Month: April 2018

Practice Blueprints: Repertoire 101 – Gavotte by F.J. Gossec

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday.

Gossec 4.jpg

I have not posted a new blog in my Practice Blueprints series in quite a while and thought today would be a good day to add a new sub-category covering some of the fundamental pieces that are often assigned to beginners. If you are relatively new to the flute and motivated to start learning repertoire or if you are a teacher searching for creative ways to introduce repertoire to your beginners, today’s blog will help point you in the right direction. We all need a good place to start and can accomplish amazing things with a well-outlined plan.

Gossec 1

The Repertoire 101 series begins with the very first piece I ever learned to play and often the first piece that I assign to beginning flute students. Gavotte by François-Joseph Gossec is a wonderfully elegant dance in a standard ABA ternary form. The possibilities to address basic concepts such as articulation, ornamentation, fast finger technique, embouchure flexibility, and dynamics are quite prevalent in this short, one-page work. This is also an easy piece to memorize once the fundamentals are in place and a perfect starting point to test budding memorization skills. Finally, the balanced phrasing and period structure creates a natural practice progression, urging students to master one section before moving on to the next. Start by learning this piece in moderate 4/4 tempo and slowly increase speed until you are comfortable with a smooth allegretto tempo in cut time.

Gossec 2.png

Articulation – The entire “A” section of this piece (measures 1-18) is ripe for working on different articulations. This is particularly useful if you are just learning about double tonguing and looking for a good exercise to practice your new “coo” syllables. Use these measures in your daily articulation warm ups on standard single tonguing syllables such as “too,” “tut,” “ta,” “toe,” “pu,” and my personal favorite, syllable-less chirps. Next, practice using a few back of the tongue syllables such as “coo,” “gu,” “key,” and “ka.” Finally, use this section to practice crazy new articulations that you may run across (my personal favorite is “duck-key.”) In performance, a crisp “tut” articulation will help keep your staccatos super short while the ending “t” syllable prepares your tongue properly for the next note.

Ornamentation – This is a great piece to learn about grace notes. For many beginners, grace notes are often introduced gradually in new repertoire and may be a bit intimidating at first (you want me to play that note HOW fast???). In this work, the grace notes are only on the pitches C# and G# and fit nicely at the endings of phrases on longer notes. Remember that grace notes are considered ornaments so think of them like beautiful pieces of jewelry on top of foundational notes. Play them as fast as your fingers will allow but make sure that they sound as light as air. I like to think of grace notes as glitter that falls gently and gracefully onto the paper below.

Fast Finger Technique – Hold the phone! There are 16th notes? Don’t panic. By this point you have learned how to play 16th notes, understood how they fit into the beat, and have worked very hard on your basic D-Major scale. Now it’s time to put what you have learned to the test. The best way to accomplish this is to play with what some flutists call “snappy fingers.” Slow down the passages located particularly at measure 20 and beyond and move your fingers very quickly and deliberately between pitches. I often refer to this as “robot” fingers (but try not to play the flute like a robot – continue to use beautiful expression, creatively placed vibrato, and clear, boisterous tone). This technique helps train your fingers to move quickly and efficiently between fast moving notes.

Gossec 3.jpg

Embouchure Flexibility – At this point in your flute playing development, you may not yet have been exposed to Trevor Wye-style flexibility studies but have probably learned to play octaves. The section from measure 21 to the D.C. al Fine is a good test in embouchure flexibility that makes use of great octave displacements. Remember to practice this section by letting your embouchure do the heavy lifting. Lips forward for higher pitches, back for lower tones. Try not to squeeze the lower pitches out using only your air as this will likely make the note crack. If necessary, a light tap with your left-hand ring finger on the G key at the same time you finger the low D will help make the note speak in the final measure before the D.C. al Fine.

Accents – Measures 17 and 19 include a series of accents that are not found anywhere else in the piece. Use these measures to practice making effective accents that really project above harmonic texture of the piece. Use a strong “t” syllable on the front of each pitch to really attack the note with a sharp articulation.

Dynamics – This is a wonderful piece to practice dynamics. The opening remains in a piano dynamic but you will still need to project the melody. Beginning in measure 12, the volume increases, building gradually to the forte in measure 17. Practice this section with a tuner. It is very easy to veer sharp when the dynamic increases, so make sure to avoid any unnecessary use of air that adversely effects your pitch. Practice keeping air in your cheek as you ascend into the higher registers to properly regulate air pressure. Use less air in louder dynamics than you think you need. Finally, when the dynamic returns to piano in the repeat of the A section, remember not to conversely go flat. Support your sound and do not try too hard to play softly. You are still the soloist.

Memorize – The final step to mastering this piece is to memorize it. Gavotte is arranged in an ABA form meaning you really only need to memorize the A and B sections of the work as the A section repeats. The A section is broken into 2 sections, divided by a repeat sign at the end of measure 8. Begin by memorizing only the first 8 measures. Once you have this under your belt, memorize measures 9 through 13. Continue on to section B, which is also broken into 2 sections marked by a repeat sign at the end of measure 24, memorizing measures 17 through 14 first, followed by measures 25-32. Pacing yourself is the key to memorizing this work. Sometimes it helps to play along to a recording (many of which can be found on YouTube). Accompaniment for Gavotte is also available on SmartMusic. This is a great way to practice at home by helping you fit your solo part correctly into the piano accompaniment.

Gossec 5

Have you played this piece? What do you think are the most important elements required to master Gavotte? Do you assign this piece to your students? What types of exercises do you use to address these and other fundamental elements in the music? Please comment below!



Happy fluting!


