Month: September 2017

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 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 . 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 . 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

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Flute Meme #14

flute meme 14

Flute Meme #15

flute meme 15

Flute Meme #16

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Flute Meme #17

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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 and I will included them in the next edition of Flute Meme Friday!

Happy Fluting!