Flute Fashion

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...

read more

Flute Fashion: This Season’s Best Recital Dresses by Fluterscooter

Posted by on Jun 1, 2016 in Articles, Featured, Flute Fashion, June 2016, Lifestyle | 0 comments

Flute Fashion: This Season’s Best Recital Dresses by Fluterscooter

Remember last year when Riria Niimura played the Ibert Concerto wearing a neon handmade dress?    If only all flute performances would incorporate unique high fashion as a reflection of the artists’ personalities, then I’d be a happier concert-goer.    However, since we are flutists, we can’t afford Zac Posen’s luminescent gown worn by Claire Danes at the Met Gala, although a girl can dream!   Since spring is graduation recital season, many flutists have had the chance to not only show off everything they learned in the past few years of intense flute study, but also to put on a fancy dress and get their hair and makeup done. I’ve always thought graduation recitals should be more celebrated than weddings, and some are. After all, a graduation recital is a huge accomplishment and celebrated with your family and friends. Choosing the perfect recital dress isn’t easy, and the dress should always try to compliment the repertoire played. So, to find the best recital dresses of 2016, I searched through flutists’ social media feeds. Consider this “Flute Vogue.” Taiwanese flutist Sherry Lin is all about elegance in this stunning teal dress and updo. The gown’s neckline is just right, and her earrings perfectly compliment the dress. Ivelis Peralta’s dress has a colorful and playful Latin flare, but its length gives it extra class. The dress also looks great with the matching white accordion! You can never go wrong with sparkles, as Instagram user @flute_perfume shows in these beautiful silver sparkles with an iridescent layer over the form fitting dress. Remember to always have fun with flute fashion!  I wonder what Eriko Yajima and her harpist were playing here, but the dress is bright, big, and poofy, and comes with a hat! Japanese pop flutist “Eliko” literally lights up the room with her custom glow in the dark kimono dress. While this is not a traditional flute recital, I thought it was definitely worthy of this list!...

read more

Flute Fashion: Then and Now

Posted by on Aug 1, 2015 in August 2015, Featured, Flute Fashion, Issues, Lifestyle | 0 comments

Flute Fashion: Then and Now

I recently moved to downtown LA, home of the fashion district and arts district in Los Angeles.  When exploring my new neighborhood, I found that my neighboring street is "Quinceñera Row," with store after store of increasingly poofy and over the top dresses, like the ones that come with an accompanying parasol and even one with real peacock feathers in the back.  It had me thinking about recital dresses over the years and throughout the world.         CLASSIC Elaine Shaffer, one of the first female flute soloists, always kept it classy and elegant with long black gowns, usually off the shoulders.  A classy, conservative dress in black or dark colors can go a long way for a classic look and recital.  I prefer some sparkle. Jeanne Baxtresser always has a great, classic look.     THE POOFY DRESS Also known as the Quinceñera dress and the Juilliard Pre-College dress, I still have no idea why these things are still considered for performances.  Bright colors are great, but do we really have to look like Cinderella at the ball?  I had a recent conversation with Kaori Fujii about the popularity of the poofy dress in Japan.  Many Japanese flute recitals have names just as sweet as these dresses, such as "Flute Parfait" or "Bitter and Sweet" (that was a flute/oboe recital...guess which instrument was bitter?).  They have just as much, if not more, popularity in Korea.  We've all seen the tacky, bright poofy dresses, so I will will spare you the pictures.   SHORT VS LONG Jasmine Choi can really rock a short dress.  This is a tricky one to pull off, and as much as I like short dresses, it is hard to tell what is considered too short these days, but Jasmine always seems to remain appropriate and also very stylish.  High boots always help a short dress!   MODERN I'm so glad jumpsuits and bodysuits are back in style, and I absolutely LOVE Claire Chase's fitted bodysuit in her "Density 2036" performance in New York City.  Since Claire is a champion of new music, she makes sure that her style reflects the music she is playing.  Jumpsuits are also really comfortable, and since new music requires lots of moving around, it is a great choice.  I hope that more flutists performing new music will join this trend!   MALE FLUTISTS Flute fashion isn't just for the ladies!  Men don't have nearly as many options, and while most stick to the traditional tux and tails, there are some that are more adventurous and dress in historical costume.  Niall O'Riordan is a great example, and he even took me on a shopping tour of Camden Town in London, which is where he buys many of his unique period pieces, especially his awesome hats!   GET CREATIVE!  And make your own dress like Riria Niimura did, for her performance of the Ibert Concerto with the Colburn Orchestra.  My personal favorite and style...