Top 20 Dos and Don’ts of Recital Prep

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday. Happy Earth Day weekend!

images (9)

I used to schedule my Spring semester recitals during this time of year when I was in college. I really liked having the 4 months or so after the Christmas break to strategically plan out my recital preparations and budget my personal practice time as well as rehearsal time with my accompanist. Fall always seemed a bit more frantic and filled with distractions (there are so many holidays and celebrations in the Fall months). Hosting a recital at the end of the Spring semester was almost like a reward for a year’s worth of hard work. Many of you reading this may also be preparing for your Spring semester recitals and searching for a few words of wisdom to help you get to the finish line. Today’s blog features my top 20 Dos and Don’ts of recital preparation. Number 19 is probably the most important tip and I urge all of you to enjoy the process. No matter what happens, have fun! If making music is not fun then we are going about it all wrong.

untitled (5)


  1. DO plan out your practice schedule well in advance. That’s right – Make yourself a weekly schedule detailing exactly which pieces you plan to target and in what order. This can be done on a simple Excel spreadsheet or on your Google Calendar.


  1. DON’T cram practice. Sunday evenings are ripe for opportunities to cram practice for the upcoming week. This will eventually lead to burnout and delayed progress. Instead…


  1. DO make sure you are practicing for about the same amount of time each day. Practicing is a lot like exercise; Daily progress will build up muscle more efficiently than spending every Sunday at the gym. Likewise, daily practice will help develop stronger performances than periodic marathon practice sessions.


  1. DON’T wait until the last minute to rehearse with your accompanist. Start early with weekly rehearsals if possible. If this isn’t possible either due to crazy schedules or financial constraints…


  1. DO invest in SmartMusic or a similar music accompaniment program. This will really help you practice fitting your solo part into the piano accompaniment outside of rehearsals with your accompanist. Listen for piano cues and try to distinguish between your role as a soloist and moments when you are accompaniment.


  1. DON’T always begin rehearsing at the beginning of a piece. Isolate weaker sections of your music and try to devote more time to breaking those parts down, practicing slowly with a metronome, and putting them back together gradually. If you always start at the beginning, you will have a strong opening but your piece may crumble when the going gets tough in the middle of work.


  1. DO combine flute and piano works with smaller chamber group performances, if possible. A strict flute and piano recital may be predictable and mono-tone. Chamber music adds a bit of variety with the addition of other instruments.


  1. DON’T forget to add a flute solo piece between longer flute and piano works. The weirder, the better. I love to slip in a contemporary work between a Bach Sonata and an explosive French Flute School piece. This keeps the program interesting for your audience and helps display the variety of repertoire available for the flute.


  1. DO add a piece featuring the piccolo, alto, or bass flute, if possible. This also promotes variety in your program by showcasing the entire flute family.


  1. DON’T forget about intonation. Bracket any selections in your music that contain long sustained tones and integrate intonation practice on these tones (using a tuner) into your daily practice. Practice making crescendos and decrescendos on these tone while sustaining the pitch. It is easy to forget about intonation in the midst of stressful recital preparation.


  1. DO select a recital outfit that is both professional and comfortable. Despite popular opinion, you do not need to be red carpet ready to perform a recital. The difference between a flutist performing a recital and an actor attending an award ceremony is that flutists are performing a physical activity onstage for roughly an hour. You wouldn’t expect to see a football player playing in the Super Bowl wearing a suit, would you? Make sure that your outfit allows you to breathe comfortably, stand with good posture, and allows for easy arm movement. Add a pop of color with a beautiful scarf or accessory.


  1. DON’T wear heels, ladies. This is not only painful after an hour of standing, but it will also mess with your posture and equilibrium. Pick a pair of simple black flats that will help center your posture and connect your feet closer to the ground. I always like to tell the story of how I fell down a flight of stairs at a middle school band concert because I was wearing impractical, but very cute, black heels. I ended up damaging my instrument and butchering an exposed flute solo due to a bent rod on my instrument. If I had just wore different shoes that night…


  1. DO schedule time to rehearse in your performance space at least 1 week prior to your recital. I know in many instances this may not be possible, but it is very important to prepare yourself in advance for balance issues in the room and potential distractions from the stage (including lighting difficulties). This is also a good time to make sure the piano on stage is tuned properly.


  1. DON’T ignore performance anxiety. Even if you feel confident and relaxed in the days prior to your performance, you cannot predict the anxiety that may arise backstage or even onstage. Practice breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, and positive self-talk as the recital date draws near. Use a breathing bag backstage to combat rising anxiety quickly. Most importantly….


  1. DO schedule a session with an Alexander Technique instructor prior to your performance. You may be tensing up and not realize it! Your Alexander Technique practitioner will help you identify where you are misusing your muscles and how to effectively let go of tension.


  1. DON’T stress about the after party. There is often a reception that follows a recital. Delegate reception set up to your friends, family, or even another flutist whose reception could be your future trade off. Panic over the number of mini muffins should not interfere with your presentation. Save the drama for Obama.


  1. DO make sure you have enough music stands and that they are placed exactly where you need them on stage. There will typically be an usher backstage that will work with you to make sure these logistics are perfect. Communicate with them but let them take care of everything. No need to micromanage.


  1. DON’T schedule anything else on the day of your recital, if possible. This is your day and you do not need extra distractions or potential stressors to get in the way of your success. Everything can wait until tomorrow.


  1. DO enjoy the process. Remember that no matter what happens or how well or poorly your performance is, tomorrow is another day. You are not defined by one performance. In that case, simply enjoy whatever happens. Live in the moment. Enjoy the success and hard work that got you to this point. Good job!


  1. DON’T dwell on mistakes. Use mistakes as a way to improve your next performance. Everybody makes mistakes! You can either choose to let them destroy you or use them to make your next performance stronger.


What helps you prepare for a recital? What obstacles do you typically face and what do you do to address these issues? What are your own Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to recital prep? Please comment below.

untitled (4)




Happy fluting!

