20 Reasons to be Grateful that you play the Flute

Greetings and welcome to a special edition of Flute Friday. Happy Thanksgiving! In the spirit of the holiday, today’s blog features 20 reasons to be grateful that you are a flute player (as if you needed more of an incentive to play the flute). Enjoy and safe travels this weekend!


Top 20 Reasons to be Grateful that you Play the Flute

  1. Small cases that literally fit in purses or backpacks. Hello, portability!
  2. The flute does not weigh very much. No weight lifting necessary (sorry, tubas).
  3. Interesting parts in band and orchestra (sorry again, tubas).
  4. The flute (and piccolo) are almost always the highest voices in an ensemble. We are the proverbial icing on the musical cake.
  5. No spit values. Cleaning our instruments is a piece of cake. We can post-rehearsal puddle of yuck.
  6. Fluterscooter bags! Check them out. They are super chic and functional: www.fluterscooter.com
  7. The flute can adapt to a number of different styles and groups (band, orchestra, jazz, rock n’roll, folk, irish gig bands, etc.).
  8. Multiphonics (or the ability to create strange, unique, ethereal sounds using two notes at the same time).
  9. Flute horoscopes (yes, this is a plug) Check out what the stars have in store for your flute playing this month: http://thefluteview.com/2017/11/dr-gs-november-flute-horoscopes-rachel-taylor-geier/?platform=hootsuite
  10. Muppets love the flute (or at least they loved Jean Pierre Rampal and his flute playing. Muppets have good taste!).
  11. Jethro Tull showed us that the flute has metal band potential. We rock!
  12. The Glissando headjoint (how cool is this: http://robertdick.net/the-glissando-headjoint/). Thanks, Robert Dick!
  13. Connecting with old colleagues and meeting new flute friends from around the world at the annual National Flute Association Convention.
  14. Flute Talk, The Flute View, Pan, and The Flutist Quarterly. Monthly publications that keep us up to date with new flute trends.
  15. Trick fingerings (brass, strings, and percussion – don’t be jelly).
  16. Our instrument is in the key of C. That means: No transposing!
  17. Numerous pieces written to make the flute sound like various types of birds. Birds are cool.
  18. Flute choirs and fun flute choir literature.
  19. Jazz flute and the performers that make Jazz Flute rock! (Hubert Laws, etc.)
  20. Baroque flute and the performers that make baroque flute amazing (Bart Kuijken, etc.)

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Happy fluting!


Short Cuts – Orchestral Excerpt Edition

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday.

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Today’s blog is about short cuts. Some may refer to these as trick fingering suggestions, but I have never really liked the term “trick fingerings.” We aren’t pulling rabbits out of a hat or searching for quarters behind ears. We are simply devising alternatives for physically difficult fingering patterns. Why make things more difficult than they need to be, amiright? Short cuts in orchestral excerpts are literally lifesavers at auditions when your physical and mental facilities are being put through the spin cycle. They are also great for performance time when the spotlight may hinder your ability to BRING IT! the same way you do in rehearsals. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am grateful that these short cuts have been available to me during my early career years and hope they can help you as they have helped me.

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Beethoven – Leonore Overture No. 3, mm. 328-360. Although the key to playing this excerpt is rhythm, rhythm, and rhythm, that final high D is a very sneaky test in endurance, sound, and intonation. Flutists have struggled with this note for decades, with good reason. The natural fingering for the high D is flat-city and as we run out of air (which is inevitable given that the note is sustained for 9 measures), it is likely that the pitch will fall off the face of the planet. A clever trick I learned by studying trick fingerings for the piccolo (where the high D is even more problematic than on the flute), is to add the G# pinky (left hand) and 1st finger right hand keys to bring the pitch up. This fingering is great because it takes less air to sustain than the standard high D fingering, helping you to keep the pitch up even when you are running low in air. Be careful though – the sound quality is a bit different. Make sure to play softly and support the pitch as much as possible.
Debussy – Prélude à l‘après-midi d’un faune, opening 4 measures (and beyond). There is really only one important short cut in this excerpt and only applies if you have a C# key on your flute. The reason for this is because much of the work is written in suspended tones that create very specific tone colors when combined with other instruments in the orchestra (very similar to a Monet painting). That is the Debussy way – don’t mess with his compositional mojo! Playing the opening C# with the C# key (fingering a B, adding the C# key), rather than using the standard C# fingering helps to create more of an ethereal sound than the open, and uneasy, sound of the standard C#. Pitch is also a bit easier to control with this key and moving to the B natural is much more fluid than plunking down the left hand thumb and first finger at the same time.

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Mendelssohn – Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, pick up to 1 measure before Rehearsal P to 23 measures after Rehearsal Q. So many notes that never stop spinning. Why move your fingers any more than necessary? Keep the 3 fingers on your right hand down for the C naturals that fall in the following measures: 2 measures after P, 5 measures after P, 10 measures after P, 13 measures after P, 1 measure before Q, 2 measures after Q, and 4 measures after Q. This will help make the transition from C to D more fluid and keep the pitch down on each of the C’s.
Prokofiev – Classical Symphony, Movement IV, 8 measures before Rehearsal C to Rehearsal D. This excerpt is maddening. A few little short cuts, however, will help keep your sanity throughout these short, but quick, decorations. For the first 4 measures of this excerpt, overblow the high G using a middle G fingering and the following high E using a middle A natural fingering (C, middle G, middle A, middle G, C, E). Just be careful not to overblow the A to a high A rather than the E natural. This will take some practice but it is a much easier alternative to how the passage is written. The next 4 measures, beginning 4 measures before Rehearsal C, can also be simplified by overblowing a middle G fingering for all of the high D naturals (which can be a bit tough on your 1st finger, left hand). You may also overblow a middle Bb for the final high Fs in each figure, but I recommend the standard F fingering on the first F in each group to keep the sound grounded. Finally, make use of the middle G fingering beginning at Letter C for those high Gs to save your thumb from unnecessary gymnastics. These short cuts may take a bit of practice to get used to, but they are well worth the effort. Your fingers will thank you!

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Prokofiev – Classical Symphony, Movement IV, Rehearsal K through L. If I had a decent short cut for the final run after letter L, I would list it here, but, alas, blood, sweat, and tears (and slow practice with a metronome) is the only advice I have for this run. However, I do want to recommend an alternative fingering for 2 measures before K that I find very useful. Instead of using all of the standard fingerings in these measures, overblow a middle B and a middle G for the high F#s and Ds (respectively) to make the passage a bit easier on the fingers. Works like a charm!
Prokofiev – Peter and the Wolf, Rehearsal 2-4. Prokofiev, why do you have so many finger-splitting runs? You will no doubt play this excerpt for many occasions throughout your flute playing career. Everybody knows it. Everybody loves it. Yet not everybody knows just how difficult it is to execute smoothly. The grace notes in the opening of this excerpt really need to flip and fingering a high A to a high G really impedes a decent flip. Instead, use your 1st trill key. Simply finger the high G and quickly hit the 1st trill key to give the note a momentary hit of a high A for the grace note. This fingering sounds far more bird-like than the clunky standard fingering. There is also a rumored shortcut for the often-muddled passage beginning 5 measures after Rehearsal 2, but I find that trick fingerings here tend to muddle the passage even more. Snappy fingers and slow practice is what I recommend for this passage. Finally, and probably my favorite short cut, regards the arpeggios 2 measures before Rehearsal 3 and 2 measures before Rehearsal 4. The top of this passage is a bit tricky due to the high F#s and high D naturals. Instead, overblow a middle B and C for the high F# and G at the top of the passage to help your fingers out a bit. This passage moves fairly quickly making the difference in tone quality practically unnoticeable.

