s my tip, don’t ignore the piccolo!

For more information about the Mile High Piccolo Masterclass and other upcoming performances, visit http://www.jeffzook.com

 

Jeffery Zook has been a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra flute section since 1992. His formal musical studies began at the Interlochen Arts Academy and continued at the University of Michigan. With additional studies in England, Mr. Zook attending the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester received the coveted Recitalists’ Diploma from the Royal Academy of Music in London. His teachers have included William Bennett, Trevor Wye, Judith Bentley, Jacqueline Hofto and former DSO piccoloist Clement Barone.

Highly in demand as a teacher, Mr. Zook has taught at the University of Michigan and is currently on the faculty of Oakland University. In 2018 he was Visiting Professor at Western Michigan University.

He is currently the chairman of the Piccolo Committee of the National Flute Association and has been past president of the Southeast Michigan Flute Association.

Mr. Zook lives in Pleasant Ridge with his partner David Assemany, miniature pinscher Dexter. They have named their renovated Dutch Colonial home The Cambridge Conservatory a venue which hosts recitals, workshops, musical feasts and fundraisers.

Jeffery Zook plays a 14K Haynes flute and the Burkart Piccolo.

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A Four Day Flute Escape: Beach-style By Melissa Grey

 

A Four Day Flute Escape: Beach-style

By Melissa Grey

 

How many times have you shared your career as a musician and heard, “I used to play the flute in high school!” or, “My grandchild plays the flute,” or my favorite, “So what is your real job?” As a musician, a genuine concern that I had was becoming someone who would also set aside the flute, turning my back on the music that touched my heart throughout my life.

Yet, I found, growth opportunities for adult musicians of all levels, were few.

Have you noticed there are many flutists, graduating professionals as well as amateurs, with a desire to continue growing in their adult years? Have you noticed newly minted professional musicians unable to find jobs right away who simply don’t know how to sustain their career, inevitably changing careers? Have you observed musicians, of all levels, seeking performance opportunities in community orchestras and bands, while others take a few sporadic lessons? Have you met musicians who were once at their pinnacle return to the flute later with a heavy heart? Have you observed musicians searching for their own space? I have. Do you see a little bit of yourself? I do.

After careful thought, I approached my dear friend, Susan Whitener with an idea to create an empowering program for adults. A program that gives each person the opportunity to gain valuable information that can be applied to their personal goals expanding their community network. A reciprocal program to encourage advancement without competition and freedom to ask questions, be heard, and learn necessary skills together in a group setting. There, in 2013, the Interactive Session was born.

What are empowering ways to grow as a whole musician? For the Interactive Flute Retreat, created in 2015, it is inspiring artists to find their musical voice and remove personal walls by providing an all-inclusive event encouraging artists to let go and experience more. More nourishment through mouth-watering meals, more comfort via a beautiful place to rest your head and listen to the sounds of the waves, more movement through interactive classes and physical activities including private yoga on the beach. Experience profound growth in an intimate environment. Get to know some of the most innovative, thought-provoking, musicians of our time- this year, PROJECT Trio- on a day to day basis. Have the freedom to ask questions, learn their routines, their thought processes, their own personal experiences and even habits and apply it to your own career. Experience more through collaboration with like-minded musicians who vow to let go of the competition, even for four days, and encourage one another while enjoying performance opportunities throughout the event. Share your experiences and empower others with your musical life. The Interactive Flute Retreat is a place for your voice to be heard.

This year, PROJECT Trio will encourage you to seek opportunities in the music world, cultivate your personal brand, business, ensembles, community involvement and more. Get a taste of what it’s like to let go and incorporate new approaches to your style via an amazing private performance opportunity like no other. Through their vast performance experiences, PROJECT Trio will provide tools to improve intonation, technique and help you feel comfortable in your skin through personal practice, rehearsals, performances and even recording.

Addressing music spanning all periods, they will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and become the musician you truly want to be, whether it is in an orchestra, jazz-club or solo.

You, are invited to celebrate the musician’s soul, enjoy engaging interaction during classes, collaborate with like-minded musicians, and practice new techniques provided throughout the four-day event.

Interactive Flute Retreat August 16-19, 2019, South Haven, MI

Celebrating five years in South Haven, we can attest we would not be able to continue growing without our wonderful supporters and attendees. There is something amazing in the South Haven waters. Pipeline co-editor, Julie Marcotte, wrote “I leave the weekend feeling refreshed, inspired, and with a dozen new insights to share with my students. When else are we able to leave all of our responsibilities behind and immerse ourselves in our music, with the beach as our backdrop?”

 

Featuring PROJECT Trio!

We are ecstatic to spend four days with PROJECT Trio this year. Why? PROJECT Trio has made a career of celebrating music, and bringing music to a vast majority of people. They have encouraged musicians of all ages to explore music while pushing past the boundaries of their instruments. They merge musical styles, including jazz, while honoring their classical roots. For those looking for opportunities to grow, to expand expressionism through music, to find your voice while networking with others like you, and even find ways to cultivate a sustaining music career, then this summer, the Interactive Flute Retreat is definitely for you. This busy ensemble is taking four days to spend time with you. Join us for this unique opportunity.

 

Youth Day August 16, 2019

While the retreat is for adult musicians, 18 and older, we like to overlap a Youth Day on Day One of the four-day all-inclusive event. This year, youth attendees, 17 and younger get to work with me, and Roots Yoga, followed by an afternoon with PROJECT Trio during the first day of the retreat! Youth Day will take place August 16, 2019 starting at 8:30 a.m. and conclude after PROJECT Trio’s 7:00 p.m. concert. Invite your students to attend!

FREE CONCERT August 16, 2019 7pm

Did we mention the FREE concert? Yes! PROJECT Trio will be performing a FREE concert Friday, August 16, 7:00 p.m. at Stanley Johnston Park in South Haven, MI.

Interactive Flute Retreat August 16-19, 2019
Youth Day August 16, 2019
FREE Outdoor Concert August 16, 2019, 7:00 p.m. Stanley Johnston Park

You’re Invited! Looking forward to seeing you there this summer!
www.InteractiveFluteRetreat.com

The Interactive Flute Retreat is now under Seven Pillars, a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Seven Pillars’ aim is to empower the artistic soul through interactive events that provide engaging experiences, encourage cross-cultural collaborations, and invite artistic and personal growth.In fact, look for increasing opportunities through 2020 at www.Seven-Pillars.org. Let’s celebrate each other and seek opportunities to grow.

 

 

Melissa-Kay Grey is an avid performer and teacher in the Ann Arbor and Detroit areas. For more about Melissa or the Interactive Flute Retreat visit https://www.greyflute.com or https://interactivefluteretreat.com/

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An Interview with Robert Dick

An Interview with Robert Dick

We recently had an opportunity to ask world renowned flutist, performer and composer Robert Dick about his upcoming Contemporary Flute Week. With so many summer masterclasses, workshops, camps and musical opportunities to experience, find out what makes this event stand out from the others. For more information, visit http://www.robertdickcontemporaryfluteweek.com/

FS: What is the focus of the week?
 

RD: New music for flute and how to learn and to teach extended techniques.  So often, when flutists discuss the new, the phrase is “the new techniques”.  Technique is important, but it exists to serve music. I teach from this perspective: from music to the flute, rather than from the flute to music.  And techniques like throat tuning are of universal value.  Everyone needs tone — and everyone will play more musically and with better tone if they are singing inside and actually using their vocal chords to silently sing as they play.  I’ll be teaching how to learn new techniques, how to apply them in many types of music — and how to teach them!

 
FS: What type of flute player would most benefit from this event?
 

RD: Whether the flutist is a total "newbie to the new” or an experienced performer of new music, or even a composer-performer or improviser, the class will be meaningful and helpful.  In a supportive, enthusiastic environment, everyone will feel safe to the next steps in their musical journey.   We all will work on written music — with an accent on my compositions plus the music of many others — and we’ll improvise too, moving directly to musical creation.

 

 FS: Tell us more about the location on Lake Junaluska?
 

RD: Lake Junaluska is a beautiful conference center with very nice cabins, all with small kitchens.  The countryside is beautiful and its a great getaway for city folks — like me.

 
 FS: What do you most look forward to from this event?
 

RD: I look forward to sharing my passion for creativity, for music in its many aspects.  I fell in love with the flute the first day I played it, back in 1958 — and I love it more today.  And I look forward to learning from the students.  No lesson is complete if the teacher hasn’t learned something too.  Inspiration is a two way street!

 

 FS: Will you be performing at all during the week?

RD: Yes! I will be playing a full recital on the opening night.  I haven’t finalized the program yet, although I know it will feature my works written for other flutists, including “Lookout”, “Fish Are Jumping” and “Air is the Heaviest Metal”, along with a selection of “Flying Lessons” from both Volume 1 and 2.  I’ll also be playing a couple of 20th century classics and at least one or two pieces using the Glissando Headjoint® and bass flute.

 

FS: Is there anything else you can tell us about this event? Any sneak peaks or special surprises?
 
RD: Sneak peeks — I’m going to improvise and then explain, as best I can, what was happening emotionally and in my mind.  I’ll also be speaking and demonstrating how I practice.  And I’ll be sharing insights as to where my music comes from, and why — and what I think the next developments in the flute’s evolution will be.
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A Tale of Two Series by Mark Sparks

A TALE OF TWO SERIES
by Mark Sparks

Orchestral Excerpt Practice Books And Exploring Sound: Tone Development Through Orchestral Repertoire

I have recently began to publish two series of books: 2 volumes of an Orchestral Excerpt Practice Book series, and 2 volumes of Exploring Sound: Tone Development Through Orchestral Repertoire.

Each volume addresses a particular piece, or orchestral excerpt. It has been a fun, at times consuming, and interesting project. I have quite a few additional volumes for each series cooking in my computer, and if there seems to be widespread appreciation for these ideas, I will threaten to continue publishing!
Both series grew out of my own developing practices and thoughts, and more recent perceived needs of students, as my teaching career has unfolded.

Orchestral Excerpt Practice Books:

Volume 1: Beethoven Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”
Volume 2: Rossini William Tell Overture

Through years of auditioning, and performing the orchestral excerpts, I realized that I was gradually developing more creative ways to practice in order to battle excessive repetition and injury. I was also, by necessity, looking more deeply into the entire work instead of just focusing on the excerpts, and this has been fun and illuminating.

Though it may seem like overkill to write single books on each excerpt, I realized that if I wanted to communicate my growing alternative practice ideas to others, as well as provide some background information on the piece, illustrate harmonic context, and try to present some clear direction for phrase shaping, some pages were indeed required!

I think students and young professionals on the audition ladder can benefit from this more detailed, yet more well-rounded “holistic” approach to audition preparation. I’m concerned that many of our young flutists are becoming injured or burned out through over-repetition on their journey to become an orchestral artist.