Music Audiobooks

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday. Mercury retrograde is finally ending on Monday! Any projects that you have been struggling to get done during this time will start moving forward again.  Hope this week is indeed very productive for all of my readers.

audiobook 1

Earlier this week I was listening to one of my favorite inspirational audiobooks on my Audible app, You are a Badass by Jen Sincero (I often do this while folding laundry or taking my lunchtime walk by the local creek). I began to think about what other books may be available on Audible and if, maybe, some of the great flute books and treatises have be translated to audiobook. Unfortunately, this is a niche that has not been explored yet on Audible…BUT there are a number of other great audiobooks about music, music history, music biographies, and much, much more. Listening to audiobooks while performing passive activities such as laundry, cooking, or taking a stroll through the park is a good way to efficiently absorb new ideas or review some forgotten lessons from yesteryear. Today’s blog features 10 very good audiobooks about music that are currently available on

audiobook 2

If you do not yet have an Audible subscription, you may sign up for a free 30-day trial. After that, it’s only $14.95/month which gives you 1 credit to use on any audiobook (even if the normal download price is waaaay above $14.95). You also get 30% off any additional Audible purchases. The app is free to download on your phone and allows you to upload and store audiobooks directly on your device (meaning you do not need to be connected to the internet to enjoy your audiobooks – hello, plane ride!). The best part is that you can cancel anytime and keep all of your audiobooks. I have done this several times (cancel, renew, cancel, renew) and have never lost any of my books. Of course, I always end up going back to Audible because it is so awesome and I get a lot out of listening to audiobooks. I am a busy woman! I need to mutli-task whenever possible. Pro-Tip: Keep your eyes peeled on Groupon for special subscription deals. I once got a free 3-month subscription rather than the standard 1-month by going through Groupon.

To subscribe for your free trial, please click here:

Top 10 Music Audiobooks at Audible

  1.  How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition; Narrated by: Professor Robert Greenberg Ph.D. University of California Berkeley

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition

Publisher’s Summary: If you have ever longed to appreciate great concert music, to learn its glorious language and share in its sublime pleasures, the way is now open to you, through this series of 48 wonderful lectures designed to make music accessible to everyone who yearns to know it, regardless of prior training or knowledge. It’s a lecture series that will enable you to first grasp music’s forms, techniques, and terms – the grammatical elements that make you fluent in its language – and then use that newfound fluency to finally hear and understand what the greatest composers in history are actually saying to us.

  1. How to Make It in the New Music Business; Practical Tips on Building a Loyal Following and Making a Living as a Musician by: Ari Herstand, Narrated by: Ari Herstand, Derek Sivers

How to Make It in the New Music Business: Practical Tips on Building a Loyal Following and Making a Living as a Musician

Publisher’s Summary: In the last decade, no industry has been through as much upheaval and turmoil as the music industry. If you’re looking for quick fame and instant success, you’re in the wrong field. It’s now a democratic DIY business, and any guide to success in these new waters must be told by someone who’s already survived them. Giving today’s aspiring musicians the practical tools they need to build and maintain a lifelong career, How to Make It in the New Music Business becomes not only a brilliantly compiled tutorial on how to accomplish specific tasks – routing a tour, negotiating contracts, getting paid for Spotify and Pandora plays, or even licensing music to commercials, film, and television – but also a manifesto that encourages musicians to pave their own paths. Iin clear, easy-to-follow chapters, Ari Herstand’s necessary and definitive handbook promises to redefine what it means to make it in the brave new world of professional music.

  1. This Is Your Brain on Music; The Science of a Human Obsession, By: Daniel J. Levitin, Narrated by: Edward Herrmann

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession

Publisher Summary: In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores the connection between music – its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it – and the human brain. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, Levitin reveals:

How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world

Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre

That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise

How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our heads

  1. Great Masters: Mozart – His Life and Music, By: The Great Courses, Narrated by: Professor Robert Greenberg Ph.D. University of California Berkeley

Great Masters: Mozart – His Life and Music

Publisher’s Summary: Beginning with an examination of the many myths that surround Mozart to this day, Professor Greenberg offers not only an understanding of his music, but also a realistic view of Mozart the boy and man, from his emergence as youthful prodigy to his posthumous deification.You’ll learn about his difficult and ultimately doomed relationship with his father, his troubled marriage, his relationships with luminaries like Haydn, Emperor Joseph II, and his operatic librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte, and the triumphs and disappointments that marked his career – including the astonishing and inexplicable creative recovery that enabled him to create his great Masonic opera, The Magic Flute, only months before his death.

**SIDE NOTE – There are several other biographies in this series including Haydn, Beethoven and much more. Listening to an audiobook is a great way to understand more about the composers behind the music!

  1. Processing Creativity, The Tools, Practices and Habits Used to Make Music You’re Happy With, By: Jesse Cannon, Narrated by: Jesse Cannon

Processing Creativity: The Tools, Practices and Habits Used to Make Music You’re Happy With

Publisher’s Summary: Covering the pitfalls of creating music, the book thoroughly explores the hidden reasons we actually like music, how to get along with your collaborators, and patterns that help creativity flourish. While every musician says that being creative is the most important part of their life, they barely explore what’s holding back them back from making music they are happy with. When trying to navigate the ways our creative endeavors fail there’s no YouTube tutorial, listicle, or college course that can help navigate the countless creative pitfalls that can ruin your music.

  1. Jazz: A History of America’s Music, By: Geoffrey C. Ward, Ken Burns, Narrated by: LeVar Burton

Jazz: A History of America’s Music

Publisher’s Summary: Here are the stories of the extraordinary men and women who made the music: Louis Armstrong, the fatherless waif whose unrivaled genius helped turn jazz into a soloist’s art and influenced every singer, every instrumentalist who came after him; Duke Ellington, the pampered son of middle-class parents who turned a whole orchestra into his personal instrument, wrote nearly two thousand pieces for it, and captured more of American life than any other composer. Bix Beiderbecke, the doomed cornet prodigy who showed white musicians that they too could make an important contribution to the music; Benny Goodman, the immigrants’ son who learned the clarinet to help feed his family, but who grew up to teach a whole country how to dance; Charlie Parker, who helped lead a musical revolution, only to destroy himself at thirty-four; and Miles Davis, whose search for fresh sounds made him the most influential jazz musician of his generation, and then led him to abandon jazz altogether.

