Essays

The Flute’s Mainstream Moment. By Mara Miller and Justine Stephens

Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Articles, Blog, Essays, Featured, Issues, May 2017 | 0 comments

The Flute’s Mainstream Moment. By Mara Miller and Justine Stephens

As one of the oldest wind instruments, the flute is a staple in Eastern music, classical music, and jazz due in no small part to its versatility in tone and character. Even the presence of flute in modern popular music has become prevalent and widespread across genres. Typically hidden within orchestral or MIDI sounds, the "come up" of individual flute lines, riffs, and motifs is not something new, but highly used in today's world. Did the flute's mainstream culture visibility start with Will Farrell's jazz flute appearance as Ron Burgandy in the 2004 motion picture Anchorman? How about rock band Jethro Tull's 1972 tune Living in the Past? Ian Anderson's extended technique flute solo in the song caught listeners' attention. Did the use of a MIDI flute on Britney Spears' Criminal serve as ignition for 2017's flute-filled comeback? The saxophone similarly had a "mainstream" moment in 2013 with Jason Derulo's hit Talk Dirty. These appearances of the flute could have easily influenced songwriters to shift their focus to the flute years later. Nevertheless, all of these songs—amongst many others—bring us to the present. Drake, one of the most buzzed-about artists, opens his collab Portland alongside rappers Quavo and Travis Scott with what sounds like a pan flute riff. Most recently and most notably, rapper Future featured a simple four-bar flute solo (sampled from the 1976 musical Selma) in combination with a MIDI drum over the flow of his rap in Mask Off.   Mask Off became an instant hit, but of course it had its doubters. GQ's Miles Raymer asks "Why is Flute Rap having a moment right now?" He critiques the flute as "an incredibly wack instrument. Possibly the wackest", yet following up with its success via the #MaskOffChallenge, touting the flute as "one of the stickiest trends in hip-hop production." NPR's Brendan Frederick describes Mask Off as a "soulful 70's song being sampled, which is sort of a sound that you're not used to hearing in modern trap music. And then it really contrasts nicely with this sort of harder...more traditional trap drums that you're used to hearing. And that gives it sort of a throwback sound, but something that's still connected to modern hip-hop." Mask Off launched an online fandom of young flutists—and later, other instrumentalists—covering the solo. In accordance with any online viral video, this was then paired with a hashtag and became aptly known as the #MaskOffChallenge. At the time that we decided to pursue our 15 seconds of fame with the #MaskOffChallenge, there were already quite a few of the videos circulating the Internet. The best thing about this challenge, in our opinion, was the intersection between pop culture and using a classically rooted instrument to then blend the two mediums. We decided to create our challenge by means of the Acapella app, a collaborative and multi-frame video recorder and editor. Incorporating beatbox, flutebox, rap, and the infamous tune, we opted for a nine-frame video and shifted the key up a half step (on the actual song, the key is a semi-tone between D and Eb). Tagging and hashtagging away on our social media channels, six hours had barely passed before the artist Future himself featured our cover on his Facebook page. The video racked in over 3,500 likes, 155,000 views, over 300...

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Optimal Musical Communication. by Catherine Ramirez

Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Articles, Essays, Featured, Issues, May 2017 | 0 comments