Exploring Sound: Tone Development Through Orchestral Repertoire:

Volume 1: Brahms Symphony No. 4
Volume 2: Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2

At some point, I realized how little of the entire piece I knew, staring into my flute part! I also heard talented colleagues playing in such an inspired way; somehow many of them had avoided boredom over the years of repeating the mainstream repertoire. I have always truly loved the music. I realized that the only path for me was not away from the repertoire into other interests, but further into the music. I gradually became interested in learning some of the string and wind passages, beyond the flute part.

Tone study is the lifeblood of the dedicated flutist. Good technique is requisite, but the truth of the music lies within the sound. All melody is precious. I think this is what Moyse was trying to teach us in Tone Development Through Interpretation, which is still a very popular work.

The Exploring Sound series is an extension of those ideas into the orchestral repertoire. Each volume focuses on the great melodies of a particular work, and each melody is transposed into the possible keys on the flute. Many of the greatest orchestral passages are definitely not written for the flute, and this method gives us a chance to explore our skills in the broader melodic context of the great orchestral masterpieces. It really is fun!

Mark Sparks is an American solo flutist, orchestral artist, teacher, and writer. He is Principal Flutist of the St. Louis Symphony. Recent and upcoming engagements include solo concerts in Monterrey, Mexico, Beijing, Qingdao, Sydney, the British Flute Society, the St. Louis Symphony. He has performed with many orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Cincinnati, Houston, Bergen Norway, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras. Events this season include visits to UMFA, Interlochen, and Central Florida University. Sparks can be heard as recording artist on the Summit, AAM, Sony, Telarc, Nonesuch, and Decca labels. He recently released his third solo recording, "French Album.” Mr. Sparks is a faculty member of DePaul University, the Aspen Music Festival, and Flauti al Castello in Italy. A Contributing Editor of Flute Talk Magazine, he has recently published several books, Exploring Sound: Tone Development Through Orchestral Repertoire and Orchestral Excerpt Practice Books, in addition to several arrangements for flute and piano. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory where he studied with Robert Willoughby.

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What a Flute Concert Can Do by Linda Mintener

What a Flute Concert Can Do

By Linda Mintener

In 2007, flutist Linda Mintener organized a flute concert at her church to support two desperately poor Chinese orphans that did not have funds to get an education. Linda learned about the orphan children from her longtime friend who was a missionary in China for many years. When that first concert generated enough donations to send five orphans to school for a year, Linda and her church decided to make the concert an annual event. Over the last 12 years, those annual concerts have generated annual donations of tens of thousands of dollars and inspired many people and groups to become sponsors of individual orphans, including Flute Specialists which has sponsored two of the children for many years! The list of guest flutists who have come to play in the Chinese Orphans Benefit Concerts include some of the nation’s finest flutists – Alexa Still (and her adopted Chinese daughter, a harpist); James Pellerite (on Native American flute); Jonathan Keeble; Patricia George; Kyle Dzapo; Teresa Beaman; Roberta Brokaw; and this year, Marianne Gedigian!

The Project has provided hundreds of Chinese orphans with the opportunity to go as far in school as they could. At first, most just finished 9th grade, the average education in their rural farming villages. But, as they discovered they could go on and really change their lives, many finished high school, and some, who could pass the difficult national college entrance exam, have gone on to college or technical school. Currently, nine are in college and seven have graduated from college and have professional jobs! This year the Chinese Orphans Project is providing more than 100 orphans, ranging from kindergarten to college, with school and dorm fees, school books and supplies, a healthy diet, and adequate clothing for the hot summers and cold snowy winters (schools and houses are not heated). Linda and her husband have traveled six times at their own expense to the small villages in China’s rural Henan Province to visit each of the orphans.

All of the orphans are healthy and HIV-free, though many were orphaned when their parents died of AIDS contracted in a blood-for-money scheme when the equipment was infected with the HIV virus. Most live with grandparents who lack the income to pay for school. Each orphan has a life story of tragedy, grief, poverty, and survival. Here, Linda tells the stories of a few of those children and how the flute concerts have dramatically changed their lives and given each of them the opportunity for an education and a bright and productive future.

When I first saw Mengjie, she was in 7th grade, but had very poor grades. Her parents had died of AIDS when she was very young. She lived with elderly grandparents who were poor and barely had enough money to survive, let alone pay Mengjie’s school fees. To pay her tuition, her family borrowed money from other villagers. They also grew vegetables on their small plot of land and ate less so they could sell some of their vegetables to help pay the tuition. However, they would have been unable to raise the money to pay the more expensive high school fees. Mengjie’s sponsor visited the orphans with me that first year and told Mengjie that not only would she pay for Mengjie’s high school fees, but that she would also pay for college if Mengjie could pass the national college entrance exam. Mengjie immediately became serious about her studies. Her grades shot up, she passed the exam, and was accepted into a four-year university nursing program. Six years later, she now has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and is a nurse in a large hospital. When we last saw her, she said that until her sponsor told her she would pay for Mengjie to go to college, she had never even dreamed that she could leave her village, break out of poverty, and have a professional job. Now, she cannot imagine where she would be without our help.

Xiaoxiao and Xiaowen are siblings whose parents also died of AIDS. When they were little, Xiaoxiao and Xiaowen lived with an elderly widowed and impoverished grandmother. They were able to go to school with our help and were good students. When they were in middle school, their grandmother became ill and died. The children were left alone to live in their deceased parents’ house with no one to care for them, which one would think would be impossible at such young ages. To complicate matters, Xiaowen developed a neurological disease that required hospitalizations and expensive medicines. To pay the medical expenses, the children sold their inherited rights to their deceased parents’ farm plot. That resulted in their inability to grow food to eat. Instead, they planted vines of squash in their small yard and lived on that when not at boarding school. It is likely that these two would not even be alive without our help. However, not only have they survived, but amazingly, they have flourished. Xiaoxiao is now in her 3rd year of teachers’ college. Xiaowen has finished a jade carving technical school and is now in a paid internship. When I visited for the 6th time, I was practically attacked with hugs and tears by Xiaoxiao and the other college girls we have supported for years as they giggled and chattered to me in Chinese (which I cannot understand)! They are so grateful for the opportunity to go to school and to look forward to careers that will allow them to support themselves and their families.

Xiaoya was abandoned on the street as a baby. A man who was begging on the street for a bit of income found her and took her home for his parents to raise. The beggar was totally disabled by a neurological disease and was unable to care for himself. His purpose in taking Xiaoya home was for Xiaoya to grow up and care for him when his parents no longer could. That abandoned baby is now a very smart and personable 12th grader who, with our help, will be in college next year. In her last thank you note to Linda, Xiaoya said:

Your support is not only material support, but more importantly, you also support me in my spirit. You have helped me learn many wonderful qualities—being willing to help others and treating people with friendliness and warmth and love. I will try hard to be a person like you.

Many of the orphans have had multiple tragedies in their lives. Kindergartner Yu and his 4th grade sister Qi are an example. Their tragedies began when their father died of an accidental electric shock. Their heart-broken mother then developed psychological problems, left the village, and has disappeared. As a result of those losses, the children’s paternal grandfather committed suicide, and his wife became severely mental ill. The children then moved to their mother’s village where they live with their maternal grandmother who is ill and unable to do any farming work. She was coughing up blood the last time we visited. There is no safety net for such families – no foster care payments, no social security, no help from the government. Before we sponsored them, Yu and Qi’s family depended on the food that other villagers gave them. There is no way these two precious children could have adequate food and clothing, let alone go to school, without our help.

Hoaxing is a brilliant college student. He was orphaned at a young age and lived with very poor and illiterate grandparents who could not have afforded to send him to school without our funds. In high school, he excelled. In fact, he was such an outstanding student that he was invited to apply to Zhejiang University, one of the best in the country. He was accepted, received a scholarship, and is now a 3rd year student majoring in mechanical engineering. In two years, he will go to graduate school to specialize in automobile energy efficiency. It is mind boggling to think that this brilliant mind might have been lost, and that Haoxing might now be an illiterate and impoverished farmer in his tiny rural village if we had not stepped in to help him.

8th grader Shuyu has written a lovely thank you note to her sponsors of many years:

I believe God sent you angels to my side. You have come to help me and care for me, just like parents. Though I did not have a mother’s love, I have you who are closer to me than family. You care for me and protect me even though I have never seen you. Thank you for what you have done to help me get through the low tides in my life.

If you would like more information about the Chinese Orphans Project or would be interested in sponsoring a child, contact Linda Mintener, the Project Coordinator, at [email protected] or 608/2311680.

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Low Flutes on the Rise! by Chris Potter

Low Flutes on the Rise!

By Chris Potter

Alto, bass and contrabass flutes pose unique challenges in the areas of breath control, tonal response, intonation, transportation issues, sheer physical size and, locating appropriate quality repertoire. Resources are developing to help the growing number of low flutes players find solutions to these and other problems.

Here are examples of resources you can explore to find answers to your questions:

1) the Low Flutes Facebook group has 1700 members who are generous with their knowledge, experiences and recommendations - https://www.facebook.com/groups/458318884193142/

2) NFA conventions include a steadily increasing number of performances and workshops dealing with topics relevant to low flutes. 2019 will be the first year of an NFA Alto Flute Artist Competition. http://www.nfaonline.org

3) the International Low Flutes Festival in 2018 provided opportunities to meet and listen to low flutes players from around the world and, has a website with a list of recommended repertoire https://lowflutesfestival.org/suggested-repertoire/

4) the 2020 International Low Flutes Festival will be held in March near Tokyo, Japan. Information can be found at https://lowflutesfestival.org

5) for recommended brands to try, where to find instruments, music for alto and bass, a description of performance aids and, a listing of recommended low flutes repair people, go to https://chrispotterflute.com/alto-bass/

6) to have your questions answered personally, the Alto and Bass Flute Retreats – Chattanooga, Tennessee - May 29-June 2nd and Boulder, Colorado - June 19-23rd. https://chrispotterflute.com/alto-bass-flute-retreats/2019-retreats/

2019 will be the 15th year of Alto and Bass Flute Retreats. I have learned a lot in those 15 years: I created doors to go through, commissioned and premiered many low flutes pieces and, met terrific people. As the first chair of the NFA’s Low Flutes Committee, Director of the 1st International Low Flutes Festival, and Low Flutes Choir conductor at the James Galway Festival in Switzerland, I feel like the hub of a wheel connecting people from Japan, Iceland, Turkey, Australia and all points in between. You can also be a part of the world- wide community of low flutes players by connecting via Facebook or attending a Retreat or other event.

The Retreats provide an informal and friendly setting for players from 18 to 80 years old. No question is too fundamental, no concern too trivial. This year’s Retreats include workshops on Improving Breath Control and, Alternate Fingerings. As a group, we will work on provided exercises, share triumphs and try new fingerings to improve intonation and tonal response. Required books for the workshops are the Alto Flute Method for alto players, and the Bass Flute Method for bass players. These books are available from Flute Specialists and other flute-related businesses.