But Jazz is more than a mere biography. The history of the music echoes the history of twentieth-century America. Jazz provided the background for the giddy era that F. Scott Fitzgerald called the Jazz Age. The irresistible pulse of big-band swing lifted the spirits and boosted American morale during the Great Depression and World War II. The virtuosic, demanding style called bebop mirrored the stepped-up pace and dislocation that came with peace. During the Cold War era, jazz served as a propaganda weapon – and forged links with the burgeoning counterculture. The story of jazz encompasses the story of American courtship and show business; the epic growth of cities, and the struggle for civil rights and simple justice that continues into the new millennium.

  1. Maestros and Their Music: The Art and Alchemy of Conducting, By: John Mauceri, Narrated by: John Mauceri

Maestros and Their Music: The Art and Alchemy of Conducting

Publisher’s Summary: John Mauceri brings a lifetime of experience to bear in an unprecedented, hugely informative, consistently entertaining exploration of his profession, rich with anecdotes from decades of working alongside the greatest names of the music world. With candor and humor, Mauceri makes clear that conducting is itself a composition: of legacy and tradition, techniques handed down from master to apprentice – and more than a trace of ineffable magic.

He reveals how conductors approach a piece of music (a calculated combination of personal interpretation, imagination, and insight into the composer’s intent); what it takes to communicate solely through gesture, with sometimes hundreds of performers at once; and the occasionally glamorous, often challenging life of the itinerant maestro. Mauceri, who worked closely with Leonard Bernstein for 18 years, studied with Leopold Stokowski, and was on the faculty of Yale University for 15 years, is the perfect guide to the allure and theater, passion and drudgery, rivalries and relationships of the conducting life.

  1. The History of Classical Music, By: Richard Fawkes, Narrated by: Robert Powell

The History of Classical Music

Publisher’s Summary: From Gregorian Chant to Henryk Gorecki, the first living classical composer to get into the pop album charts, here is the fascinating story of over a thousand years of Western classical music and the composers who have sought to express in music the deepest of human feelings and emotions. Polyphony, sonata form, serial music – many musical expressions are also explained – with the text illustrated by performances from some of the most highly praised recordings of recent years.

  1. Music Practice: The Musician’s Guide to Practicing and Mastering Your Instrument Like a Professional, By: David Dumais, Narrated by: Jennifer Capunitan

Music Practice: The Musician’s Guide to Practicing and Mastering Your Instrument Like a Professional

Publisher’s Summary: Learn all the best practice tips, tricks, and techniques used by the greatest musicians in the world – all for the price of a coffee!

Do you want to know how to practice like the professionals do? Are you struggling with your playing? Having trouble getting motivated? Do you want to improve your playing and bring it to the next level. If you are serious about playing, practicing, and improving your skills on your instrument, then this audiobook is for you! Whether you are a beginner or professional, classically trained or not, this audiobook contains proven strategies that can be applied by anybody. This audiobook is a compilation of the best practice tips and strategies from the best musicians in the world. You will learn practice tips used by world class musicians, ranging from pianists to violinists, and trumpeters to clarinetists. This audiobook contains over 80 tips for practicing everything from rhythm to intonation to challenging passages. You will learn how to practice effectively and efficiently.

  1. The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Anything, By: Daniel Coyle, Narrated by: John Farrell

The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Anything

Publisher’s Summary: How does a penniless Russian tennis club with one indoor court create more top 20 women players than the entire United States? How did a small town in rural Italy produce the dozens of painters and sculptors who ignited the Italian Renaissance? Why are so many great soccer players from Brazil?

Where does talent come from, and how does it grow?

New research has revealed that myelin, once considered an inert form of insulation for brain cells, may be the holy grail of acquiring skill. Journalist Daniel Coyle spent years investigating talent hotbeds, interviewing world-class practitioners (top soccer players, violinists, fighter, pilots, artists, and bank robbers) and neuroscientists. In clear, accessible language, he presents a solid strategy for skill acquisition – in athletics, fine arts, languages, science or math – that can be successfully applied through a person’s entire lifespan.

audiobook 3

Do you have any favorite audiobooks about music? Did you know there were books about music on Audible? Which flute books do you think should be available on Audible? How do you listen to audiobooks? Do they help you to multitask? Please comment below!

audiobook 4

Happy Fluting!

50 States, 50(ish) Summer Masterclasses

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday.

masterclass 1

I mention summer masterclasses periodically in my monthly flute horoscopes (published in The Flute View Magazine) and was inspired this week to compile a list of summer music opportunities for the upcoming masterclass season. When I began researching for today’s blog, however, I assumed for sure that there would be at least one masterclass or band camp available in each of the 50 states. I quickly discovered that summer opportunities were not easily found in a Google search for a handful of states (including Alabama, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and West Virginia). If you reside in these states and know of a summer festival, masterclass, or band or orchestra camp in your area, please comment below and I will be sure to add them to the following list. If not, I hope today’s post inspires you to connect to other local flute teachers and start your own summer masterclass! Many of the states listed below, such as California and Texas, have numerous masterclasses planned for this summer (a single listing really does not do justice for these larger states). For a more extensive list of summer opportunities in these states, please visit the National Flute Association’s List of Masterclasses and Flute Talk Magazine’s annual listing of Masterclasses, Camps and Festivals . These two listings are the most compressive directories of summer flute masterclasses available in the Unites States and abroad. Please check them out!

masterclass 2

50 States, 50(ish) Summer Masterclass/Music Festival/Music Camp Opportunities


(No summer masterclasses in Alabama? Anybody game to host?)


Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival-Flute Masterclass, Fairbanks, offers classes in all art disciplines including opportunities in flute. July 15-29. Masterclass teachers TBA.,


Curry Summer Music Camp, Flagstaff, provides a combination of college life and summer camp activities for student interested in dance, choir, band, orchestra, jazz choir, jazz band, and musical theater. Under the San Francisco Peaks on the Northern Arizona University campus student (grades 7-13) work with university faculty and renowned musicians. 6/17-30, 7/1-7. 160 students, 53 teachers per session. Contact: 928-523-2323,


(No summer masterclasses in Arkansas? Anybody game to host?)


The Keith Underwood Flute Masterclass, Carmel Valley, is for advanced flutists. Tuition w/housing $1150. June 1-6. 15 participants. Keith Underwood.,

*Side note – I attended this masterclass in 2008 and it literally changed my life. Highly recommend!


Flute! in Crested Butte, Mount Crested Butte, will focus on repertoire, performance, musical artistry, and audition skills. Tuition w/housing $950. Tuition alone $725. July 26-30. 15 participants. Masterclass teacher Mary Karen Clardy.,


Hartt Suzuki Institute, West Hartford. The 2018 Hartt Suzuki Institute will be offering student and teacher classes for flute, August 5-10. Students, ages 4-18, must be studying with a Suzuki-trained teacher and be in Book 1 or beyond. Students receive between 4-5 hours of masterclasses, group classes, and enrichment courses daily, with the week culminating in several final concerts. Teacher training for Suzuki Flute Unit 2 will be offered for teachers who qualify. All activities are held at the University of Hartford. Tuition: students $475-$575 depending on level; teacher course $450 with graduate credit option for $550. 8/5-10. 15 teachers. Contact: 860-768-4451,


Flutefest! featuring Guest Flutist Erica Peel – The Music School of Delaware, Wilmington Branch, Wilmington, DE. Flutefest! dedicates a whole day to the flute with enrichment activities and the opportunity to work with guest flutist and piccoloist Erica Peel. Piccoloist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Erica Peel enjoys an exciting career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, soloist, composer and teacher. She is praised for her effortless performances which expertly maneuver from the strictly classical to rock and roll. Ages 8-Adult, Saturday June 16 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. Cost $77. To register:!&d=June%2016,%209am%E2%80%933:30pm


Marina Piccinini International Masterclasses, Miami, features classes in three divisions plus exhibitors. Tuition w/housing $1750 single, $1470 double. Tuition alone: $1150. June 18-24. 40 participants. Masterclass teachers Marina Piccinini, Brook Ferguson, Kristin Bacchiocchi-Stewart, Katy Wherry, Femi Oladeji, Steven Finley, Adam Workman.,


FLUTISSIMO!, Athens, offers private lessons, masterclasses, and performance opportunities for advanced high school, college and professional flutists plus participants are eligible to compete in the Flutissimo Young Artist Competition. Tuition w/housing $890. Tuition alone $615. June 18-22. 25 performers, unlimited auditors. Masterclass teachers Mark Sparks, Nicole Esposito, Angela Jones-Reus, Katherine Emeneth.,


Flute! in Hawaii, Honolulu, is focused on repertoire, performance, musical artistry, and audition skills. Tuition alone $725. June 21-15. 15 participants. Masterclass teachers Mary Karen Clardy, Sabrina Saiki-Mita.,


Passion Flute 2018, Boise, is designed to enhance your individual skills through inventive workshops and masterclasses. Tuition w/alone performer $575, participant $475, auditor $350. Add $250 for room and board. June 13-18. 25 participants. Masterclass teachers Angeleita Floyd, Claudia Anderson, Jill Felber, Nicole Molumby.


Credo Flute, Elmhurst, is for the serious flutist ages 14 and up. Tuition w/housing $1090, Tuition alone $610, July 23-28. 25-30 participants. Masterclass teachers Jennie Brown, Mimi Tachouet, Luke Fitzpatrick, Walfrid Kujala, Alexa Still, Gary Woodward.,


Indiana University Summer Music Clinic, Bloomington, IN. This dynamic musical experience is for string, brass, woodwind, and percussion students currently in grades 8-12. Primarily focused on orchestra and band performances, the clinic also offers jazz ensembles, chamber ensembles, electives in conducting, composition, jazz improvisation, music theory, leadership, and classes led by IU Jacobs School of Music faculty! Tuition with housing $740. 6/17-23. 225 students, 30 teachers. Contact: 812-855-1372,


Iowa Flute Intensive, Iowa City, is designed for the serious flutist. Topics include fundamentals of sound, articulation, technique and phrasing, orchestral and opera excerpts, concerti, solo repertoire and body mapping plus a mock orchestral audition, exhibits and faculty recitals. Tuition alone performer $495, auditor $295. May 30-June 2. 15 performers, unlimited auditors. Masterclass teachers Nicole Esposito, Julien Beaudiment, Michel Bellavance, Kaori Fujii, Rena Urso-Trapani, Andrea Fisher,,


University of Kansas Midwestern Music Camp, Lawrence, KS. Since 1936, the Midwestern Music Camp has brought young musicians to the University of Kansas to study and play with our outstanding faculty and world-renowned guest musicians. Students from across the United States and other nations have come together each summer to learn and perform together on one of the nation’s most beautiful campuses. To date more than 65,000 young musicians have been a part of this tradition. Many of them are now performing in major symphony orchestras, service bands, and choirs, while others teach at great schools and universities around the world. Join us this summer on the campus of the University of Kansas and discover and develop your musical talents! Camps include Middle School Band & Orchestra June 10-14 (grades 6-9) and the High School Band & Orchestra June 17-22 (grades 9-12). Pricing and online registration will be posted on our website on March 1 ( Contact: 785-864-3367,


Jamey Aebersold’s Summer Jazz Workshops, Louisville. Our workshops have earned a reputation for producing the best intensive programs for learning jazz improvisation. Each year we assemble the nation’s leading educators and performers dedicated to providing an intensive learning experience for musicians of all ages and ability levels. are open to students of all ages and abilities. Theory classes, ear training, combo performance, masterclasses, and jam sessions allow students the opportunity to grow and develop to their fullest potential. Beginner improvisers and seasoned pros will leave with tons of new and exciting ideas about how to improve their playing. 6/30-7/13. 300+ students, 50 teachers. Contact: 812-944-8141,


(No summer masterclasses in Louisiana? Anybody game to host?)