Optimal Musical Communication.  by Catherine Ramirez

  This article first appeared in the winter 2014 issue of The Flutist Quarterly, the member magazine of the National Flute Association, and is reprinted with permission. nfaonline.org. THE VALUE OF OPTIMAL COMMUNICATION A master musician can captivate an audience before ever playing a note. A subtle change of tone can entice distracted listeners into the music, and keep them there. Musicians have been known to enrapture a crowd in such a way that these listeners still remember a particular performance decades later. While the ability of great soloists to capture and sustain the attention of an audience has intrigued me for many years, the motivation to research the topic of optimal communication resulted from negative experiences at concerts which left me feeling dull and tired, rather than alive and fulfilled. Musicians have an outstanding responsibility. With their power to harness and direct audience emotions, to heal and soothe the psyche, and even to alter states of being through music, great performers have ample opportunity to draw audiences in, simply through an improved experience of the music itself. This article focuses on the soloist’s path to direct musical communication and aims to supply useful information for the aspiring soloist and advanced or professional level flutist. Studying successful soloists and, from their perspective, their own abilities to engage with audiences, reveals what artists’ define as optimal communication and clarifies what it is that effective performers go through, work on, and do in preparation and in performance in order to make meaningful connections with an audience. Giving world-class performing musicians a voice – using their actual words to describe what they think and how they feel, especially during optimal performances – may provide greater insight into the most profound benefits of music and its significant power and importance in all human cultures. OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE The idea of “optimal performance” can be linked to that of “optimal experience” as generalized by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, as follows: Optimal experiences are situations in which attention can be freely invested  to achieve a person’s goals, because there is no disorder to straighten out,  no threat for the self to defend against….[They are often referred to as] flow experiences.1 Other authors have simplified the definition of “flow” to refer to experiences in which one’s “skills are fully preoccupied with a task.”2 In other words, rather than making a casual effort, a performer experiencing flow uses high degrees of intention, commitment, and intensity at every level of study, rehearsal, and delivery. Such powerful processes help musicians eliminate (or at least significantly reduce) the psychological and physical barriers between themselves and the audience. It’s this direct connection that allows performers to musically communicate with other musicians and the audience so that everyone is not only engaged, but also taken by the performance into a musical realm of existence often accompanied by a sense of timelessness, and an acute awareness of the personally significant meaning of the moment. CONNECTION When touched by a meaningful moment, what does that ‘connection’ feel like? This research formally recognizes 38 nationally and internationally known flute soloists who participated in this study by making available their personal descriptions about the most meaningful musical connections they have experienced with audiences. Describing that connection, they used the following words: an invisible relationship, strong tie, connection of energy, reaching out, drawing...

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On Playing Mother Goose. By Allison Fletcher

Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Articles, Essays, Featured, Issues, May 2017 | 0 comments

On Playing Mother Goose.  By Allison Fletcher

An Historical and Stylistic Analysis of the Piccolo Solos in Ravel’s Ma mère l’oye (1911), III. “Laideronnette, Impératrice des pagodes Adapted from Fletcher, Allison Marie Flores. “Ten Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo: An Historical and Stylistic Analysis.” DMA Dissertation, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2008.   Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) composed the nursery tale suite Ma mère l’oye in 1908 to entertain the children of his friends Ida and Cipa Godebski. The family spent their summers at a house called La Grangette, or the Little Barn, which was where Ravel wrote the piano pieces while on a visit. Ravel was devoted to the Godebski children, Jean and Mimie, and used to bring them toys and romp about with them. When the publisher Jacques Durand came to visit Ravel and the Godebskis, the composer had the girls play for Durand a little duet piece he had written for them. The publisher was intrigued by the performance and asked Ravel to further expand the idea. Ravel completed the set of four pieces for piano four-hands and dedicated them to Jean and Mimie, although Mimie was too terrified to perform in public. Two different little girls, Jeanne Leleu (age 6) and Geneviève Durony (age 10), performed the premiere on 20 April 1910 at the Salle Gaveau. Ravel orchestrated and expanded the work into a ballet score in 1911, and Gabriel Grovlez conducted the premiere of the ballet version in January 1912 at the Paris Théâtre des Arts. The ballet version was published in the same month as the premiere in an edition of one hundred sets of the full score. The concert version, or suite, from the ballet contains the original five piano pieces. Ravel arranged the five pieces, or tableaux, which make up the piano and orchestral suite versions of Ma mère l’oye to form a large arch with slow first and last movements, moderate second and fourth movements, and a fast middle movement. The source for “Laideronnette, Impératrice des pagodes” is the story Serpentin Vert (Green Dragon) by Marie-Catherine Baronne d’Aulnoy (c. 1650-1705). D’Aulnoy’s nursery tale Serpentin Vert chronicles the adventures and misfortunes of Laideronnette, or Little Ugly, a princess who was made quite unattractive by a wicked fairy. Laideronnette sailed accidentally to a far-away enchanted palace where she fell in love with the king, who had been transformed into a green dragon by the same evil fairy. In the scene Ravel chose to set to music, Laideronnette is entertained by tiny enchanted toy figurines. The text from Serpentin Vert printed in the score may be translated to English as follows: She undressed and got into the bath. Immediately the toy mandarins and mandarinesses began to sing and to play instruments. Some had theorbos made from walnut shells; some had viols made from almond shells; for the instruments had to be of a size appropriate to their own. It is well-documented that Ravel was fascinated with fairy tales, mechanical trinkets, and toys, and could be described as having retained child-like wonder for the world. He was known for collecting small ornaments and ships in glass bottles, and had a room in his home decorated as a salon chinoise, as artificial exoticism was the fashion in fin de siècle France. Though many in the West had been intrigued by Asian culture throughout...