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Saint-Saens – Carnival of the Animals, 10. Voliere. 3 words to keep in mind for the excerpt: Use Trill Fingerings. I know this advice is a bit controversial. Some flute players like it and some say that it ruins the integrity of the sound. Again, I must reiterate that the notes are moving so fast that it is difficult to tell the difference in sound quality, especially if the notes are supported by a sufficient amount of air. I say go for it. Use trill fingerings especially on the high D-Es in measures 3 and 5 and the high E-Fs at rehearsal 1 and two measures later, on the repeat. Avoid, however, trill fingerings on the C-Ds 2 measures before Rehearsal 2. This trill is a bit complicated and the sound quality is a bit more perceivable on these notes than the other trill fingerings.

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Stravinsky – Firebird Suite (1919), Variation de L’oiseau de feu. This piece gives me nightmares. I still remember my conductor shouting, “Dance! Dance!” in my direction as we played this movement, as if we were in an Old West gunfight. I can’t dance. I am paralyzed by fear. #feardance (is that a thing?) There are one or two little short cuts in this movement that are, well, the difference between performance life and death. That nasty run in the 3rd measure sounds a bit better if you use a forked F and overblow a middle G for the high D. You could also experiment by overblowing an A, middle Bb and G for the entire passage, but be weary of sound quality, especially on the high A. Make sure to support this fragment with a lot of air and control any wild fingers (fingers should remain close to the keys). Another great place to use some fancy fingerings is on the rather difficult run up to the high Bb in 2 measures after Rehearsal 13. Here we have the 3 nastiest notes in the high register, D, F#, and G#, one right after the other, resolving on a high Bb. Overblow a middle B natural to achieve the high F#, and a high C# to achieve the G#. You may also overblow a middle G to achieve the high D natural, but I don’t think this is quite necessary with the addition of the overblown B natural and C#. Along these same lines, the measure before Rehearsal 14 also features the same clunky notes. In this passage, again overblow a middle B natural to achieve the high F#, a middle G# to achieve the D#, and a middle A to achieve the high E, making this explosive passage much easier to execute than as written. Finally, one of my favorite short cuts to use whenever I am faced with a quick figure utilizing a high E to high A jump (which never seems to speak properly) is to add the 2nd trill key on the high E thus opening up the sound to the high A more fluidly. This can be used on the figure on the measure before Rehearsal 17.

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Do you have any other clever short cuts that you like to use with orchestral excerpts? Have you used any of the tips listed above? Please comment below!

Happy Fluting!


Top 10 Flute Teaching Tips

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday.

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I was reorganizing my sheet music collection last weekend and found something quite intriguing. Shuffled between the pages of a piece that I had not played in several years was a copy of a letter of recommendation from a former teacher. Well….recommendation is not quite the right word… As I read through the letter, I was saddened by its contents. “Although she initially met my suggestions cursorily, she gave a satisfactory performance.” I remember seeing this letter years ago, not quite understanding where these comments came from. If I had acted “cursorily,” I did not know it and had never intended to interact that way with a teacher. A “satisfactory” performance made it sound like I successfully made it from the beginning to the end of the performance without falling off the stage or forgetting to bring my instrument. What saddened me the most, however, was never being aware that there was a problem or that I had not met goals when I thought I had. Lesson expectations were fuzzy at best and I did not know the difference between an “okay” performance and a “great” performance through the eyes of my teacher. It wasn’t until years later when I met a very encouraging and transparent teacher, that I realized the value of clear pedagogical communication. A great teacher understands their students and works with them to set and establish goals, monitor success, and encourages them to reach for the stars. I have patterned my own teaching after the lessons I learned working with both encouraging and not-so-encouraging teachers. Today’s blog features my Top 10 Teaching Tips based on my own teaching experiences and what I have valued over the years. I really hope these tips help you reevaluate how you interact with your students and inspire you to encourage students to follow their dreams. Help your students along their paths and always remain a beacon of hope rather than locked doorway to another dimension.

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Top 10 Teaching Tips

  1. Always Encourage your Students. I think one of the biggest differences between good teachers and great teachers is effective coaching skills. Every student is different. It is critical that you understand who your students are, their interests, their strengths, and their weaknesses. Your approach with every student should be different based on an understanding of who they are, where they are in their flute study, where they want to go, and what is important to them. If students are struggling to understand certain concepts, do not immediately assume that they are just being “difficult.” There is a reason they are struggling and you may need to reconsider how you are explaining things to them and why it may not click. For example, if you know that your student is a visual learner, but you are trying to explain tone color by singing at them (loudly), they are not going to understand in the same way that your aural learners will and may become frustrated and discouraged. Change your approach and always encourage them to experiment, ask questions, and discuss action plans to further their understanding. Learning is about developing, experimenting, questioning, and improving. Inspire your students to become lifelong learners.
  2. Use the Socratic Method Often. Ideas are more meaningful to students when they are developed from the depths of their own minds. I love to make my students analyze their own playing before I tell them what I heard and provide suggestions for how to improve. “What did you think about that?” is a simple question to get students to think critically about their playing and not just get from Point A to Point B with a passing “good job” from the teacher. If they speak about poor tone quality, ask them what they think they can do to improve. This opens a nice dialog for you and your student to discuss tone improvement techniques and come up with exercises they can practice at home.
  3. Set Clear Goals. One of the difficult parts about being a student is constantly trying to guess what your teacher expects from you. Other disciplines use a syllabus very carefully to outline all course expectations, often including rubrics detailing what is expected to achieve an A, B, C, and so on, in the course. Lessons are very different because they are based on highly individualized sets of expectations and goals. I recommend using a syllabus or similar document to set studio policies that apply to all students (attendance policy, canceled lesson policy, recital expectations, masterclass participation policies, and so forth), but keep track of individual progress using a weekly student notebook. In my studio, for example, students are required to bring a notebook to their lessons, which I use to record all of the techniques we discuss and jot down practice assignment expectations for the next lesson. A notebook is a great way to keep students on track and clarify short and long term goals. Sit down with your students at least once per quarter or semester and discuss long range recital preparation, overall goals for the semester, and future flute playing plans including auditions, masterclasses, and competition goals. This is also a good opportunity to clearly explain what you expect from them over the course of a semester. For younger students, periodic chats regarding practice goals is also very important. Assign practice cards and chart progress on a simple Excel-based chart. Above all, keep expectations transparent and provide a supportive environment for students to ask questions as they progress throughout their goals.
  4. Monitor Progress. Students want to see that the time they put into their studies pays off in some sort of measurable progress. Practice cards, as I discussed above, is a good way to monitor practice goals, however monitoring overall performance progress can be a bit trickier. Encourage your students to record short videos of at-home practice routines to review during their lessons. Recording a video is very intimidating (even within the privacy of your own home), therefore you may also help your students deal with stage fright while also monitoring their flute playing progress. Review recital videos with students following a studio recital. Talk about what worked, what didn’t work, what was easy, and what was difficult. Ask them to grade themselves on their own recitals! Discuss the similarities and differences between your grade and theirs. Ask students to memorize scales, etudes, or pieces. It is easy to monitor memorization skills and create goals to memorize works a bit at a time. Whatever techniques you use, make sure to discuss progress with your students regularly. Let them know how they are doing and what they still need to do to achieve their goals.
  5. Create a Toolbox of Go-To Techniques. This will help students become their own teachers for life! Create a list of short descriptions or acronyms for techniques that you discuss often in lessons (air in cheek, conducting and playing, frog breathing, ducky-ducky articulation, march and play, etc). These will help students recall simple techniques quite quickly when they realize they are struggling with sound or technique. This list is, essentially, their flute toolbox. If you are a fan of the Socratic Method, you will find your students using these short descriptions in their answers to the question, “How would you improve your performance of this passage,” or, “What did you think about your tone in that excerpt? What would you do to improve your tone?” These toolbox techniques will last years and decades after your time together.
  6. Encourage Improvisation. Good teachers have a duty to their students to cultivate creativity and part of that means tossing out the rules once in a while and letting students explore music on their own terms. Improvisation is a great way for students to explore their sound and technique in a safe, inclusive environment where the music does not stop for a “wrong” note or “wrong” type of sound. I like to end most lessons with 3-5 minutes of improvisation. Students really look forward to this time and it always helps us discuss things they have wanted to try out but, for some reason or another, have not had the opportunity (advanced techniques, for example). Let creativity flow. Your students may discover cool, new ways to play the flute that they had never even thought of before.
  7. Technology is your Friend. YouTube. Smart Music. Classroom blogs. Apps. Internet research. There are so many great tools to combine with traditional instruction that really enhance the studio environment. I have mentioned many of these programs in previous blog posts. I think the one that is my all-time favorite, however, is Smart Music. This program is great on so many levels and really helps students understand their scores to maximize time spent with their accompanists. I also think that YouTube has changed the way we think about performance. I encourage my students to create YouTube clips of their playing (turning off comments if they are a bit on the shy side). Finally, having a studio blog is a great way to help students learn from each other in a safe, inclusive environment. Brush up on these programs and invite students to suggest new programs to use in their flute lessons.
  8. Host Studio Masterclasses. A studio masterclass is a nerve-wracking, yet fun experience for all of your students. Performing in front of peers helps students confront stage fright, which is something that often gets swept under the rug. We all have to deal with it and when we address it as a group, it is no longer a lonely, frightening experience. The masterclass environment is also an opportunity for students to learn from each other. Two students may be confronting the same types of challenges in their lessons but use different methods to solve the same problems. They can discuss these issues out in the open and analyze what works and what doesn’t. Older students can inspire and encourage younger students through their performances and parents can participate in their child’s flute study simply by being observers. A masterclass is also a wonderful opportunity for all students to sight read flute choir music together, encouraging a collective, and supportive, learning environment.
  9. Listening Assignments. The world of flute playing is a lot bigger than the Rubank series or the confines of Bach Sonatas. Encourage your students to broaden their horizons by assigning listening assignment that include super difficult pieces (Jolivet or Ibert), strange non-traditional pieces (Berio Sequenza), flute choir works, woodwind quintet pieces, pieces for flute and orchestra, Jethro Tull!, Jazz flute, and non-western flute works. YouTube includes a variety of recordings that students can easily review and discuss through journaling or classroom discussions. Perhaps they will gravitate towards a particular piece or composer or maybe even hear something that they want to practice in their next lesson. Part of learning is having the necessary space to explore the infinite possibilities of the Universe.
  10. Competitions, Auditions, and Summer Studies – Go for it! Whatever their level, preparing for an audition or competition is something that a student will remember forever. The worst thing that can happen in any of these instances is that they do not win (the chair, the job, whatever). The preparation work to get to the competition stage, in my opinion, however, is far more valuable than any trophy or title. This is goal setting at it’s finest. I felt that I got into the audition and masterclass scene a little late, as I was often under the impression that these things were only available for a select few, more talented, players. Wrong! Preparing, performing, analyzing, and pulling yourself up by your boot-straps and trying again is part of the learning process. This is how we improve. This is how we encounter and measure ourselves. This is how we set goals for the future and learn through experiences. Being a good teacher requires you to have faith in your students and to push them to succeed beyond their expectations. Anything less is a disservice to your students and to yourself.