Bowdoin International Music Festival Woodwind Fellowship Program, Brunswick, is designed to provide mature, college-aged or older, high-level players with the insight and experience necessary to pursue a performing career. The 2018 Festival has openings for 2 flutes, 1 oboe, 2 clarinets, one bassoon and one horn. Each fellow will be provided with full tuition, room, board, and fees. Wind fellows will perform in quintets, mixed ensembles, as soloists; in the Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music; and in limited orchestral performances. Tuition Full Fellowship. June 23-Aug 4. 2 students. Masterclass teacher Linda Chesis.,


FluteSpaBaltimore, suburban Baltimore, is a participatory masterclass designed for performers and teachers (advanced high school through adult) to explore fundamentals of flute playing and rehearsing/performing in a flute choir. Class topics include embouchure development and flexibility, breathing, articulation, vibrato, building a technique, practice strategies (chunking), musical gestures, shaping a phrase, tone color, note-groupings, style considerations, and set-up. Tuition alone $325 early bird, $350. Daily rate $175. 30 participants. July 13-14. Masterclass teachers Patricia George, Sara Nichols, Wendy Webb Kumer.,,


ARIA International Summer Academy, South Hadley, provides three intensive 10-day for advanced flutists, ages 16-28. Tuition w/housing per session $1,925 per session. Tuition alone $975 per session. June 28-July 9, July 11-22, July 24-August 4, 2018. 20 participants/ session. Master-class teachers Aaron Goldman, Alexa Still, Linda Toote, Molly Barth, Christina Jennings, Judith Mendenhall, John Thorne, Donna Shin, Jonathan Keeble. Check website for masterclass teacher residency dates.,


Amy Porter’s Anatomy of Sound, Ann Arbor, will include instruction with special guest, Ali Ryerson on inspiring both classical and jazz flutists to stretch their boundaries and experience the freedom and joy of jazz improvisation. Ryerson’s masterclass sessions offer a primer course in jazz improv along with individual and group coaching sessions, all accompanied by our swingin’ resident rhythm section. Every age adult and performance level (student, amateur, semi-professional, professional) is encouraged to apply. Tuition $700. June 2-5. 32 participants. Masterclass teachers Amy Porter, Ali Ryerson, Jerald Schwiebert, Laura Dwyer.,


The Complete Flutist, Minneapolis, is for serious flutists high school, college and beyond who want to develop all aspects of their playing and musicianship. In addition to flute fundamentals, the master class will include orchestral excerpts, solo repertoire, an intro to baroque flute, and Alexander Technique. Tuition w/housing $750. Tuition alone $500. Auditors $75 per day. June 14-18. 15 performers, unlimited auditors. Masterclass teachers Immanuel Davis, Christina Smith.,


Southern Flute Festival, Hattiesburg, features masterclasses for flutists middle school through graduate school as well as for amateurs. Tuition alone $60. Housing on your own. June 1-2. Up to 100 participants. Teachers: Eva Amsler, Carlos Feller, Danilo Mezzadri.,


UMKC Jazz Camp, Kansas City, brings world-renowned performers and jazz educators to Kansas City to work with talented young instrumentalists ages 12 and up. Jazz Camp co-directors Bobby Watson and Dan Thomas and distinguished clinicians provide insight and inspiration to student combos in a welcoming environment. Tuition with housing $570, tuition alone $370. 6/24-28. 100 participants, 10 teachers. Contact: 816-235-5448, .


University of Montana, Band/Jazz Camp – Missoula, MT. June 24-30, 2018 – For students entering grades 7- 2018 High School graduates.  Participants in this summer program will enjoy full concert band, small ensemble, and solo performance opportunities. Students interested in jazz will have the opportunity to participate in jazz combos, theory, listening, big band, and jazz improvisation classes. We also offer a special track for students who are interested in learning more about jazz rhythm section playing.  Optional classes include Conducting, Composing Music online, Jazz Improvisation, Private Lessons, and much more. Fees include: Camp Tuition, Room & Board, Camp T-shirt, Recreational Activities & Group Photo. Tution:  $460, Deposit: $100 (Due at the time of registration), 1/2-hour Private Lessons (optional): $20. Contact James Smart at for more information about Band Camp 2018.


(No summer masterclasses in Nebraska? Anybody game to host?)


(No summer masterclasses in Nevada? Anybody game to host?)


Creative Musicians Retreat at The Walden School, Dublin, NH. New Skills for Lifelong Learners. Invigorate your music, participate in a diverse community & engage in creative music making. Join us for an 8-day residential get-away in beautiful New England. Lessons, coachings, master classes, chorus, seminars, concerts. For performers, composers, teachers & more. Immerse yourself in music, emerge inspired. Tuition with housing $2,125. 6/16-24. 8 teachers. 415-648-4710,


Westminster Conservatory’s 22st Annual Flute Camp, Princeton, features classes on building flute technique, learning solo and small ensemble repertoire, hearing faculty recitals and gaining performance experience. Tuition w/housing $900, Tuition alone $600. July 22-28. 30 Participants. Masterclass teachers Gerald Carey, Sandy Olson, Sue Gillio, Diana Charos Reilly.,


