Today is all about celebrating the awesome work of other flutists from around the world! I received a somewhat jarring comment on this blog a few years ago criticizing me for sharing super-secret tips about flute playing on my weekly Flute Friday posts. “Why give it away for free???” This really made me pause. Why should we keep the ins and outs of flute playing locked away from the larger global community? Are flutists like magicians with secrets that may only be revealed to the “chosen ones” in our studio practices? I personally think that music can sometimes be intimidating to others, especially when learning a complicated instrument such as the flute, and I would like to do what I can to help my fellow flutists navigate their studies regardless if they can afford to take private flute lessons or not. Keeping our community exclusive (as we may have in previous generations) does not really work anymore in today’s super connected world. I am certainly not alone in these thoughts! Are you sitting down? Mine is not the only flute blog on the internet (*gasp*). A number of other professional flutists post on a regular basis about flute-related topics, some similar to those discussed on this blog and some very different and quite interesting! In today’s blog, I will introduce a handful of my favorite flute blogs from around the internet. Check them out below!
1. Flutetune.com https://www.flutetunes.com. Okay, I know this is not technically a standard type of flute blog, but it is a fantastic resource for your students! This site not only hosts a number or free scores, but also contains a fabulous blog series featuring a “Tune of the Day.” These posts include a PDF copy of the sheet music and a recording to play along to. How fun! I also really like that this site includes links to other flute articles (including posts on how to practice, flute harmonics, and flute vibrato), flute scale PDFs, fingerings, an online metronome, and staff paper PDFs. Everything is literally in one place!
2. Jennifer Cluff – Canadian Flutist and Teacher https://jennifercluff.blogspot.com. I have really enjoyed this blog over the years and I think have even recommended a post or two as resources on my own blog. This is a great blog that covers a number of practice tips and interesting flute topics. Her newest post, “Top Ten Secrets of Great Flute Playing,” features a really wonderful PDF for your beginning flutists (regardless of age). Practical, purposeful, and fun. Excellent flute blog!
3. Hannah B. Flute https://hannahbflute.com/blog/. This is another great blog and I particularly enjoy the way that posts are laid out visually. Hannah does a great job of posting new topics once a week and asks some of the tough questions that we are often afraid to ask (such as “Is historical performance practice necessary?” and “Do you need to take intermediate flute lessons?” I also really like her post on “9 Self Care Tips for Musicians.” There are not enough blogs out there about how to keep going when the flute playing gets tough. Thanks Hannah!
4. Practice Room Revelations Blog (Jolene Madewell) https://www.joleneharju.com/practiceroomrevelations/. Not only do I like how these blogs appear on the page (so you can see a bunch of archived posts at once), I really enjoy the recurring theme of mindful flute playing on this blog. This blog reminds us that flute playing is not just about playing the notes, but also involves musical self-discovery and a greater awareness about we, the performers, fit into the bigger picture of creating music. Although this blog has not been updated since June 2020, I still recommend checking out some of her posts on mindful teaching and practicing. My favorites include “How I Regained Confidence in my Playing (After Becoming Too Afraid to Play),” “What did you Notice? Guiding Student to their own Revelations,” and “The Power of Choosing Enjoyment Over Fear.” Check it out!
5. Doctor Flute Blog – Musings on the Flute https://doctorflute.com/blog/. I absolutely love this blog! The topics are always super practical and include some straightforward, easy to follow tips. Dr. Angela McBreatry is also very good at advertising her posts on social media to encourage a broader dialog on the subjects of the week. Some of my favorite recent posts on this blog include “5 Ways to Improve Technique,” “5 Things That Ruin Tone,” and “What is Nuance?” Awesome, practical flute blog!
6. Dr. Jessica Quinones http://jqflute.com/blog/. I really enjoy the way that this blog tackles the difficult questions about navigating tough times in our flute playing careers. Like I have mentioned on this blog before, flute playing is not always puppies and rainbows and seems to get even more difficult with advanced knowledge and experience. Some of my favorite posts include, “You are getting so much right,” “The easiest, simplest, happiest way to be a musician is this..,” and “Rough times happening? Oh look, there you are making gold out of it. Here’s 3 heartfelt observations about your playing to get you through the storm.” Thank you for your honest observations and helpful tips, Dr. Quinones!
7. The Flute Coach https://www.theflutecoach.com/blog/. This is a really great blog with a number of popular flute topics for everyone. I really like this approach to discussing new, better ways to do things rather than the same old same old. I also really like her ideas encouraging the broader use of technology in the studio environment. Some of my favorite recent blogs include topics such as, “Should We Bother Setting Goals,” “Updated for 2020: Why You Should Convert to Digital Flute Sheet Music,” and “How to Transition your Flute Studio to an Online Model and Build Resilience in Challenging Times.” Another excellent flute blog!
