Top 10 Quarantine Practice Challenges

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday. One of the perks about being stuck in quarantine is that we all suddenly have more time to practice. This is a great opportunity to change up your normal practice routine because, let’s face it, “normal” no longer exists. In today’s blog I will discuss my top 10 Quarantine Challenges to spruce up your practice time. Give them a try! You might find some new and interesting connections between pieces you had not noticed before (thanks Quarantine!).

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Top 10 Quarantine Practice Challenges

  1. Practice music by one composer each day for 10 days. This include repertoire, excerpts, etudes, and transcriptions of pieces originally written for other instruments.
  2. Memorize one orchestral excerpt per day. Yeah, okay – I know….We practice excerpts so much that most of them are practically memorized anyways under normal circumstances. This challenge will help you memorize the excerpts that are not often asked for during standard auditions.
  3. Practice only music written in the same key each day. This includes scales, etudes, excerpts, and repertoire. For an added challenge, sight-read in the same key at the conclusion of your practice session.
  4. Set a practice time goal and bump it up gradually each week. If you are a working professional with very limited practice time under normal circumstances, this challenge will be more difficult than you think.
  5. The Many Keys of Mozart. Practice your favorite Mozart concerto (G or D) in a new key each week. This will test your transposition chops and challenge your ear.
  6. Memorize (or re-memorize) one piece a week. Who needs the music anyways! Play from your heart.
  7. Sunday Night Mock Auditions. Set up a curtain or wall of blankets between your family and yourself and hold a mock audition. Give them a list of excerpts to call out and a time limit. Tell them to be cold and ruthless – They will love it!
  8. Practice music from one era each week. You don’t necessary need to practice them chronologically either. Week One could be works from the Romantic era while Week Two could be all Baroque all the time.
  9. 10 Days of Improvisation. Record yourself improvising for five minutes per day for 10 days. How do you play when there are no rules? What can you take into your regular practice routine?
  10. Practice only works, excerpts, and etudes by composers from one country each day for 10 days. Are there elements that connect their music? Is there an underlying “national” character?


Do you have any of your own quarantine challenges? Which challenge inspires you the most? Have you learned anything new from these challenges? Please comment below.

Happy Fluting!

Top 10 Self Care Tips for Flutists

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday! There has been a lot of discussion about practicing “self care” while in quarantine. This term, of course, means different things to different people. Meditating? Sure! Going for a walk outside? Perfect. But how can we use music to practice self care? In today’s blog, I will discuss my top 10 self care tips for flutists. This is a great opportunity to use music as a form of relaxation.

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Top 10 Self Care Ideas for Flutists

  1. The most important thing to remember is that music should be fun (aka a natural source of self care). With that in mind, carve out at least 20-30 minutes (or more) to practice music that you genuinely love or, better yet, pieces that bring back happy memories. This week I have spent time practicing a piece that I performed at the Idaho State Solo Contest back in my high school days when my ambitions were high and my expectations low. It brought back wonderful memories and reminded me of a time when performing was new and exciting.
  2. Read a book about a famous musician or composer. There are fabulous biographies out there about everyone from Mozart to Beethoven, and, for us fluties, Taffanel and Moyse. Brew up some tea and cozy up with one of these classics.
  3. Listen to (or watch) a symphony. When was the last time that you listened to a Beethoven Symphony from start to finish without outside distractions? Probably in the concert hall. Since we are all social distancing from the concert hall, however, this is a good time to turn your home into a performance venue and watch a performance of your favorite symphony played by your favorite symphony on YouTube.
  4. Watch a music-themed movie. There are plenty of movies available on streaming services about composers and performers. One of my all-time favorites is Amadeus. Good music, good acting, and that high-pitched laugh is iconic. You might even find yourself inspired to add those old school Mozart concerti to your practice docket.
  5. Write a flute blog. What inspires you about the flute? Is there a composer that you enjoy? Is there a particular teaching tip that you would love to share with the world? Write it down and post it to your blog. Or, if you do not yet have a flute blog, this is a great time to set one up!
  6. Check your flute horoscope! Shameless plug warning. If you are curious about what is in store for your flute playing this month, be sure to check out your flute horoscope here:
  7. Watch as many versions of the same piece on YouTube that you can find. Chose one of your favorite pieces and type its title into the YouTube search box. Pour a glass of wine and binge watch as many videos as you can. What elements change from performance to performance? What interpretations work well? Is there anything that you would like to emulate in your own performance?
  8. Perform duets with yourself. When I was a kid, I used to practice duets by recording myself playing the top line (in those days via cassette tape) and play along to the recording with the bottom line. This can easily be duplicated using your phone’s recording device or even by creating a video. If you are brave, you might even share your performance on your YouTube page.
  9. Deep clean your flute. I am not talking about the quick wipe down of fingerprints. I am talking about getting all of the yucky crud out from the tops of keys and between the joints, cleaning or replacing any accessories such as flute gels or lip plate covers, polishing the outside, and even cleaning out the inner and outer flute cases.
  10. Retail therapy. You may not be able to go to the local music shop, but online businesses such as Flute World are still shipping fun accessories and music. Buy a new piece. Invest in a beautiful yet functional flute stand. Treat yourself to a new flute bag. Have fun shopping!

