Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Sunday! I hope summer is treating you well so far.
I spent my summers in college working retail at a local theme park to save up for books during the upcoming school years. I never felt that I had enough money or extra time to travel to the annual National Flute Association Convention, yet every August I would long to participate in this event. When I returned to campus in the Fall, I listened with envy to the all of the stories about fabulous recitals, wonderful panel discussions, and awesome flute swag that my fellow flutist picked up during The Convention. As I am no longer a poor college student, getting to the annual NFA Convention is not the dauting task it was when I was younger. One of my regrets, however, is that I did not try harder to find a way to attend when I was smack dab in the midst of my flute development. If you are on the fence about whether to attend the NFA Convention this summer (aka. wondering if it is worth the money and time it will take to get there), today’s blog will give you 10 reasons to consider purchasing a ticket. If you are a poor college student like I was, look into conference funding in your college departments. Some schools set aside research funding for students to attend conferences like the NFA. And remember that as a student, you do qualify for discounted membership and convention registration rates! Attending the NFA Convention will likely give you fresh new inspiration to kick off the new academic year with renewed ambition, determination, and of course style.
(Please note: This post is not sponsored.)
Top 10 Reason to Attend the National Flute Association (NFA) Convention
- The NFA Convention is an opportunity to immerse yourself in everything to do with the flute. Lock out the rest of your worries, cares, and responsibilities and experience all of the new ideas, performances, and innovative techniques that the flute community has to offer.
- Networking. It may be scary but try to make some new flute friends! Attend lectures and daily warm-ups. Chat with masterclass performers and ask them about their own flute journeys. You may have more in common with them than you know. Connect with old flute friends. I often run into many of my old colleagues at NFA conventions.
- Trying out new flutes. Whether or not you are in the market for a new instrument, it is always good to know the difference between brands, materials, and the usefulness of the bells and whistles. This is a great way to stay hip to current trends in the instrument market.
- Learning from the experts. The best of the best often attend the NFA convention and many host convention masterclasses. Attend as many of these as you can and pick up all of the great advice they offer to other flutists. Chances are, these tips will also be useful in your own flute playing. Go to any free open forums and find ways chat with the experts. At a recent convention, I noticed that Jim Walker was on my plane back to California. Despite how nervous I was to speak with him, I eventually introduced myself and asked him for tips on learning to play jazz flute. His advice was wonderful and helped give me the confidence to take the leap into a new genre.
- So.Many.Recitals. When do you get the opportunity to see professional artists perform one right after the other in person? The NFA convention makes it possible to listen to the masters of their craft at their best. Enjoy these moments and pick up as much inspiration as you can.
- Exploring new repertoire. Are you searching for a new piece to perform at your next recital? Is there a new piece that you are familiar with but are on the fence about adding to your repertoire list? The NFA convention offers a number of opportunities to listen to new repertoire in recitals and masterclass performances. If you find yourself particularly drawn to a piece, it is likely to be available for purchase from Flute World in the exhibition hall.
- Picking up some great new flute swag. I once attended a flute convention promising myself that I would not purchase any unnecessary gear only to walk away with a brand-new flute bag, cleaning clothes and swabs, flute gels, and various new etude collections. The flute swag at the NFA convention is abundant and quite fun to explore.
- Carefully crafting an individual NFA event schedule that speaks to you and your specific flute interests. There are several lectures, performances, and masterclasses happening during the same time slots. Find the complete schedule here: http://www.nfaonline.org/Annual-Convention/2018/Schedule.aspx Set up your schedule in advance!
- Participating in open group playing opportunities. These include flute choir reading sessions, open masterclass forums, and of course playing with all convention attendees during the final gala closing number (Bach’s Air in G).
- Location. Location. Location. Uhm, this year’s convention is in Orlando, which houses Disney World, Epcot, and Universal Studios. The NFA usually selects great destination cities that combine opportunities for flute and fun. Take your new flute friends on an outing during your downtime. Remember: “All work and no play makes Jonny a dull boy.” Go hang out at Disney World during the evening hours and catch some fireworks.
What is your favorite part about attending the NFA Convention. What are you most looking forward to this year? Please comment below. Hope to see you there!