Sacramento Summer Flute Immersion

Hi Everybody!

I will be teaching at the Sacramento Flute Club’s Summer Flute Immersion at American River College from June 21-23. Would you like to kick off the summer by diving head first into flute study? Are you interested in learning more about some of the crazy techniques discussed on this blog?

Check it out here: https://www.sacramentofluteclub.org/summer-flute-immersion

imagesBGZ60DW5

 

 

Advertisements

Announcement: Flute Friday Hiatus

Happy Wednesday, Everybody!

I am pleased to announce that I will be publishing a Critical Edition of the Altes Method with Oxford University Press! This project is based on my culminating DMA paper, expanded and improved of course, with the objective of bringing this wonderful pre-French Flute School collection in it’s original form out of the archives and into flute studios everywhere. Hopefully even yours!

43239414_10156808914452146_5202277612566609920_o

As I will transcribing and writing away on this book for the next several months, I will need to temporarily step away from Flute Friday postings. Flute Friday will appear intermittently during this time. Please follow me on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) for updates on future postings.

Remember to also check your Flute Horoscopes each month on The Flute View http://thefluteview.com/sections/dr-gs-flute-horoscopes/ .

Please DM me if you have any questions about this project or any burning flute related inquires. Always happy to help out my fellow flute divas near and far!

Happy Fluting (until further notice)!!!

Flute Meme Friday: Animals and Flutes

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday.

l_b0a12ddd0e5942fabc0e0fa5b5c0bcb7

I don’t know about all of you, but with the beginning of the new school year well underway, and both Mars and Mercury going forward, my World has become a bit bonkers. I thought we would take things a little easy this week and simply enjoy a few pictures of animals playing the flute! Have fun and relax this weekend. Leave the cram practicing until Monday.

Enjoy! 🙂

Animals and Flutes

Abstract Thinking (and Writing)

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday!

blank business composition computer

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As I was going through my email this week, I discovered a number of calls for paper/presentation abstracts for upcoming 2019 conferences. Writing an abstract may sometimes be intimidating for performers – How do we put into words what we intend to communicate without words? “You will love this piece,” will sadly not earn you a spot on the conference agenda. In today’s blog, I will be discussing some of the basic guidelines for constructing a convincing abstract. I hope this topic will be useful to those currently trying to boil down completely brilliant ideas about the flute into 300 words or less.

person touching macbook pro

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

First thing’s first – Brainstorm Ideas. The most challenging part about constructing an abstract is coming up with a great idea that you would either like to speak about or music that you would like to perform for an audience. A good place to start is by simply asking yourself what interests you about the flute. Are you curious about flute history? Are you attracted to new, exciting pieces of music utilizing extended techniques? From there, you can narrow down your topic by focusing on certain composers, compositional eras, techniques, and so forth. You may even start looking at particular pieces in your collection and, through the magic of compositional analysis, begin to make connections between the notes on the page and the affect those notes produce when performed on the flute.

Too many ideas? Narrow down by selecting ideas that fit into the theme of the conference. Many conferences have a title or theme that changes from year to year. Check out the conference website – what type of music are they showcasing at the upcoming convention? What composers or performers are they highlighting? Can you tailor one of your ideas to include these themes or musicians? For example, if the conference is emphasizing world music, you could discuss pieces that include non-traditional techniques taken from around the globe (hello, Takemitsu). Perhaps an easier way to connect your topic to the conference is by researching the location of the conference and discussing or performing works by composers or styles connected to that particular area. A good example of this would be to propose a recital of Jazz inspired works for a conference taking place in New Orleans or performing variations on a movie theme song for a conference taking place in Los Angeles. Tying your project to the conference is not necessarily a requirement, but if you are having trouble coming up with a good idea, this is another great place to start.

Too few ideas? Crack open a flute magazine and research current trends in the flute world. Performance anxiety is always a hot topic, but the way we discuss coping techniques has changed over the years. You might find a topic that interests you – How can you take it to the next level? What other topics can you connect to those published in these periodicals?

writing notes idea class

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

Organize your ideas into a clear format. What do you intend to perform or discuss? What pieces and/or composers are involved? Why is it important to you? What would you like your audience to take away from your presentation? Before putting paper to pen (or fingertips to keyboard), create a bullet-point list of these items, identifying clearly the who, what, where, and why of your topic. From here, writing your abstract will be a piece of cake!