Chamber music is an integral part of the Retreats: participants are assigned parts in duets, trios, or quartets and a low flutes choir. Each chamber group receives at least two coaching sessions from Chris. You will be sent parts ahead of time to practice so you can be prepared for the Retreat.

Pieces to be performed this year include a trio arrangement of selections from the Corelli Christmas Eve Concerto, Le Rejouissance from the Suite in A Minor by Telemann, and Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker. A low flutes choir arrangement of White Christmas by Irving Berlin will be included as an audience sing-a-long at the closing concert. A piece by Jonathan Cohen will no doubt also be included: there are so many to choose from now!

Participant-led evening sight-reading sessions have proven very popular in the past. Participants bring their own music to share.

Deadline for applying for the Chattanooga Retreat is April 16th, for the Boulder Retreat the date is May 5th. Come and have fun!! https://chrispotterflute.com/alto-bass- flute-retreats/2019-retreats/

Dr. Christine Potter has performed in London, Paris, Mexico City, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Washington D.C., and many other cities in the U.S. She is an internationally recognized alto and bass flute virtuoso and has performed at many conventions of the National Flute Association (NFA) as well as British Flute Society conventions. Chris was the first of Chair of the NFA’s Low Flutes Committee, and her CD Flute Menagerie features solo works for alto and bass. She has commissioned and premiered many works for alto and bass and organized an International Low Flutes Festival in 2018 attended by people around the world. 2019 will be her 15th year of organizing Alto and Bass Flute Retreats and her sixth year directing a low flutes choir at the Galway Festival in Switzerland. She has many published books through American and British publishers and her Winter Duets and  Alto and Bass Flute Methods are available at www.flutespecialists.com

 

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Dolphin Serenade by Linda Sue Boehmer

Dolphin Serenade:
aka My Kingdom for a Camera

by Linda Sue Boehmer

Off season adventures await visitors and locals who are willing to think outside the seasonal box. Weather on Hatteras island is unpredictable in every direction, including unseasonably warm, calm days after Thanksgiving.

On one such day I found myself fulfilling long held dream of playing my flute for the dolphins I so often admire from our deck. I am an enthusiastic amateur flutist, playing my flutes in concert and in unusual venues. I purchased a waterproof Nuvo flute to make my outdoor musical escapades less risky for my flute. I especially like to play on beaches and in gazebos. I have played outdoor weddings and on the ferry and in parades. 

I have long wanted to play for the dolphins, but have been daunted by the logistics of getting past the breakers to the smoother waters where the dolphins often frolic and feed. I did some research on human interactions with wild ocean dwellers, discovering that "annoying or harassing" them is not permitted. I determined that it should be ok to put myself in a location where they could come to me or freely avoid me. I have seen surfers and stand-up paddle boarders and ocean kayakers and kite surfers out in the ocean among the dolphins, so I finally overcame my fear of the ocean enough to venture out there. 

Normally I am the kind of woman who likes to look at the ocean rather than get in it. I typically prefer not to be splashed, much less immersed. Tuesday, November 28, 2017 was a pleasant day with a light breeze and relatively calm ocean. Eddie and Gayle at Austin's outfitters set me up with a two person ocean kayak, complete with life vests and paddles. My husband and I carried the kayak over the walkway to the beach, floating it through some breaking waves before climbing in.

My husband, who knows how to handle boats, did most of the work. I barely managed to clamber into the craft, clutching my pink plastic flute in one hand. We paddled through the surf, keeping the kayak aimed directly into each wave to avoid being rolled over. The waves looked much taller up close than they do from the beach! Some of them broke right over us!

Once we got past the breakers, I began to play, hoping to see dolphins. My husband was paddling enough to keep us from drifting back through the surf or being blown off course. Before long, there they were; a whole pod of silvery dolphins, heading right towards us! I keptplaying; Joy to the World, Ode to Joy and Amazing Grace. The dolphin pod kept swimming right towards us. It was so thrilling that I am amazed I could breathe well enough to keep playing my flute. My husband later said he could hear them breathing. They swam right up to us and then submerged out of sight. 

We do not know if they were attracted to the music or curious about the kayak or if we were simply on their route to wherever they were going. To say that we were thrilled by the experience is a vast understatement. We stayed out there a while longer to see if our dolphin pod might return or others might swirl in our direction, but finally decided to head back to the beach as the wind picked up.

Unfortunately the return through the surf did not go as smoothly as the outbound trip. A big wave caught us as we paddled and flipped our kayak, spilling us into the ocean. Amazingly I came sputtering to the surface clutching my flute. My prescription sunglasses did not stay with me, since I have never been a person active enough to need a glasses strap.

Even so, it was an exciting experience. I think I want to try it again, despite getting soaked. I wish to know if dolphins actually like flute music, perhaps even have preferences among tunes or the same tune indifferent keys. Stay tuned for more dolphin serenade adventures.

Linda Sue Boehmer: BS Electrical Engineering, Master of Divinity (original languages and sacred music), decades of solo and group flute shenanigans, including Pittsburgh City Flutes and many Flute Convention flute orchestras. Recently formed the Hatteras Winds on Hatteras Island, NC.  Other interests include knitting, spinning, quilting, Ham radio and aviation.

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A Flute in My Refrigerator by Helen Spielman

October 2018

A Flute in My Refrigerator by Helen Spielman

I was so in love with the flute that I couldn’t contain myself; I played with such joy, I talked about everything flute with so much enthusiasm, and then….I wrote about my musical life, too. I expressed struggles with my teacher, the hilarious antics of my students, what it was like to perform a concert in a prison, and the incredulous experience of watching James Galway record a CD with the London Symphony. I wrote from my heart.

We don’t have many “pleasure” books in the flute community — the kind that inspire, uplift, and are infused with love, spirit, and joy. A Flute in My Refrigerator is one of the few, and it speaks to adult amateurs, flute teachers, students, and professionals. I’m honored that Flute Specialists chose a few excerpts to share in its newsletter. 

Helen Spielman, June 2018

Introduction

My 13-year-old flute student, Eric, asks if he can come and use my tuner for a science project due the next day. When Eric arrives, I give him my tuner and leave him to his own devices. A short while later I get thirsty and go to the kitchen to get some juice. There on the refrigerator shelf, carefully nestled on top of a folded towel, are the three parts of Eric’s flute.

Life is full of surprises-small ones, like a flute chilling among eggs and milk cartons, and large ones, like my life in music, which also began as something of an experiment and grew into two life-affirming careers. Teaching flute was the first.

I never aspired to be a musician. I am amused and amazed that I ended up becoming one. And then I began to write as a way to share my love for music. I am endlessly grateful, because these aspects of myself have brought me boundless joy, rich friendships, exciting adventures, and fabulous opportunities. Many of them are here in this collection of articles I wrote between 1992 and 2010. Reading them now, I appreciate more than ever how teaching and writing about music led me to experiences that proved to be wider and deeper than anything I had dreamed in my childhood imaginings.


Ice Cream Parlor Gig

This summer, so many of my students participated in flute and music activities that I decided to invite them out for ice cream, just before school got underway, so they could share their experiences with each other. Last Sunday evening, we met at The Inside Scoop, a small place not far form the university campus at the center of town.

Each student told a little about what they did over the summer - touring Europe as principal flute of a national band, attending Jeanne Baxtresser’s Summer Masterclass, going to a band camp, and so on. I was especially pleased that two of my new students joined us, and they shared as well.

I had said that they could bring flutes and play before eating, so as not to get sugar on the pads. The owner of the place was happy to allow us to play our flutes. However, no one was “in the mood.” So, we got our treat: “The Kitchen Sink.” Fifteen scoops of ice cream, six toppings, fudge sauce - a decadent indulgence. You get the picture.

They had no trouble scarfing it down while talking flute talk (a conversation that was not directed by me). Who won what competition, who plays too sharp in band class, what pieces they were going to play for recital, and so on. They were really into flutes! The exception was the youngest, who was mostly into discovering what toppings he could find at the bottom of his bowl.

Then, after they ate, they decided to play. Fine with me. I did ask them to go rinse their mouths with water first. Every one of them got up, right there in the noisy ice cream parlor and played a piece of music.

They are such hams. The other customers in the shop paid us no attention, and we paid them no attention. The kids got a big kick out of it, saying they’d never played in an ice cream place before, that it was really “cool.” We heard everything from a quarter note rendition of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy to the Burton Sonatina.

We were there for over two hours before they called their chauffeurs (moms or dads) to pick them up. They had fun, and I did, too.

FLUTE List,  August 24, 2003


Finding Your Niche

Finding my niche as a musician has been the most important and difficult part of my musical journey. Memorizing the minor scales into the fourth octave and acquiring a fast double tongue technique were easy compared to the challenges I encountered during my quest to find my true musical self.

The dictionary defines a niche as “a shallow recess in a wall.” Imagine the ruins of an ancient building, with big stone bricks and small hollowed-out spaces. In my mind’s eye I see an ancient woman stashing her corn kernels in one niche and maybe her bone sewing needles in another.

Another definition of a niche is “a position in life to which a person is well suited.” Since childhood, I’ve loved playing the flute. I was good at it, but I never aspired to be a professional musician. From the time I was 12, I had a deep desire to teach blind children, and after earning my Master’s in Special Education I taught visually impaired children for 13 years. I kept playing my flute but felt confused about making music. I didn’t know where I fit in or what my niche looked like. I couldn’t understand why others younger than I were so much more competent, and I often felt shame about my playing. I didn’t want anyone to hear me.

One day, as if by accident - although I believe that nothing is truly an accident - I came across Stephanie Judy’s book, Making Music for the Joy of It. That book changed my life, and I don’t say that about many books. For the first time, I had a name for what I was: amateur musician. And I learned that being an amateur wasn’t a lesser form of being a professional. Being an amateur musician is something good and wonderful, a source of pride in its own right.

Our task as amateurs is not “to play music perfectly but to love it deeply,” Stephanie wrote, so I started looking for my niche.


Writing is my most recent niche. I never aspired to be a writer, but I was so excited about flute playing that I wanted to talk about it all the time. Writing became another medium. My articles are published all over the world, and I write for and help manage the FLUTE List online discussion group.

To find my niches, I had to overcome my inner critic. Because of the way I was raised, I had low self-esteem and always thought of myself as not good enough. I was afraid of making mistakes. Slowly I learned that playing without mistakes is not the goal. The goal is to be in joy. As Stephanie Judy wrote in her book, “Your own music is the child of your heart, and you are entitled to love it, not because it’s good, but because its a part of you.”

Philip Sudo, in Zen Guitar, advises, “The path… is not through becoming the best player, but the best person.”

All the parts of my life, including music, are deeply intertwined. When I function on a higher level in my relationships, or when I deepen my spirituality, my music becomes better. When I work hard at improving my playing, I relate to people in a new way and am more connected spiritually. As flutist Robert Dick recently wrote on the FLUTE List: “Dig the music, dig into the music, and dig into yourself doing it.”


