Education

See Your Sound. By Shelly Granger

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in Articles, Education, Featured, February 2015, Issues | 1 comment

See Your Sound.  By Shelly Granger

See Your Sound: Using Music Visualization for Teaching and Practicing Our smart phones and devices have the power to process and display sound in exciting and innovative ways. We are carrying around mini super computers able to perform real-time computations and graphics rendering unachievable by the most powerful computers built only two or three decades ago. Harnessing this power and convenience and putting it to work to create tools for musicians has long been a goal of mine. I believe that current tuner technology can benefit from combining real-time pitch detection and data-driven visualization, made both possible and practical by our portable mini super computers. I recently partnered with a former flute student of mine from California Polytechnic State University (who majored in Computer Science), Doug Gallatin. We combined my ideas and vision with his coding and technical skills and created a music visualization tuner, Quantz Tuner. Quantz tuner allows you to see your pitch in real-time, observe vibrato, and record and review your pitch and vibrato tendencies. In this article, I will discuss how to use this new visual tuner in teaching and practicing.   QUANTZ TUNER The Quantz Tuner App currently has four main visualization tools. Each tool uses a different visualization to respond to pitch, but they are driven by the same lightning fast pitch-detection algorithm. As your pitch moves, the tools respond immediately with no visible lag time. You can change responsiveness, calibrate to any pitch, and make many other customizations in the settings.    Tuning Circle (aka Vibrato Circle) The first tool is the Tuning Circle. Tuning Circle shows your pitch as a colored circle. As your pitch flattens, the circle flattens with it. As the pitch goes sharp the circle stretches vertically. When the circle is perfectly round, your pitch is in tune. The Tuning Circle is sensitive enough to show the speed and pitch fluctuations of your vibrato as well.   TEACHING TIPS: Use this tool to watch your pitch as you play long tones and slow scales. Beginners especially love this visual tool because of the immediate positive feedback. The circle responds before many people can hear that the pitch has moved. It trains the ear to be more sensitive to pitch fluctuations. When teaching vibrato, use Tuning Circle to demonstrate what it should look like and have students try to imitate the motion of the circle. The real-time, visual feedback helps students to hear the small pitch fluctuations in vibrato and they learn how to imitate it very quickly. Advanced players can view and gain greater control over their vibrato speed and depth.   PITCH LINE: This super sensitive line shows your pitch in real time on a scrolling graph and records what you play so that you can look back at your pitch history. You can even use this tool to learn to play quartertones and microtones. Pitch line is sensitive enough to detect your vibrato’s speed, depth, and regularity throughout your instrument or vocal range.    TEACHING TIPS: Use this tool to help more advanced players explore what their pitch is doing when they begin notes, play long tones and end notes. They can learn about how volume and range affect pitch by watching the tool as they play. Fix those sharp “D’s” and stop going flat at...

read more

Decoding to Fluency. By Erin Moon-Kelly

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in Articles, Education, Featured, February 2015, Issues | 1 comment

