Month: May 2023

It’s in the BAG – Creating a BAG Inventory for Goal Setting

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday.

Several years ago I took a deep dive into various self-help literature thanks to a gift card to an actual bookstore (remember those?!). I came across a book that had a bit of fluffy wishful thinking techniques, but interestingly also contained a few really good practical ideas that translated easily to my flute playing life. One of these methods, known by it’s acronym, the BAG technique, really helped me navigate through difficult times filled with confusion and crushing self-doubt. It reminded me that I am an awesome, accomplished flutist with clear, achievable goals for the future. In today’s blog, I will go over this BAG goal setting technique and how it may be useful in your own flute career.

Photo by Lum3n on

What does BAG stand for? BAG is an acronym for Blessings, Assets, and Goals. Blessings are exactly what they sound like: A list of things you are thankful for and achievements you are most proud of (awards, degrees, chair placements, etc.). Assets are things that you have, people that guide and support you, or other resources that help you achieve your goals. Goals are the things you’d like to achieve. Of course there is a proverbial missing elephant in the room with this acronym: Liabilities. The idea is to focus more on the positive things in your world and transform your liabilities into clear, achievable goals.

What is a BAG inventory? A BAG inventory is a simple listing of your top ten items in each category. What are your top 10 blessings? Top 10 assets? Top 10 goals? Divide a piece of paper into 3 columns. On the left list your blessings. In the middle list your assets. And on the right list your goals. Examples of blessing might include any music degrees you have or competitions you have won. Assets can include your flute, any nifty software programs you use, and your flute teacher or a mentor whose advice your really value. Goals may identify jobs you would like to land, auditions you’d like to take, or recitals you’d like to perform. This is your BAG inventory.

Why is designing a BAG inventory important? First of all, it puts all of your warm fuzzies in one place. We spend a lot of time as musicians analyzing the problems and challenges in our playing. Many of us are perfectionists and sometimes that means we forget about all of the positive experiences and resources we have at our fingertips to help us achieve our goals. Blessings show us that we are capable of achieving great things. Assets remind us of the great tools we have at our disposal to make those things happen. Goals put our intentions into writing and out into the World.

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on

What does my BAG inventory look like? This is just a sample of my current top 3:

  • B (Blessings) – DMA, Super Awesome Flute Blog, Book Contract with Oxford
  • A (Assets) – New Burkhart Flute, Super Supportive Colleagues in the Flute 360 Program, SmartMusic AI App (that has been essential in my practice routine and studio for many years)
  • G (Goals) – Host a Fall Flute Recital, Finish my Oxford Book, Expand my Flute Studio

Conclusion – Creating a BAG inventory is very good for your soul! And it also helps clarify your goals and see all of your best resources on one page. We some time forget about all of the things we have in flute lives that literally nobody can take away. These things are what make our flute goals possible and achievable.


What is on your BAG inventory? Has creating a BAG inventory helped you in your flute career? What categories do you find most helpful and most challenging? Please comment below!

Happy fluting!


Triple Threat – On Triple Tonguing

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday!

In a recent lesson with one of my beginning flute students, just as I was introducing the concept of double tonguing, my very clever student asked, “If there is single tonguing, and there is double tonguing, is there such a thing as triple tonguing?”

Of course there is!

Photo by Pixabay on

But before I launched into my triple tonguing spiel, I first had to confront my own inner childhood trauma from learning triple tonguing. I tried so very hard to master the TKT KTK method to no avail. It just didn’t click. As an adult, I can accept that this is totally okay. There is a different method that works better for me. Therefore, in order to heal this childhood frustration, and to help my readers (and students) better understand this concept, in today’s blog I will cover the nuts and bolts of triple tonguing; What it is, how to do it, what exercises to practice, and other resources to welcome triple tonguing into the toolbox of flute articulations with open arms.

Photo by Nikita Khandelwal on

What is triple tonguing? Triple tonguing is a pattern of tonguing groups of three notes (aka triplets). Akin to double tonguing, this method uses both the front and back of the tongue to articulate notes faster in a way that is far less physically taxing for your tongue. The tongue is placed just behind the upper teeth for the “tu” syllable and half-way back on the pallet for the “ku” sound. This divides the muscles needed to articulate into two areas rather than one.