Remember that wall filled with many niches? Claim one - or several - for your own. If the niche you want isn’t available, you can create it. 

People often say that I’ve done a good service for the community by hosting the musicales. I’m happy to serve the community, but truthfully, I started them for myself. I wanted a performance venue, and I created it.

Other people have found different niches. One of my adult students loves chamber music. Although she’s a full-time physician and mother of two teenagers, she finds time to play in groups several evenings a week. Some folks want to play alone on the beach, just for the seagulls. Other enjoy performing for senior citizens in retirement communities or coaching children in schools. Many find joy in a flute choir or a village band or orchestra. Myriad niches exist for those who make music.

Ask yourself these questions: Why are you making music? What really makes your soul sing with joy? And, most importantly, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

For an amateur, there is no failure. Just do what you love. Think about amateur tennis players. They reserve a court, knock around a few balls, and keep score. Someone wins, someone loses, and they all leave feeling great. They don’t have the same form as the players at Wimbledon, nor do achieve the same ball speed or score. They play because they enjoy it. And that’s how it can be for amateur musicians.

With the emphasis on giving, there is no need for fear. Imagine that a friend makes you a beautiful piece of pottery, although the sides are a little lopsided and the glaze isn’t quite even. Wouldn’t you receive that pot and cherish it within the context of the love in which it was made and given?

That’s how people will receive your music if you give it with love.

I implore you not to go near the land of “Should.” Don’t think about what your parents want you to do or what your teacher thinks you should do. Don’t imagine how you should play as compared with someone else. 

Exposing your heart can be scary, but it’s human. Trust your heart, because that is where your power is.

Claim your musicality. Empower yourself to use your music to radiate love and caring. The world is in serious trouble, and music has the power to transcend our differences and create vibrations of change. You have the power to make that happen.

I ask you not to underestimate that power of the beauty of your playing. You may be sitting in one little niche in a huge wall, but if it’s your special niche, the one to which you’re well suited, you can light up the whole world.

The Flutist Quarterly, Winter 2000

A Flute in My Refrigerator

Published in 2013 by 

SpiritSong Press

320 Circle Park Place

Chapel Hill, NC 27517

www.PerformConfidently.com

 Helen Spielman has been an inspiring voice in the field of performance anxiety and flute teaching for three decades, teaching countless musicians to take the excellence they produce in a relaxed practice room to the high-stakes arena of auditions, recitals, and pressure-cooker orchestras. She had guided musicians who, ready to quit their careers, regain their original love of music and return to the stage with joy.

Helen Spielman has taught at international conventions, prestigious music conservatories, music festivals, and private studios in Africa, Europe, Central America, and around the US. She was appointed a Fulbright Senior Specialist in 2010, and is a Distinguished Honorary Member of Sigma Alpha Iota, the international music fraternity. 

Helen lives in Chapel Hill, NC with her husband. Please visit PerformConfidently.com.

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An Epidemic of Pain by Dr. Lea Pearson

AN EPIDEMIC OF PAIN

There is a terrible epidemic hiding in our profession: more than 75% of musicians are injured or play in pain!
In our flute community in particular, neck, back, arm and shoulder pain is rampant.
At recent NFA workshops in Orlando, participants created this group picture to show where it hurts when they play.

Does this picture resonate with you?

Are you frustrated by upper body tension when you play?

We can break through these limitations and recover the ability to play with joy and ease by learning how our body – the original instrument – is designed to work.

Body Mapping is the most efficient and powerful tool for making these changes, and has helped hundreds of musicians save their careers and restore their playing health.

Here is a tip to help you discover ways to lessen upper body tension, such as you see in the picture.

Upper body tension is most often caused by lack of support from below.

What does this mean?

It means we’re using a lot of effort in our necks, backs, arms and shoulders to support ourselves and our instrument, instead of letting the entire body be supported by the ground. (P.S. That’s what it means to be “grounded”.)

Would you be surprised to learn that it takes almost no effort to be upright?

It’s a natural function of the human body!

Watch any 3-year-old, and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

How do you do this?

Well first, you have to believe (create a map in your brain) that you don’t have to work to be upright.

Then you have to let go of trying to hold yourself up and practice feeling supported, giving your weight to the floor or the chair.

The forces that keep you upright will stimulate reflexes specifically designed to support your body (via your spine). You don’t actually have to do anything at all to hold yourself up. Just find a balanced way of sitting or standing, let your head float on top of your spine, and let the ground hold you up!

Does it sound too simple?

Well – it is, and it isn’t.

The principle is simple: the human body is designed to be effortlessly supported.

But the complicated part is that we each have different habits that interfere with this natural design. So we have to get an expert’s perspective on what we’re doing, and learn exactly how we are getting in our own way. Body Mapping teachers around the world are trained to do just that.

But don’t you think this is a great place to start?

If you want to know more, check out my weekly Facebook Live videos, where I go into more detail.

If you are playing in pain and ready to Get Out of Pain NOW, I’d like to invite you to come work with me at a special retreat in October. See the details below.

Meanwhile, Happy Effortless Uprightness!

Lea

 

In a unique October retreat, Dr. Lea Pearson is offering an opportunity to get out of the pain that is limiting your playing.
You’ll uncover habits of mind and body that hold you back; understand what’s missing in our playing; and create a path forward to play with ease, efficiency, and artistry.

FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC” RETREAT

with Dr. Lea Pearson

Stop Playing in Pain:

Renew your Passion & Recover Your Joy!

October 6-7, 2018
Newburyport, MA

If you struggle in long rehearsals, have to keep interrupting your practicing to deal with pain, take painkillers just to get through a performance, or have lost your joy in playing, Click here for more information about the retreat

Dr. Lea Pearson is author of “Body Mapping for Flutists: What Every Flute Teacher Needs to Know about the Body”, which has been translated into multiple languages and is used in most college flute studios. (Click here to purchase) A Fulbright Scholar with a DMA in flute performance, Lea has spent the last 2 decades helping 1000’s of musicians recover their ability to play with joy and ease by learning to use their body freely and expressively.

Her personal 30-year journey getting out of pain makes her deeply attuned to the trouble flutists experience. She is compassionately trained to help you recover the natural and effortless artistry you dream of. She understands the subtle movements that youmust make in order to play & sing, and has the detailed knowledge to guide you out of pain.

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Spider Log by Danilo Mezzadri

SPIDER LOG
by Danilo Mezzadri

This article is a follow up to my presentation for the National Flute Convention regarding the use of the SPIDER LOG. This short article outlines a couple of ways in which you could use this system to boost your practice routine and keep yourself on task.

SPIDER LOG is as an interleaved practice system that provides graphic feedback of progress. It is designed to be simple and effective. With a few instructions you should be able to manage your practice and track your progress. Firstly, I would like to explain the two main components that form this practice system: interleaved practice and graphic feedback.

Interleaved practice

Organize your practice by selecting eight brief and specific musical activities. These activities should be determined based on the necessity to master a particular musical passage or to gain a specific technical skill. You should cycle through all activities by working on each task for any given amount of time. Although activities can be practiced in a random order and for varied lengths, they should all be visited numerous times. By practicing all activities several times, you will be doing interleaved practice.

Graphic feedback

Below the list of designated musical activities there is a graph with eight spaces delineated by four intersecting lines. Each individual effort towards a particular activity will be represented in this graph by a concave line. The graph will demonstrate your attention (or lack of) to the designated activities. With time, you will notice that a desire to maintain a symmetric spider web will dictate the time you devote to each individual practice and the importance of each particular activity in relation to the entire project.

How to use the SPIDER LOG

1- Create a specific project. Your project could vary from developing technique to learning a specific piece. I have noticed that clear and realistic projects have a higher degree of success.

2- Create a list of eight activities that are compatible with your project, and number the areas in the web.

3- Practice your activities keeping a symmetric growing spider web. This interleaved practice helps you maintain the essential elements of each activity fresh in your mind. The amount of time devoted to each activity as well as the order of execution are very flexible. The initial list of activities might need to be adjusted as your practice evolves. I find that adjustments in the activities is quite healthy because it keeps the practice alive and progress constant. When any activity is neglected, the graph will become asymmetrical. At that point, you must revisit the validity and duration of the activity neglected as well as of any other activity that might be taking up a disproportionate amount of time. You should also consider how the neglected activity fits in the scope of the project. This dynamic learning process, with a graphic feedback, encourages a constant communication between planning and time management.

4- Keep a chart through several cycles of practice. Ideally, at this point, you should have produced a symmetrical spider web, representing several practice sessions. The completion of a symmetric chart represents solid progress, that must be recognized and appreciated. For that final step, I provided a set of spider stickers, one of which is to be glued to the completed web. This symbolic reward is a good incentive to create another successful project.

Examples

Below is an image of the instructional card and two images of spider webs created by former students. The card has minimal instructions to give you a general idea of how the SPIDER LOG works. You should have as much freedom as possible to create your own practice routine according to your own goals.

The images of real practices demonstrate two distinctive uses of the SPIDER LOG for a week: a daily practice routine and a specific repertoire build up routine.

The daily practice routine shows the representation of a week-long dedication to improving sound and technique. Notice that this particular student has selected to combine three areas of daily practice into one page of the SPIDER LOG: (1) abstract exercises (long tones, scales, and chords), (2) technical exercises (Taffanel’s daily exercises and trill exercises), and (3) musical exercises (etude). Although the spider web is not symmetrical, it reveals that the student managed well to give attention to all chosen activities at least five different times in the space of a week.

The specific repertoire routine shows another student’s strategy and effort to master Mozart’s Rondo in D Major. Noticed that this particular student created abstract exercises tailored specifically to address technical challenges presented in the piece. The student also selected specific measures that needed individual attention. These two strategies help to avoid mindless repetitions and hacking. The spider sticker symbolizes that the student achieved a symmetrical spider web and therefore, a consistent and deliberate practice routine.

(Instructional Card)

(Daily Practice Routine)

(Specific Repertoire)

Conclusion

The examples above demonstrate two simple ways in which one can use the SPIDER LOG to organize a practice routine. I have tried and witnessed several other variations of this system. For example, one could combine different activities and/or pieces into one web. The fundamental aspect is that each activity is specific, and all activities must be intercalated.

This practice routine grew out of a process where I learned to practice in an efficient and stimulating way. This system helps me to maintain focus and rapidly master difficult passages. I have taken great pleasure in exploring this subject with my students and colleagues. I believe that the SPIDER LOG is a powerful tool for organization and self-assessment, and I hope you enjoy using it!