Writing the abstract. The key to writing an abstract is to be clear and concise, yet powerful. Begin with a wonderfully inspiring sentence or question that addresses why your topic is interesting and important. Why should your reader care? How does your idea relate to the flute community at large? This should be limited roughly to one or two sentences. You may throw in a quote from a composer or performer if it seems relevant and/or powerful to your message. The middle of your abstract should outline exactly what you plan to present to support your idea and in what order. Which pieces will you discuss or perform? What concepts will you address? Which composers will you highlight? What group activities do you have planned? What handouts do you plan to circulate and discuss? This should also be limited to 1-2 sentences tops. Finally, the closing sentence should state exactly what you expect your audience to walk away with after listening to your presentation. Is this a new understanding of the works of a particular composer or an appreciation for compositions written for a specific type of flute? What is the overall point of your topic?

marketing woman office working

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Need an example? Below is an abstract that I submitted for the 2015 Canadian Flute Association Conference, which was accepted and converted into an hour-long workshop. Feel free to use this as an example to format your own abstract:

PAPER PRESENTATION

The brilliance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s compositional construction transcends numerous musical mediums, most notably that of opera. Intricate relationships, particularly those between men and women, serve as preeminent themes in operas such as The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro. “Character” development can also be found in Mozart’s instrumental works where dynamics, rhythmic figures, changing styles, patterns of articulation and ornamentation serve to illustrate masculine and feminine qualities of the musical line. Mozart’s Concerti for Flute and Piano in both D Major and G Major outline such character distinctions within the solo flute line using sharp staccato rhythms and forte dynamics to initiate strong, antecedent phrases (masculine) which are often followed by legato, melodic consequent replies ranging from mezzo piano to mezzo forte dynamics (feminine). This paper addresses the various compositional techniques used in both Mozart flute concerti that depict masculine and feminine “characters” in the flute solo line and how these “characters” interact with one another to create an instrumental opera without words. In this regard, Mozart shows us that music does not necessarily need a libretto to convey intricate relationships between multiple characters.

Remember: You will likely have a word count limit. Be as concise as possible. Going over the word count is a no-no. Avoid run-on sentences or over-explaining concepts that could be easily be abbreviated into a short, sweet sentence. When it comes to abstracts, following the rules is key to getting your idea through the velvet ropes of the review committee. Be sure to dot your “I”s and cross your “t”s.

Finally, keep in mind that a rejection does not mean that your idea is no good. I have had abstracts rejected from smaller, regional conference that ultimately went on to become published articles. Take any rejected abstract and turn it into something new and wonderful. A “no” is not a “no” forever. A “no” can become a “yes” with a little bit of elbow grease.

art business close up decor

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Are you preparing an abstract for an upcoming conference? How did you come up with your idea and translate it into 300 words or less? What other tips do you have when it comes to constructing a good paper abstract? Please comment below!

 

Happy fluting (and writing).

 

Flute Attitude Dos and Don’ts

Greetings and welcome to another Flute Friday. Just a reminder to check your September flute horoscopes on The Flute View (written by yours truly) to discover what this month holds for your flute playing. http://thefluteview.com/2018/09/dr-gs-september-flute-horoscopes/

adult art band blur

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

While I was at the NFA convention this year, I was very much inspired by the incredible sense of community present during many of the panels, recitals, lectures, and even in the exhibit hall. I am so grateful to be part of an industry that encourages and promotes art, no matter what form it takes! Unfortunately, I also noticed a few instances where pettiness and unnecessary competition sadly reared its ugly head. In today’s blog I will be discussing a few Dos and Don’ts when it comes to having good “Flute Attitude,” based on some of my observations. Bottom line: we should encourage each other no matter what level, celebrate our differences, and continue to embrace all of our shared knowledge and flute playing experiences.

white heart book page

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

FLUTE ATTITUDE DOS and DON’Ts

DO appreciate others and what they bring to the table. We are all unique players and approach playing the flute from vastly different backgrounds. When listening to another flutist, it is important to resist the temptation to immediately compare your flute playing to theirs. Take yourself out of your observations and appreciate the wonderful sounds and techniques of other players. What can you learn from them. What inspires you?