read more

Flute in the City-The Search for Mr.Big. By Rachel Hacker

Posted by on Sep 1, 2014 in Featured, Flute Fashion, Issues, Lifestyle, September 2014 | 0 comments

Flute in the City-The Search for Mr.Big.  By Rachel Hacker

I’m seated in the terminal of the Cincinnati Airport, writing this article. My mind is too fried to continue prepping for NYU entrance exams on Monday. Coffee has rendered me anxious and fidgety in my seat. “CVG to LGA, Flight 6260, 12:30 PM, On Time” is illuminated on a TV above my head. It is entirely too late to brainstorm through things I might have forgotten to pack. “That cute, flowered top didn’t make the cut. I didn’t finish that pint of Salted Caramel Ben and Jerry’s. I currently possess a single pencil with lead in it… hope I don’t lose it before Monday.” My eyes nonchalantly wandered around the terminal at fellow passengers. A pair of new, oversized, and rhinestone-adorned glasses felt so cosmopolitan on my red-lipsticked face. For whatever reason, I have this idea that everything I wear in New York needs to be excessive. You never know whom you’re going to meet in New York. A celebrity could approach me one day on 5th Avenue, then we fall madly in love, and finally we get married in Fiji. I’ll be living close enough to Wall Street to land myself with a distinguished, wealthy man, who will take me to Peter Luger Steakhouse and drinking martinis on rooftops. Obviously, I’ve concocted all of these absurd ideas from watching too much Sex and the City. The TV’s in my undergraduate rec center would frequently show reruns. I found myself forgetting about the treadmill, and getting involved in the lives of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda. Both men and my musical career are difficulties in my own life, just like these four women. Out of the four, I related most with Carrie Bradshaw.   It was a recurring theme to see Ms. Bradshaw be tempted with a bad decision, before coming to her senses and doing what was in her best interest. Carrie and I also have a penchant for impractical fashion, usually involving my shoe choices. Little did I know that I would be moving to Carrie’s world, filled with eccentric people, money, and even the smell of garbage in the summer. Everyone in New York is vying for success, whether they obtain it or not. I’m moving there with the same aspirations as countless other young people before me, with determination, naiveté, and fear. Throughout the series, Carrie Bradshaw has an ongoing love affair with a man she calls “Mr. Big,” a handsome, older, business executive. At many points throughout the series, Carrie and Mr. Big have broken up and gotten back together. At the end of the series, the two conclude that they are meant for each other. Through my new, fancy, glasses, I searched the terminal seating for eligible men. “Which of you is my Mr. Big?” Eying the handsome, young, man across from me, I see a “Columbia Law School” backpack resting on his knee. He returned a gaze for a brief moment, before returning to highlighting a wordy document. Mr. Law School was a nice enough looking guy, but I’ll probably never see him again after this flight. Since the series finale ended with Carrie and Mr. Big being together, it could be concluded that they were soul mates. To me, Mr. Big wasn’t just a literal human being, but also a figurative one....

read more

Flute fashion and Dancefluting with Riria Niimura. By Fluterscooter

Posted by on Mar 1, 2014 in Featured, Flute Fashion, Interviews, Issues, Lifestyle, March 2014 | 0 comments