Danilo Mezzadri teaches flute at Southern Miss, Festival Músicas nas Montanhas, and Blue Lake. He is Principal Flute at Gulf Coast and North Mississippi Symphony Orchestras. Danilo’s performances have been reviewed as “gorgeous” (Detroit  Press) “with a limpid sound, and coaxing every ounce of lyricism” (Jackson  Patriot). His CD Brazilian Soundscapes, was regarded as “music of a high order that deserves a welcome from a global audience” (The American Record Guide). In his most recent CD Epigrams, Danilo is described as having “glowing, golden tone” and “vivid musicality bringing each work to life, regardless of tonality” (Fanfarre Magazine). He has won several competitions, such as the International Porto Alegre Symphonic Orchestra Young Instrumentalist Competition and the Brazilian International Flute Association Competition. A sought out performer and teacher, Danilo maintains an active concert  schedule around the US, South America, and Europe. Danilo graduated with First Prize Award  from the EMBAP (Brazil). He earned a Master of Music, Master of Musicology, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Michigan State University. www.danilomezzadri.com

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Flute Amplification by Melissa Keeling

My very first gig happened to be the first time I played flute into a microphone. I was in the eighth grade and had been asked to perform at a church service. Standing behind the microphone felt incredibly daunting, as if every tiny error would be magnified. I had no clue how to position the microphone or where to stand in relation to it. Though the service went fine, it took many years of playing with microphones before I felt comfortable with them. 

In college, I discovered many contemporary pieces which required amplified flute. I played through microphones again while making various audition tapes and recordings. After graduation, I began playing with microphones and effects pedals, and I will never forget hearing my electric flute sound pump through the speakers for the first time. The exhilaration I experience while playing with effects pedals has been the driving force behind my musical inspiration ever since. 

Even though microphones have become an inevitable part of any musician’s life, this is an unexplored domain for many flutists. In addition to increasing the volume, amplification offers other possibilities, such as creating better home recordings and using effects pedals such as loopers, distortion, and delay to manipulate the sound. 

There are two primary components to amplifying the flute: a microphone and a speaker. This article addresses how to choose a microphone and a speaker, lists recommended gear, and explains how to set up the equipment.

Microphone

The ideal way to amplify the flute is to use multiple microphones placed about six feet away. However, this is only practical in unaccompanied performances. For most situations, the trick is to use a powerful microphone at a very close range (the flute should be almost touching the microphone). This way, the microphone doesn’t pick up sounds from other musicians.

Helpful microphone terms:

Dynamic microphone – no power required, durable, can withstand loud sounds, less sensitive

Condenser microphone – power required, good frequency response, more sensitive

Phantom power – power sent to a microphone from a preamp or mixer (requires XLR cable)

XLR (microphone) cable – cable used to connect a microphone to preamp, mixer, or amplifier

¼” (instrument) cable – cable used to connect guitars, microphones, and effects pedals

Preamp – a device that boosts microphone volume (built into many mixers)

Audio interface – a device that connects a microphone to a computer

There are many types of microphones on the market. Which one you should choose is based on your preferences, budget, and application. Here are three possible setup models:

1. A dynamic microphone, such as the Shure SM58 (usually used for vocals). Using this setup, the microphone is placed on a stand and the flutist stands directly behind it.

Dynamic microphone

The pros: these microphones are usually easy to find; distance to the microphone is more flexible (for example, the player can move closer for low notes, father away for high notes). 

The cons: less freedom of movement while playing.

2. A clip-on microphone, such as the K&K Silver Bullet. The clip-on mechanism easily clips onto the headjoint of any size flute without causing damage to the instrument. These are condenser microphones that require phantom power.

K&K Silver Bullet, with ¼” output
(the box in the center holds a 9-volt battery to power the microphone)

The pros: greater freedom of movement; less chance of feedback; many affordable options. 

The cons: takes time to switch between instruments; distance to microphone is constant; most are not cordless. 

3. A headset microphone, such as the Countryman Isomax, a condenser microphone which is used by rock flutist Ian Anderson. 

Headset microphone

The pros: cordless; quickly switch between instruments; less chance of feedback; great sound quality.

The cons: usually higher price.

What I Use:

Clip-on condenser mic – K&K Silver Bullet with ¼” output

I began using the Silver Bullet eight years ago and it has worked flawlessly ever since. I use the Silver Bullet model with the ¼” output jack so that I can plug into effects pedals. The microphone features an adjustable gooseneck so you can bend the microphone to the desired position. As this is a directional condenser mic, it should be pointed towards, and be close to, the embouchure hole (see image above). Keep the microphone out of the direct path of your airstream to avoid extraneous air sounds from being amplified. 

For C flute, alto flute, bass flute, and glissando headjoint, I clip the microphone onto the barrel of the flute. For piccolo, I clip the microphone around the crown area. 

Amplification

Though many venues have an amplification system, owning your own speakers provides many advantages. Primarily, you can use your own equipment in performances, which eliminates technology-related anxiety such as renting equipment, wondering what type of microphone and amplifier you will be using, and playing on unfamiliar gear. Like any other technique, you should practice playing with a microphone so that you are free to concentrate on the music during performance. 

One of the biggest difficulties in amplifying the flute is controlling audio feedback. Feedback is the loud, undesirable screeching noise that sound systems occasionally emit. Feedback occurs when sound gets “stuck” on an endless loop between the speaker and the microphone (sound leaves the speaker, enters the microphone, then travels back out the speaker again). 

The most effective way to reduce feedback, in my experience, is to use a PA system with a mixer. This allows you to have more control over the sound, such as adjusting gain and EQ levels. When I have tried amplifying the flute with guitar and bass amps, the feedback is uncontrollable. 

Other ways to control feedback are:

  • Point speakers away from the microphone 
  • Lower the volume of the speaker
  • Lower the microphone gain
  • Lower the microphone sensitivity
  • Avoid effects such as distortion

There are many different types and brands of amplification systems available. Take your flute and microphone to a local music store and ask if you can test their gear. Experiment with different speakers until you find what works for you and your setup. 

What I Use:

A mixer and PA system – Powerwerks PW100 (four-channel mixer with two 100-watt speakers)

I found this PA system at a local music store and tested it with my microphone (the K&K Silver Bullet) with great results. The speakers are loud enough for a decent size venue, yet small enough to be portable.

Powerwerks PW100 PA System, with mixer and two speakers

Setup

To connect the microphone to the speakers, use an ¼” or XLR cable (depending on your microphone output jack) to connect the microphone to the mixer/preamp. 

Basic setup for amplified flute: (1) play the flute into a (2) microphone. Connect the microphone to (3) the mixer/preamp using either a ¼” or XLR cable. Connect the mixer/preamp to (4) the speakers using speaker cables.

Checklist

Recommended equipment for flute amplification:

___ K&K Silver Bullet microphone, with ¼” output

___ PA system 

– two 100-watt speakers

– mixer (4-channel mixer recommended)

___ ¼” instrument cables

___ BOSS VE-20 Vocal Effects Processor (optional)

The Bottom Line

Playing with a microphone is inevitable for twenty-first century flutists. Like other techniques, it works best with consistent practice so that the microphone and speakers feel like a natural extension of your instrument. 

Experiment and enjoy the journey! 

Melissa Keeling

[email protected]

www.melissakeeling.com


Acclaimed for performing repertoire ranging from orchestral literature to experimental electronic music, flutist and composer Dr. Melissa Keeling is a Trevor James International Flute Artist based in the New York City area. She is also the leader of SONYQ, an electric flute project; SONYQ’s debut solo album was released in 2010. Melissa is an Endorsed Artist by K&K Sound.

As a performer and composer, Dr. Keeling regularly presents chamber and solo music across the New York City area. She has appeared at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and the Firehouse Space, and at festivals such as the National Flute Association convention. As an orchestral musician, Dr. Keeling has served as principal flutist, piccoloist, and soloist with orchestras such as the Ureuk Symphony Orchestra and the New York Harmonic Band. Internationally, she has performed solo in Italy with Grammy-award winning artist Rhonda Larson. Dr. Keeling’s compositions have been premiered at the National Flute Association conventions and the Make Music New York Festival.

As a teacher, Dr. Keeling has led masterclasses on Baroque performance practice, music technology, performance health, and improvisation. She has experience teaching undergraduate flute lessons, woodwind methods courses, and coaching chamber ensembles. Dr. Keeling has adjudicated a range of music competitions, including the Flute Society of Kentucky High School and Collegiate Soloist competitions. 

She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda (National Music Honor Society) and the National Flute Association. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Flute Society of Kentucky.

Dr. Keeling holds degrees from The Graduate Center, CUNY (D.M.A., Music Performance), Middle Tennessee State University (M.A., Music Performance), and Western Kentucky University (B.S., Music Education). She has performed in masterclasses with Michel Debost, Keith Underwood, Alexa Still, Brad Garner, and abroad with Rhonda Larson in Italy. Dr. Keeling has studied with Robert Dick, Deanna Hahn Little, and Heidi Pintner Álvarez.

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Demonstrating Physics with Flutes – June, 2018

Demonstrating Physics with Flutes

Prof. Bryan Suits, Physics Department, Michigan Technological University

Over the past decade or so I developed and teach a college level course called “The Physics Behind Music.” The course combines my interests in basic science and in music and is intended for students who normally take few science courses as part of their curriculum. To try to make the physics more accessible, there are a large number of in-class demonstrations.

Two of my favorite demonstrations involve a flute. The first of these demonstrates the importance of non-linear physics for musical sound production. The second has to do with what is generally referred to as “transmission line theory.”

Non-linear physics problems are notorious for being very difficult, if not impossible, to solve. There are those who spend their entire careers focused on non-linear physics. At the same time, non-linear physics is all around us and is the key to sound production in all the wind and bowed instruments.

Perhaps the most well-known example of non-linear physics is common everyday friction. Friction is the non-linear force which gives rise to the so-called “stick-slip” mechanism when a bow rubs across a string.2 The string sticks to the rosined hairs of the bow. The string is stretched sideways by the bow until the friction can no longer provide enough force to hold it. The string then snaps back and becomes stuck at a different location on the bow. The process repeats giving rise to tone production. The same basic physics can arise as tectonic plates move passed each other and the “snap” is felt as an earthquake.

For reed instruments, there is a non-linear interaction involving the reed, which can open and close in response to the local air pressure. For the flute, the physics is sometimes described by referring to the jet of air we blow as an “air reed.” The jet of air moves in and out of the instrument in response to local air flow.

To demonstrate the importance of this non-linear physics for musical sound production, I created two new instruments by swapping the head joints between a clarinet and a flute. I call them the clute and the flarinet. The clute has the clarinet up front and a flute body down below; the flarinet has the flute up front and the clarinet body below. The question is, what will they sound like? Is the sound determined more the head joint or more by the body of the instrument? Or will the sound be something in between?

Rather than keep you hanging, I’ll just tell you that the clute sounds much more like a clarinet
than a flute, and the flarinet, though harder to play, sounds like a flute. This tells you that the non-linear physics at the head joint is mostly responsible for the sound of the instrument.