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What do you think makes a good teacher? What have your best teachers had in common? What are the most valuable lessons you have learned from past teachers? What do you value in your lessons? Please comment below!

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Happy Fluting!

Suggested Flute Repertoire List

Greetings and Welcome to a new Flute Friday/Sunday.

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Before I launch into today’s blog, I just wanted to let everybody know that my November 2017 Flute Horoscopes have been published in the November volume of The Flute View Magazine! What does November hold for your flute playing? Check them out here: http://thefluteview.com/2017/11/dr-gs-november-flute-horoscopes-rachel-taylor-geier/

The Flute View Nov

When I was a younger student, I was always a bit overwhelmed when searching for new pieces to work on over the summer or selecting a program for a future recital. There are so many to choose from!!! My go-to recital approach was to select a piece from each of the 4 major compositional eras (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary) with maybe another more off-the-wall contemporary piece or an additional French Flute School showstopper to keep things interesting. That often meant taking an adventure to the music library, flipping through numerous scores, listening to flute CDs, and chatting with my fellow flutists for recommendations. Sometimes what helped me the most, however, was simply browsing repertoire lists on the internet. Repertoire lists are great resources as they help jog your mind for pieces that you may have heard in the past that you found interesting, or exciting pieces by a particular composer that you may want to listen to or learn more about before reading through and programming. Today’s blog will feature a sample repertoire list for those of you searching for new pieces to try, listed according to compositional era. If you are searching for a new piece to sight read and possibly add to your next program, I hope today’s post will help you find a new, inspiring work to incorporate into your practice routine.

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Bach, C.P.E.                        Concerto in D Minor, Wq. 22

Bach, C.P.E.                        Concerto in A Minor , Wq. 166

Bach, C.P.E.                        Concerto in B-flat Major , Wq. 167

Bach, C.P.E.                        Concerto in G Major, Wq. 168

Bach, C.P.E.                        Concerto in A, Wq. 169

Bach, C.P.E.                        “Hamburger” Sonata in G Major

Bach, C.P.E.                        Sonata in A Minor (Solo Flute)

Bach, J.S.                            Partita in A Minor, BWV 1013 (Solo Flute)

Bach, J.S.,                            Sonata in E-flat Major, BWV1031

Bach, J.S.                             Sonata in G Minor, BWV 1020

Bach, J.S.                             Sonata in A Major, BWV 1032

Bach, J.S.                             Sonata in C Major, BWV 1033

Bach, J.S.                             Sonata in E Major, BWV 1035

Bach, J.S.                             Sonata in E Minor, BWV 1034

Bach, J.S.                             Sonata in B Minor, BWV 1030

Bach, J.S.                             Suite in B Minor, BWV 1067

Boccherini, Luigi              Concerto in D, op. 27

Handel, G.F.                       Eleven Sonatas

Kleinknecht, J.F.                Sonata in B Minor

Leclair, J.M.                        Sonata in G, Op. 9, No. 7

Leclair, J.M.                        Sonata in E Minor, Op. 9, No. 2

Marais, Marin                   Les Folies d’Espagne (Solo Flute)

Pergolesi, G.B.                   Concerto in G Major

Telemann, G.P.                 12 Fantasies (Solo Flute)

Telemann, G.P.                 Suite in A Minor

Quantz, J.J.                         Concerto in G Major

Vivaldi, Antonio               6 Concerti, op. 10

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Devienne, François          Concerto No. 2 in D

Devienne, François          Concerto No. 7 in e

Devienne, François          Concerto No. 8

Devienne, François          Sonata in D Major

Devienne, François          Sonata in E Minor

Gluck, C.W.                        Minuet and Dance of the Blessed Spirits

Mozart, W.A.                     Concerto in G, K. 313

Mozart, W.A.                     Concerto in D, K. 314

Mozart, W.A.                     Andante and Rondo

Mozart, W.A.                     Three Sonatas, K. 285, 285b, 298 (arr. L. Moyse)

Stamitz, Anton                  Concerto in D Major

Stamitz, Carl                      Concerto in G Major, op. 29

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Boehm, Theobald            Concerto in G Major, Op. 1

Boehm, Theobald            Grande Polonaise

Borne, Francis                  Carmen Fantasie

Bozza                                  Agrestide

Büsser                                Prélude and Scherzo

Casella, Alfredo                Sicilienne et Burlesque

Chaminade, Cécile           Concertino

Demersseman, Jules        Sixième Solo de Concert

Doppler, Franz,                 Hungarian Pastoral Fantasie

Dutilleux                             Sonatine

Enesco                                 Cantabile et Presto

Fauré                                    Fantasie

Ganne                                  Andante and Scherzo

Gaubert                               Fantasie

Gaubert                               Madrigal

Gaubert                               Nocturne and Allegro Scherzando

Hüe                                       Fantasie

Kuhlau, Friedrich              Six Divertissements, Op. 68 for flute and piano

Mercadante, Saverio         Concerto in E Minor

Périlhou                               Ballade

Reinecke, Carl                    Sonata “Undine”

Schubert, Franz                 Introduction and Variations

Schubert, Franz                 Sonata in A Minor “Arpeggione”