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How I Played Flute and Organ at the Same Time. By Fluterscooter

Posted by on Apr 1, 2017 in April 2017, Articles, Essays, Featured, Issues | 0 comments

How I Played Flute and Organ at the Same Time.  By Fluterscooter

At this year’s Iowa Flute Festival, I took on a challenge given to me by flute professor and festival chair Nicole Esposito, to play flute and organ simultaneously! This is something I had tried many years ago at Flutes by the Sea, but I never had the chance to perform it. Since the University of Iowa had just gotten an amazing new organ in their new recital hall, this was the perfect opportunity for me to present this unique feat (pun intended). We even commissioned composer Joseph Hallman to write a piece specifically for this combination of flute and organ pedals, premiering at the concert. I also performed J.S. Bach’s e minor Sonata with the continuo part played on my feet. I am not an organist nor would I ever call myself one. I am a classically trained pianist, but I taught myself organ after playing church gigs where I was required to play organ. I was always quite intimidated by the pedals, but I faked it quite well at the various church gigs I had. Most of the time, I never actually played the pedals, because if one note is wrong, it can sound pretty bad. I haven’t had an organ gig for quite a few years, so I knew putting this together would take some work. Little did I know that the most difficult part would be finding a church that would let me practice. I spent at least a week walking into random churches asking to speak to their music director, explaining that I needed to practice flute and organ somewhere, only to be given odd looks by the church staff. Emails and phone calls to churches that never got returned, I was getting a little nervous as the concert was one month away. Luckily, a friend of a friend taught flute to a church music director’s daughter, and they agreed to let me practice a few times, 4 times to be exact. I have been asked, how did I even start practicing something like this? The answer is, just like the flute! I practiced both instruments individually, with scales and intervals that I made up for the organ pedals, similar to our Taffanel and Gaubert, just to get familiar with the pedals and get the feet moving. Then I played the scales and intervals with flute and organ together, so I could get a feel for the coordination. Then, just lots of very slow practice with a metronome. Sounds easy, right? Not quite. I realized I needed to memorize the foot positions, otherwise, I was prone to playing the pedal parts on my flute because I had to think so fast.  Many organists have been commenting on my bare feet.  I am well aware that it is improper technique, but it gave me feet better traction on the pedals, so that is why I decided to play bare feet!  Plus, I just like playing barefoot in general these days.  This is definitely a novelty act, and I am already planning the next repertoire and performance. To be continued......