Decoding to Fluency.  By Erin Moon-Kelly

Achieving the “Effortless Performance” Using Dee Hansen’s Progression of Music Literacy Theory in the Practice Room and in the Rehearsal Hall Time for battle! All of us have encountered a passage in our music that has caused the “fight or flight” response. During these passages, our muscles tense, our heart rates increase (along with our tempo), and we sometimes stop playing all together. Occasionally, our muscles will lock up, which causes the overall tempo to drag. Despite hours of working on that same darn passage, we cannot match our performances to simulate those that we hear on Your Tube posts of the concerts at Carnegie Hall. Sound familiar? Here is the secret. Our brains need time to send signals to our muscles in order to take in information and coordinate an exterior response based on that information. All individuals have an optimum speed-the fastest speed that one can perform a task with the fewest mistakes. If that optimum speed suddenly pushed to work at a dramatically higher pace, the brain does one of two things: attempts to process the information faster creating more errors (fight) or cancels signals to certain muscles to protect it from over processing (flight). Dee Henson, author of The Music and Literacy Connection (MENC, Rowman, and Littlefield), argues that the human brain and, in turn, the muscles in the human body process information best if the complexity level of music literacy GRADUALLY increases. Figure 1 illustrates Hansen’s Progression of Music Literacy Theory.     Figure 1: Hansen’s Progression of Music Literacy Theory Cognitive Level Title of Music Literacy Level Traits of Music Literacy Level Low Emerging Phonological Awareness- ability to discriminate between sounds (high vs. low; loud vs. soft).  Phonemic Awareness- ability to understand the smallest units of language and sound in isolation. Middle Decoding Sight Identification- ability to recognize “high-utility common music symbols by glancing at them” (Chappell, 46).  Orthographic Awareness- ability to read all of the music symbols as a complete language with little study/practice time at a slow tempo.   Cueing System Awareness- ability to combine all of the music symbols together at a slow tempo to form a complete musical idea that makes sense in the current musical setting.[1] High Fluency Ability to clearly express musical ideas with a complete understanding of the artistic and fundamental aspects of the music at a slow tempo.  Ability to gradually increase the tempo on the metronome after 3 to 5 repetitions enabling the mind and the body to relax while simultaneously increasing the complexity level of the current task. Ability to achieve an “effortless performance” that is enjoyable and makes sense to both the audience and the performers (Chappell, 46-47).   Most of us love listening to professional recordings on our IPods and watching professional performances on You Tube. This is how we select the music that we REALLY want to learn and ultimately perform. We become so excited and impatient to recreate these performances that we sometimes skip the “decoding” stage and speed right to the end of the fluency stage (“effortless performance”). Such an action can lead to muscle lock, muscle tension, phasing and intonation problems, incorrect posture and playing technique, and an overwhelming amount of pitch and rhythm errors (Chappell, 47). Can we REALLY achieve an “effortless performance” based on the...

read more

The Flutist’s Introduction to Digital Marketing: 5 Steps to Success. By Amanda Taylor

Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in Articles, Education, Essays, Featured, Issues, November 2014 | 3 comments

The Flutist’s Introduction to Digital Marketing: 5 Steps to Success.  By Amanda Taylor

Two years ago I spent hours creating a website, joining social media sites, and creating invitations to recitals. To my dismay, none of these efforts got traction. My website had around ten visits a week and my Facebook events didn’t convince people to come to my recitals. During the same time, I began to learn from a friend about SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). After googling “flute lessons tallahassee, FL,” my website listing appeared on the third page of my search engine results. I was competing against two dozen other websites, including a handful of corporations who had much more money, time, and resources (Think GigMasters, Thumbtack or Takelessons.com). The Internet has changed many things about making a living as musician. We are living in a world that is oversaturated with information. There are many benefits to having this information at our fingertips, but how can we use it to get gigs or cultivate a vibrant teaching studio? How can we compete against large corporations who dominate the digital domain? I’ve made an effort to educate myself on how digital marketing works and how, as an independent artist, I can manipulate the Internet to meet my goals. Digital marketing isn’t a substitute for the kind of homegrown word-of-mouth advertising you get from your local community, but having a great digital marketing strategy can take your playing and teaching exposure to the next level.   This article is intended to be a step-by-step guide to how to use digital marketing to improve your flute studio, get gigs, or polish your online persona.   Step 1. Create your niche--be weird. How are you different from other musicians in your area? How can you be different? This is a personal question that has no right or wrong answer. If you’re drawing a blank, sketch out a mission statement. Out of all the steps in this article, this one is the most important. Deciding who you are as a performer or as a teacher will guide you as you create marketing materials. Boil your mission statement down to two sentences. Be able to state what you do in 15 seconds or less. For example, here is mine: As a flute performer and teacher, I’m committed to incorporating a variety of technology platforms--iPhone apps, smart music, and recording software--to connect with my students in order to create life-long musicians and flute-enthusiasts.   Here is a great resource for drafting a “fluff-free” mission statement.   Step 2. Create beautiful digital photos and graphics to solidify your persona. It is no secret people are attracted to fine graphics and photography. When words fail, a classy photograph can say a thousand words. Photography: If you don’t have great photos, get them. No, I don’t mean going to your cousin for some good iPhone shots. Hire “or barter with” a good photographer who has expertise in producing good digital and print photography. Even if you can’t afford a custom-made website, using great photos on a template site will take your credibility to the next level. Investigate other professional graphics. Having a professionally designed logo can strengthen your image. I recommend hiring a freelance designer on www.odesk.com where you can find affordable rates.   Step 3. Create a website to display your digital materials and content. If you don’t...

read more

Bringing Classical Music to the Congo. By Kaori Fujii

Posted by on Oct 4, 2014 in Articles, Education, Essays, Featured, Issues, October 2014 | 0 comments