Taffanel                               Andante Pastorale and Scherzettino

Taffanel, Paul                     Grande Fantasie sur Mignon

Widor, Charles-Marie       Suite

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Berio                                    Sequenza (Solo Flute)

Bloch, Ernst                        Suite Modale

Bolling, Claude                  Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano

Bozza, Eugène                   Image (Solo Flute)

Burton, Eldin                      Sonatina

Carter, Elliott                      Scrivo in vento (Solo Flute)

Copland, Aaron                 Duo

Corigliano, John                Voyage

Debussy                               Syrinx (Solo Flute)

Dick, Robert                       Afterlight (Solo Flute)

Feld, Jindrich                     Sonata

Foote, Arthur                     A Night Piece

Françaix, Jean                    Divertimento

Françaix, Jean                    Suite for Solo Flute (Solo Flute)

Fukushima, Kazuo            Mei (Solo Flute)

Griffes                                  Poem

Hanson                                Serenade

Hindemith                          Eight Pieces (Solo Flute)

Hindemith                          Sonata

Honegger                            Danse de la chèvre (Solo Flute)

Hoover, Katherine            Kokopeli (Solo Flute)

Ibert, Jacques                     Pièce (Solo Flute)

Ibert,                                    Concerto

Jolivet                                   Chant de Linos

Jolivet, André                    Cinq Incantations (Solo Flute)

Jolivet, André                    Concerto

Karg-Elert, Sigfrid             Sonata Appassionata in F# Minor, op. 140 (Solo Flute)

Kennan                                Night Soliloquy

Liebermann, Lowell         Sonata

Martin, Frank                    Ballade

Martinu, Bohuslav           Sonata

Messiaen                            Le merle noir

Mower, Mike                     Sonata Latino

Muczynski, Robert           3 Preludes (Solo Flute)

Muczynski, Robert           Sonata

Nielsen, Carl                      Concerto

Piazzolla, Astor                 6 Tango Etudes (Solo Flute)

Piston, Walter                    Sonata

Poulenc, Francis                Sonata

Prokofiev, Sergei              Sonata

Ran, Shulamit                    East Wind (Solo Flute)

Rivier, Jean                        Concerto

Roussel, Albert                  Joueurs de Flûte

Rutter, John                       Suite Antique

Sancan                                Sonatine

Schulhoff, Erwin               Sonata

Takemitsu, Toru                Air (Solo Flute)

Taktakishvili, Otar            Sonata for Flute and Piano

Varèse, Edgard                  Density 21.5 (Solo Flute)


Happy fluting (and sight reading)!

Scale Exposure Therapy

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday. Happy Halloween!


We all know that Taffanel and Gaubert’s 17 Daily Exercises is the Holy Grail of all scale books. Most of us have drilled Exercise #4 over, and over, and over again to practice everything from articulation to rhythmic variations and even pitch bends. It is a great exercise due to its versatility and ability to keep each scale gradually changing and morphing into the next. That’s marvelous! However, if you have been playing this exercise for as long as I have, sometimes it can get a little tiresome and old (no offense, Taffanel and Gaubert – You guys still rock!). We tend to forget that this is not the only scale book on the market (the blasphemy! I know…). Today’s blog is a review of 4 other scale books that I have come to love over the years whenever I need to spice up my scale routines with something new. If you feel yourself entering a scale rut or are just in need of a break from good, old T&G, test drive some of these other options to rejuvenate your daily practice routine. It’s okay! Taffanel and Gaubert will understand.

Scales - Gilbert

Technical Flexibility for Flutists by Geoffrey Gilbert.  This is a very easy to use, straight forward set of scale and arpeggio exercises that really challenges the users to explore the dreaded extreme upper ranges of the instrument. Let’s be perfect honest – those high register fingering patterns are tricky and many of us avoid them unless absolutely necessary. This scale book makes you face your fears in a type of scale exposure therapy. Another great element of this book is that it proceeds from scales and arpeggios in 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, and 7ths, giving you an valuable opportunity to practice those weird subdivisions that we often encounter in contemporary music. This is a really great book for those of you who are ready to test the bounds of your comfort zone and roll up your sleeves to work on your weaknesses. Be brave!

Scales - Kujala.png

The Flutist’s Vade Mecum by Walfrid Kujala. Do you remember those books from the late 80s that asked you to select the character’s next step to continue the story? If you think Johnny should walk through the woods by himself to get home, please turn to page 38. If you think Johnny should instead call a taxi with a quarter he found in a storm drain inhabited by a clown with really sharp teeth, please turn to page 56. The Flutist’s Vade Mecum reminds me of one of those books, making it very comprehensive, but never dull. There are so many different studies from basic scales and arpeggios to interval studies using any type of interval you can possibly imagine, to scales in quintuplets, sextuplets, scales that accelerate, broken and varied scales, and “special” scales including modal scales, Hungarian Minor Scales, and Pentatonic scales. This book literally has everything and the kitchen sink. You may practice these exercises as they are written, however if you turn to the very end of the book, there is a guide to practice all of the exercises in various keys in a sequence like the 80’s character books (if you are practicing in the key of C, please turn to page 14 after completing this exercise). Finally, this book contains very well written practice guides before each chapter helping to guide your practice with useful tips and tricks. This is a great option for somebody looking for a lot of variety in their scale and technical studies. If you get bored easily, this is the scale book for you!

Scales - Reichert

Seven Daily Exercises for Flute by M.A. Reichert. I love this book for working on articulation! If Taffanel and Gaubert is the Holy Grail of scale books, this is easily the Holy Grail of arpeggio books. I included this book on today’s list because it is chalk full of really great scale exercises for all major, minor, and chromatic scales that stay fairly regular and predictable throughout their sequences. Within this regularity, you may invent your own articulations, tempos, dynamics, or styles to add a bit of creative variety. A majority of the exercises, however, focus on broken chords and arpeggios using melodic, but predictable, variations. Again, the challenge with these exercises is to invent your own articulations and to practice maintaining the proper stamina to make it from one side of the exercise to another. Finally, I think what is most important for these exercises is to develop a very flexible embouchure. These are no doubt scale, arpeggio, and flexibility exercises packaged in one very useful book. I would recommend the Reichert to those of you that are very creative and enjoy coming up with your own challenges within a predictable framework.

Scales - Maquarre

Daily Exercises for the Flute by Andre Maquarre. Do you love the melodic, yet virtuosic, French style? The Maquarre is definitely the book for you! Like the Reichert, this book contains a number of exercises devoted to increasing your embouchure flexibility, extending quite quickly from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low. The scales, however, focus on the development quick fingers, and often use sweeping, yet unpredictable, melodies to help you practice scales, broken chords, and various intervals. Like the Taffanel and Gaubert, there are a number of suggested articulations to help vary your practice of some of the exercises, or you may simply choose to use your own. Be warned: The interval studies at the back of the book are far more challenging than they appear so practice these very slowly and deliberately in the beginning of your studies. This is a really great book for those of you that are planning a recital with a lot of French Flute School repertoire or if you are just someone who gravitates towards the French style. If playing something beautiful really inspires you, the Maquarre is the perfect addition to your daily routine.


Which scale books do you like to use in conjunction with the Taffanel and Gaubert? Have you developed a scale exercise that you like to use? Have you used any of the books mentioned above? Have they helped you develop technical elements differently from that of the Taffanel and Gaubert. Please comment below!


Happy Fluting!