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What’s Next? 5 Tips for Life After Graduation. By Katherine Isbill Emeneth

Posted by on Apr 1, 2017 in April 2017, Articles, Entrepreneurship, Essays, Featured, Issues | 0 comments

What’s Next? 5 Tips for Life After Graduation.  By Katherine Isbill Emeneth

  “Going into the classical music profession is difficult. There aren’t enough jobs. Audiences are dwindling. It’s hard to make money. It’s not like it used to be.” Sound familiar? As classical musicians, we encounter these statements frequently and yet we continue to study, love, appreciate, and live our music. Why? Because we are hardworking, driven, passionate, and willing to do whatever it takes to have a sustainable career making music. These are all of the personal qualities it takes to “make it” after graduation. As students in music school, we face a lot anxieties about “what’s next;” what lies in front of us after getting the degree is intimidating and downright scary. Throughout our early lives, a plan is perfectly laid out for us. Go to kindergarten and learn colors, numbers, and letters. Go to the next grade and next school. Get braces. Take dance lessons. Get good grades. Excel. Make All-State band. Play in the youth symphony. Go to college. Practice a lot. Learn how to be an artist, a scholar, an educator, and a well-rounded person. But what happens after graduation? There is no real plan laid out for us, and that is what makes life after graduation scary…the unknown. Traditionally, music graduates have gravitated towards three career paths: playing in an orchestra, teaching at a college or university, or teaching in public schools. These are all excellent options that provide stability, a mostly regular work schedule, benefits, and a retirement plan. The stability of these jobs is why we like them. They are reliable and are ready-made just like our path through education. Despite many folks’ opinions that these paths are no longer attainable or too difficult to achieve, it is essential to follow your dreams no matter what and be armed with the know-how and skills required to make a living in music in the time between graduation and reaching your dream. We are experiencing an exciting time in classical music. All of the negatives at the beginning of this article are only one way to view what is occurring in our field. Another way to look at the current climate is to see it as one of opportunity. As we learned in music history classes, great change is not brought about by things staying the same. Great change is brought about by evolving ideas, new directions, new inspirations, and necessity. We find ourselves living in a time where classical music is experiencing rapid evolution and the definition of “making it” is changing. How will all of this help you after graduation? Most recent music school graduates will not land their dream job the month or year after obtaining the diploma. In fact, it could be two years, three years, ten years, or more. So, what do you do in the meantime? Since it is the prime time for innovation in classical music, take advantage of it! We hear a lot about musicians becoming entrepreneurs. There is a reason why: it works! Musicians have all the necessary skills required of entrepreneurs. Is becoming an entrepreneur a lot more difficult that going down the traditional career path? Maybe. But it is possible! Now, finally, here are the five tips that can help you develop a sustainable career between graduation and landing the dream job: Before...

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Thinking About Moyse: Inflection. By Cate Hummel

Posted by on Apr 1, 2017 in April 2017, Articles, Essays, Featured, Issues | 0 comments

Thinking About Moyse: Inflection.  By Cate Hummel

Inflection is one of the most important tools we have in our expressive toolbox. It is also frequently largely discounted and overlooked. We spend the bulk of our practice time working on tone and technique, blowing and articulation, extended techniques, etudes, mastering the standard repertoire and orchestral excerpts. And we forget the primary artistic reason for all these skills, which is to have something to say musically and the means with which to say it. Let me pose the question in a slightly different way--What qualities do top performing artists demonstrate in their playing that draws you into their performances? Is it their sound? Their technique? The repertoire they play? The sheer force of their personality? Or could it have to do with their ability to show the pulse within a measure, the arc of a phrase, the larger structure of a movement or entire piece?   Probably the most consequential and even cataclysmic thing a teacher ever said to me was when Thomas Nyfenger said to me, “It is obvious to me that you have a very active inner musical life. The problem is, I can’t hear it.” For me it was absolutely the right thing to say at the right time. By the time he said this to me, I had had seven or eight years of post-secondary education and studied with some amazing teachers including Samuel Baron, Judith Mendenhall, Tom Nyfenger, Harold Bennett and Raphael Dannatt (I know, who? More on Raphael another time). I had been introduced to the teaching of Moyse through his students and studied Tone Development Through Interpretation and the 24 Little Melodic Studies. For me, what Nyfenger said to me meant that it is one thing to understand the rules of musical inflection and even feel them internally. It’s quite another to demonstrate them overtly, so everyone listening can hear and feel the inflection as well. Nyfenger’s words literally drove me into a practice room for more than five years. I knew what I had to work on and I was determined to show my audience what I had come to understand working with the inspiring teachers I had had. I even formulated a rule for myself that has informed my playing and teaching ever since: “If you can’t hear it, it doesn’t count.” If you really reflect on this idea, you will see there are an infinite number corollaries or ways you can ask yourself about how effectively you are communicating the intent of the composer.   Is understanding inflection an innate skill, something you are born with, or can you learn to play with more inflection, color and expression? I absolutely think there general principles that anyone can learn to put into practice. Here are a few basic ideas to stimulate your creative juices.   Strong beats and weak beats - I know, well duh! But it’s one thing to understand it and another thing entirely to do it. Record yourself. Be courageous enough to ask yourself whether you can actually hear yourself play with inflection. The general rule Moyse talked about all the time was that weak goes to strong (4-1, 2-3, 4-1, 2-3, 4-1). Say this to yourself leading into the strong beat from the weak beat. How many times can you think of that a phrase...