Transmission line theory is often used to describe the acoustics inside woodwind instruments. The results become most interesting for the flute when we go to the third octave. In the physics class, the theory also serves to briefly introduce “imaginary numbers.”

Physicists and engineers often use imaginary numbers as a tool to compute and describe results. Imaginary numbers are those which involve the square root of minus one – that is, the number which when multiplied by itself – that is, “squared” – gives you minus one. Since all “real” numbers become positive when squared, the square root of minus one cannot be a real number. Hence, imaginary numbers were “invented” to fill this void. Nothing you can ever measure will be imaginary – by definition – however the mathematics provides a convenient tool for analysis.
Imaginary numbers often show up in transmission line theory.

When playing, the sound energy inside the flute is much larger than what you hear on the outside. Only a fraction “leaks out.” In the lowest octave, that internal energy is mostly confined between the embouchure hole and the first open hole. The energy bounces back and forth at the speed of sound. When the distance is shorter, you get a faster bounce and a higher pitch. When the distance is longer, the bouncing takes more time and you get a lower pitch. However, in the third octave what happens is not so simple.

As you go to the upper part of the third octave the internal sound energy travels the full length of
the flute. You can demonstrate that for yourself. When you play A in the low octave, you can do anything you want with your RH pinky and the sound is unaffected. There is negligible internal sound energy near the far end of the flute, so the keys there have virtually no effect. On the other hand, when you play A in the third octave, the RH pinky can have a big effect, indicating that the internal sound is present the whole length of the flute even though there are many open holes in between.

The transition in the acoustic behavior between low octave and high third octave behavior occurs
at a “cutoff frequency” where the description of the portion of the flute pipe with open holes changes from imaginary values to real values. The sound does not propagate – it bounces back – when the values are imaginary, but has no trouble traveling right passed the open holes when the value is real. The frequency of the sound is then determined by a complicated collection of several partial reflections along the length and at the end of the flute.

All in all, there is a lot of physics behind fluting.

(1) For more info about the course and a flavor of some of the material included, see
http://pages.mtu.edu/~suits/PH1090/ and http://pages.mtu.edu/~suits/Physicsofmusic.html

(2) A slow-motion video showing the stick-slip motion for a violin can be found at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FO5bq6x_Tws

(3) For the gory details, see A. H. Benade, “On the Mathematical Theory of Woodwind Finger Holes,” The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 32, 1591 (1960); https://doi.org/10.1121/1.1907968

Bryan Suits has been a physics professor at Michigan Technological University since 1985. His recent research involves the use of nuclear magnetic resonance techniques to detect explosives. He has also been an avid amateur flutist since he was very young. His first flute lessons were in the home of Mark and Judy Thomas. His later instructors included Penny Fischer and Glennis Stout. He has been a flutist for the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra for twenty years.

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The Joy of New Beginnings

  by Amy Rever-Oberle, Band Director

 

Whether direct or indirect, there are many musical representations of the concept of “joy.” You can probably think of a few of either example quickly. Pieces or moments that you can’t help but smile. That raise the hair on the back of your neck. Maybe they even bring about stealthy onion chopping miscreants and you suddenly find yourself with teary eyes. Sometimes, all of these things hit you at once.

I’d like to submit another example of pure (cacophonous) musical joy though. (Not recommended for listening through headphones!) This is a combination of the very first sounds a new generation of musicians made together on their mouthpiece last week.

These same students are the ones who listened in disbelief as I explained that the musicians playing on the orchestral pops station I had as background music on Day 1, had their very own Day 1 of playing their instrument. Those musicians had to learn that your hands face two different ways when playing flute or that the flat side of the reed matches with the flat side of the mouthpiece. It’s awfully hard to imagine yourself playing your favorite movie music or a famous theme you recognize when you don’t know how to open your case without dumping your instrument on the floor yet.

I had the good fortune to join a community based ensemble of music professionals this year. It was a great reminder of the joy to be found when sitting on the other side of a baton, but it was also a reminder of how much I needed to practice! I constantly oscillated between being thrilled to perform a few pieces I’d still never played (Hello, Suite of Old American Dances and First Suite in Eb!) and desperately not wanting to embarrass myself in front of my very talented colleagues.

Just like millions before them, these students will feel that same special joy and thrill while playing Hot Cross Buns for the first time as I did playing some of my favorites or that you have experiencing yours. They haven’t yet hit the point where they’re hypercritical of every detail of their sound though, mostly because they don’t know better. They’re just playing their instruments and having fun!

Because my start on flute was not one anybody would connect with anything joyful in relation to music, I often share my early experiences with my students. As a fourth grader, I was one of the youngest in an after school enrichment program and didn’t have band yet as a part of my regular school day. This meant that I was very behind my much more seasoned 5th and 6th grade friends and it lead to a lot of frustration and tears, including in front of said friends at practice. It was weeks before I could find the sweet spot on my flute without a mirror, individual coaching from my teacher, and many more frustrated tears. Once it clicked though, I was off and running, and when it was shared with me that band teachers get to (not have to) learn all of the instruments, I was hooked!

Though we may have different connections to music now, the fact remains that whether our joy in music comes from being a performer, teacher, enthusiast, or a combination of all of the above, we all had a Day 1. In honor of this next front of up and coming musicians, it would be wonderful to hear some of your early stories! Please share in the comments or add your story to our digital wall, and help inspire the newest generation of instrumentalists!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

After earning her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Wayne State University, Amy spent seven years as the K-12 Band and Music teacher in a rural district before moving to her current position as the 6th-8th Band Teacher at Hart Middle School in Rochester Hills, MI. She earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Oakland University in 2015 and is currently in her tenth year of teaching. Amy has shared about social media and technology use at the Michigan Music and ArtsFirst! Conferences. When not teaching, talking about teaching, or learning about teaching, Amy enjoys spending time with her family and walking their two rescue mutts. She also blogs semi-regularly on her site The Noisy Room Down the Hall. You can connect with Amy on Twitter too @amylynnrever.

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Interview with Jeff Zook- July 2017

An Interview with Jeffery Zook 

                   by Heather Neuenschwander 

 

On a perfect 75 degree late summer morning in Michigan, I recently had the honor of sitting down with the talented and charming Jeffery Zook, flutist and piccoloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 1992. I looked out upon the beautiful, perfectly manicured garden in the backyard of his home The Cambridge Conservatory, sipped a delicious cup of coffee he had so generously offered me, played with his adorable miniature pinscher Dexter, and thoroughly enjoyed some friendly conversation. Anyone who has had the privilege of spending time with this distinguished musician will speak of his friendly demeanor, sincere generosity, good-spirited humor, and most of all his passion for music. After a bit of catching up we discussed his upcoming performance at the 2017 NFA Convention in Minneapolis. 

 

HN: Tell me about the composition.

JZ: OK, so I guess it was a year ago I got an email from the program coordinator for the NFA asking me if I would be willing to appear at the Gala Concert on Saturday night at this convention playing this particular piece the Egil Hovland Concerto for Piccolo and String Orchestra. I had no idea what this piece was so I clicked on the YouTube link that he sent me. It’s been recorded on YouTube by this wonderful piccolo player Nadia Guenet. So I clicked on the link and I was instantly excited. I really was like “Wow, what a beautiful piece.  What a great showcase for the piccolo.” And I didn’t know it so I thought this was something I could really sink my heart in for the performance.

 

HN: Tell me more about the style of the piece.

JZ: It was written in 1980. When I first listened to it I thought it was very folksy and it turns out that this composer is known for a wide range of styles and this style is called Norwegian Romanticism. Which obviously means he uses a folk tune basis for the melodies and the harmonies. 

 

HN: Have you faced any challenges in preparing this concerto?

JZ: It’s very beautiful and melodic and very simple in a lot of ways but then all of a sudden he gets highly virtuosic just for short periods of time so I’m just slowing working up runs, making sure they’re in my fingers that kind of stuff but no it’s actually it’s a pretty straight forward piece.

I performed the first movement with pianist Rudolf Ozolins at Sharon Sparrow’s flute retreat recital a couple weeks ago. 

 

HN: Once you get to the convention how much time do you have to work with the string orchestra?

JZ: I think I get a rehearsal with them for an hour and a half on the first day of the convention on Thursday and then a run through maybe on the day of the performance. It’s a pickup from the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Ransom Wilson.

 

HN: So you’ve already presented the first movement, do you have anything planned to present the other movements leading up to the final performance?

JZ: Probably while I’m on tour I’ll play it for my colleagues like Roma (Duncan, guest piccoloist from the Minnesota Orchestra and a former student). I told her I’d play it for her. So I’ll be practicing for the next three weeks in my hotel room. That’s the challenge of it is that for the next three weeks I’m going to be traveling all over Asia with the DSO, in Japan and China living in hotel rooms and I have to stay focused and concentrate on this so I’m going to be every day practicing it but like I said I will get little mini-run throughs when I can. When we’re at a hall or something like that.

 

HN: How does that affect preparing your music for the symphony while you’re on tour?

JZ: Oh I already know that.

 

HN: (Laughing) What are you playing? All pieces you’ve done many times before?

JZ: No actually because I’m playing assistant principal flute on tour so I’m playing a different part totally. For example, Roma’s playing principal piccolo part on the Copland symphony and I’m playing the second piccolo part next to her. She was my student at one point so she said it kind of feels a little weird sitting first piccolo next to me but it’s very special having her sitting next to me sounding beautiful on the solos and me supporting her from the second piccolo. So it’s kind of new for me to play that part. Other than the Copland Symphony number 3, they’re playing Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony and after having played it like a million times I don’t have to even be on stage for it!

 

HN: So you’re mainly playing flute on tour and then coming back and playing a piccolo concerto?

JZ: Right.

 

HN: Interesting. But for you that’s nothing, right?

JZ: (gesturing) Pfft. I’ve done it a million times.

 

HN: What are you most looking forward to at NFA this year?

JZ: One of the things I’m looking forward to is the Ervin Monroe tribute concert. I will be performing with Sharon Sparrow, Amanda Blaikie, and Brandon LePage in a quartet. We are doing a surprise piece that I found on YouTube. 

I remember my first convention I went to in 1982 when I was in high school. Ervin Monroe was the presenter at that convention. I’d never been to a convention before, It was here in Detroit. So it’s kind of cool that at this convention he’s being honored all these years later after having been my teacher and also my colleague in the orchestra for several years.

 

HN: Is there anything else you’re looking forward to at the convention?

JZ: I think I’ll just be practicing and getting ready for my concerto.

 

HN: What’s been the most enjoyable part of working up this concerto?

JZ: I am really enjoying learning a new language. You know I’m not very familiar with the music of Norway other than Edvard Grieg or something like that and I understand that this is a very coveted composer for Norway. He’s one of the most prolific composers and I’d never heard of him. So I’m really enjoying learning something new.

 

HN: Is there anything specifically that the audience should look for when they come to watch you play this wonderful piece of music?

JZ: I have a new suit.