Top 20 Flute Jokes

Happy Monday, Everyone. Welcome to a new Flute Friday (not on Friday).

jokes 1

I don’t know about all of you, but I have had a terrible week and need a good laugh. Today’s post is a collection of the top 20 flute jokes I have found on the internet (rated G, of course!). None of these jokes are meant to offend so please do not take them personally. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves once in a while, right? Enjoy and remember to laugh a little whenever times get tough.

jokes 2


  1. Q: What’s the definition of a minor second? A: Two flutes playing in unison.
  2. Q: Why was the flutist arrested? A: He was in treble.
  3. Q: What musical instrument would a cucumber play? A: A pickle-o.
  4. Q: What does a flute and a lawsuit have in common? A: Everyone is relieved when the case is closed.
  5. Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? A: To get away from the flute recital.
  6. Q: What’s the difference between a flutist and god? A: God doesn’t think he’s a flutist.
  7. Why do all the other wood-wind instrument players envy flutes? Because they’re the only winds eligible for the no-bell prize.
  8. A flute player and a fiddle player were standing on a sinking ship. “Help!” cried the fiddle player, “I can’t swim!” “Don’t worry,” said the flute player, “just fake it.”
  9. What’s the range of a piccolo? About thirty yards, if you have a good arm.
  10. Flute: A sophisticated pea shooter with a range of up to 500 yards, blown transversely to confuse the enemy.
  11. A young child told his mother “When I grow up I’m going to be a flutist.” His mother responded, “Well honey, you know you can’t do both.”
  12. Two musicians are walking down the street, and one says to the other, “Who was that flute I saw you with last night?” The other replies, “That was no flute, that was my fife.”
  13. Flute players spend half their time tuning their instrument and the other half playing out of tune.
  14. Q: Why do loud, obnoxious whistles exist at some factories? A: To give us some sort of appreciation for flutes.
  15. Q: How do you get a million dollars playing the flute? A: Start off with 2 million.
  16. Q: What’s the difference between a flutist and garbage? A: The garbage gets taken out once a week.
  17. Q: What’s the definition of an optimist? A: A flutist with a mortgage.
  18. Q: How do you keep your jewelry from being stolen? A: Leave it in a flute case.
  19. Marriage is like playing the flute. It looks easy until you try it.
  20. If a flute player and drummer got in a fight, who would win? It’s a trick question. There would be no fight. The flute player would whine until they got their own way!


Happy Fluting!

Top 10 Collaborative Music Making Tips

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday! Apologies for being MIA for the past couple of weeks. A family emergency put all of my projects temporarily on hold and getting back into the groove has been a bit of a struggle, but today I am back! Hope you have missed Flute Friday as much as I did.

The Flute View

Before I get into today’s post, I have a few wonderful announcements. I have started writing a new monthly column with The Flute View Online Magazine entitled, Dr. G’s Flute Horoscopes. This is exactly what it sounds like! Each month I will explain the general astrological trends for each of the 12 signs of the zodiac and how these changes will influence your flute playing and/or music career. These were very fun to write and, at least for my sign, have been proving quite accurate. Check it out here!  http://thefluteview.com/2017/10/new-column-dr-gs-flute-horoscopes-rachel-taylor-geier/


My flute blog has also recently been named by Feedspot.com as one of the 30 Best Flute Blogs on the web! Thanks, Feedspot! Check it out here! https://blog.feedspot.com/flute_blogs/

Another big thanks to Bret Pimentel for including my Flute Quiz on his September 2017 Favorite Blog Posts! I am always grateful to see my blog posts appear on these monthly lists. Thanks for reading! Check it out here! https://bretpimentel.com/favorite-blog-posts-september-2017/

Finally, the answer key to The Flute Quiz is listed below. Like all good pub quizzes, I am sure there will be those who disagree with some of the answers but please keep in mind that this quiz is merely a model to use as a studio assignment or to test your own knowledge. Please feel free to tweak as you see fit for use in your own studio environments.

Collab 3.jpg

Today’s blog is devoted to those of you in both small and large ensembles who, from time to time, may need some help communicating musically with your fellow musicians. Playing in a group is not as easy as the pros make it look and there is a world of difference between how you approach your part as a soloist and how you fit in as a member of an ensemble. Playing together, or “collaborative music making” (if you want to get fancy) is truly an art that takes years of practice and experience to develop. Today, I am including my Top 10 Collaborative Music Making Tips for everyone out there making music in groups. Practice these tips in your ensembles to strengthen your non-verbal communication skills and successfully fit your flute voice into larger collections of sound.

Collab 1.png


  1. Make eye contact. This is the golden rule of playing in any ensemble. Any time you wish to begin or end a phrase or have an entrance that you perform with another instrument, make eye contact with the player or players that you will be performing with. In a small ensemble that is relatively easy as you will likely be facing each other, but in a larger band or orchestral ensemble this may be a bit tricky if your part mimics that of an instrument group sitting behind you (as many of the best parts do). In those cases, make eye contact with the conductor. They may or may not always give you a good cue but at least you will be on the same page as the rest of the orchestra. Another great tip to achieve this is to memorize your most important phrases or solos. Whenever I have an important orchestral solo, I always memorize my part so I can keep constant eye contact with the conductor and the players around me. You may also want to memorize important phrases when playing in smaller chamber ensembles to keep the same level of eye contact with key players. This will help everyone identify when, where, and with whom all critical passages stop and end.


  1. Communicate with Others Verbally (and respectfully). You cannot simply expect other musicians to read your mind no matter how good your eye contact may be. When you are performing solos or key phrases, it is important to discuss with your fellow musicians how you intend to play a phrase, what tempos you wish to take, and how loud or soft to approach certain dynamic markings. You must also agree on these and other musical issues as a group during tutti sections of the music. These may include how to approach ornamentations, transitions between movements, how to properly execute accelerandi and how to handle any fermati or railroad track markings. Above all, you must be respectful in all of these discussions. You don’t want to break up the band because you are convinced that the grace notes fall on the beat whereas the rest of the group wants them before the beat and you certainly do not want to alienate the members of your group by being a know-it-all bossy pants. Be kind.

Collab 4

  1. Use the End of your Flute like a Baton to Cue Other Players. The responsibility of playing the flute often comes with a leadership role in many ensembles. In a band, you are seated in the front of the ensemble. In an orchestra, you are the gateway to the woodwind section (and if you are principal, you are literally the co-quarterback for the wind section alongside the oboe). In a woodwind quintet, you are seated on the far outside of the group and are one of the leaders. You may find yourself cueing your fellow musician in many of these roles. A good way to go about this is to use the end of your flute to show the group where the downbeat lies, and, in some instances, show them the beat pattern if it is unclear. As I have discussed before on this blog, you may do this by literally using the end of your flute to conduct as you play. Try to remain discreet when using this technique and conduct in small circles that can be noticed by your ensemble but do not distract the audience. This will help everybody stay on beat and clarify where the larger beats fall.


  1. Always Listen! Listen carefully at all times to what is happening around you. Are you the melody or the harmony? If you are not the star of the phrase, identify who is and lower your dynamic level so that they may be heard properly. If you are the star, do not be afraid to belt it out but remain conscious of intonation. Having a solo does not give you license to play out of tune. Always listen to the voices around you and fit into their sound as much as possible. Adjust dynamics and intonation to fit the collective voices. You are, after all, one part of a larger unit.

Collab 6

  1. Tune to the Principal Player or Concertmaster. Tuning is sometimes a difficult process for the ego. We’d all like to think we are in tune at all times but often what we think of as “in tune” is incorrect or does not matter because we are at the mercy of someone else’s idea of “in tune.” When in doubt, always tune to the principal player in your section or, if you are the principal player, the concertmaster or, perhaps more appropriately, the oboe. It does not matter if you think the oboe is right or wrong. To keep everybody on the same page, it is important to identify one voice to use as a guide and adjust as necessary.


  1. Adjust to Group Dynamics. Your idea of “forte” may not exactly match that of your neighbors, therefore it is critical that you listen to the dynamics of the group and adjust your own notion of loud vs. soft based on the directions of the group. For example, in many groups, I find myself performing softer dynamics significantly softer than I would as a soloist and underplaying the high register as much as possible, even in louder dynamic ranges, to create balance with the rest of the group.

Collab 2

  1. Practice Blending. This goes back to listening and adjusting. Use your dynamics and vibrato speed to literally practice blending your sound into that of other instruments around you. Match their sound and style and fit your own sound into the center of theirs. This is tricky and takes practice but a good way to achieve this is to isolate your parts with your colleagues in a practice room. Listen to each other and understand how each of you creates sound. Find one collective sound between your idiosyncrasies.