DON’T be a know-it-all. Try not to finish the conductor’s sentences when they are addressing a group (or individual players – including yourself). I have done this myself and it just isn’t a great idea. You may totally understand what they are trying to say and are excited to be part of the conversation/teaching moment, but in these instances it is best to just listen and really dissect what they are asking from the group. There may be others that do not quite understand the concept and need further clarification directly from the horse’s mouth.

DO fit into each other’s sound without judgement when performing with a group. It is about blending, not outplaying.

DON’T try to one up other flutists by lecturing about what an expert or panelist meant. This also goes back to not being a know-it-all. It is okay to help others out if they don’t understand something or sharing your experiences if they relate to the topic, but try not to take over as the expert and pontificate in front of a group in an attempt to upstage others. Let the experts do their thing and build upon their ideas in constructive ways with others.

DO support each other and celebrate everyone’s accomplishments, no matter what level. Sometimes we get so focused on being “the best” that we forget about how difficult the journey is along the way. I love attending high school and college competitions because I remember how difficult it was to learn and excel at that level when so many flutists are trying to do the very same thing. Celebrate the moments when the younger generation breaks through the barriers of skill. Embrace the instances when a flutist playing 3rd part is promoted to 2nd. Good work!

DON’T go crazy with the name dropping. “I studied with X teacher at Y school, and then performed with Z famous flutist in W group on V super fancy stage in U Hall, etc.” It is great to be proud of your experiences, but if you are using names of famous flutists or places to intimidate your competition (or students – yikes!), you may be annoying rather than inspiring other flutists.

DO let go of past rivalries. Put the past in the past and cultivate newfound collaborations (or at least respect) for old colleagues. I was fortunate to run into an old college friendly rival at the NFA and was super happy to discover that we had become two very different types of flutists with mad respect for each other’s respective successes. It was like that rivalry never existed (seriously – back in the day it was like a Britney vs. Christina scenario) and, really, in the end it did not matter. Let it go!

DON’T leap into other’s music to correct notes. There is a very professional way to check notes that does not involve pointing at your neighbor’s score. Simply ask politely to double check a measure to make sure you do not have a misprint. Boom! They will almost always figure out the problem themselves and if there IS a misprint, you aren’t the person falsely accusing others of making mistakes.

DO listen to learn, not to judge. We can learn something new in everything we hear and everything we see. What new ideas or techniques can you bring into your own practices by listening to others?

book composition flute music

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What are your Dos and Don’ts when it comes to having good “Flute Attitude”? What helps you keep a positive attitude and encourage others? How do you promote and celebrate the work of others. Please comment below!

Happy Fluting!

Solo vs. Flute & Piano Performances

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday. September 2018 flute horoscopes have been posted in The Flute View. Check them out here to discover what September holds for your flute playing: http://thefluteview.com/2018/09/dr-gs-september-flute-horoscopes/ . These horoscopes are available without a subscription this month!! (But of course, you should also subscribe because The Flute View is totally awesome!).

Solo 2

While I was at the NFA Convention this year, I attended a wonderful recital of solo flute works that really made me appreciate the differences between performing solo pieces versus repertoire written for flute and piano. The two approaches are so very different, but we often take some the nuances for granted, particularly when we are teaching others. In today’s blog, we will look at some of these differences and how to better approach performing works from each of these scenarios. Remember to adapt to the role you play and embrace the spotlight when it is your time to shine.

Solo 4

Solo vs. Flute & Piano Performances

Performing flute & piano works is a partnership. There is a natural give and take in this performance scenario. Sometimes you are the star and sometimes you are the accompaniment. This is a great opportunity to display your ability to adapt your playing technique based on your role. In contrast, performing solo works requires you to be in the spotlight at all times.

 
You have more creative freedom as a soloist. When performing solo works, you are like a musical painter in which every color change or slight variance between notes contains a brand-new meaning. You may have opportunities to do this periodically in flute and piano works during cadenzas, but it is not the focus of the entire performance.

 

Flute and piano works test your ensemble skills. This performance scenario highlights how well you communicate with other musically, challenging how you indicate changes in tempo, rubato, dynamic changes, mood changes, fermatas, ending and beginnings, and much, much more.

 
Solo playing tests your pacing and projection ability. There is literally no room to hide or blend into the texture when it is just you and the stage. You must be brave and play out no matter what!