8. Kim Collins Flute Studio Blog https://www.kimcollinsflute.com/flute-studio-blog. Calling all fellow longer post enthusiasts (like myself)! I really enjoy the longer, more in-depth blog posts on the site. Kim Collins goes beyond surface details and basic tips to discussing the larger “why” in each topic. The writing is wonderful and the honest interpretations are a breath of fresh air in a profession that sometimes focuses too much on the “rules” and not enough on the humanity. Some of my favorite recent posts include “Unsure of Your Musical Future? You are NOT Alone,” and “Our Comfort Zone: the Ins and Outs.”
9. Marlene Metz Hartzler Blog http://marlenehartzler.com/category/flute/. What I love about this flute blog is the variety of topics. This is not just a blog for performers or a blog aimed at teachers, but a blog for all of us! I really enjoy some of the posts written during the pandemic (that we all can still use in our practices moving forward)” including “Virtual Music: Teaching Lessons Online: The Good,” “Flute in Quarantine: Pandemic Safety,” and “Teaching Generation Z.” She also discusses topics such as Music Therapy, Flute Acoustics, and Talent vs. Hard Work. Great blog with a bit of everything!
10. Bret Pimentel https://bretpimentel.com. This blog is basically the inspiration for today’s blog (thanks Bret!!). Although not exclusively a flute blog, Bret Pimentel’s woodwind blog contains fascinating posts for woodwind teachers that apply to literally all of us. Some of the more recent blogs that I have been enjoying include “Preparing a Focused Mind,” “How to Have a Good Lesson,” and “Shaping a Phrase.” What I love the most about this blog, however, is the monthly “Favorite Blog Posts” series which features the work of other woodwind bloggers from around the internet. My posts have been periodically featured here and I am always grateful to end up on his monthly favorites blog posts!
Do you have a favorite flute blogger? Do you have your own flute blog? What topics and layouts interest you the most? Are you interested in blog collaborations? Please comment below!
Earlier this year, I resurrected the Practice Blueprints Series with a discussion on all-state audition preparation tips and general info for successfully navigating the all-state process in a handful of states. While writing these blog posts, I was fascinated by how differently each state varied their all-state format and required audition repertoire. This had me wanting a handy resource to quickly compare all-state requirements from, well, everywhere. Behold – the fruit of these labors. Today’s blog features general info and links to resources for all-state band auditions and festivals from all 50 states. Want a fun challenge for your studio? Ask students to prepare all-state audition material from another state and hold mock auditions during your next studio masterclass. Want to attend another state’s all-state festival to compare notes on all-state experiences and/or repertoire? Are you a band director searching for a new way to model your state’s all-state process (or at least reboot the all-state website)? This blog is for you! Hopefully, at the very least, this will be a good resource for navigating your state’s all-state processes now and in the future.
Audition Deadlines: Date, time, fees, and location for the 1st round audition are set by the District Director for his/her district; Wednesday, January 12, 2022 (midnight) – Deadline for District Directors to submit their district’s 2nd round audition videos to the Band Division Chair.
All-State Festival Dates and Location(s): January 16-18, 2022, Rock Springs High School, Rock Springs, WY
What does the all-state process look like in your state? In what ways could you improve this process by reviewing the process in other states? How does the repertoire in your state compare to that in other states? Please comment below!
Shopping for the holidays? Have a flutist in your life on your gift list? Want to give your loved ones some good ideas for new flute gear on your own wish list? In today’s blog, I will share a few gift ideas for the flutist in your life. These are some of my favorite things and I hope you will enjoy them as much I do! (*Please note – none of these items are sponsored. I’m just a superfan!)
1. Win-D-Fender https://win-d-fender.com/product/win-d-fender/ $50. I have discussed this device in previous blog posts and I am forever a fan of the Win-D-Fender. If you like to practice outside in the warmer months or live in an area where air conditioners and/or heaters run constantly indoors, this is the flute add-on for you! The Win-D-Fender helps to retain sound and projection despite how the air is circulating around you. I used to love to practice outdoors in the summer when I was young and this handy, dandy contraption would have been perfect for my daily sessions.
2. PiccPocket https://win-d-fender.com/product/piccpocket/ $75. This is a relatively new device also offered through Win-D-Fender that seems to solve the problem of trying to carry both your flute and piccolo at the same time. You’ve probably been there – trying to carefully balance both instruments on their stands in your hands while tucking your music under your arm and praying that nobody bumps into you while you walk at a glacial pace onto the stage. Wouldn’t it just be easier to put your piccolo in a sling, freeing up your hands to carry your music? I think the PiccPocket is a great alternative. I, myself, have been forever traumatized by an instance in my youth where I fell down a flight of stairs trying to carry both of these instruments to a performance. Save yourself the headache with this convenient sling.