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Art for Social Change by Barbara Siesel

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Articles, Entrepreneurship, Essays, Featured, Issues, March 2017 | 0 comments

Art for Social Change by Barbara Siesel

“In the face of Trump, many artists report feelings of paralysis. Should they carry on as before, nobly defying the ruination of public discourse? Or seize on a new mission, abandoning the illusion of aesthetic autonomy?” Alex Ross Above is a quote by Alex Ross in his article in the New Yorker entitled “Making Art in a Time of Rage.” He reminds us that classical musicians respond to adversity in a variety of ways, choosing to either go deeper into creating beauty as Leonard Bernstein so famously said shortly after the assassination of JFK. Here is an excerpt from the statement that Bernstein made at a fundraising event at Madison Square Garden: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” Or perhaps you are in a state of mind that you can’t create art until you’ve won the fight or cleared the space. Ross quotes Gwendolyn Brooks’s 1949 poem “First Fight Then Fiddle”: “. . . Carry hate In front of you and harmony behind. Be deaf to music and to beauty blind. Win war. Rise bloody, maybe not too late For having first to civilize a space Wherein to play your violin with grace.” But perhaps we want to consider these thoughts deeply and then choose to pursue a third approach. We can continue to create music more deeply and beautifully than before, do our very best, and then attach a social change addition to how the work is presented, funded or performed. We can keep growing our voices as artists and contribute to winning the fight as well! Here’s an example of a project that I think does just that. Fluterscooter has just released a new CD, and I asked her a few questions about the social impact of the new album: Barbara: Congratulations on your new CD- can you tell us about it?  What inspired you to make this recording? Fluter: I had always wanted to do a meditation album, but after the election, I was inspired to actually get into the studio and create it!  It is designed for meditation and healing, as we all need it in these trying times.  It was also inspired by working with the sacred teacher plants for the past year and a half, and it is currently played in healing ceremonies.  I composed, produced, and played most of the instruments on the whole album!  I finished it in a week and a half, too (lol). Barbara: Why did you choose the ACLU? https://www.aclu.org Fluter: I feel like that's a no-brainer.  People's rights are being threatened daily, whether it be their religion, gender, sexual orientation, or color of their skin.  Since the election, I've donated to them on a monthly basis, but I want to be able to help more, so I'm donating 25% of profits from this album to ACLU.  Also, I'm donating 100% of profits from my track "Standing Rock" to the WaterKeeper's Alliance (www.waterkeeper.org) Barbara: What advice would you give to other flutists who want to pursue an art for social change project? Fluter: Do it.  And do it NOW.  Music is a great way to help the organizations that need it so much right now! If you have an “Art for Social Change” project that you...