Bringing Classical Music to the Congo.  By Kaori Fujii

So….. how do I begin… I have established Music Beyond with my business partner, former student, fellow flutist, Nana Aomori.  As many of you may know, there are so many passionate musicians all over the world despite any sort of formal training or any support.  I have seen them and worked with them about 10 years ago in Central and South America.  I have always wanted to find way to do something with them ever since my first encounters with these talented and underprivileged musicians. At the beginning of this year, I was invited to a multi-professional summit in Columbia University as a guest speaker, and to my delight I met serveral successful professionals, business consultants, ex army special force agents, biochemists.   What inspired me about them is that they all had found a way to use their talents and skills to make a positive impact on the world. It was such a humbling and eye-opening experienced for me.  I realized how my career had been all about ME all these years....  Which concert hall have I performed in?  How many albums do I have?  Which renowned artists have I collaborated with?  How many competitions have I won? etc. So then I began to think if there if there was anything I could do to make a positive impact outside the concert halls and studios of my world??? After several months, it hit me. — What if I could work with those incredibly passionate musicians in underserved areas to help them become music teachers? There are many countries where there are so many problems and instabilities.  Many people truly struggle everyday to survive, which makes it hard for them to find fulfillment in their lives.  And lack of fulfillment often results in more problems and crimes.  Yet there are always some very special people who have such a strong will, passion and determination to use music to be fulfilled.  Our hope is to give them more confidence as musicians and the chance to teach the gift of music to the younger generations;   to create a self-sustained music community, thereby having a long lasting, positive impact in the wider community. We have chosen Kinshasa - DRC as our first project.  There is an orchestra called the Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra, aka Kinshasa Symphony.  Here is a short clip of an German documentary about them if you are interested -  http://youtu.be/_vTk0XsgZV4. There are over 200 self-taught musicians in the orchestra! Nana and I went Congo in June for a research to work with them.  The experience was just phenomenal!  They all work million jobs each day to survive, yet they come to the rehearsal site between jobs, and practice for HOURS.  They say they play music because that’s when they can “think”, “reflect”, "be themselves", “feel", and “pray”.  Their passion, dedication and humility is something I have never ever experienced before, and we are so determined and inspired to work with them! We want to go to Kinshasa a minimum of 4 times in order to give them proper guidance both as performers and teachers.  And for that, we have launched a crowd funding campaign through Indiegogo.  Here is the campaign site: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/music-teacher-training-in-drc-africa/   With love, Kaori Fujii...

read more

Back to School: Review, Perfect, and Learn at Every Level. By Lindsey Goodman

Posted by on Sep 1, 2014 in Articles, Education, Featured, Issues, September 2014 | 0 comments

Back to School: Review, Perfect, and Learn at Every Level.  By Lindsey Goodman

No matter your age, September always feels like a fresh start. From an early morning temperature nip to yellow school busses parading through your neighborhood, and from that first crunchy leaf on the sidewalk to new outfits in your closet, there is a palpable feeling of potential in the air that comes with an impending academic year. Whether you are a teacher or a student, back to school means it is time to take stock, reassess, and look ahead. As musicians, we never stop learning, and there is no better time to remind ourselves of this fact than in September. Now is the ideal moment to review our previous knowledge, perfect our current skill sets, and learn new concepts. As flutists, three of our primary areas of emphasis are tone, technique, and musicianship, so applying the review, perfect, and learn strategy to each of these headers can help channel our new-found resolve towards personal musical improvement. No one approach will be right for each individual, but, below are suggested exercises, concepts, and practices for an average middle school, high school, and undergraduate flutist to undertake in each sphere. Some have a distinctly schoolroom feel (like making flash cards to review key signatures), while others are decidedly more esoteric (like finding what makes you happy as a musician), but all are designed as jumping-off points for further individual study into personal weaknesses, strengths, and fields ripe for continued improvement. If you are a student, discuss a year-long plan, including short- and long-term goals, with your instructor, check in regularly about your progress, and always be willing to go above and beyond (when was the last time you asked for an extra weekly etude, or defined all of the terms in a new piece before being asked?). If you are a teacher, make “new year’s resolutions” with your students, be sure that practice guidelines and recommendations are well defined, and brainstorm creative ways to keep that “first day of school” excitement burning bright all the way until the last day of spring semester.   Go ahead: bust out a fresh number 2 pencil, practice notebook, and nine-volt battery for your metronome. Cross your heart, making a promise to check in weekly and monthly with your personal plan to review, perfect, and learn, and take your flute back to school!     Review: MIDDLE SCHOOL tone *accurate body map and usage of lungs, diaphragm, and intercostal muscles *  intonation tendencies of registers, dynamics, and individual flute *  breathing and long tone exercises with metronome technique *chromatic fingerings over known range *  all known one-octave major scales and arpeggios * eighth- and sixteenth-note facility musicianship *note values, rest values, and simple time signatures *circle of fifths *most recent solo repertoire   HIGH SCHOOL tone *  Moyse De La Sonorite long tones with tuner *  vibrato control basics with speed and amplitude *harmonic exercises technique *all major scales and arpeggios two octaves *full-range chromatic scale *diaphragm articulation exercises with metronome musicianship *theory/history basics: circle of fifths, minors, chords, forms, musical periods *large ensemble, chamber, and collaborative piano rehearsing and performing *successful sight-reading strategies   UNDERGRADUATE tone *Wye Practice Book for the Flute: Volume 1 - Tone *harmonic and whistle tone exercises *a healthy, happy daily relationship with the tuner technique *Taffanel and Gaubert 17...