Flute fashion and Dancefluting with Riria Niimura.  By Fluterscooter

I first met Riria Niimura in Tokyo at a performance I had given at the Apple Store.  The 19 year old flute sensation now resides in Los Angeles, and I had the pleasure of sitting down with Riria at the Colburn School in LA, and we talked about everything from flute competitions to fashion design to Michael Jackson. FS:  Nice to see you again, Riria.  Welcome to LA!  So, where are you originally from in Japan? RN:  I’m from Tokyo, in Chiyoda-ku, which is near Shinjuku around where the emperor lives. FS:  Cool. You’re famous in Japan! I remember seeing a poster of you and your flute outside of Shibuya 109 (Tokyo’s trendiest shopping mall and my favorite place in the world to shop). RN:  It’s my favorite place to shop, too. FS:  I can tell!  I can definitely see the Tokyo fashion influence, but we’ll talk about that later.  Lets talk about flute:  growing up as a flute prodigy in Japan.  Did you start in a brass band like most students do in Japan? RN:  Actually, when I was 3, my mom asked me if I wanted to play the flute.  When my mom was in junior high school, the teacher made her play the trombone, but she always wanted to play flute in the band.  So we wanted to start when I was 3 years old, but it was very difficult since I was so young.   We met one flute teacher in Japan from Germany and her husband, Megumi Hori, was a flute teacher too.  They wanted to teach someone really young to make into a huge artist one day.   In Germany, they start you on the recorder first, so they recommended I play recorder first, so I did recorder from 3 to 7.  But I was always mesmerized by the shininess of the flute, so when I was 7, we finally started.   Even when I studied recorder, we did exercises to prepare me for flute, like blowing into a bottle, so getting a sound on the flute didn’t come difficult to me.  A lot of times I almost gave up, but my teacher told me I could do it! FS:  So did you play in an orchestra or band as a child? RN:  No.  I went to a music high school, so that was the first time I played in an orchestra.  The school was called Ge-Dai, which is part of Tokyo University of Music.   I really didn’t want to go to the music high school, because I also wanted to do things like normal kids at the regular high schools, but since I already had a music career in Japan, it was the right thing to do. FS:   I’ve watched most of your youtube videos, and I remember one when you were 14 and on Japanese TV dancing and doing backbends while playing flute.  I wish I could do that!  How did you start doing that? RN:  One day, my mom told me to look at the TV.  I never watched TV because I was always practicing, so I wasn’t sure why.  But it was Michael Jackson dancing on the screen.  I didn’t even know who he is until then, but I felt something after watching him, like a thunderbolt, and I knew this is...

read more

From FluteTrance to Bellydance: Interview with Giselle Real D’Arbelles. by Fluterscooter

Posted by on Feb 1, 2014 in Articles, Featured, February 2014, Flute Fashion, Interviews, Issues, Lifestyle | 0 comments

From FluteTrance to Bellydance:  Interview with Giselle Real D’Arbelles.  by Fluterscooter

While I was in Miami last month, I had the chance to catch up with my favorite Miami-based flutist, Giselle Real d’Arbelles, better known as Giselle "FluteTrance."   I followed Giselle online for awhile, and her unique style and fusion of music, art, and fashion always intrigued me, so I knew we had to meet! FS:  So you bellydance?  How did you get into that? GR:  Well, I was inspired by Viviana Guzman after a performance at Florida Flute Convention, where I saw her combine bellydance and flute.  I always had the concept in my head to combine the two, but it seemed too big…but I always thought, someday!  I’d hear certain flute music that’s very rhythmic and want to dance to it.   I started bellydancing by traveling.  I went to Egypt twice with a bellydance group.   It’s really demanding!  At times, it was really interfering with my musical things, but I've learned to do both! FS:  I've always thought you reminded you of Viviana!  How has she been an influence? GR: At the Florida Flute Convention, I saw her perform the Hungarian Pastoral Fantasy and some tangos.  I always include tangos in my recitals because I really enjoy playing them.  At her night concert, she told her inspiring story about her body casts.  When she talked about bellydancing, my ears perked up.  Then she said that dancing helped her recovery.   All my friends were pinching me, telling me “that’s totally what you want to do!”  So I was seeing this gorgeous woman doing it and she was such an inspiration to me.   She gave the message about dreaming big and going for it, and it stayed in the back of my mind forever.  She made such an impact on me that day. FS:  You have a show called "Once Upon a Dream."  I love the concept and visual presentation of it.  How did you put together the show and what does it mean? GR:  The reason I called my show “Once Upon a Dream”  was because it was a dream I had 10 years ago, and it took me that long to finally do it!  With the classical standard, I was leading my life as several different Giselles.  There’s the “classical” Giselle, the one who loves to dance and loves all the other arts, and the Giselle who grew up in Miami in the entertainment and party scene.  Then, many spiritual layers.  It took awhile to infuse them all, but this is me!  Flutetrance is all those parts of me coming together, and "Once Upon a Dream" is a combination of everything!   FS:  I love the visual elements of your performances.  I feel that having strong and creative visual ideas can enhance the experience so much.  How do you incorporate fashion and visual elements into your shows? GR:   I like to be very original with all my stuff…my tutu skirt from Once Upon a Dream was made just for me.   At Art Basel, we created a mini show where I was attached to the end of the red carpet with a red dress in such a way that by the time the guests got to the end of the red carpet it looked like they had just walked down the train of my dress and found me...