  1. Intonation – Know Your Tendencies and the Tendencies of Others. This also goes back to listening, adjusting, and blending. We all know that our high registers are naturally sharp and our low registers notoriously flat, but did you know that as an oboe or clarinet plays into the higher ranges, their tendencies are to go flat? Whoa! Flutes get sharp and Clarinets go flat? How are we supposed to find a middle ground? Simple. Adjust. Play a few slow scales with the other instrumentalists around you. You will quickly discover which notes you must adjust to on both sides. Mark these notes and remember that when you hit a high f#, for example, you will need to bring it down. This will help you correct intonation before it becomes a recurring issue.

Collab 5

  1. Refine your Cut-Off Cues. Everyone practices the graceful flute circular cut off, right? But, how awkward is it to actually do this in a performance? Weird, huh? I always feel a bit like an interpretive dancer or an overzealous conductor. It’s strange. Unnatural. BUT a necessity. The group needs to know how to end the music together and the flute is often the leader in making that happen. Although it may feel silly, practice the circle cut off in the privacy of your own practice room until it doesn’t feel so awkward and make sure to test it out in the mirror to make sure it is clear where the music must end. There is nothing worse than an insecure cut off. The music must end together.


  1. HAVE FUN! Remember that in any group you play in, you must enjoy what you do. You are making music together (how cool is that!?). If you are not having fun, then why are you doing it? Creating music is a unique and wonderful experience that should be shared with everybody.

Collab 7

Do you play in a larger or small ensemble? What techniques do you like to use to communicate both verbally and non-verbally with your colleagues? How do you handle intonation issues in a larger group? Please comment below!


Happy Fluting!



The Flute Quiz (Answer Key)

  1. How many flute sonatas did J.S. Bach Compose?

a.  5

b.  6

c.  7

d.  8

*There are 7 sonatas attributed to J.S. Bach, however the Partita may also be considered as another sonata so D is also an acceptable answer.


  1. Who was the “father of the French Flute School.”

a.  Jean Pierre Rampal

b.  Phillip Gaubert

c.  Theobald Boehm

d.  Paul Taffanel


  1. What is a Shakuhachi?

a.  An Irish, keyless flute

b.  A traditional Native American flute

c.  A Japanese end-blown flute

d.  A large pan flute


  1. Prokofiev’s famous Sonata was originally written for which instrument?

a.  Piano

b. Violin

c.  Cello

d.  Flute


  1. According to the Alexander Technique, what does the term “Primary Control” mean?

a. How we balance our feet properly to support our posture.

b. How we allocate our air properly within a phrase.

c.  The relationship between our arms/shoulders/head and general coordination.

d.  The relationship between our Head/Neck/Back and the body mechanism.


  1. Who premiered the 1919 performance of Griffes’ Poem for Flute and Orchestra?

a.  Georges Barrere

b.  Phillip Gaubert

c.  William Kincaid

d.  Marcel Moyse


  1. Who is pictured below.

Carl Nielsen


  1. Which of the below listed pieces are NOT considered part of the French Flute School repertoire?

a.  Doppler’s Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise

b.  Chaminade’s Concertino

c.  Faure’s Fanatasie for Flute and Piano

d.  Hue Fantasie


  1. Who was Charles Nicholson?

a.  A conductor at the Paris Opera

b.  A famous English flutist and composer

c.  A famous German flutist and professor

d.  An American Jazz flutist and recording artist


  1. Schubert’s Introduction and Variations (D. 802, Opus 160) is based on a poem titled, “Trockne Blumen.” Who was the author of this poem?

a.  Friedrich Schiller

b.  Hermann Hesse

c.  Heinrich von Kleist

d.  Wilhelm Muller


  1. Who was Pan?

a.  The god of shepherds, flocks, and rustic music.

b.  The god of reeds, streams, and rivers.

c.  The god of fields, groves, and wooded glens.

d.  A and B

e.  B and C

f.  A and C


  1. Reinecke’s Sonata Undine is based on the story of what type of mythical creatures?

a.  Seahorses

b.  Mermaids

c.  Angels

d.  Dragons


  1. During the Pantomime section of the ballet, which love story do Daphnis and Chloe mime?

a.  Romeo and Juliette

b.  Tristan and Isolde

c.  Pan and Syrinx

d.  Orpheus and Eurydice


  1. Chant de Linos is based on the story of the mythological musician, Linus. To which Greek heroes did Linus allegedly teach music?

a.  Hercules

b.  Hector

c.  Jason

d.  Orpheus

e.  A and C

f.  A and D

g.  B and D


  1. Which notes are included in the harmonic series of a low C natural?

a.  C, C, C, E, G, C

b.  C, G, C, G, C, G, C

c.  C, C, G, C, E, G, Bb

d.  C, C, G, C, G, Bb


  1. How many Divertissements did Kuhlau include in his Opus 68?

a.  5

b.  6

c.  9

d.  12


  1. According to legend, what was Cecil Chaminade’s inspiration behind the Concertino in D Major, Op. 107.

a.  To compose a piece so difficult that her flute playing ex-lover could not play it.

b.  To celebrate her marriage to a renowned music publisher.

c.  To honor her friend, flutist Marguerite de Forest Anderson, who premiered the work in London in 1910.

d.  To illustrate the love story of Pelleas and Melisande.


  1. For which other instrument has Kent Kennan’s Night Soliloquy been famously scored.

a.  Clarinet

b.  Violin

c.  Bassoon

d.  Saxophone


  1. In which keys are Mozart’s two flute concerti written?

a.  C and G

b.  F and G

c.  G and D

d.  D and F


  1. Who is the composer shown in the below photo?

Robert Muczynski


  1. What does the “21.5” represent in Edgard Varese’s Density 21.5?

a.  The measurement of the conical bore of the flute at it’s largest point.

b.  The density of platinum.

c.  The density of gold.

d.  The weight of a typical solid silver flute.


  1. Each movement in Albert Roussel’s Joueurs de Flute pour Flute et Piano represents a different famous French flutist. Which flutist is represented in the Krishna movement?

a.  Phillipe Gaubert

b.  Louis Fleury

c.  Paul Taffanel

d.  Marcel Moyse


  1. Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata was originally composed for the Arpeggione. Which instrument is closely related to an Arpeggione?

a.  Cello

b.  Violin

c.  Viola

d.  Piano


  1. Elliot Carter’s Scrivo in Vento for Flute Alone is based on a poem by which poet?

a.  Dante Alighieri

b.  Giovanni Boccaccio

c.  Petrarch

d.  Christine de Pizan


  1. How many fantasies are included in Telemann’s Solo Flute Fantasie’s, Volume VIII?

a.  10

b.  12

c.  15

d.  20


  1. Which barnyard animal is the inspiration behind Arthur Honegger’s Danse de la Chevre?

a.  Goat

b.  Sheep

c.  Pig

d.  Cow


  1. Who published the holy grail of all fingering charts, “A Modern Guide to Fingerings for the Flute”?

a.  Jean Pierre Rampal

b.  James Galway

c.  James Pellerite

d.  George Barrere


  1. Who is the flutist pictured in the below photo?

Marcel Moyse


  1. What is body mapping?

a.  A form of yoga used to correct improper breathing habits.

b.  A system of tapping sequences on pressure points used to reduce tensions within the body.

c.  A seated postural retraining of the back to improve flexibility.

d.  A correcting and refining of the body to produce efficient, graceful, and coordinated movement.


  1. Who is currently serving as the Principal Flute of the New York Philharmonic (as of September 2017)

a.  Mark Sparks

b.  Robert Langevin

c.  Jeanne Baxtresser

d.  Kathleen Boyd





The Flute Quiz

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday.


