Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday! Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving! This week I have been reflecting on some of the things I am most grateful for as a flute player, particularly over the past year as our industry has made our way through a pandemic. Today I am sharing the top 20 items on this list. I encourage you to create your own lists! We have a lot of reasons to celebrate our passion and resilience as artists. What are you grateful for?
- Flute Talk Magazine. It was announced a few weeks ago that Flute Talk will be discontinued. I am so very grateful for the many years this journal was in publication. Flute Talk was the inspiration for many things in my younger days (including this very blog). Thank you for all of the articles and priceless advice over the years!
- Win-D-Fender. I was lucky enough to try this device out at a past flute convention and loved it! If you are an fan of practicing outside (or not a fan of trying to project through powerful air conditioners), check out this clever flute accessory: https://win-d-fender.com
- Flute Overhauls. I was very fortune this year to have both my flute and piccolo overhauled by the talented John Gil in Sacramento and now they both play like a dream. Thanks John!
- YouTube Piano Accompaniments. I know I know…nothing beats the real thing, but thanks to YouTube, we now have simple piano accompaniments for some of our standard repertoire on YouTube. This is a great resource if you are working on memorizing (or re-memorizing) the works we all know and love.
- Connecting with other Flutists via Social Media. I have met many wonderful flutists at conventions over the years and thanks to outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, I can stay connected to these folks every day. It is wonderful to see what my colleagues are up to (and fun to share cute pet photos!).
- Community Flute Societies. These are also great for meeting and connecting with flutists in and around your own community or even those in larger cities. Many of the societies, such as the Chicago Flute Club, offer regular masterclasses that can be attended online from anywhere.
- Flute Masks. Although not fail-safe just yet, these have helped many of us and our students return to live rehearsals and performances. What is your favorite flute mask?
- Stylish Flute Bags. From Fluterscooter to Crescendo, there are a number a very colorful, stylish, and useful flute bags on the market today. I, myself, have a lilac Fluterscooter bag and was fortunate this year to win a Crescendo flute backpack at the NFA convention. I love them both!
- The 2021 National Flute Association Virtual Convention. Although the live convention is irreplaceable, this year’s virtual convention was absolutely wonderful! I was so very happy to experience the lectures and performances online this year from the comfort of my home studio. I also really enjoyed having the ability to chat virtually with my colleagues, some of which I have not seen in years.
- Youth Solo Competitions. These drove me to be the best flutist I could be when I was young and the best, most supportive judge I can be as an adult. I was fortunate to judge two of these competitions virtually this year and very much enjoyed all of the performances I reviewed and adjudicated. I am constantly impressed by the young talent out there today!
- Electro-Acoustic Flute Pieces. One of my very favorite parts of the NFA Convention this year was the gala concert featuring new, interesting works for the flute. Some of the electro-acoustic pieces featured here were wild but very cool! I love seeing the flute featured in non-traditional ways.
- The Flute View Magazine. Shameless plug here: I love writing for this online publication! The Flute View always features fabulous articles highlighting what is new in the flute world and what we can reimagine in the future. I am super proud to be one of their monthly contributors.
- Any Video Performance by Jasmine Choi. Okay, I know we all have our favorite performers and nobody has exactly the same taste, but Jasmine will always be Queen to me. Her performances are #fluteplayinggoals!
- Flute Players who Love Astrology. I publish monthly flute horoscopes in The Flute View and I am always grateful for other flutists who reach out and share their own love of all things tarot and astrology with me. I love hearing about horoscopes that come true or how they have come to understand more about themselves as performers by studying astrology. Yay to shared interests!
- Flute Players who Understand the Struggle. I am so grateful to have connected this year with flute players who, like myself, have struggled to build their careers along traditional lines. We are not alone! The world needs more flutists who have the courage and tenacity to do something different with their flute lives. Playing the flute does not need to look the same to everybody.
- The Bond of Flute Choirs. Playing in a flute choir is fun! I was fortunate to perform with the Professional Flute Choir at an NFA convention a couple years ago and loved it! The people I met were great and the repertoire we performed was fabulous! I have also played in local flute choirs for several years and really respect the bonds that are formed when we just play music and have fun. Isn’t that what it is all about anyways?
- The Creativity Behind Cleaning Cloths. I know this sounds weird, but have you checked out all of the super fun and useful cleaning cloths on the market these days??? From Sempre Flute to Beaumont, there is a style and fabric for everyone. I love being creative with my flute gear!
- Fancy Wood Flute Stands. I have a confession – I had been using cheap, utilitarian, foldable instrument stands since I started playing the flute in 6th grade. I hadn’t updated my instrument stand game until last summer when I invested in one of those super fancy stands with a large wood base and interchangeable flute pegs. I love this set up! Not as light as my old system, but very solid (aka nothing is tipping this one over) and very beautiful.
- Free Virtual Masterclasses. I have audited so many excellent masterclasses via Zoom this year that I would have otherwise had to pay beaucoup bucks to attend in person in the days of yesteryear. From Keith Underwood to Carol Wincenc, I have soaked up so many wonderful tips from the experts that I wouldn’t otherwise have access to under normal circumstances. I hope platforms like this continue in the future!
- Our industry has survived a pandemic! I know – We aren’t out of the COVID woods quite yet, but isn’t it inspiring to see the ways we have come together to do things differently and survive a very difficult, unpredictable set of circumstances? I am very proud to be part of the global flute community and hope that we can take some of the lessons we have learned during this time into the future.
What are you grateful for in your flute life? Do any of the above resonate with you? Please comment below!