read more

10 Travel Tips for the Internationally Touring Musician. by Viviana Guzman

Posted by on Feb 1, 2014 in Articles, Essays, Featured, Flute Fashion, Lifestyle | 0 comments

10 Travel Tips for the Internationally Touring Musician.  by Viviana Guzman

1)  First, purchase luggage that has a lifetime warranty.  It might be pricey initially, but being able to fix luggage pieces that get badly beaten during travel will prove highly effective in the long run.  Another sound investment would be purchasing locks for every luggage you travel with. 2)  Adopt a “zen” attitude during travel.  You have to go with the flow no matter what happens, because everything WILL happen. 3)  Bring projects to complete during plane rides.  For example, this article is being written while flying from San Francisco to St. Louis.  Makes the time go faster and yes, it’s a form of multi-tasking.  Be sure to have an extra phone battery charged and ready to go.  National USA airlines don’t usually have ports to be able to charge up equipment like the (awesome) Asian airlines do. 4)  Invest in noise cancellation earphones.  Yes, they’re not cheap, but they are totally worth it.  the last thing you want is to be in a crowded plane with babies screaming all around you or being forced to listen to an annoying loud conversation next to you. 5)  Try to pack as light as possible.  You can always wash clothes in the sink overnight.  I have lost my patience traveling with too much gear.  It’s very liberating to travel slim.  Keep in mind that you can always purchase whatever you might find missing. 6)  When changing time zones, like going from USA to Asia, use caffeine and Advil-pm’s to help adjust to the time zone quicker.  There’s nothing more frustrating than jet-lag.  It’s ok to use caffeine to stay awake when your body time clock is still at home where everyone is sleeping.  And vice versa, when you need to get some sleep and it’s the middle of the day back at home, take an Advil-pm to ensure a restful sleep. 7)  Booking multi-destination flights is usually cheaper than booking a simple round trip.  Add a city and perform an extra concert AND the flight will be cheaper.  It’s a win win situation no matter how you look at it. 8)  Pack everything in ziplock bags.  This is the best way to keep like-items together and organized in your suitcase.  Only pack clothes that are wrinkle and iron free.  Develop a system for where each item has a special place in my suitcase this way you can ensure “easy” access.  This makes packing and unpacking easier, too.  Always pack 2 to 3 days prior to leaving just to make sure you haven’t left anything behind.  Keep a general list of Things To Take On Tour in you computer and read every time while packing to make sure you don’t leave anything behind. 9)  Airplane food and airport food are the worst as there are no healthy vegan restaurants and rarely anything vegetarian, so pack plenty of healthy bars.  After going through TSA, stock up on plenty of water in order to stay well hydrated.  Get to the airport with plenty of time, two hours minimum.  Research ahead of time if any countries you will be touring in require a VISA. 10)  Always have the name of the hotel you are staying or take a hotel business card from the front desk.  If you are jet lagged in a foreign city, you...

read more

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Posted by on Dec 2, 2013 in Blog, December 2013, Flute Fashion, Issues, Lifestyle, New Products | 0 comments