One of my favorite things to do in my free time is attend a local pub quiz with my husband held in one of the restaurants in downtown Davis. A few weeks ago, I began to think about how fun it would be to design a similar quiz specifically for flutists, covering topics from flute literature, Alexander Technique, and flute history. Today’s post is my version of a pub quiz for the flute! This is a great exercise to give to your students in preparation for a studio masterclass or a fun, Friday scavenger hunt activity. You could also use it simply to test your own knowledge of flute related topics. I will post the answer key for this quiz next week. Until then, happy quizzing and I hope you and your students find this quiz entertaining and educational.

Who’s ready for The Flute Quiz?

The Flute Quiz

1.       How many flute sonatas did J.S. Bach Compose?

a.       5

b.       6

c.       7

d.       8


2.       Who was the “father of the French Flute School.”

a.       Jean Pierre Rampal

b.       Phillip Gaubert

c.       Theobald Boehm

d.       Paul Taffanel


3.       What is a Shakuhachi?

a.       An Irish, keyless flute

b.       A traditional Native American flute

c.       A Japanese end-blown flute

d.       A large pan flute


4.       Prokofiev’s famous Sonata was originally written for which instrument?

a.       Piano

b.       Violin

c.       Cello

d.       Flute


5.       According to the Alexander Technique, what does the term “Primary Control” mean?

a.       How we balance our feet properly to support our posture.

b.       How we allocate our air properly within a phrase.

c.       The relationship between our arms/shoulders/head and general coordination.

d.       The relationship between our Head/Neck/Back and the body mechanism.


6.       Who premiered the 1919 performance of Griffes’ Poem for Flute and Orchestra?

a.       Georges Barrere

b.       Phillip Gaubert

c.       William Kincaid

d.       Marcel Moyse


7.       Who is pictured below?



8.       Which of the below listed pieces are NOT considered part of the French Flute School repertoire?

a.       Doppler’s Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise

b.       Chaminade’s Concertino

c.       Faure’s Fantasie for Flute and Piano

d.       Hue Fantasie


9.       Who was Charles Nicholson?

a.       A conductor at the Paris Opera

b.       A famous English flutist and composer

c.       A famous German flutist and conductor

d.       An American Jazz flutist and recording artist


10.   Schubert’s Introduction and Variations (D. 802, Opus 160) is based on a poem titled, “Trockne Blumen.” Who was the author of this poem?

a.       Friedrich Schiller

b.       Hermann Hesse

c.       Heinrich von Kleist

d.       Wilhelm Muller


11.   Who was Pan?

a.       The god of shepherds, flocks, and rustic music.

b.       The god of reeds, streams, and rivers.

c.       The god of fields, groves, and wooded glens.

d.       A and B

e.       B and C

f.        A and C


12.   Reinecke’s Sonata Undine is based on the story of what type of mythical creatures?

a.       Seahorses

b.       Mermaids

c.       Angels

d.       Dragons


13.   During the Pantomime section of the ballet, which love story do Daphnis and Chloe mime?

a.       Romeo and Juliette

b.       Tristan and Isolde

c.       Pan and Syrinx

d.       Orpheus and Eurydice


14.   Chant de Linos is based on the story of the mythological musician, Linus. To which Greek hero or heroes did Linus allegedly teach music?

a.       Hercules

b.       Hector

c.       Jason

d.       Orpheus

e.       A and C

f.        A and D

g.       B and D


15.   Which notes are included in the harmonic series of a low C natural?

a.       C, C, C, E, G, C

b.       C, G, C, G, C, G, C

c.       C, C, G, C, E, G, Bb

d.       C, C, G, C, G, Bb


16.   How many Divertissements did Kuhlau include in his Opus 68?

a.       5

b.       6

c.       9

d.       12


17.   According to legend, what was Cecil Chaminade’s inspiration behind the Concertino in D Major, Op. 107.

a.       To compose a piece so difficult that her flute playing ex-lover could not play it.

b.       To celebrate her marriage to a renowned music publisher.

c.       To honor her friend, flutist Marguerite de Forest Anderson, who premiered the work in London in 1910.

d.       To illustrate the love story of Pelleas and Melisande.


18.   For which other instrument has Kent Kennan’s Night Soliloquy been famously scored.

a.       Clarinet

b.       Violin

c.       Bassoon

d.       Saxophone


19.   In which keys are Mozart’s two flute concerti written?

a.       C and G

b.       F and G

c.       G and D

d.       D and F


20.   Who is the composer shown in the below photo?

composer 2


21.   What does the “21.5” represent in Edgard Varese’s Density 21.5?

a.       The measurement of the conical bore of the flute at it’s largest point.

b.       The density of platinum.

c.       The density of gold.

d.       The weight of a typical solid silver flute.


22.   Each movement in Albert Roussel’s Joueurs de Flute pour Flute et Piano represents a different famous French flutist. Which flutist is represented in the Krishna movement?

a.       Phillippe Gaubert

b.       Louis Fleury

c.       Paul Taffanel

d.       Marcel Moyse


23.   Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata was originally composed for the Arpeggione. Which instrument is closely related to an Arpeggione?

a.       Cello

b.       Violin

c.       Viola

d.       Piano


24.   Elliot Carter’s Scrivo in Vento for Flute Alone is based on a poem by which poet?

a.       Dante Alighieri

b.       Giovanni Boccaccio

c.       Petrarch

d.       Christine de Pizan


25.   How many fantasies are included in Telemann’s Solo Flute Fantasie’s, Volume VIII?

a.       10

b.       12

c.       15

d.       20


26.   Which barnyard animal is the inspiration behind Arthur Honegger’s Danse de la Chevre?

a.       Goat

b.       Sheep

c.       Pig

d.       Cow


27.   Who published the holy grail of all fingering charts, “A Modern Guide to Fingerings for the Flute”?

a.       Jean Pierre Rampal

b.       James Galway

c.       Jame Pellerite

d.       George Barrere


28.   Who is the flutist pictured in the below photo?

flutist 1


29.   What is body mapping?

a.       A form of yoga used to correct improper breathing habits.

b.       A system of tapping sequences on pressure points used to reduce tensions within the body.

c.       A seated postural retraining of the back to improve flexibility.

d.       A correcting and refining of the body to produce efficient, graceful, and coordinated movement.


30.   Who is currently serving as the Principal Flute of the New York Philharmonic (as of September 2017)

a.       Mark Sparks

b.       Robert Langevin

c.       Jeanne Baxtresser

d.       Kathleen Boyd


Happy fluting (and happy quizzing)!

Forever Young – Adult Flute Students

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday.

FY 3

I recently received a message from one of my readers that said, “I wish you would use some images of OLDER people playing the flute & issues to do with being a mature player… The flute is NOT only for young people.” I could not agree more. Some of my very best students have been older adult players. I have even taught adult students who were learning to play the flute at the same time as their children (this made for some very fun family group lessons!). The strengths and challenges that adult students encounter are very different than those of younger students but, with the right approach, playing the flute can be an extremely rewarding and meaningful experience for learners of any age. In today’s blog, I will be discussing the unique issues that crop up for adult flute students and how flute teachers may best support older students to effectively set and attain all of their flute playing goals. You are never too old to learn to play the flute!

FY 2

One of the biggest differences between younger and older students is the correlation between motivation and energy. It is often difficult to motivate younger students to practice in the early stages of their flute study. I believe that this lack of motivation is simply because they do not know yet what they can achieve through dedicated practice. Or, in other words, they cannot envision the finish line. A flute teacher’s challenge with younger players is to motivate through listening activities, practice card assignments, masterclass participation, concert attendance, and other goal setting projects. Once a younger student is properly motivated, they are equipped with an endless supply of youthful energy to follow through with practice requirements, audition preparations, and competition assignments. Older students, on the other hand, are motivated from the beginning. Chances are they have listened to classical music for the majority of their lives and are familiar with some of the greatest flutists of our time (Rampal, Galway, etc.). They know how to research information about the flute, find flute recordings, and have a treasure trove of pieces and tunes that they have wanted to play for years. Adults learners are ready to learn and can quickly identify some of their unique flute playing goals. The problem for older learners, however, is pacing their time and energy. Adults with career and/or family responsibilities may struggle to fit in enough practice time to achieve their goals or may be so exhausted by the end of the day that devoting time to the flute is nearly impossible. Retired adult learners have more time to devote to practice but likely have a rapidly dwindling supply of energy and may also have physical limitations such as arthritis or shortness of breath. They may also become impatient with the process of learning and frustrated that they are not progressing fast enough. A good way to address time and energy obstacles is to come up with a reasonable game plan for your adult students. If time is the biggest concern, sit down with your student and devise a reasonable practice schedule. Perhaps there is a quiet room in the house where they can practice for 30-60 minutes in the evening after the kids have gone to sleep (an insulated garage area would work well for such a space). Or maybe they can devote 30-60 minutes to practice early in the morning before the hassles of the work day begin. If energy is the primary issue, structure their lessons and practice sessions to include a 5-minute break for every 10 minutes of playing to rest muscles and reenergize. It is important to remind older players that it is far more important to practice regularly in small doses than cram practice on the weekends. Adult learners must take it easy and enjoy the slower moving learning process.