What are you doing to practice self care? What self care item are you most looking forward to? What other self care tips do you have? Please comment below.


Happy Fluting!

Virtual Concerts – Keeping the Music Alive

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday.

This is a very difficult time for many musicians. Orchestras around the World have canceled the reminder of their concert seasons, with little uncertainty about next year’s season. Performing has now turned to electronic means through videos and other streaming services. We long for the stage. We long for a sense of certainty in an uncertain world.

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There has been a lot of discussion about practicing “self-care” while we try to conduct business as usual under quarantine. This may be easier said than done for musician around the World, but what we can do is support each other by keeping the music alive.  The following is a list of concerts available to view virtually this weekend from performing groups around the globe. Please check them out and add “attending a virtual concert” to your list of self-care activities. Support the arts, support our colleagues, and let’s continue to support our craft!

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March 28, 2020 – Vienna State Opera: Götterdämmerung
Times: 1 and 3 p.m. ET

March 28, 2020 – Johnny Gandelsman Plays Bach: Cello Suite No. 5 (arr. violin)
Time: 6 p.m. ET
Link: Facebook

March 28, 2020 – International Contemporary Ensemble: Pauline Oliveros – The World Wide Tuning Meditation (audience participation)
Time: 5 p.m. ET
Link: ICE

March 28, 2020 – Jeffrey Biegel: Virtual Concert of Love
Time: 5 p.m. ET
Link: YouTube

March 28, 2020 – Third Coast Percussion: Glass, Jlin & Dev Hynes
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Link: TCP/Facebook

March 28, 2020 – 14:00 GMT: Deutsche Grammophon pianists – including Maria João Pires, Rudolf Buchbinder, Evgeny Kissin, Víkingur Ólafsson, Jan Lisiecki, Joep Beving, Simon Ghraichy, Kit Armstrong and Daniil Trifonov – join forces to mark International Piano Day with live-streamed performances on YouTube and Facebook.
Visit: and

March 28, 2020 17:00 GMT – ‘Music By 300 Strangers’ world premiere for World Piano Day.

March 28, 2020, 19:00 GMT – Guitarist Craig Ogden performs the first of London Mozart Players’ LMP At Home ‘Saturday Sessions’, with pieces by Scarlatti and Rodrigo on the programme.

March 29, 2020, 15:00 GMT – The Inside Out Piano with Sarah Nicolls.

March 29, 2020, 19:00 GMT – London Symphony Orchestra performs Sibelius’ Symphony No.5.

March 29, 2020 – Vienna State Opera: Roméo et Juliette 
Times: 1 and 3 p.m. ET
Link: Wiener Staatsoper

March 30, 2020 – Vienna State Opera: Le nozze di Figaro
Times: 1 and 3 p.m. ET
Link: Wiener Staatsoper

March 30, 2020 Johnny Gandelsman Plays Bach: Cello Suite No. 6 (arr. violin)
Time: 6 p.m. ET
Link: Facebook live


Do you have any concerts to add to this list? Do you know of any flute recitals taking place virtually? Please share links and comment below!

Happy fluting! Take care of yourselves.

Imperfect Balance – Hand Position Correctors

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday.


Several years ago, I was reading through Madeline Bruser’s book, The Art of Practicing; A Guide to Making Music from the Heart, and was intrigued by her discussion on the various ways to adapt instruments to our own individual practicing needs. It is true – No two performers are alike. We all have different sized hands, fingers, elbows, embrochures, everything! For centuries, we have been contorting ourselves to fit the instrument, resulting in physical ailments ranging from permanent blisters to Tendonitis. Luckily, instrument makers and accessory manufactures have found clever ways to modify the standard flute to make it easier and affordable for those of us struggling to reach the G# or key or finding perfect balance between our imperfect fingers. In today’s blog I will be discussing some of these accessories and modifications and other options available to make your instrument work better for you.


