Chicken Soup for the Flute Player’s Soul

Welcome to another Flute Friday/Saturday.


I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling a bit sluggish and uninspired this week. Perhaps it is the summer coming to an end and the slight temperature changes in the evening wind. What I think I need is a few words to jump-start my own creative intuition. Today’s blog is part shameless self-promotion as well as a preview of a short writing project that I am currently putting together. If you have been following me on Twitter, you may have caught one or two of my Dr. G’s Daily Flute Tips. My only frustration with these is that I am limited to 140 characters and sometimes my thoughts require further explanation to inspire readers and, frankly, myself. Today’s blog is about inspiration. The following is a list of my top 20 tweets and longer inspirational tips and tidbits. I hope this list helps those of you who, like myself, may need a few words to spark a new idea, project, or creative approach to a tired situation.


Top 20 Inspirational Tips and Tidbits

1.       Always play music that you create from the bottom of your heart. Mechanical music is empty and predictable. Be inspiring! An inspired scale is more profound than an uninspired concerto.

2.       Analyze your music before you begin focusing on practice. Chances are it is easier than it looks. #simplifythescore

3.       Aim for the stars but give yourself permission to fail. What is the worst that can happen? Nobody ever died from a missed note.

4.       Your students are your greatest teachers. Embrace the lessons they give you.

5.       Spend 5-10 minutes at the end of each practice session improvising. Chuck the rules and play whatever inspires you.


6.       Break up your practice sessions into morning and evening mini-sessions. Fundamentals in the AM. Repertoire in PM.

7.       Our perception of “right” and “wrong” is often misleading. What feels “right” is often wrong and what feels “wrong” is often right. The same theory can be applied to sound. What sounds “right” may be wrong and what sounds “wrong” may be right. Flexibility will make the uncomfortable comfortable.

8.       Playing Bach is like trying to solve a crossword puzzle. Playing Mozart is like eavesdropping on a conversation.

9.       If you play a musical instrument you are by definition a musician. You do not need to wait until you earn an opportunity to perform with the New York Philharmonic to take ownership of your craft. Own your musical identity every time you pick up your instrument.

10.   Use every inch of your practice space. Memorize scales and walk around the room. March. Dance to your music.


11.   Start a performance journal. Write down a few short sentences each day reflecting on your practice sessions or performances and what you envision for your short and longer term goals. This keeps you on track with your objectives and removes any unnecessary judgments about your playing from the recesses of your mind.

12.   It takes courage to perform onstage. Build confidence gradually by accepting and conquering each new performance.

13.   Practice in small groups with your colleagues. Practicing does not have to be the lonely, isolated experience it often is.

14.   The composer left markings in the score for a reason. Do what you can to honor their requests.

15.   Lacking musical direction? Listen to a new recording of a professional soloist on your instrument each day for 30 days. YouTube is a great resource to explore new playing styles of playing.



16.   There is such a thing as over-practicing. Practice with an eye toward improvement not just mindless repetition.

17.   As musicians, we are constantly reminded by others that we “probably won’t make it.” Make them eat their words and “make it” on you own terms.

18.   Begin woodshedding technical passages slowly. Practicing is like exercising. Build strength and speed gradually.

19.   Hold a free masterclass in your community and inspire a younger generation to love your craft.

20.   Come up with a story behind every piece of music you play to create deeper meaning and a stronger performance.


What helps inspire you? Have any of these ideas or insights helped you find a new direction or project? Do you have your own inspirational words for those of us searching for new, creative ideas? Please comment below!


Happy fluting!


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