 

HN: Ooh I’m glad I asked. Tell me about your new suit.

JZ: (Laughing) I don’t know. I still have to buy it.  That will be in that eight day period between returning from the tour and leaving for the convention. I was supposed to get to it this week but I didn’t do it.

 

HN: So you rush back from Asia and you’re jet-lagged and you’re going to be buying a new suit, preparing a concerto, and heading to Minnesota.

JZ: That’s all I’ve got to do. Simple.

 

HN: Easy… 

       So is there anything else you’d like to share about this upcoming performance?

JZ: When I got the e-mail a year ago I was really shocked and honored. I remember going to the Gala Concert in 1982 and being blown away by these great soloists. I never thought that I would be on the gala concert.

 

Jeffery Zook has been a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra flute section since 1992. His formal musical studies began at the Interlochen Arts Academy and continued at the University of Michigan. In 1988, he received the coveted Recitalists’ Diploma from the Royal Academy of Music in London. His teachers have included William Bennett, Trevor Wye, Judith Bentley, Jacqueline Hofto and former DSO piccoloist Clement Barone.

A prizewinner in many competitions, including the National Flute Association Young Artists Competition and William Byrd National Concerto Competition in Flint, Michigan, Mr. Zook has also been awarded of a grant from the National Endowment for the Advancement of the Arts. In August 2012, Mr. Zook performed and taught at the National Flute Association’s annual convention in Las Vegas.

Mr. Zook lives in Pleasant Ridge with his partner David Assemany and miniature pinscher Dexter. They have named their renovated Dutch Colonial home The Cambridge Conservatory a venue which has hosted recitals, workshops, musical feasts and fundraisers.

 

 

 

Heather Neuenschwander has a Master’s Degree in Flute Performance from Oakland University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Wayne State University. Before beginning her degree at Oakland, she taught middle school and high school band, choir and music appreciation in Michigan and Illinois for five years. She has performed with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra directed by Dr. Gregory Cunningham and the Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Nan Washburn. She has also performed in masterclasses for Marina Piccinini, Laurie Sokoloff, Nicola Mazzanti, Jennifer Clippert, Sharon Sparrow, and Jeffery Zook. In February 2015, Heather performed the Ibert Concerto with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra as a winner of the David Daniels Young Artist Concerto Competition. She also received the Matilda Award for Outstanding Graduate Student in Instrumental Performance in 2015. Heather currently resides in Royal Oak with her husband Josh and her sons Alex and Zach.


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Volunteer at NFA- May 2017

Volunteer at the NFA Annual Convention

By Kate Blair

 

The NFA is looking for volunteers to help out at the 45th Annual NFA Convention. In case you’re not familiar with the convention, it’s a four-day event packed with everything flute, including performances, workshops, masterclasses, presentations, a flute industry trade show, and much more. It’s an inspiring event that leaves attendees invigorated and ready to put all their new knowledge to work in performance, teaching, or whatever their passion may be. This year, the event takes place August 10-13 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and we are very excited about it!

For months now, we’ve been gearing up for the convention, finalizing events and tweaking the schedule, but we could really use your help to make sure things run as smoothly as possible on the ground. Volunteers can help us out with crucial tasks that ensure the convention runs smoothly and that everyone is having a good time. Even taking on one shift can go a long way in helping us make the convention a fantastic experience that everyone can enjoy! 

It’s not all about us, though. There’s plenty in it for you if you volunteer! Interested? Read on! 

 

Why volunteer for the convention? 

You get a chance to give back to the NFA and see firsthand what goes on behind the scenes at the largest and most anticipated annual flute event in the world! On top of that, convention attendees can also receive cash vouchers to help offset convention costs. For every three events you volunteer, the NFA will thank you with a voucher redeemable for $10. Plus, you’ll have a chance to meet other volunteers who are equally passionate about supporting the flute community! 

How does it work?

The volunteering schedule registration takes place online to provide maximum flexibility and convenience. You get to choose when and for which events you volunteer! There’s no limit to the number of events you can take on, and you can sign up for as many (or as few) shifts as you’d like. As a volunteer, you will still have plenty of time to attend concerts and workshops, visit the exhibit hall, or simply enjoy the city!  

What positions are available?

There are many options, including door monitors, page turners, stage crew assistants, and competition runners. Since a significant number of attendees are international visitors, the NFA is also looking for volunteers that can provide language interpretation services. If you are fluent in Spanish or an East Asian language, we could especially use your help! Let us know what your abilities are, and we’ll be in touch. 

Who can volunteer?

Anyone can volunteer! You don’t even need to be a flutist as long as you’re enthusiastic about helping out. Your non-flutist friends and/or significant others are welcome to volunteer as well! (Visit the volunteering page on the NFA website to read a Q&A with veteran volunteer Sam Louke, a trombonist who has become a familiar face at NFA conventions). However, only those registered for the convention are eligible to receive cash vouchers. 

How to Get Started

You can indicate your interest in volunteering by checking the appropriate box during your convention registration, and we will follow up with you soon with more details. 

Looking Ahead to 2018

Not attending the convention this year? It’s never too soon to start thinking about the 46th Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida! If you’re a student, you may also want to consider applying for a convention internship next year. Convention interns work hands on with the Equipment Chair, Convention Director, and Membership Manager and will receive a behind-the-scenes perspective of convention operations and planning. It’s a great way to gain workplace skills and make new connections! 

 

Please contact Volunteer Coordinator Townes Osborn Miller with any questions or visit the volunteering page on the NFA website learn more. We hope you’ll consider lending a hand this summer, but either way, we look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis (or a future convention)!

 

We hope you’ll consider lending a hand at the convention this summer, but either way, we look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis! 

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A Flutist’s Summer Reading List- June 2017

 

 

A Flutist’s Summer Reading List

 


By David Buck

 

Principal Flute, Detroit Symphony Orchestra

 

 

  

There’s nothing better than relaxing with a good book on a lazy summer afternoon. As an avid reader, I look forward to the summer every year because I know I’ll finally have time for the books I’ve missed out on during the busy winter season. I have met many musicians who enjoy reading as much as I do, but surprisingly few who go out of their way to read books about music. The great conductor James DePriest summed up the attitude of many performing musicians towards the field of musicology when he said, “Writing about music is a little like dancing about architecture.” In other words, it doesn’t really make that much sense. 

 

For performance majors at colleges and conservatories, having enough time to practice is so important that reading assignments from music theory and history classes often seem to be not only irrelevant, but an actual hindrance. Like many of my classmates, I struggled to understand the importance of the courses I had to take as an undergrad for my own goals as an aspiring orchestral musician. I wanted to find a job, and in reality, you don’t need to know very much about music history or theory in order to win an audition. “You’ve played an impressive final round and we’d love to offer you a position with the orchestra, but first, could you please discuss the liturgical reforms made at the Council of Trent in 1545?” There aren’t many certainties in life, but I can guarantee that you will never hear these words at a professional audition. 

 

So why am I telling you to spend the summer reading a bunch of books when you could be spending those valuable hours practicing instead? There is no question that practicing is the single biggest factor in determining your success as a musician. However, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned since graduating from music school is that artistic success and professional success are not the same things. In the long run, striving for artistic growth will take you much further than pursuing professional achievement. Why? Because becoming an artist is a project for your entire life, and it demands far more than the task of finding employment.

 

One of the most critical ingredients for artistic growth is the ability to question the assumptions that we make every day as performers – assumptions about how to practice, how to use the advice of our teachers, and why we even play music in the first place. Practicing can be quite useless if it’s done without thought. To achieve artistic growth, it’s crucial for our minds to be engaged when we’re in the practice room. Thoughtful practice requires a nuanced understanding of the composer’s intentions, a clear vision of our own artistic goals, and a detailed plan to solve the technical challenges of the work at hand. This is no small task. Bringing a musical composition to life requires a great deal of knowledge, exploration, and creativity, and that is why reading about music is uniquely important: it will help you to broaden your perspective as an interpreter and to discover musical possibilities you could never have imagined on your own.

 

To that end, I have compiled a summer reading list with the flutist in mind. This list is admittedly eclectic, but that is exactly the point. The goal is to encourage flutists to improve their musicianship by learning from great artists of the past, from musicians who play other instruments, from literature and history more broadly—and to find ways of relating the challenges we face in the practice room to larger artistic issues. Each of these works has been important for my own development as a musician, and my hope is that these volumes will help readers to find new inspirations and solutions, both this summer and beyond.

 

1) Kincaidiana: A Flute Player’s Notebook by John C. Krell

William Kincaid was the Philadelphia Orchestra’s brilliant principal flutist for forty years. A founding faculty member at the Curtis Institute of Music, almost every American flutist can trace his or her lineage back to Kincaid. His students include luminaries like Julius Baker, Doriot Anthony Dwyer, Joseph Mariano, and former Detroit Symphony Orchestra flutists Albert Tipton, Clement Barone, and Robert Patrick. John Krell used his notes from lessons with Kincaid as the basis for this comprehensive treatise about the essentials of good flute playing.

 

2) Casals and The Art of Interpretation by David Blum

Many people are surprised to learn that I have a secret past as a cellist. I don’t play the cello anymore, but I learned a great deal from the recordings and repertoire I discovered during ten years of cello lessons. One thing I will never forget is hearing Pablo Casals play Bach for the first time. Grainy though the recording quality may be, his 1936-39 performances of Bach’s six Cello Suites capture something essential about music’s ability to communicate emotion. David Blum’s thoughtful summary of the great cellist’s approach to musicianship and phrasing is indispensible. 

 

3) The Early Flute: A Practical Guide by Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown is one of the world’s foremost Baroque flute experts. The Early Flute is an ideal companion for modern flutists interested in developing historically informed interpretations of Baroque and Classical repertoire. Brown draws on a wide range of treatises by Quantz, Hotteterre, Devienne, and many others in this accessible and essential work.

  

4) Sound in Motion by David McGill

David McGill has had the rare distinction of holding principal bassoon positions with both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra. McGill was strongly influenced by the pedagogy of Marcel Tabuteau, often regarded as the father of American oboe playing. In Sound in Motion, he delves into Tabuteau’s philosophy of music and his often misunderstood “number” system. A wonderful introduction to the art of phrasing, McGill’s erudition is evident on every page. 

 

5) On Playing the Flute by Johann Joachim Quantz.  

Perhaps the greatest flutist of the 18th century, Quantz worked alongside C.P.E. Bach for twenty-six years at the court of Frederick the Great. A critical resource for musicologists, there is no better primary source for flutists hoping to gain insight into the musical language of the Baroque. 

 

6) A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

I first studied the Scherzo from Mendelssohn’s Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream in high school with my wonderful teacher, David Cramer. After I was finally able to negotiate the technical difficulties of the solo, David asked me to imagine being in a forest, with twigs and leaves underfoot, and to find a tone color and crispness of articulation that would give listeners the sense of being lost in the woods in the middle of Shakespeare’s play. There is no question that reading Shakespeare’s masterpiece will enhance your appreciation of Mendelssohn’s music—and vice versa!