Inline vs. Off-Set G. I envied the upper classmen in high school who played on open-holed instruments with inline G keys. I thought that having an inline G signified one of the major differences between flutes owned by amateurs and those by professional flutists. When I switched from an offset G on my intermediate model to an inline G on my first professional model, I thought I had made it! Unfortunately, all that I had actually made was a future path to Tendonitis-ville. I developed Tendonitis in my left arm due to over-practice with incorrect hand position during my Freshmen year of college (specifically in preparation for the annual concerto competition). Many of my problems corrected themselves when I switched back to an offset G on my next instrument. My hands are small – An inline G was all wrong for me! Before purchasing a new instrument, consider if an offset G will fit your hands better than an inline G. My best advice is to try both. Which one is easier and feels more natural?


The Problem of the G# Key. If you have small pinkies, you may find yourself struggling to play G#s with that pesky G# key. There is some good news and some not so good news. The good news only applies to current and future Brannen flute owners, as Brannen has developed an extender for this key Hopefully, other flute makers will start to take note (and it doesn’t hurt to ask if you are in the market for a new instrument). The bad news is that all extenders that used to exist for purchase as accessories have been taken off the market. There is certainly a need for this add-on (developers, take note!).

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First Finger, Left Hand.  How many of us have a blister on our left hand where our first finger meets the side of our flute? Did you know that there are accessories out there that can help alleviate the pain and help position our index finger a bit more effectively for better balance? My favorite are Flute Gels I have raved about these on previous posts and continue to use them to this day. The texture of the gel is really comfortable and cushions the side of my finger, making it easier to play with my existing flute blister while giving me a consistent place to balance the flute. Another good option if you are just looking for a set place to rest your index finger is the Bo-Pep Finger Saddle–BP-FS-.html?t=0&sort=0. This is a great accessory for those of you that do not necessarily dig into the instrument with the side of your finger. Finally, a newer option is the Fingerport–101046-.html?t=0&sort=0. This device is flat with a rubbery texture and brings the index finger out a bit further, creating better balance between this finger and the right-hand thumb.


Right Hand Thumb. Some of the same accessories that are available for the index finger are also available for the right-hand thumb. Why? Because these two create the primary balance points between the performer and the instrument. Flute Gels can be placed where the thumb meets the instrument, again creating a comfortable, cushy, and consistent balance point. If you are looking for set place to aim your thumb, Bo-Pep also manufactures a Thumb Saddle–BP-TG-.html?t=0&sort=0. Along these same lines, if you are a fan of the Fingerport, the corresponding Thumbport will also create the perfect balancing point (and they come in fun colors for added pizzazz)—C-Flute-Black–101045BK-.html?t=0&sort=0. Finally, a newer option on the market is the Prima Thumb Rest, which creates a wider area to place your thumb, preventing the inevitable thumb roll I am not as familiar with this product but it seems like a great option if you need a bit more space.


Finger Position Corrector. One of my worst habits as a younger flutist was letting my fingers fly a bit higher than necessary during technical passages. In fact, my flute teacher used to place their hand slightly above my right hand during lessons as a reminder to keep my fingers closer to the keys. This accessory creates the same reminder in a non-human form, but I would  recommend only using this during practice–TA-FPC-.html?t=0&sort=0. Be careful to not hurt yourself – this is still made of hard plastic.


Plugs (duh). It wasn’t until graduate school that I realized it was okay to use plugs for those one or two open tone holes that my tiny fingers struggled to cover. Just because a flute is made with open holes, does not mean that we need to use them if our fingers cannot properly reach. Go ahead and use plugs on that pesky E key or that G key that your left-hand ring finger struggles to cover.—Medium-Silicone-Rubber–101050-.html?t=0

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There are also a number of DYI modifications that you can make to your instrument, but I would recommend visiting your local instrument shop or flute technician before considering these options. The pros might have a good way to make these modifications with the least amount of damage. A couple of good articles about DYI modifications can be found here,

What modifications have you made to your flute? What accessories do you use and why? Have you requested any custom modifications to your instrument from manufacturers? Please comment below.


Happy fluting!

Thoughts on Failure

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday!