How do you do it? There are two primary ways to practice triple tonguing, and both methods vary the syllables used to achieve essentially the same result. In the first way, the basic syllable combination is tu-ku-tu tu-ku-tu (TKT TKT). Notice that these syllables are arranged in triplets to correspond to the notes. The pro to this method is that it is super easy to remember (TKT) and the reiteration of the “tu” sound at the beginning of each triplet grouping acts like secret breath-kick to help you reinforce the beat. The con is that you will need to articulate the “tu” twice in succession, cutting down the effectiveness of alternating muscle groups on the tongue. In the second method, the syllable combination that is used is tu-ku-tu ku-tu-ku (TKT KTK). Again, the syllables are arranged in triples to align with the music. The good thing about this method is that there are no double reiterations of the “tu” syllable, making the most out of the alternating muscles needed to articulate. The downside is that it is more difficult to remember which syllable combo you are on in a given passage (wait, was I on TKT or was I supposed to say KTK???) and it often leads to rushing because you don’t have that natural breath-kick in the line. The method you choose to use is totally up to you! If one works better than the other, use that one!

Photo by SHVETS production on

What are the benefits of triple tonguing? The primary benefit is that it helps you play your triple figures faster, but it also helps maintain an even tone quality, and it is far less taxing your tonguing. Less work is good!

What are the best ways to practice triple tonguing? Start slowly. Find your favorite exercise or piece of music with triples and slow it waaay down to practice the new syllable combination. Another great approach that will improve both your double and triple tonguing is to practice your triple tonguing passages only on “ku”s. The back of the tongue is naturally weaker than the front as it is not used as often. Practicing only your “ku”s is like weight-lifting for the back of the tongue. You may work on this method using your favorite piece or, if you have a favorite melody, try putting triple figures on each note. If you notice an unsteadiness to your triple-tongued passages, experiment using a ku-tu-ku ku-tu-ku combination. This is essentially the reverse of the standard TKT TKT pattern. This will also strengthen the back of your tongue helping to achieve a better balance between muscle areas.

Hot Tip – You can use different syllables to create different types of sound. Check out my blog You Say Potato, I Say Potahto for a full list of double and triple tonguing syllables you may use and what the corresponding sound is for each pattern. You may try a doo-goo-doo doo-goo-doo pattern for a connected, legato sound or a tut-kut-tut tut-kut-tut for a super staccato pattern. Try practicing a new syllable pattern each day to find the one that resonates the most with your playing.

Recommended Exercises: **Note: This section contains affiliate links.**

YouTube Videos:

Check out this great video from The Flute Practice discussing the triple tonguing method and drills you may practice to refine the technique:


How do you practice triple tonguing? What is your preferred method of triple tonguing? What are your favorite exercise? How do you teach your own students to triple tongue? Please comment below!

Happy fluting (and triple tonguing)!

Earning Your Keep – 100 Ways to Make Money as a Flutist

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday! Today we are talking about the bottom line. The storyline of the starving artist is a common theme in books and movies and, well, let’s be honest, real life. But there are a number of ways that we can earn an income, both primary and passive, when we start thinking outside the box. The traditional “perform in an orchestra and teach at a college” route isn’t always available to everyone in today’s saturated market nor is it a sustainable model in an ever-changing, tech-savvy world. In today’s blog, I offer 100 ideas on how to make money as a flutist. Some suggestions are obvious. Some are off-the-wall. Some are super unique. All require a creative mind and a self-promotional spirit. Put yourself out there – You are worth it!