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

The holiday season is upon us!  And that means we're all playing Christmas music and buying gifts.   We've compiled a list of some of our ideas and new releases, so check them out, and if you like anything, buy something for yourself or for your favorite flutists.  Tis the season! 1.  FOR YOUR FLUTE ENSEMBLE OR FLUTE PARTY Transfigured Carols by Joseph Hallman (2012).  3 flutes/1 piccolo "Transfigured Carols" was written for the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra 's “Tune Up Philly” Fundraising Benefit Concert featuring Fluterscooter, Allison Loggins-Hull, Jason Blank, and Susanna Loewy.  It is a virtuosic spin on 5 carols.  The work re-imagines each of the carols differently.  Some are transformed into darker versions and other s transfigured into vivacious romps.  This is a piece for all flutists, high school age and up.  A portion of this reduced-price score will be donated to the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. Order score:  www.josephhallman.com/support-youth-in-music.html Listen to Fluterscooter's recording of the piece:  www.soundcloud.com/gogreengo/transfigured-carols Now for a discounted price of $20 for Flute View members.  And, all proceeds are donated to The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra! Christmas Music from Wonderful Winds.  Arrangements by Mel Orliss and Anna Cooper These are all beautiful and fun arrangements of classic Christmas songs.  The arrangements are woven intricately together and provide each flute part with solo lines and harmonies.  They're great for any reading party or flute ensemble concert during the holiday season. 1.  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas:  4 flutes This is a really warm and cosy quartet/choir arrangement, and whilst being suitable for intermediate players, it's gorgeous enough to be an essential part of the Christmas Repertoire for more advanced players. 2.  Troika:  Troika for Quartet:  4 flutes:  Fl 1/Picc, Fl 2, Fl 3, Bass (+ opt. sleigh bells) A magical and energetic arrangement of this famous sleigh ride from the Lieutenant Kije Suite. Includes optional sleigh bells for extra sparkle! 3.  Away in a Manger:  5 flutes A new setting of the classic Christmas piece. The tune is framed by rich harmonies and softly pealing bell passages for 5 C flutes. Order from Wonderful Winds:  www.wonderfulwinds.com The Nutcracker (P. Tchaikovsky). Arranged for Flute and Piano by Mary Jane Rupert This attractively-produced transcription contains all of the movements in the suite derived from that composition of the Nutcracker (except the Overture), a perennial favorite at Christmastime. In addition to providing a good selection of holiday tunes to entertain listeners during holiday parties, this edition will more importantly give flutists an opportunity to get most of the ballet's difficult flute passages under their fingers in context (in preparation for potential auditions), as well as giving them a crack at the lovely oboe solo in the Arab Dance movement. Dr. Rupert is a master at transcribing piano parts for the harp, and, as is clear from this arrangement, at orchestral reductions. Pianists, however, will have their work cut out for them in the Waltz of the Flowers, especially the harp solo contained therein. The flute part is well laid out, avoiding awkward page turns; pianists will most likely want a page turner in the faster movements like Trepak. Review by John Ranck, DMA.  www.johnranck.net/studio/studio.html Order from Noteworthy Music.   2.  FOR YOUR BEGINNER FLUTE STUDENT OR CHILD Green Golly and Her Golden Flute book, (and accompanying CD), and sheet...

read more

Flute Fashion. By Mimi Stillman

Posted by on Dec 2, 2013 in Articles, December 2013, Essays, Featured, Flute Fashion, Issues, Lifestyle | 0 comments