Be sure to check out your flute horoscopes for February on The Flute View webpage. There is a Full Moon this weekend! Find out what this means for your flute playing here:

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Photo by Pixabay on

This week’s blog post will be a bit more reflective than instructive. In an interview earlier this week, I was asked the question, “Explain a time when you felt that you had failed at something.” I mustered up some courage, put my pride aside, and began to discuss my music career. I would like to share my answer with you this week because I think there is a good lesson here for those of you who may also struggle with disappointment in your own music careers.

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I completed my DMA in 2010 and was absolutely on fire about the future of my career! I wanted to teach, I wanted to perform, and I wanted to publish. I immediately began applying to teaching positions around the country. I was ready to make my start as a lecturer in a smaller school while performing in local orchestras. And then the first set of rejection emails rolled in. Meanwhile, I also began working a day job on the same college campus that my husband (then fiancé) was completing his Ph.D. With every new rejection email that arrived in my inbox, I felt more and more like a failure. This cycle continued for a year, then two years, and then five. I felt that the music career I spent several years trying to create was in the toilet. At the same time, I began to excel in my day job, earning a good living while still having the time to teach lessons and perform in local orchestras on nights and weekends. It wasn’t until I stopped comparing my current reality to the reality I expected was waiting for me on the other side of my DMA that I realized characterizing my career as a “failure” was just not right. There is no single cookie cutter version of a music career. I may not have achieved what I thought I would when I received my DMA, but I have successfully achieved many other things in my post-doctoral career. I have built my own flute studio. I have published articles and am currently working on a book with a large publisher. I publish monthly flute horoscopes. I have performed in orchestras and flute choirs and have even appeared at the NFA convention as part of the Professional Flute Choir. I have achieved all of these things while also maintaining a successful career outside of music. I have turned a career that I originally thought to be a “failure” into a series of successes.

If you ever find yourself referring to your music career as a “failure” while staring at rejection emails in your inbox or reflecting on the career path that you envisioned while you were working your way through college, remember that having a music career looks very different from one person to another. The flutist you thought you would be in high school may look very different from the flutist that you end up becoming in the future. Keep an open mind and avoid viewing your career in black and white terms. A successful music career is truly what you make of it.


Happy Fluting!

Four-Week Flute Boot Camp

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As some of you may know, I have spent the past several months working on a book. While my writing and transcription skills have improved tenfold, my flute playing has unfortunately fallen into a sad state of neglect. One of my New Years’ Resolutions for 2020 is to get back into proper flute playing shape! I have devised the below plan as my own personal four-week Flute Boot Camp. On this program I will review some of the basic fundamentals, revisit etudes with which I previously had a love/hate relationship, re-ignight my passion for practicing pieces that I love, re-memorize pieces I have forgotten, and learn new repertoire to take me well into the new year. If you are in the same boat, you may want to use this plan as an example to devise your own four-week Flute Boot Camp. There are no “right” or “wrong” ways to organize your Boot Camp. Simply select exercises and repertoire that you know you will practice (and love) and new pieces that will inspire you.



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WEEK 1 – Back to Bach

Long Tones – Trevor Wye Practice Book on Tone. All lower register exercises.

Scales/Articulation  – Taffanel and Gaubert Exercise #4. Alternate continuous slurs and single tonguing every other day.

Flexibility Exercises – Taffanel and Gaubert Exercise #12. Have rememorized by end of week.

Etudes – Bachstudien (Studies on Bach), Select 1-2 etudes

Excerpts – Polonaise and Badinerie from Bach’s Orchestral Suite #2 in B Minor

Revisit Repertoire – Bach Sonata in C Major (rememorize first movement by end of week)

New Repertoire – Bach Sonata in E Minor (not a “new” piece, but one I will be programing on a near future recital)


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WEEK 2 – Missing Mozart

Long Tones – Trevor Wye Practice Book on Tone – All middle register exercises.

Scales/Articulation – Taffanel and Gaubert Exercise #4. Alternate “coos” with chirps (or “air puffs”) every other day.

Flexibility Exercises – Taffanel and Gaubert – Exercise #10. Practice 1 new page per day.

Etudes – Karg Elert 30 studies, Opus 107 (select 1-2 etudes)

Excerpts – Beethoven Leonore Overture No. 3 (Opening-mm. 36, mm. 328-360)

Revisit Repertoire – Mozart Concerto in G Major. Work to have first movement rememorized by the end of the week.

New Repertoire – Poulenc Sonata (another not so “new” piece, but one I would like to program for an upcoming recital)


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WEEK 3 – French Frenzy

Long Tones – Trevor Wye Practice Book on Tone – Transitions from middle to high registers

Scales/Articulation – Taffanel and Gaubert Exercise #4. All double tonguing, alternating days between “too-coo” and “duc-ky”

Flexibility Exercises – Trevor Wye Practice Book on Tone. Flexibility exercise #1.