Santa Fe Flute Immersion, Santa Fe, focuses on baroque flute and 18th century performance for modern flutist. Tuition alone $750. Scholarships and housing available. May 28-June 4. 12 performers, 100 auditors. Masterclass teachers Wendy Rolfe, Linda Marianiello, Carol Redman, Valerie Potter, Alaina Diehl.,


Gary Schocker Summer Masterclass, West Park, features flute study with a master performer, teacher, and composer. Tuition w/housing performers $920, auditors $695. Tuition alone $695, auditors $475. July 11-15, 25 participants. Master-class teacher Gary Schocker.,


Asheville Flute Vacation, Asheville, is for adult amateur flutists to focus on small ensembles, flute choir, private lessons. Tuition $550. May 28-June3. 12 participants. Teachers Lea Kibler, Deborah Heller.,


International Music Camp, Dun­seith. Founded in 1956, IMC offers over 40 one-week programs in all areas of the Fine Arts including Band, Orchestra, Choir, Dance, Drama, Visual Art, and more! 2,000 grade 5-12 campers from 76 countries grow and learn together each season with instruction ranging from beginning to advanced. Auditions are not required. Tuition with housing $400/week if registered before 5/1, $415 after 5/1. One-week sessions running 6/17-7/28. 250-400 students, 185 teachers. Contact: 701-838-8472,


Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, Oberlin, offers instruction in Baroque instruments and voice. This summer’s program will focus on “A Celebration of Couperin and Charpentier.” The institute is for high school students (with audition) through adult and for all playing levels. Tuition alone high school $550 for two weeks, for others one week $575, two weeks $1100. Housing available one week single $275, two weeks single $525; one week double $250, two weeks double $480. Food plans available. June 17-30. 8 flutists. Masterclass teachers Christopher Krueger and Oberlin Baroque Ensemble members Mark Edwards, Michael Lynn, Marilyn McDonald, Catharina Meints.,


Oklahoma State University Summer Music Camp, Stillwater, offers high school students the opportunity to study their instruments in a comprehensive collegiate setting. The camp offers three tracks of study: band, orchestra and piano. Students participate in large ensembles, masterclasses, chamber ensembles, and elective courses. Private lessons with OSU faculty are also available. Tuition with housing $439-$499 before 6/18, tuition alone $339-$399 before 6/18. 7/8-7/13. 21 teachers. Contact: 405-744-4420,


2018 Portland Flute Spa & Flute Choir Retreat, Portland, is for flutists 18 years through adult (especially for teachers, flute choir directors and players) to examine the fundamentals of flute performance and chamber music playing. Tuition alone $275 (before May 1, $250). Housing available. June 29-July 1. 30 participants. Masterclass teachers Patricia George, Phyllis Avidan Louke.,,


The Consummate Flutist, Pittsburgh, is an inspirational week of masterclasses, lectures and workshops for advanced high school, college and professional flutists. Tuition Performer $650, Participant $450, Auditor. $50/day, $150/entire class. Additional lessons $75. For housing suggestions see website. June 12-16. Masterclass teachers Alberto Almarza, Marianne Gedigian, Lorna McGhee, Soo-Kyung Park.,


(No summer masterclasses in Rhode Island? Anybody game to host?)


Christian Performing Artist Fellowship “Masterworks Festival 2018,” Converse College Spartanburg, features a four-week orchestral program and a two-week flute intensive. Tuition with housing $4100, June 17-30 (flute) June 17-July 14 (orchestral), 5 to 6 flutists. Masterclass teachers Paula Kasica, Anne Harrow. email:,


University of South Dakota Summer Music Camp, Vermillion. The University of South Dakota Summer Music Camp is a six-day experience of learning and music-making open to students who have completed grades 5-12. Activities include vocal and instrumental ensembles, as well as a variety of other musical activities. Op­por­tun­ities for private lessons on a specific instrument are also available. Tuition with housing $460, tuition alone $285. 7/8-13. 200 students, 50 teachers. Con­tact: 605-677-5274,


William Bennett Summer Flute Academy, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee. A week-long, intensive flute course which emphasizes “singing” the music through the flute by utilizing principals such as a beautiful tone, nuances in colors and expression, and understanding of line and phrasing to create a musically satisfying performance.  During daily masterclasses, Wibb’s inspirational teaching and enthusiasm for the flute will help students realize their musical artistry. Dates: 6/15/2018 – 6/22/2018; Play Level: Advanced high school through professional; Ages: professional flutist, teachers, students, and amateurs; Number of Performers: 15; Performers Cost: $495-$525; Number of Participants: 15, Participants Cost: $450-$495; Contact:


2018 Texas Summer Flute Symposium, Commerce, will offer masterclasses, chamber music, electives, and performances. Tuition w/housing performer $618. Tuition alone $398 performer. June 10-15. 18 performers, 50 auditors. Masterclass teachers Julien Beaudiment, Terri Sundberg, Raffaele Trevisani, Jake Fridkis, Mayu Saeki, Julee Kim Walker.,


BYU Musicians’ SummerFestival and Institute, Provo, UT. BYU Musicans’ Institute is for elite musicians ages 14-18 who want to improve their musicianship through a highly focused and rewarding chamber music, masterclass, and private instruction experience with members of BYU’s acclaimed School of Music faculty. June 12-16, 2018. Regular Tuition: $284 (includes daily lunch). To apply:


Flute Overhaul Techniques, Richmond. Participants learn many of the skills needed to overhaul fine flutes including removing dents and scratches, stretching worn keys, repairing solder joints, polishing and cleaning the flute, re-pinning, replacing broken springs, etc. Time will be devoted to the techniques of making special tools, operating a lathe, hardening steels, and important machine shop tips. Tuition alone $1800. Session dates April 9-13, June 11-15, July 16-20, Aug 27-31. 4 students. Masterclass teacher Jonathon A. Landell.,


National Flute Workshop, Old Presbyterian Meeting House Alexandria, is open for flutists ages 13-professional of all playing levels with private lessons, masterclasses, small ensembles, and other activities. Tuition alone $450. Hotel info upon request. July 16-20. 40 participants/unlimited auditors. Masterclass teacher Jonathan Snowden, Rebecca Carey. or


Marrowstone Music Festival, Bellingham, is an orchestra and chamber music camp. Tuition w/housing $2900. July 22-Aug. 5. 8 performers. Masterclass professors Jill Felber,,


(No summer masterclasses in West Virginia? Anybody game to host?)


Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Flute Camp, Milwaukee, is a week-long flute camp for young flutists. The daily schedule includes private lessons, a performance class, seminars, and flute ensemble rehearsals. Tuition alone $329. August 6-10, 9 AM to 4 PM daily. 40 participants.Masterclass teachers Jennifer Bouton Schaub, Aaron Gardner, Emma Koi, Julia Richter.;


The Wyoming Summer Flute Intensive, Laramie, is a three-day masterclass focusing on tone, learning creative practice tips, and auditioning. Tuition/with housing $218, Tuition alone $100. June 22-24. 20 participants. Masterclass teacher Nicole Riner.;


masterclass 3

Is there a camp not listed here that you are planning to attend? Do you happen to know of any camps or festivals planned in states that do not have entries above? Would you like to host your own masterclass? Please comment below!


Happy Fluting!













Interpreting Debussy’s Syrinx

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Sunday. Happy full moon/April fools/Easter weekend!


My husband and I are Disney fanatics. There is seldom a weekend that goes by that we do not find ourselves in front of the television watching one of the classics. A few weekends ago, we were watching Bambi (a traditional Disney staple if there ever was one), and were stunned by just how incredibly beautiful the art of animation was before the onset of the digital age. As children, we do not typically have an artistic frame of reference when watching films and often miss the beauty of the art to concentrate on the story being told (and, in this case, drying our eyes when Bambi’s mother is met by a hunter’s bullet). This film uses rich, warm-toned colors so magnificently that it is as if you are watching a sequence of paintings placed one after the other. I began to compare this type of Disney “impressionism” to works by Debussy, who, as we know, was inspired by impressionist artists such as Monet. I began to see the same type of warm-toned paintings in my imagination as I listened to Syrinx and was fascinated by the new interpretation I was able conjure by connecting this story to art. In today’s blog, we will take a closer look a Debussy’s Syrinx for flute seule and examine how Debussy uses notes in place of brush strokes to create a musical version of a painting.


First thing’s first – The Story. Syrinx tells the story of the river nymph, Syrinx, who was pursed by the god Pan. In a panic, Syrinx runs to the edge of the water and begs the water nymphs to help her escape Pan’s pursuit. In response, she is transformed into a bundle of hollow reeds. Pan discovers the reeds, which created a haunting sound when the god’s frustrated breath blew across them. Legend states that Pan subsequently cut the reeds and fashioned them into a set a pan pipes, know better today as a pan flute.

This is a story about transfiguration that occurs not once but twice. The piece begins with what we may call the Syrinx “theme,” but given the range and chromatic meanderings of the melody, it sounds more like her cry for help to the water nymphs:

syrinx 1

We begin the work in a state of panic, which brilliantly sets the scene for the ensuing drama. The next phrase, beginning in measure 3, develops Syrinx’s cry for help and, with the addition of triplet figures, helps her to explain her wishes to be transformed into reeds to the water nymphs. The pause at the end of this phrase, which follows the sustained pitches of Syrinx’s final pleas, gives the water nymphs a pause to hear her cry and roll up their proverbial sleeves to perform a bit of magic. The muffled octave transposition of Syrinx’s cry for help indicates that she has been taken under the water where, following a series of explosive and free falling chromatic pitches (reminiscent of the scene in Disney’s Cinderella when the carriage and horses transfigure back into a pumpkin and 4 mice at the stroke of midnight), Syrinx is changed into a bundle of reeds. Her new persona is indicated in the following phrase, marked by clunky grace notes that suggest the sound of reeds knocking against one other in the evening breeze.

syrinx 2

The melody speeds up quite suddenly 5 measures after the measure marked “Rubato,” with the presence of triplet 16th notes, indicating that the frustrated god, Pan, has found his way to the river and is enraged when he cannot find Syrinx. The trills beginning 2 measures before au Mouvt represent the god’s breath as it falls across the reeds and the sustained Bb that concludes the phrase is the idea lightbulb being lit in Pan’s mind to create a flute from these reeds (this note always makes me think about the scene from How The Grinch Stole Christmas when the Grinch smiles maniacally as he comes up with “wonderful, awful idea”).

syrinx 3

The au Mouvt represents Syrinx’s final cry for help as she is again transformed into a pan flute. Unfortunately, there is nobody to help her this time as Pan gathers the reeds and, with the help of a few more spinning triplet 16th notes, wraps twine carefully around the bundle to create his infamous pan flute. En reteant usher in the melody that Pan plays on his pan flute. This concluding phrase is solemn, a little bit creepy, and, somehow, ironically calming as the last 2 measures outline all of the pitches in Pan’s flute.

syrinx 4

Syrinx is traditionally performed in the dark. This is done in part to help the audience picture the events of the story in their imaginations without any distractions from the stage or gallery. I think that modern performance of this work also calls for digital projections of impressionistic artworks depicting rivers, water (Monet’s Water Lilies for example), magic, or the story of Syrinx itself. As the music winds its way through transfigurations, so do the colors of these paintings from object to object and scene to scene. Combining music and artwork may help to create a deeper interpretation of the story by connecting music to story and color. I urge you to experiment with digital projections in your next performance of Syrinx to create a more vivid story between the lines of manuscript.

untitled (3)

How do interpret Debussy’s Syrinx? What pictures come to your mind when playing through this work? Have you performed this work in the past? Did you use a darkened room or digital projections? Please comment below.


Happy Fluting!