Photo by David McBee on

100 Ways to Make Money as a Flutist

  1. Teach in-person private lessons from a home studio.
  2. Teach in-person lessons for an instrument retail shop.
  3. Teach in-person lessons for a college/university.
  4. Perform in a paid orchestra position.
  5. Teach band/orchestra as part of school program in a salaried position.
  6. Publish a book with a reputable publisher. Often paid on the basis of % of total sales.
  7. Teach music courses for a college/university (ex. Music Theory, History, Alexander Technique, Ear Training, etc.).
  8. Record and sell a flute album with a reputable record label.
  9. Perform at weddings in a solo or small group capacity.
  10. Host a masterclass (in-person). Require performer and auditor fees to participate.
  11. Host a masterclass (online). Require performer fees and auditor fees to participate.
  12. Perform substitute flute work for paid orchestral position (often flat-fee contract work).
  13. Serve as an adjudicator for junior high, high school, and college seating placement exams (often flat-fee contract work).
  14. Serve as a guest clinician for a school/college band and/or orchestra program.
  15. Serve as a guest soloist for a school/college band and/or orchestra program.
  16. Serve as a guest soloist for a professional band/orchestra.
  17. Host a recital, charging admission ticket fees.
  18. Serve as a guest clinician for a private music school.
  19. Serve as a page turner (contract work).
  20. Develop and sell practice guides, patented practice card manuals, or other useful pedagogical documents.
  21. Develop, create, and market a flute accessory (ex. cleaning cloths, flute bags, cleaning rods, etc.).
  22. Compose a piece of music and publish with a reputable music publisher.
  23. Compose a piece of music and sell directly from your website.
  24. Develop and sell instructional videos on your website.
  25. Compose an edition of a popular tune for flute choir and sell with a reputable sheet music publisher.
  26. Compose an edition of a classical piece for flute and piano and sell with a reputable sheet music publisher.
  27. Compose an edition of a popular tune for flute or flute choir and sell directly from your website.
  28. Compose an edition of a classical piece for flue or flute choir and sell directly from your website.
  29. Collaborate with an audiobook retailer (such as Audible) to read flute books aloud for a fee.
  30. Host a flute website with Google Ad Sense or other click-based monetization features enabled.
  31. Host a flute blog with Google Ad Sense or other click-based monetization features enabled.
  32. Participate in affiliate programs (such as those offered through Amazon, etc.) and post affiliate links on your various social media platforms.
  33. Participate in affiliate programs (such as those offered through Amazon, etc.) and post affiliate links on your flute blog.
  34. Recommend products on your various social media outlets under partnerships with product developers for %-based kickbacks.
  35. Offer editing, proof-reading, or ghost writing services on flute-related topics.
  36. Participate in sponsorships with product or platform designers and advertise their services/products on your various social media platforms.
  37. Offer fee-based coaching services for other flutists, students, musicians, and teachers.
  38. Host a podcast with paid sponsorships.
  39. Recruit at least 10k followers on Instagram and host paid Instagram Live sessions.
  40. Host a series of YouTube videos featuring performances or pedagogical discussions and monetize based on clicks.
  41. Advertise your services (lessons, tutoring, gig work) on YouTube, providing click-based videos sampling your work.
  42. Perform paid gigs either as a solo artist or with a group. Advertise your services on your website, blog, and other social media platforms.
  43. Speak, teach, or perform at a music conference and earn a speaking fee.
  44. Pursue an endorsement deal with a flute accessory company, flute maker, or other music industry company.
  45. Arrange a commission-based contract with a local music store who can recommend new flute students to your studio for a nominal commission kick-back.
  46. Perform in a military band. These often provide an annual or performance-based salary arrangement.
  47. Pursue an national fellowship or award for a qualifying music-related project (ex. National Endowment for the Arts grant, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers award, etc.).
  48. Participate as an affiliate for other books and guides offered through independent companies for % based kick-backs.
  49. Sell videos of your live recordings on your website. Offer videos free to concert attendees and package videos for those unable to attend the event.
  50. Produce music recordings for other flutists. This may take some time to learn the basics but once you’ve brushed up your producer chops, you can offer this as a service on your website.
  51. Transcribe music for other musicians. This may be for composers or other performers wanting an edition of a work originally composed for another instrument in the key and range of their instrument of choice.
  52. Take stock photos of the flute and/or flute players and sell them to imaging companies or on your private website.
  53. Research and enter various sweepstakes targeted at musicians (this requires more luck than skill).
  54. Record music and offer to Direct Sync Licensing companies. These are often connected to the film industry…
  55. Crowdfund your next album, recital series, or flute tour. GoFundMe has a large reach and features easily shareable links for your social media pages.
  56. Display paid advertising on your YouTube channel (and post a whole lot of videos).
  57. Serve as a substitute music teacher at schools in/around your community.
  58. Serve as a visiting lecturer/professor at a college/university as a sabbatical replacement.