 
Physical stage movements and stand/equipment changes are much stricter in a flute and piano scenario. You must be able to see each other to effectively communicate both musically and non-musically. In contrast, as a solo performer, where you stand and how much light you require is far more flexible. For example, at the closing performance during this year’s NFA Convention, Jim Walker performed Debussy’s Syrinx in a darkened room, while slowly walking from the back of the hall, up the isles, and to the front of the stage (accompanied by the sounds of the thunderstorm occurring outside). Very effective!

 
Stamina is a concern in solo playing. You must be prepared to go from Point A (the beginning of the work) to Point B (the end) without collapsing on stage from exhaustion. There are no rests, leaving little time for you to catch your breath.

 
Introverts may prefer solo playing. Extroverts may gravitate towards collaborative opportunities. Know your personality before programming a solo-heaving recital versus an all flute and piano recital. A healthy balance of both types of pieces will help give you a well-rounded performance.

 

Solo 3

What other differences can you identify between performing flute and piano works versus solo repertoire? What types of works do you prefer to play? What are the challenges between each performance scenario? Please comment below!

Happy Fluting!

Flute Meme Friday Part IV

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday! To celebrate the Labor Day weekend (aka unofficial last weekend of the summer season), I thought today would be a good time for another installment of Flute Meme Friday. 10 more flute memes posted below!

Enjoy, have fun, laugh a little, and leave the marathon practice sessions for next week.

Happy fluting!

Flute Polls

Greetings and welcome to a much belated Flute Friday/Monday. Sorry everybody – It is still very much summer in my neck of the woods and my weekends are typically full of wonderful, yet distracting, vacay adventures. My head is often in the clouds on my days off…

Today I thought we would have a little fun! I have created a series of super easy-breezy flute polls below for all of us to compare notes on our flute playing experiences. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions as most of the answers are simply based on preferences. Have fun with this one and if you would like to elaborate on any of your answers, please comment below! All flute discussions and friendly debates are welcome. 🙂

Have fun and happy fluting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does this thing Really Work?! Flute Products Review

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Sunday.

Products 1

Thank you to all of you who attended the Professional Flute Choir performance at the National Flute Association Convention last Sunday in Orlando, Florida. It was a true honor to perform with this group and I hope to rejoin them next year in Salt Lake City! Major thanks to conductor John Bailey for his incredible leadership and to Shauna Thompson for coordinating the PFC from A to Z. You guys rock!

convention 4

Between PFC rehearsals (when I wasn’t touring literally all of the Orlando-based theme parks with my hubs), I spent some quality time in the Exhibit Hall both drooling over the Burkhart model flute that will one day be mine (to quote Wayne from Wayne’s World, “Oh yes, it will be mine”) and exploring several new, beautiful, crazy, and interesting flute products. In today’s flute blog, I will be reviewing some of my favorite new things in a “does this thing really work?” style post (inspired by the YouTube series popularized by Grav3yardGirl).  There are some great flute accessories out there! If you are in need of some major retail therapy (thanks Mercury retrograde..), I hope one of the products below speaks to your needs. Happy shopping!

Products - Thumbport

Solexa’s Thumbport II Right Thumb – I love this little gadget! I have had issues in the past with my right thumb (specifically balancing my flute more on the tip than the pad, sometimes leading to numbness after a long practice session (uhm, not good)). The Thumbport II gives my thumb a really sturdy and comfortable place to rest and feels like a wonderful tennis shoe for my thumb (they should call it ThumbShoe!). I must confess that I initially looked at this product because I saw someone using a pink Thumbport I and thought it was a super cute accessory for my flute (aka superficial motivation). When I tried out both the Thumbport I and Thumbport II, I found the Thumbport II much more comfortable than the beautiful pink Thumbport I. For me, comfort/function trumps beauty. This is a wonderful product if you have issues with the placement or balance of your right thumb. It simply clips onto your flute and can be removed easily any time you want. Nothing permanent and no glue or sticky backing whatsoever. Much more comfortable than the harder plastic models from other brands. I highly recommend.