FY 10

Stretching and Warm Ups. It is very important for older flute students to stretch their muscles before playing to avoid any injuries associated with overly stiff or arthritic muscles. A simple stretching exercise is to make a gentle fist, wrapping your thumb across your fingers, hold for 30-60 seconds, and release, spreading your fingers wide. Repeat 4-5 times. You may also use a tennis ball or a stress ball, squeeze for a few seconds, and release. (Repeat 4-5 times) These and a number of other very useful stretches for the fingers and wrists can be found on http://www.webmd.com http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/ss/slideshow-hand-finger-exercises. After at least 5 minutes of stretching, ease into the practice session with simple octave exercises. As we age, our facial muscles become weaker and our embouchures less flexible, making octave leaps much more difficult. It is important for older adults to practice slow octaves to build these muscles back up gradually. Another great exercise to help strengthen the embouchure is practicing harmonics. I recommend warming up with the top line on page 6 of the Trevor Wye Practice Book on Tone on a low C, C#, and D. It is important to reiterate to older students that harmonics are best achieved by gradually moving the lips forward and down rather than using more air. For many mature students, breathing is not as easy as it used to be and it is quite exhausting to overuse air when you are already short of breath. Finally, after the embouchure is good and loose, have your students play slow scales to warm up the fingers. You may use good, old Taffanel and Gaubert Exercise #4 but the name of the game is to keep these scales slow. No speed competitions with older flutists! To quote the Tortoise, “Slow and steady. Steady and slow. That’s the way we ought to go.”

FY 9

Supplies. Put.Down.The.Breathing.Bag. I know – just typing that made me want to send an apology note to my college flute professor (sorry, Immanuel!), but like I mentioned above, many older adult students do not have the same air capacity as their younger counterparts and may become exhausted quite quickly. This is also why shorter bursts of playing followed by a resting period are necessary. It is important to have water handy to combat any dry mouth that may occur and to rejuvenate students during resting periods. If older students suffer from wrist injuries (such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel) or arthritis, it may also be helpful to wear wrist supports while playing. Cloth supports, in these instances, are much easier to wear while playing than the ones that feature metal or plastic supports. Make sure that older students use a comfortable, stable chair with supportive cushions and have a yoga mat handy in case of any back tension that may occur during the lesson. It is perfectly acceptable to do an Alexander style lay down exercise at the mid-point of the lesson.

FY Key Ext

Key Extensions. Stiff muscles and arthritis are common ailments for older players. The flute that they use should not cause them any unnecessary pain, therefore it is necessary that the instrument fit to their natural hand position and rest comfortably against any pressure points. I have raved about flute gels in the past and I think they are a must have for older players to prevent blistering https://www.fluteworld.com/Flute-Gels.html . For players with larger hands, you may want to swap out flute gels for strips of mounting tape placed in layers at the point where both the left index finger and right thumb meet the flute, tailored to the natural position of the hand. I would also encourage your adult students to purchase key extensions which can be attached to the flute precisely where the fingers naturally fall https://www.brannenflutes.com/key-extensions . I also recommend that more mature players opt for an offset G flute rather than inline as modifications such as key extensions are easier to accommodate on an offset G model. Finally, make sure that any flute your student plays on is good working condition. Nobody should be learning on an instrument that does not work properly.

FY 6

Emphasize discussion and interpretation over rote technical exercises. This is where your adult students can be your greatest teachers. Older students learn to play the flute at later stages in life for various reasons, but often there is an underlying story about the role that music has already played in their lives. This helps them understand the music they play from a much deeper interpretive level than a younger player. They might even tell you something about music that you had never thought about before! Rather than giving them scales to drill or a long list of excerpts to memorize, shift focus onto musical understanding and interpretive meanings. For example, begin each lesson by outlining the concepts you will be working on that day (much like an agenda at a business meeting), and discuss any ideas, insights, or questions that your student may have had since their last lesson. Adult students really value the expertise of a good teacher and always look forward to talking shop. Record your lessons using an Iphone audio or video app and send these files to your adult students following their lessons so that they may refer back to them for clarification. Spend less time working on technique and more time rehearsing music that means something to them. Do they have a piece that always makes them smile? Is there a work that they have always wanted to play but never had an opportunity to learn in their youth? I believe that the greatest, most unique quality that an older flute student possesses is their highly developed power of interpretation. Tap into this and you will help them create music that truly speaks to their souls.

FY 7

Modifications. I am in my mid 30s and already find myself squinting at ledger lines on a regularly basis. Adult students may need to have certain modifications made to the size and darkness of their music to help them see the music a bit easier. This, of course, can be accomplished using a standard printer or photocopier. Experiment with the placement of the music stand, particularly for students who wear bifocals. What works well for one student may not work at all for another. Finally, make sure that students who typically wear reading glasses have them handy during their lessons. I would even suggest keeping a pair or two back up pairs in your studio. Seeing is truly believing (or at least helpful in reading a score).

FY 5

There are numerous benefits associated with learning to play the flute at an advanced age. Learning any instrument keeps older adults mentally active (helping to fend off the onset mental conditions such as Alzheimer) and playing the flute helps maintain finger dexterity and muscle tone. On a more general level, learning to play the flute builds or rejuvenates a sense of self-esteem and brings focus to the day. Finally, playing meaningful music helps connect the adult learner with significant memories from the past, bringing them in touch with emotions that may have been buried for decades. Studying the flute at a later age provides a second chance to understand and experience music after life’s lessons have already been learned.

Do you have an adult student? Are you an adult that is studying the flute? What are the most significant challenges you face in your studies? What are your greatest strengths? What impact has learning to play the flute as an adult had upon your life? Please comment below!


Happy Fluting!



Flute Meme Friday – Part III

Greetings and Welcome to a new Flute Friday!

In honor of the holiday weekend (and the last few glorious days of summer), today’s blog is intended to give all of us in Flute Land a laugh or two before the grind of the school year begins. I have collected 20 more flute memes for you to enjoy or even share with your students! This is just a friendly reminder that we do not necessarily need to take ourselves so seriously all of the time.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Flute Meme #1

flute meme 1

Flute Meme #2

flute meme 2

Flute Meme #3

flute meme 3

Flute Meme #4

flute meme 4

Flute Meme #5

flute meme 5

Flute Meme #6

flute meme 6

Flute Meme #7

flute meme 7

Flute Meme #8

flute meme 8

Flute Meme #9

flute meme 9

Flute Meme #10

flute meme 10

Flute Meme #11

flute meme 11

Flute Meme #12

flute meme 12

Flute Meme #13

flute meme 13.jpg

Flute Meme #14

flute meme 14

Flute Meme #15

flute meme 15

Flute Meme #16

flute meme 16

Flute Meme #17

flute meme 17

Flute Meme #18

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Flute Meme #19

flute meme 19

Flute Meme #20

flute meme 20

Have you created a flute meme? I would really like the next Flute Meme Friday to feature memes created about flutists by flutists. Please comment below or send your memes to racheltgeier@gmail.com and I will included them in the next edition of Flute Meme Friday!

Happy Fluting!