Etudes – Furstenau Bouquet Des Tons (edited by Moyse) (select 1-2 etudes)

Excerpts – Debussy Afternoon of a Faun, Daphnis and Chloe

Revisit Repertoire – Faure Fantasie. Work on rememorizing by end of the week.

New Repertoire – Dutilleux Sonata. Another piece I would like to program on an upcoming recital.


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WEEK 4 – Twentieth Century in 2020

Long Tones – Trevor Wye Practice Book on Tone – All high register exercises.

Scales/Articulation – Taffanel and Gaubert Exercise #1. Change articulation with every new scale from single tonguing, “coos,” and double tonguing

Flexibility Exercises – Trevor Wye Practice Book on Articulation. Flexibility exercise #2

Etudes – The dreaded Jean Jean etudes. True Flute Boot Camp material! Select 1 exercise.

Excerpts – Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis – Movement III, Peter and the Wolf (all excerpts)

Revisit Repertoire – Nielsen Concerto. Work on rememorizing first movement by the end of the week.

New Repertoire – Lieberman Sonata. Another piece to program for my next recital.


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Are you also trying to get your flute playing back on track in 2020? What does your Flute Boot Camp program look like? What exercises do you find essential? What pieces do you revisit from time to time and what new repertoire are you adding to your 2020 practice list? Please comment below.


Happy Fluting!



It’s a Small Flute World After All

Happy Friday! I’m baaaaack. One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2020 is to get back on my Flute Friday game. I may not post EVERY Friday, but in the coming weeks I will have short (or not so short) posts covering various topics relating to performing, teaching, repertoire, new products, and general fluting tips and tricks. With that said, I welcome any suggestions for topics. Please comment below or send me a private message.

If you haven’t checked out your flute horoscopes in a while, please visit to see what January 2020 holds for your flute playing.

For those of you that follow my Facebook or Instagram pages, you will likely know that my husband and I are Disneyland fanatics. At a recent visit to the Happiest Place on Earth, I noticed a number of representations of characters playing the flute on the It’s A Small World ride. Way to represent, Disney! However, there seemed to be a bit of inconsistency in the position of the flute relative to the body. Perhaps this was intended to add to the playful and whimsical nature of the Disneyland environment or maybe we are meant to face our preconceived judgments of what is “correct” and “not correct” and simply co-exist with the “not correct” for a while. Of course, they may have just had it wrong. But what is “right” and what is “wrong” after all? Okay, I’m getting too philosophical on a Friday evening… For the purposes of this post, I am going to classify the flute positioned to the right of the character as “traditional” and to the left as “non-traditional.” What do you think? Do you think these inconsistencies were created on purpose? Comment below!

It’s a Small World – Photo #1, Traditional (flute to the character’s right)



It’s a Small World – Photo #2, Traditional (flute to the character’s right)



It’s a Small World – Photo #3, Non-Traditional (flute to the character’s left)



It’s a Small World – Photo #4, Non-Traditional (flute to the character’s left)



Do you have any photos of Disney characters playing the flute? Have you noticed these inconsistencies before? Do you think these characters add to the whimsy of the park? Please comment below!


Happy Fluting!

Announcement: Flute Friday Hiatus

Happy Wednesday, Everybody!

I am pleased to announce that I will be publishing a Critical Edition of the Altes Method with Oxford University Press! This project is based on my culminating DMA paper, expanded and improved of course, with the objective of bringing this wonderful pre-French Flute School collection in it’s original form out of the archives and into flute studios everywhere. Hopefully even yours!


As I will transcribing and writing away on this book for the next several months, I will need to temporarily step away from Flute Friday postings. Flute Friday will appear intermittently during this time. Please follow me on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) for updates on future postings.

Remember to also check your Flute Horoscopes each month on The Flute View .

Please DM me if you have any questions about this project or any burning flute related inquires. Always happy to help out my fellow flute divas near and far!

Happy Fluting (until further notice)!!!

Flute Meme Friday: Animals and Flutes

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday.


I don’t know about all of you, but with the beginning of the new school year well underway, and both Mars and Mercury going forward, my World has become a bit bonkers. I thought we would take things a little easy this week and simply enjoy a few pictures of animals playing the flute! Have fun and relax this weekend. Leave the cram practicing until Monday.

Enjoy! 🙂

Animals and Flutes