read more

Welcome Back to School: Your Career Starts Now! By Nicole Riner

Posted by on Sep 1, 2014 in Articles, Education, Featured, Issues, September 2014 | 0 comments

Welcome Back to School: Your Career Starts Now!  By Nicole Riner

As a music major in college, you’re not just a student trying to better yourself-- you have embarked upon a rigorous program of professional training. And we keep you very busy during those college years, prescribing intense course loads and applying high expectations to your musical development.  It’s easy to momentarily lose sight of the reason you chose to study music in the first place, but you can take charge of your own direction (and happiness)! Just remember these things... PRACTICE FLEXIBLE THINKING EVERY DAY Your new flute teacher just told you to do something completely different from what you learned in high school? Dedicate yourself to this new idea wholeheartedly and with faith in your teacher. If it doesn’t work for you, you’ll both know it and can make adjustments, but you’ll never really know if you don’t thoroughly test the new technique. You were first chair in all-state band four years in a row and now you’re at the bottom of the heap in your studio? Embrace the opportunity to learn from your older, more experienced peers and be inspired by all that the people in your studio have accomplished--you will become a leader, too, in time. Be always open to new ideas and ready to learn from other people.  Not just now, but forever. DEVELOP MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS Let your teachers get to know you so that they can be the best mentors possible. Your relationship with your mentors can (and should!) last a lifetime. Be a good colleague to your classmates. Seek out classmates who inspire you and cultivate musical friendships. Your classmates today will be your colleagues in the future. LEARN THE ART OF TIME MANAGEMENT When I was a student, I thought that my schedule was artificially crazy.  I was sure that when I graduated and was more “in charge” of my own schedule, life would be much more manageable. I was so wrong. The the lost time that goes into attending classes and doing homework as a student has merely been replaced by other things, like emergency coachings of student ensembles at 10pm, long drives to gigs, developing and updating self-promotional materials and acting as my own business manager, and much more.  It’s all stimulating work and keeps life exciting, but you can easily lose track of the hours and neglect certain responsibilities, like (ahem) practicing.  Learn now to account for your time down to the last minute so that you can practice sufficiently every day, even if it’s broken up into lots of small units of time, and don’t forget to TAKE YOUR CLASSES SERIOUSLY  Your music theory and history classes are making you a better, smarter musician and teacher. Take general-credit classes (those much-bemoaned “gen eds”) that interest you and might feed into your career goals. And even when you can’t see the point in a class, take it seriously and get an A. If you’re planning on going to graduate school, that high GPA will put you at the top of the list for scholarships and assistantship consideration. TACKLE CHALLENGES HEAD-ON If you know that you suffer from performance anxiety, make sure you are forcing yourself to perform regularly to become more comfortable on stage. When you’re in the practice room, don’t waste time playing the things you already know;...

read more

Considering the Music Major? By Dr. Patricia Surman

Posted by on Sep 1, 2014 in Articles, Education, Featured, Issues, September 2014 | 0 comments