Flute Fashion.  By Mimi Stillman

Some of the greatest music for flute is in works that were performed by the Ballets Russes, the ballet company run by Sergei Diaghilev in Paris from 1909-1929. Stravinsky’s Firebird and Petrushka, Debussy’s Prélude à l’apres-midi d’un faune, and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé include some of our most important orchestral excerpts, and were all premiered or performed by the Ballets Russes between 1910 and 1912. The Ballets Russes was one of the most influential dance companies of all time, and in a relatively brief period produced artistic masterworks that were the result of collaboration among brilliant artists in different genres: composers, choreographers, dancers, and visual artists as costume and set designers. They included composers Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Milhaud, Poulenc, and Satie; choreographers Vaslav Nijinsky, Mikhail Fokine, Leonid Massine, George Balanchine; dancers Nijinsky, Anna Pavlova, and Tamara Karsavina; and designers Pablo Picasso, Coco, Chanel, Léon Bakst, Nicholas Roerich, and Salvador Dalí. Diaghilev encouraged the artists he brought together to explore new aesthetic vistas, and the results signified the most avant garde modernism of the time. The productions were often controversial, most notably the 1913 premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, at which a riotous furor broke out. The works with major flute parts, mentioned above, are today most often performed on the orchestral concert stage and by ballet companies. Many of us spend years of our lives practicing the flute solos by Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky. While concentrating our energies on a few minutes of solo music, it is easy to lose sight of the broadest context, but having a mental picture of the way things were at their Ballets Russes performances around a century ago is artistically refreshing and enriching. Léon Bakst (1866-1924) was a Russian Jewish artist who lived in Paris and joined Diaghilev’s circle. He designed sets and costumes for Debussy’s Prélude à l’apres-midi d’un faune and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé which referenced the ancient Greek settings of the stories. Drawn from Greek urn paintings and statuary, his costumes evoke the draped folds, rich patterns, and cloak over tunic of classical garb. Here is a design by Bakst for Debussy’s Prélude. The work was premiered for orchestra in 1894, and later turned into a ballet by the Ballets Russes. In this image, the dancer’s ceremonial-looking pose is in keeping with the ritualized appearance of the original choreography.                   And for Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé:                 Bakst’s drawing of Nijinsky’s costume as the faun pulsates with visual rhythm and color.                     Here is a marvelous photo of Stravinsky with Nijinsky in costume for Petrushka. The designer is Alexandre Benois, a Russian artist and close colleague of Diaghilev whose work was key for the Ballets Russes project.               In Bakst’s costume for a female dancer in Firebird, the eponymous bird appears in the flame-colored skirt.  ...

read more

Building a Brand. by Fluterscooter

Posted by on Nov 1, 2013 in Articles, Essays, Featured, Flute Fashion, Issues, Lifestyle, November 2013 | 2 comments

Building a Brand.  by Fluterscooter

The first thing every flutist always asks me is “How did you come up with Fluterscooter bags?”  Then, the conversation usually leads to “You’re so entrepreneurial!  I could NEVER do something like that…I just play flute.”  And that’s where they’re wrong!  Anyone can build their own brand, especially in our fast paced, technologically advanced, DIY world. I've used the term “flutrepreneur” in a past article.  What is a flutrepreneur?  Someone like Susanna Loewy, who started the Pikes Falls Chamber Music Festival…someone like Jodi Bortz, owner of Flute Hoot flute stands…someone like Niall O’Rourdin, who recently founded Whole Musician with some of his flute colleagues…the list goes on. Everyone’s process and learning curve is different, but I will share my story and then give some of my pointers as well as some sound business advice I have been given from non-flutists. Flash back to 2010 in NYC.  I was tired of bringing my basic Cavallaro black case to every gig.  Everyone seemed to have the same one, so I wanted something different.  I had a friend who knew a fashion designer, so I told him what I’d like, which at the time was a metallic silver with a red messenger type strap.  He said he’d make a sample for me in exchange for me playing flute at one of his events.  I didn’t hesitate.  The first sample took a few months as fabric needed to be bought, a local factory and seamstress needed to be found, and unfortunately it was way too tight to fit my flute!  We worked through some of the problems, and he was generous enough to make a new one for me.  This one fit perfectly, and I was excited to show at off at the upcoming New York Flute Fair. However, before I entered the building, 2 high school flutists from Long Island stopped me to ask about my case cover and where they could buy one.  BUY ONE?  I explained to them that this was made just for me.  After many more inquiries inside the event, I started thinking…what if this could be available for other flutists to buy?  At this point, I had never done anything remotely entrepreneurial, so I wasn’t sure how to structure this at all.  I thought of my network of non-musicians (I always get business cards of everyone I meet because you just never know..), and I contacted someone who helps with startup businesses.  I paid him a small fee to meet a few times for advice and then write a business plan that I would eventually present to potential business partners and investors. Now, to find an investor….this was a more difficult task, and I wasn’t really sure who to approach, as I needed someone who knew about flutes and flutists as well as the flute business.  Jason Blank, a colleague and friend from back in our youth orchestra and music school days in Philadelphia, had told me he’d be in NYC and that we should meet up for a drink.  At the time he did not know about my idea, and I actually didn’t even think we would talk about it, as I hadn’t seen him in years and didn’t know he was doing flute sales now.  But by the end of the night after a few...

read more