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In Defense of the Practice Room Selfie. By Laken Emerson

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in Articles, Essays, Featured, February 2017, Flute Fashion, Issues, Lifestyle | 0 comments

In Defense of the Practice Room Selfie.  By Laken Emerson

Yes, the practice room mirror selfie is shameless. Here’s why you should do it. The consumer-performer relationship has endured — and survived — many struggles over the last several decades; with modern technology, we are more than a hop and a skip away from formal concert settings of yore. This has been great for the modern music student: instead of travelling to concerts by the artist you want to emulate or scouring library vinyl collections for music history class, the universe of music performance is a simple Google search away. The world is at our fingertips (and in our pockets and our desktops and our backpacks). With the growth of internet resources comes the growth of social media, our greatest ally and worst enemy rolled into one app of your choice. As the internet has evolved, so has musicians’ use for it: now we not only view other performers’ videos and musical examples, but we can post our own. Contrary to popular belief, this is also great for the modern music student. No one should be afraid to use these platforms, students and aspiring professionals included. The platform that has reigned supreme in the musical universe (in my musical universe) is Instagram. Instagram is a photo and video sharing app that now supports live video and a 24-hour Story feature. The best part — the Explore section uses information from your posts, follows, and hashtags to curate a page full of other users you may like. After my first post with #flute, this page exploded with other musician profiles. Game changer.     At first, I was wary of finding some 14-year-old conservatory student who surpassed me on every level and pushed me into the classic Social Media Comparison Syndrome: Musician Edition. The last thing I needed was more reason to feel inadequate. I also didn’t want to post mirror selfies every time I pulled out my flute, admittedly because I made fun of the gym rats who did the same thing. I considered myself too “down to earth” to flex my musician muscles for social media, when I see now it was really a lack of self confidence that kept me from posting anything musical. Though I wasn’t posting about playing, I was following my favorite accounts that did. I also follow illustrators, writers, yogis, and dozens of other artists who posted their equivalent to gym selfies daily: the things they dedicated their time to becoming better at, while they’re doing them. They’re not bragging about how much they can lift — they’re finding accountability and community with people all over the world, by use of one app. At good long last, it occurred to me — why can’t musicians do this too? Spoiler: they do. All the time. And they’re good at it. There are performers and students and teachers all under one digital roof, giving mini recitals and lessons right in the palm of your hand — and supporting one another to boot. It’s all because of social media. I repeat, this is also great for the modern music student. Not only should we be following and supporting the really awesome flutists on Instagram, but we should be contributing to the conversation. Music is a community, not a competition — something we students are the quickest...

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How I Ended Up Working in the Music Industry. By Paula Savastano

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in Articles, Entrepreneurship, Essays, Featured, February 2017, Issues | 0 comments

How I Ended Up Working in the Music Industry.  By Paula Savastano

Specializing in Copyright, Licensing, Royalties and Publishing, Paula Savastano has worked in the music business for more than 25 year. As a classically trained musician, she began her career in Opera Management, but quickly made the switch to the popular music realm. She has worked in administrative management and intellectual property departments for several notable companies including Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), Spirit Music Group, Rykomusic, Cherry Lane Music, Musical Heritage Society and Turn up the Music. For several years, Paula’s knowledge and experience has been sought after by publishers and record companies to assist them with audits, royalties and copyright issues. After significant and continued demand, she started her own company, SSA Music, which provides financial, legal, auditing, licensing and royalty consulting services to a diverse clientele ranging from independent musicians to major music publishers and record companies. In recent years, SSA Music has expanded to offer catalog pitching and placement for a select clientele. SSA Music Catalog has grown to include over 1500 titles from nearly all genres of music, ranging from classical, jazz, pop, rock, alternative, rockabilly and varying cross-over genres. The majority of the SSA Music catalog is available as one-stop/all-in licensing, and has instrumental mixes and stems, as well as full tracks available. In the recent past, SSA Music has directed the focus of its business to pairing music supervisors with quality music to fit their musical needs. Paula has been an active speaker at educational conferences and universities around the country for more than 10 year. She has held the position of Adjunct Professor in the Music Industry Departments at Drexel University and William Paterson University. She is active member of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), National Association for Recording Industry Professionals (NARIP), Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP), Women in Music (WIM) and Sigma Alpha Iota (Professional Music Fraternity). She is also an active musician, performing in the greater New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, as a freelance flautist.   I was a flautist – there wasn’t anything else in the world that I related to as much as playing my flute. Other careers were offered up to me including teaching and business school. I had no desire to teach in a classroom or work in the business field. Mean kids, bullies, and stuffy offices did not appeal to me. Music business programs were not well-known in the 1980s, and careers were usually fallen into by accident. I didn’t even know there was a possibility to work in the industry but not play or teach. I chose to attend Boston Conservatory, but had to work my way through school with odd jobs in the school cafeteria and music library, and worked an evening job of usher at Boston Symphony Hall. I also sought out any opportunity to work with or play music. I studied hard and my playing advanced significantly. I was on my way to the playing career I hoped to have. Then came my senior year; I was having issues with painful hands and elbows, which was limiting my practice time. But with all the work, and striving to graduate that year, I ignored it. That is until I slipped on the ice and fractured my elbow. Along with that diagnosis, came the diagnosis of severe tendonitis in...