Considering the Music Major?  By Dr. Patricia Surman

As a university flute professor, I spend a lot of time talking with high school and new university students about choosing their major. Here are some important points to consider as you prepare to make this decision. Keeping Things in Order Degree Sequence The music degree is a unique one; in music we start our core major classes in the very first semester. Unlike business or education (or almost every other degree on the university campus) we don’t frontload our schedule with general education requirements and wait until our junior year to take the upper division courses. Music majors begin the degree with music theory, ear training and piano class. Because these classes are sequential, it is important to get on the right track from day one. This is why it is important to have the decision made before the school year begins, starting the sequence of core music classes can save you a great deal of time at the end of your degree. Having Your Cake and Eating It Too Double-Majoring Sometimes you don’t have to pick just one! If you are passionate about playing the flute, but nervous about the developing a career after graduation, a double major might be a really great option for you. This allows you to give yourself (and your family) permission to fully invest into your music major and know that you will have several viable career options once you are done. If you are really clever, you will choose another major that also supports your future goals. For example, if you would like to become a professional flutist, consider business or marketing. At the end of the day, a professional flutist is their own brand and their own company...these business skills will come in handy! What Do You REALLY Want? Know Yourself, Know Your Major The better you know yourself and the more you know about the major, the easier it is to make the decision. Spend time in quiet reflection, keep a journal and talk to respected friends and colleagues. My students tell me that the hardest thing about being a music major is how much hard work it takes. It is one thing to have someone tell you that it takes hard work and dedication; it is another thing entirely to experience that for yourself. If you decide to be a music major, prepare yourself by being organized, developing good practice habits skills and learning time management BEFORE you get to college. Every great flutist that I know has these skills down! Try It Before You Buy It The Campus Visit I highly recommend making time to do a campus visit. Contact your local university flute professor and arrange to shadow a flute student for the day. I would recommend doing this earlier in your high school studies, you will learn things that will shape your decision making process. Not only do you get a sneak-peek, you also will probably make new friends who can give you the real inside scoop! The Decision Isn’t Etched in Stone You Can’t REALLY Know Until You Try It On Try it on! The only way to truly know whether ANY major is for you is to try it out. All you can do is make the best decision for yourself at the...

read more

Back to School Tips. By Dr. Tammy Evans Yonce

Posted by on Sep 1, 2014 in Articles, Education, Featured, Issues, September 2014 | 0 comments

Back to School Tips.  By Dr. Tammy Evans Yonce

Whether this is your first year of college or you’re used to the drill, it’s helpful to consider a few reminders to make this academic year the most positive and productive one yet. •    Make sure that you block off time in your schedule specifically for practicing. Avoid using it for lunch, socializing, homework, errands, sleeping, and so forth. As a musician, practicing is part of your job, so treat it with professionalism. •    Write your designated practice time in your schedule. Enter it into your online planner. Set a reminder on your phone. Make sure it ends up wherever you will see it until it becomes habit. •    Arrange your practice time for when you practice best. Some people love getting work done first thing in the morning before anyone else is around to be a distraction. Others work best late at night. Maybe right before or after lunch is when you’re most alert. Figure out when your most effective practice time is and make sure you schedule around that. A reasonable amount of focused practice is better than lots of unfocused practice. •    Your practice time doesn’t have to be one large block. Maybe you have 30 free minutes between classes early in the morning. That’s perfect for your warm-up! You can then schedule another practice session for technical work and repertoire, or you can split that work into two sessions. •    Finally, if you’re having trouble, ask for help! Professors really are interested in helping you succeed, but we can’t do that if we aren’t aware of your concerns. Have a great...

read more

Sir James Galway’s FIRST FLUTE

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Articles, Education, Essays, Featured, Interviews, Issues, May 2014 | 0 comments