Find it here: https://www.flute4u.com/store/Solexa-Thumbport-II-Flute.html

Products - Cloth

Beaumont Polishing Cloth – This was another purchase motivated by superficial intentions. These clothes are absolutely beautiful and come in a variety of colors and styles. The one I purchased matches my Spring Lilac Fluterscooter bag quite well, so I decided to splurge, not 100% confident that the microfiber material would compare to the Williams polishing cloth that I have been using for the past several years. I was pleasantly surprised that the Beaumont cloth performed much better than my old cloth with less effort. This is a sturdy yet soft piece of fabric that nixes fingerprints in a hot minute. There is a style for literally everyone (no more boring, light blue polishing cloths that smell like chemicals – ick). They are a bit bigger than your standard polishing cloth but easily fit into the outer case of an insulated flute bag. I am a huge fan and love that flute accessories such as cloths and bags are finally getting a chic upgrade.

Find it here: https://www.fluteworld.com/Beaumont-Microfibre-Pink-Lg–CC-BMPinkLg-.html?t=0

Products - Flute Stamp

Large Fingering Stamp by Lyricraft.com – I screamed when I saw this product (okay, not literally – just in my head). I cannot tell you how many times I have drawn clumsy hieroglyphics in my student’s notebooks to illustrate fingerings (standard, trick, trill, etc.), wishing that there was an easier, and clearer, way to record flute fingerings. This is the answer to my prayers. A simple stamp and a few colors in the dots and boom! Done. You can also put a few stamps on post-it notes for yourself if you want record alternative options for fingerings in the high register to control pitch (no stamping on original scores – post-its are not permanent). The staff next to the flute fingering makes it easy to notate the pitch (students who are visual learners will resonate with this feature). I love this device and know that I will get a lot of use out of it. Maybe even on this very blog!

Find similar stamps here: https://www.fluteworld.com/Trodat-Musical-Staff-Fingering-Combination-Stamp—Large–TA-MSFS-.html?t=0&s=fingering+stamp&searchtype=0&pdfonly=0

Products - Pad Dryer

BG 1 Piece Pad Dryer – Save the planet! Okay, okay, okay – I know how satisfying it is to clean your pads with cigarette or pad cleaning paper. The sound the paper makes when you pull it away from the pad is a wonderful, John Cagey moment that only other woodwind players truly understand. But constantly repurchasing these papers is costly and damaging to the planet. This reusable and washable device is a much more environmentally friendly way to remove condensation. I am not going to lie – It feels a little flimsy and you may be quite skeptical, but it works quiet well and is a bit gentler on pads than paper. Storage is an issue as this little piece of fabric can easily fall out of a flute case or get lost amongst other accessories. I suggest keeping the small plastic bag that it comes in for storage, so you can easily find it amongst your other flute swag. This is a great economical and environmentally sound product.

Find it here: https://www.flute4u.com/store/BG-Pad-Dryer-1-Piece.html

 

Win-D-Fendor – This is by far the most interesting and innovative product I found in the exhibit hall! The Win-D-Fendor is a device that attaches to your headjoint, cupping the flute around the tone hole, and blocks outside air from reaching your air stream. This improves sound projection tenfold and is particularly useful for outdoor concerts (or practice session), marching band, or extremely airconditioned performance spaces. Caitlin from Carolyn Nussbaum was kind enough to perform a demonstration of this product and the results were astounding. I would have loved to have one of these when I was practicing outdoors on my parents’ tree farm as a child! I will be recommending this product to all of my students who participate in school ensembles and marching bands. This a genius device! (Thanks Caitlin!)

Find it here: https://www.flute4u.com/store/Win-D-Fender.html

Products - No Sweat

No Sweat! – I was initially very skeptical of this product. Will it be like putting spray deodorant all over my hands? Eww. Sounds nasty! I was pleasantly surprised when I spritzed a few pumps on my palms. It does, in fact, neutralize clamy hands! The product leaves a slight film but nothing extreme and removes easily with a bit of soap and water. For those of us suffering from performance anxiety, or those living in extremely humid areas of the country, No Sweat! is your best friend! Of course, it was sold out before I could grab a bottle for my own collection, but I will absolutely be purchasing this to help me out in the greenroom before my next recital.

Find it here: http://www.flute4u.com/store/search.php?mode=search&page=1

 

What interesting and inventive products did you pick up at this year’s convention? Did you try any of the products listed above? How have they worked for you? Do you have your own recommendations? Please comment below!

 

Happy Fluting!