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Musicians for Arts Advocacy. By Barbara Siesel

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in Articles, Entrepreneurship, Essays, Featured, February 2017, Issues | 0 comments

Musicians for Arts Advocacy.  By Barbara Siesel

Last Saturday I participated in the Woman’s March, joining a sister march in NYC. It’s estimated that 400,000 women attended the NYC march and scientists estimate that between 3-4 million people marched worldwide.  It shows that people really care about what is happening around women’s issues and human rights.  The experience was inspiring and uplifting and gave me a day of hope for our future, for everyone’s future, all races, religions, sexual orientations and economic class.  Certainly all that people power can be a force for change in the world as we begin to figure out what to do next. You may be wondering what this has to do with art for social change, or your entrepreneurial, flutist self, but I believe it has everything to do with it. Musicians' voices are on the front line with the power to create social change through our music and our advocacy for music.  Dear readers, we may not all have the same political opinions these days but there are a few things happening that will affect all of our musical voices and we need to find ways to keep our voices heard no matter what happens. In the next weeks Congress may vote to eliminate the NEA, NEH and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  NEA or NEH support is often the badge of approval needed for a project to gather the additional support it needs to become viable and PBS is the place where we go to hear stories and see programs not dependent on commercial support.  All three of these agencies have somewhat independent voices (I say independent because I remember the culture wars of the 1990’s), that support artists and writers and help get new work out to the public.  For a miniscule investment of .004 % of our national budget, millions of Americans all over the US, in cities and towns, large and small, benefit from this investment. For the latest news on the future of the NEA, read this blog by Culture Grrl (Lee Rosenbaum).  She makes an important point – we must make our voices heard before something happens.  Here are two petitions that you can sign: on the White House website and on Change.org.  The White House site has only a small number of signers so get there soon!!    And, take a look at Leonard Jacob's article: “56 State Arts Agencies Face the Death of the NEA” published in the Clyde Fitch Report. This article can help you stay up to date on all the internal and external discussions about what artists, art’s organizations and art’s advocacy groups can do.  Jacobs makes a strong point about this being a time to be visible and vocal in your opposition to cutting these federal agencies. He agrees to disagree with Pam Breaux, CEO of National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) on the subject, as he feels that arts organizations aren’t responding with enough strength and vehemence. That without a strong response we will remain without power in the US and will perhaps lose the agencies that we have today.  Remember support for the arts is a bi-partisan issue, the arts support economic growth and affect people in rural and urban America alike.  We as artists have a responsibility to join together and make our voices heard, whether through our art or through our arts advocacy.  The Women’s March shows us that we can take action. Now let’s transfer that energy to the arts sector and see if we can create a positive result for artists in America.  Next month – how our...

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