 

7) Daphnis and Chloe by Longus

Every flutist knows the colorful Pantomime solo from Maurice Ravel’s ballet Daphnis and Chloe. The original Daphnis and Chloe, however, is an ancient Greek poem about the romance between an innocent young shepherd and shepherdess. A humorous and touching coming-of-age story, this work is immensely helpful for understanding the inspiration and context of Ravel’s ballet. (Note: Daphnis and Chloe deals with adult subject matter and is not appropriate for younger readers.)

 

8) Salome by Oscar Wilde 

Salome is one of the most iconic femme fatales in all of opera, and the sultry flute solo from her “Dance of the Seven Vails” has become famous in its own right. Richard Strauss based Salome on a short play by the Irish writer Oscar Wilde, which was based in turn on the biblical story of the death of John the Baptist. Although these events are mentioned only briefly in the New Testament, Wilde’s play is a grotesque psychological drama that plumbs the darkest reaches of the human psyche. Perhaps it’s not the best book to read right before bed. (Note: Salome deals with violent and disturbing subject matter, and it too is not appropriate for younger readers.)

 

9) Mozart: A Life by Maynard Solomon

There are so many terrific biographies of composers that the genre really deserves a reading list of its own, but I couldn’t resist including Maynard Solomon’s masterful biography of Mozart on my list. This deeply honest portrait explores the composer’s complex relationship with his father and the challenges he faced as he struggled to make his way in the world.

 

10) The Inextinguishable Symphony by Martin Goldsmith

The Inextinguishable Symphony is the true story of two young musicians who grew up in Germany during the dark years before the outbreak of WWII. Gunther, a flutist, and Rosalie, a violist, were both members of the so-called Jüdischer Kulturbund, an orchestra of Jewish musicians that performed at the whim of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels during the 1930s. After unspeakable hardships, the two ultimately make their way to safety in the United States. A tragic yet inspiring testament to the power of music and love.

 

 


Praised by The Oregonian for his “supple tone, rhythmic dynamism and technical agility,” David Buck joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as Principal Flute in 2012. He previously held positions with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Oregon Symphony, and has made guest principal appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony.

As a soloist, Mr. Buck has performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings and the Oregon Symphony, collaborating with conductors including Leonard Slatkin, John Storgårds, Paul Watkins and H. Robert Reynolds. In 2014, he recorded John Williams’ rarely heard Concerto for Flute and Orchestra with Maestro Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony for Naxos Records.

During the summer months, Mr. Buck has appeared at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Colorado Music Festival, Tanglewood, Kent/Blossom, Spoleto Festival del Due Monde in Spoleto, Italy and the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. He is a member of the Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings and a former member of the LA Phil New Music Group.

David Buck is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree and Graduate Diploma. His primary teachers have been Robert Langevin, Jeffrey Khaner, Jeanne Baxtresser and David Cramer. A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Buck lives in Royal Oak, Michigan with his wife, flutist Jung-Wan Kang.

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Native Flutes and Extended Techniques- Spring 2017

Native Flutes and Extended Techniques

 

By Alberto Almarza

 

“Music is the sum total of scattered forces… it has been turned into a speculative song! I much prefer the notes coming from the flute of an Egyptian shepherd: he contributes to the landscape and hears harmonies ignored by our treatises…”

Claude Debussy, 1901

 

The flute is one of the most varied and widespread instruments in the world, going back tens of thousands of years in many societies. As a result of the multiple types of flutes and the diversity of their musical and social role throughout the world, an amazing repertoire of timbres and playing techniques have been developed, preserved by flute players of native cultures. Many of these techniques arose from the desire to evoke nature, imitating birdsongs, wind and water. Others came into being as an attempt to produce sounds that would have healing powers and communicate with sacred spirits.

The following is a list of some of the most common extended techniques and examples of their use in world flute music.

 

Circular pan flute, Thailand Ritualdouble recorder, Mexico

 

 

  Multiphonics: technique that allows the flutist to produce several          sounds simultaneously. The fascination with multiple sounds is as old as the flute itself. From double to sextuple flutes, they can be found everywhere.

  This circular pan flute from Thailand and a double recorder from Mexico are good examples of instruments designed to produce chords.

 

 

 

  

      Circular Breathing: breathing and blowing at the same time. A technique which is thousands of years old and common throughout the world, it has only recently been introduced to Western music. In addition to the flute, it is used by many other wind instruments.

 

Bansuri,  India

 

 

 

Microtones: refers to the use of intervals smaller than a half step. With the exception of the Western modern flute, every other flute in the world is designed as a non-tempered instrument and uses microtonal intervals for tuning and playing.

 

An elegant example is the Indian transverse flute Bansuri. The player uses the middle segment of his fingers to cover the holes, rotating the fingers to bend the pitch.

 

 

 

 

 

  

Ceremonial vessel flute, Mexico

 

 

 

 

 

Whistle Tones: produced by blowing extremely slow air into the flute. Again, we find many instruments that were especially made to create very soft, high-pitched notes.

A notable example is this ceremonial flute/sculpture from Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ney , Iran

 

 

 

 

Color Variation: includes “airy tone,” “white sound,” “reed sound,” singing and playing, etc. All of these sounds and techniques can be found in many different traditions of flute playing.

The Persian Ney, one of the oldest known flutes, is one example of an instrument designed to produce a remarkable array of different colors.

 

To summarize, most of what we refer to as “extended techniques” in Western flute music have been part of traditional music from around the world for thousands of years. It is only recently that we have begun to acknowledge the enormous influence of world music on our own Classical tradition. As we explore the relationship between music of the world and contemporary Western music, we discover that we are not isolated; rather, our music has been enriched by that of other cultures. Flutists and composers today are enhancing our musical experience by drawing from this remarkable palette of sounds and techniques and, in the process, demonstrate that the power of musical experience is universal.

 

——————

 

Alberto AlmarzaAlberto Almarza is Professor of Flute and Head of the Flute Department at Carnegie Mellon University, and former Principal Flute with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Chile. He has performed and taught in the US, Latin America, Korea and Europe, and has recorded for New Albion, Elán, Albany, Centaur, and Naxos Records. He has appeared as soloist with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Memphis Symphony, BachFest Chamber Orchestra, and the Philharmonic, National Symphony and National Chamber Orchestras of Chile, and the Arianna String Quartet among others. Most recently, he performed at a TED TALK Conference, and was featured on the PBS program Horizons.

He is the co-founder with Jeanne Baxtresser of The Consummate Flutist, and currently serves as its Artistic Director.

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Administrating Artistically- February 2017

Administrating, Artistically

By Jessica Dunnavant

 

When, as a teenager, I began to think about a life in music, I pictured my life revolving around performing, with maybe a little teaching on the side. That’s pretty much as far as my imagination went, and while my adult life and career do bear out those dreams in lots of ways, I could never have imagined all the work it takes behind the scenes to pull off any public artistic venture. Someone must set and maintain a budget, which sometimes involves fundraising. Someone must choose the program, gather and prepare the music, hire the musicians and communicate with them throughout the process. Someone must advertise and promote, create and print programs, be a liaison with the venue—all of that—and not one of those tasks involves learning, rehearsing or performing music. In my experience, it’s almost always the musicians themselves who end up filling those administrative roles, whether or not they would ordinarily choose to do so.

 

I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard a musician cry off trying something because they don’t feel qualified to do it (meaning, often, something like this: “but my degree is in piano!”) But the truth, especially with small festivals and ensembles and societies, is that there is often no one else to do a thing. I certainly do not have an arts administration degree, but in the twelve years that have passed since I finished my DMA, I have been a grant writer, a fundraiser, and emcee, a PR writer, a graphic/web designer, a personnel manager, an event planner and at times even a caterer. I’ve trolled the IRS website for rules and regulations, and written and revised by-laws. I’ve learned Robert’s Rules of Order and presided over board and committee meetings. All that, and I have three degrees in flute performance. All that, and then on top of it also all the practicing, rehearsing and performing that I expected.

 

In truth, the most valuable skill you can have when you’re putting a toe into these waters is this: can you take a big project and turn it into small, manageable tasks? If you can do that, you can start a chamber ensemble, put on a festival and deal with the financial ramifications of existing as a business entity. Here are a few other ideas I have on how to get the job done.

 

 

  1. Discover your natural aptitudes. If public speaking is needed, are you comfortable doing that? I am a natural, card-carrying extrovert. Just give me a mic and an audience, and then hope I know when to shut up! If that’s not you, can you fake it? It’s really important to do this well, if you are the mouthpiece for your group, either on public media or live at concerts. When someone explains to the audience that their performances could never happen without generous donors, that someone needs to be able to look at the audience and radiate confidence and sincerity.
  2. About faking it: sometimes that’s what you’ve got to do. Does your group need bylaws? Are you planning to apply for 501(c)3 status or register with your secretary of state? Use the internet. There’s a lot of reliable information there, especially on irs.gov and your state’s secretary of state website. You may also have local resources that you know nothing about. Here in Nashville, we have a group called the Center for Nonprofit Management. They are a fount of information, offering courses and networking and even a jobs website for those looking for full or part time employment in the nonprofit sector.
  3. Use your passion! The person who speaks for any organization ought to be someone who is passionate about it. Likewise, the person who plans the small details of a concert, who designs the promo posters and promotes the Facebook posts, ought to be someone who legitimately cares deeply about the product or performance on display. Is there anything worse than listening to someone apathetically describe why the public should support an event? If you don’t care…why would anyone else? If it’s stressful to think of exposing your passion to strangers, just think of it as another performance. Write down exactly what you want to say and study it so that, in the moment, you won’t have to read it word for word. That sincerity and personal connection is still the most important thing.
  4. Know when to ask for help. Delegating tasks to other people is an invaluable skill. If there are specific things that need to be done, or larger more abstract roles, look around you and see the people you’ve got to work with. What are their aptitudes? And if no one is offering to help, that doesn’t mean they’re not willing. Just ask.

 

One of the best parts of membership in a small ensemble or an association is that everyone matters. Every donor, every performer, everyone who comes in contact with your group has a role to play. I always say to donors and volunteers who are associated with one of my groups that if you want your donation and your time to matter, because of our small size, no one will ever appreciate you more than we will. That sense of community and belonging doesn’t just keep the musicians of the group together. It also keeps people coming to our concerts and volunteering their time to help us succeed. And in the end, isn’t that sense of community and belonging the best part of any event?

 

Flutist Jessica Dunnavant is a freelance musician and teacher. An early music specialist, she is a member of Music City Baroque and teaches Baroque flute at Middle Tennessee State University. She has performed and taught across the country, including academic appointments at Florida State University, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. As a modern flutist, she performs with the Jackson Symphony in West Tennessee and teaches a large, successful studio of pre-college students.