  59. Create a flute or teaching app. This will require some upfront costs but will provide passive income once up and running.
  60. Perform on a street corner, shopping area, or farmer’s market. Keep your case open for donations. This is super old school but a classic way to earn a few bucks.
  61. Host regular YouTube live sessions (either performance-based, pedagogical discussions, or interviews with other flutists/musicians) with the donations feature enabled.
  62. Contract with coffee shops or restaurants to perform during high-traffic times (weekends, evenings, etc.).
  63. Create and sell ringtones. You can sell these on your website or offer through iTunes.
  64. Design and sell flute studio merch. Hats, shirts, keychains – All of these things can be created by companies such as VistaPrint or InkMonkey and sold on your website.
  65. Create a recording and sell through CD Baby. You don’t need to have a whole album – Just start with one track!
  66. Create and record an improvisation background loop in various keys. Sell the tracks individually through your website.
  67. Become a music manager for other skilled musicians. Help talented musicians land more gigs with your own networking skills.
  68. Play music on a cruise ship. This will require some flexibility in your domestic life, but the cruise industry often looks for musicians who can play music in various genres.
  69. Pursue a side career in music therapy and work with medical institutions seeking alternative treatments involving music.
  70. Host a summer recital series in a local park. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with other musicians and share a piece of the pie. Form a wind quintet and perform standard and not-so-standard repertoire.
  71. Reach out to music companies offering sponsored tweets on Twitter. Visit for more information.
  72. Publish poetry about the flute with a reputable publisher.
  73. Publish poetry about the flute on your website, offering direct downloads for a fee.
  74. Sell instruments as part of an ambassador program with a flute retailer.
  75. Record and sell your CDs at the local farmer’s market.
  76. Earn print rights for your flute compositions, earning money each time your composition is printed.
  77. Create a Premium Fan Club, selling a monthly or annual subscription with various coaching or teaching programs or masterclass performing opporunitites.
  78. Organize a music conference involving your particular flute-playing niche. A flute-teacher conference is always a good idea! Charge for admission.
  79. Become a music librarian. You may need an extra side-degree for this but most music librarians are salaried positions.
  80. Sign up for MicroSync Licensing with YouTube. This is a way of getting paid whenever someone uses your music as background on one of their YouTube videos.
  81. Rent your home recording space to other musicians (if you have one). This is also great if the space is sound-proofed as louder instruments, such as live drum kits, often are silenced in private homes. Drummers need a space to rock out too!
  82. Record cover songs, acquiring the appropriate mechanical license for the songs, and sell them on your website.
  83. Go on tour! Arrange a tour around your state or around the country performing new and interesting music at a host of venues.
  84. Work with instrument companies to review and demo instruments on YouTube and Instagram for kick-back deals. Approach companies with products you like to see if they will compensate you for a review.
  85. Host an educational lecture recital, charging ticket fees. This is great for college towns!
  86. Create and sell and a digital guide for marketing yourself as a musician, available for purchase and download on your website.
  87. Provide performances in private homes (aka living room concerts). Wealthy homeowners can open their home and sell tickets to the event. This is great for a wine tasting event at a private residence.
  88. Sell your recordings on Spotify and earn kick-backs for every download of your songs.
  89. Create an online music course and sell access to modules on your website.
  90. Teach a music course at a local community center (ex. flute 101).
  91. Create and sell sound effects created with your flute. Movie producers are always in need of unique sound effects. Create something eerie and awesome and sell your sound effects through places such as AudioJungle or through your own website. It is best to sell sound effects in a bundle rather than individually.
  92. Create a Patreon account to offer behind-the-scenes content like documentaries, sheet music, and other exclusive content to your biggest fans.
  93. Collect royalties on your recordings through digital royalty services like SoundExchange.
  94. Sell old instruments. Purchase used instruments in not-so-great shape, overhaul what can easily be overhauled, and sell on Amazon or eBay for a profit.
  95. Learn to repair flutes and/or become a certified flute pad technician. Advertise your services on your website or in conjunction with instrument shops and/or school music programs.
  96. Sell old vinyl flute recordings. Historians love to dig into records that receive little to no play time these days.
  97. Create and sell creative flute-related graphics for blog posts, company logos, and other marketing needs. These can be purchased on your website or sold through a reputable company.
  98. Offer social media marketing services to companies and individual artists searching for a wider internet audience.
  99. Create a unique and monetized podcast. Think outside the box!
  100. Design and set up websites for less-tech savvy flutists. Market your services on your website.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on


Do you have a creative way that you earn money as a flutist? What methods in the above list do you find most lucrative? Which ones yield the most kick-backs for the least amount of work? What methods do you find most fulfilling. Share your experiences below!

Happy fluting!

-Dr. G.