Sir James Galway’s FIRST FLUTE

First Flute, The Foundations Lesson Series. Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway have released Sir James’s new online series of lessons and more called First Flute.  The first 15 lessons are titled: The Foundations Lesson Series and includes: •    15 lessons of video instruction •    Important basics like proper posture and fingering •    Tips & Cautions •    Your “Practice Room” with downloadable sheet music •    Repertoire •    Extensive glossary of musical terms •    Biographical information on composers •    Exclusive concert footage   Through this course, Sir James shares his invaluable technical advice and personal secrets for success with flutists seeking to improve their skills. The Flute View’s Barbara Siesel, had the opportunity to interview both Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway this week for The Flute View, to find out more about First Flute for our readers.  They had a rousing conversation!!   Barbara: How did you get the idea to put together a complete online series? Sir James:  It’s been an idea that’s been fermenting for a few years. Lady Jeanne: We started over three years ago-we have a friend who kept pushing us to do it.  James is a techie from way back; he was an early user of email, loves computers, it's been a hobby of his!  So doing something online is very James Galway!   Barbara: What, if any, challenges were there? SJ and LJ: Lots! Sir James: For example: we wanted to change around the altar in the church we were recording all the repertoire pieces in for filming, and they wouldn’t let us! Finding a place to record the lessons was also difficult from an extraneous noise point of view. Finding a room big enough to fit in two camera crews and a sound engineer. There were lots of different little things that crop up as soon as you start to record.   Barbara: Is First Flute scripted? Lady Jeanne: No! This drove the camera crew and editors completely crazy!! Actually there were a lot of challenges because Sir James doesn’t work from a script.   We turned to a team who has worked with James since the 1970’s at the BBC and know him very well.  When we got to recording the repertoire pieces they would ask – what’s next? And I would say “It’s up to James."  They got used to it!  We did script the first few lessons for the beginners as it was very important to share his thoughts on how to teach beginners.  Everything for the beginners was written by Sir James including the section on blowing into bottles.  I bought many books...50 flute books, and as we looked through the books James said, “Look, kids are more intelligent than this.  This is the way I teach the foundations, let’s not have one note for four pages!" Sir James: Kids are really smart, and we shouldn’t talk down to them. They respond much better if you are talking to them as you would an adult. Lady Jeanne: We did the lessons in two days. The venue was in London’s famous Chester Square where Baroness Thatcher lived. Sir James: And we recorded the repertoire in Dublin at St. Stephen’s church, known as Pepper Canister Church, with pianist Michael McHale. Lady Jeanne: We filmed the 15 lessons in two days. ...

read more

Auditioning for Graduate School- Finishing the Journey

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Articles, Education, Essays, Featured, Issues, May 2014 | 0 comments

Auditioning for Graduate School- Finishing the Journey

I would be the first person to buy a piece of merchandise that reads “I survived grad school auditions, 2014.”  Once auditioning ended, admission decisions were received, and financial aid packages arrived, I was emotionally drained.  This was the most stressful portion of the application process.   I could figuratively see “the glass ceiling” looming above me, and my dreams on the other side. I auditioned for four schools, and did not receive four acceptances.  Receiving the “waitlist” notification from one school felt like being told “I’d date you- if you got a nose job or lost 20 pounds.”  My last admission decision was a rejection letter.  Upon reading the letter’s text, which seemed burned into the paper, I found myself crying in my professor’s office.   Amazingly, this was the first time I have cried during “grad school season.”   I sat in “the comfy chair” across from his desk, as my poor professor tried to appease me.  Through make up smeared eyes, I muttered a jarble of overly dramatic and self-negative phrases.  It took about 30 minutes of moping (and redoing my makeup) to regain my composure and leave my professor’s office.   After that afternoon, I realized how stupid it was to feel sorry for myself.  Every single one of my colleagues have either been waitlisted or rejected this year.  As a typically naïve 22 year old, I was convinced that long practice hours and a nice application would earn me four acceptance letters. Since preparing for auditions, I have asked myself “why am I going to grad school?” The answer has evolved, and I learned a lot about myself through the process. Here are some of the “wrong” reasons to attend graduate school: “I need to prove to myself that I am smart.”   You’re not going to graduate school to “prove” a single, darn, thing.  Advanced degrees are designed for a student to develop a specialized skill set.  Everyone knows that life experience, books, and good ol’ practice time can be just as beneficial as coursework.  At this point in my life, I don’t need a flutist two or three times my age telling me to do basic things, like practice scales every day.  What I do need is a teacher with unique outlooks on musicality and a keen sense of criticism.  It would be possible to keep learning, even if I weren’t enrolled in a graduate program next fall. “I’m going to avoid paying undergrad student loans for a while longer.”  It will cost tens of thousands of dollars for graduate school.  Sure, I will have some debt, but I believe my qualifications will allow me to be successful.  If I were truly interested in avoiding student loans, I would choose to not pursue an advanced degree this fall. “What will people think if I don’t go to grad school immediately after undergrad?” Some of my colleagues have “turned their nose up” at classmates choosing to take time off after their BM.  Some of them are even choosing different career paths. When a hefty portion of your undergrad friends are applying and auditioning, it feels like an “obligation” to do the same.  To be fair, all of my colleagues and I have spent our whole lives in school, and it is hard to imagine ourselves being a part...

read more