Tips for the Pit

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday.

opera 1

I used to love opera season as an undergraduate student. This was always a wonderful opportunity to be part of something bigger than a typical orchestra concert without the pressures of performing on the stage. The pit is a very different place and perhaps somewhat intimidating for newcomers. Communication is of the utmost importance, not just between the musicians and the conductor, but between the conductor and the vocalists, and between the vocalists and the entire tech crew. In today’s blog, I will discuss some of my best tips for performing in the pit. Remember to remain flexible and do your best to enjoy the show.

opera 2

TIPS FOR THE PIT

  1. Have all of your equipment with you in an easily accessible place. This includes instrument stands, pad blotting paper or cigarette paper (very important – I cannot tell you how many times I’ve used my music to wipe off condensation from my pads in a pit-related emergency), a set of tiny screwdrivers (you can pick these up from the dollar store), ear plugs, pencils, and small bottles of water. You likely will not have a lot of space to store these things so try to bring a small bag that can be draped over the back of your chair for essentials. I really like to use a simple drawstring backpack for this purpose.
  2. Be prepared for some less-than-ideal lighting. It is called “the pit” for a reason. The pit is literally a cave below the stage where the stage lights do not roam. Most music stands in the pit will be equipped with a standard metal stand light, but this does not guarantee proper lighting for all of your music, particularly if you are reading from an oversized score. I always try to pack my own portable, clip-on stand light for extra lighting that will not distract the other musicians around me. Purchase one ahead of time from Flute World or Amazon: (LEPOWER Music Stand Light/Book Reading Light/USB and Battery Operated/Clip on and Portable Lights for Piano, Travel, E-reader & Bed Headboard (Dual Arms)).
  3. Stick to your conductor like glue. The conductor has quite a difficult job in the pit because they must lead both the orchestra and the vocalists on stage, neither of whom can see one another. The conductor is the single point of communication for all tempos, cues, dynamics, and so much more. Keep your eyes glued on them. Remember that tempos established in rehearsal may or may not be the same at the performance (vocalist sometimes get nervous and rush). Be as flexible with tempo as you can and play whatever your conductor indicates.
  4. Count your measures of rest – even if you have a lot of them. I know it is much easier to doze off and wait for an important cue to wake you up from your mid-performance nap, but I very much advise against this. I experienced this once during my junior year when most of our orchestra missed the beginning of an important number because we naively placed our faith in a single trumpet cue that was missed at the performance, creating a snowball of other missed cues. We had nobody to blame but ourselves for not counting our measures.
  5. Always have a pencil on your stand – even at performances. Operas and musicals often run for multiple performances. Make sure you are ready to write down all of the weird things that happen during the first performance to prepare for the second. Record everything (cues, words, time signatures, key signatures, tempo changes, lighting changes, etc.).
  6. Write in lyric cues. If you play right after a recitative or if there are acting breaks between numbers, write in the last word or sentence spoke or sung before your entrance. Sometimes the conductor must react quickly to what is happening on stage and you will have a much easier time if you have multiple cues at your disposal.
  7. Know and anticipate the beat patterns the conductor will be using when the time signature changes. If a 6/8 will be conducted in 6 for the duration of an aria, make sure to indicate this in your music as a reminder. These indications are particularly important for numbers written in cut time and waltz tempi. It is difficult to remember all of the style changes that occur throughout an opera or a musical. A visual cue is very helpful for quick changes.
  8. Wear comfortable concert dress. Dress professionally (concert black, aka no tennis shoes), but avoid tight or voluminous clothing in the pit. You will be sitting for quite a while so it is important to be comfortable. There is also not a lot of extra space in the pit, so leave the ball gowns, top hats, and poofy skirts at home.
  9. Plan your page turns carefully. The show is not going to stop for you to turn a page. Make sure to map out any complicated page turns ahead of time. Copy your music as needed and tape page turns to one another to avoid any hiccups.
  10. Be prepared for anything. I was once asked to dress up and play the opening piccolo solo in Sour Angelica on stage in a kabuki mask (see picture below). On another occasion, I had a ringside seat when a broken plate prop was accidentally hurled at the conductor from the stage during a performance. Literally anything can happen. Be as flexible as possible and remember, in the immortal words of Freddie Mercury, that the show must go on.

1860_50503677145_7316_n

Have you participated in a pit orchestra? What were some of your challenges? What techniques did you use to make your musical environment work best for you? What stories do you have from your time in the pit? Please comment below.

opera 3

Happy fluting!