3. Fluterscooter Flute Bags https://www.fluteworld.com/product-category/case-covers-and-bags/fluterscooter/ $120-250. I have owned a beautiful Fluterscooter bag in Spring Lilac for years and absolutely love it. Gone are the days when instrument bags only came in boring, standard black matte varieties. If you want to upgrade your gear and add a bit of personality to your flute game, I recommend purchasing one of these case covers. The Red Patent Leather Bag is one of my favorites (and can be spotted from across a room). They are much larger than you’d think, with lots of room for cleaning clothes and other flute accessories. The velcro straps inside the bag hold your case in place safely and securely while the soft insulation keeps your flute cushioned and protected.
4. Crescendo Flute Backpack https://crescendo-bags.myshopify.com/collections/the-flute-section/products/flutes-laptop-gigbag-single-compartment $262. Okay, so I did not pay for this one myself but won this bag at the NFA convention last summer. I had no idea how cool this bag actually was until it arrived in the mail! This is perfect for a college student or flutist (like myself) living in a very bike friendly community. There are super insulated pockets for both your flute and piccolo as well as a separate compartment for your laptop or ipad, and outside pockets for all of the little things. The thing I like the most, though, is that the bag is large enough to hold bigger scores or those oversized music folders we lug around for orchestra concerts. Definitely a good investment!
5. Lyricraft Engraved Instrument Stands (with Corresponding Pegs) https://www.fluteworld.com/product-category/instrument-stands/lyricraft/ (Stands: $144.95-$194.95, Pegs $24.95-39.95). I had had my eye on these for years after seeing some of my fellow flute choir members use them in rehearsals. These stands are absolutely beautiful! The engraving is stunning and adds a bit of class to your set up. The base is on the heavier side but is quite solid (nothing is knocking this stand over!). The pegs are interchangeable. Simply order the ones you need and switch them out as necessary. The pegs themselves are also very solid and feature a moisture-wicking material on the outside. I finally purchased a double-pegged version over the summer and absolutely love it! Total upgrade from the collapsible stands I was using.
6. Sempre Flute Cleaning Cloths https://www.sempreflute.store/collections/all?page=1 $18.99-23.99. I was introduced to this company over this summer when a friend gifted me with the very beautiful Rouge Artist Series cloth (that consequently coordinates in color quite well with my Flutescooter bag). I was blown away by the quality of this cloth and its ability to shine up my flute in a flash. The thicker fabric is super durable and the designs are stunning. Check them out! I am totally converted.
7. Peak Music Stand https://www.fluteworld.com/product/peak-music-stand-sms-20/ $45.95. I purchased my Peak Music Stand in 2007 and it is still in excellent condition! I love this stand. I’ve used it for everything from daily practice in my home studio, to flute choir rehearsals, to orchestra performances, to performing outdoors, and everything in between. It is light, easy to assemble, comes with a sturdy carrying case, and looks just as good as the bulkier Manhasset metal stands. I will never buy a different stand!
8. Thumbport and Thumbport II https://www.fluteworld.com/product/thumbport/ $19.95. I have always been a rebel when it comes to the placement of my right-hand thumb (much to the chagrin of my teachers and definitely at the expense of my tendons). This little device helps to give my thumb a convenient and consistent place to land. It simply clips onto your flute and can be removed and placed conveniently in your flute bag when not in use. It also comes in various colors if you’d like to add a bit of personality to your gear.
9. Music Folder https://www.fluteworld.com/product/concert-folio/ $18.95. This music folder is super durable and fits a surprising amount of music in a variety of sizes. If you like to keep all of your music organized in one folder, this is the product for you. Stylish and practical, I have used this folder for a number of years. I find that it fits better in my various carrying bags than the standard orchestral folders. I also like to keep everything in one place without seeing a clutter of scores on my stand.
10. FluteWorld Gift Certificates https://www.fluteworld.com/product-category/gift-certificates/ $5-$750. Most of us use FluteWorld at some point or another to purchase music, recordings, instruments, and various accessories. This is a great gift idea for students or if you have a flutist in your life that you know is saving up to purchase an instrument. This may help them make a dent in their savings journey. We all just like having an excuse to give our gear a makeover and FluteWorld has a great selection. Happy shopping!
What is on your flute gear wish list this holiday season? Do you have other gift ideas to recommend? What is your favorite flute accessory? Please comment below!