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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
If you say about someone that they are articulate, you mean that they are good at making their ideas clear. From this we can infer that “articulation” in music also means that it is a tool that makes musical ideas clear. Another concept we hear a lot about when we go to music school is that the basic elements of music are repetition and contrast. Articulation plays a big role in creating the perception of both repetition and contrast for our listeners. It then stands to reason that our job as interpreters and performers is to define the articulation as clearly as possible. With good articulation we can define the character of a piece, communicate style and emotion. How can we use articulation as an essential element in our musical toolbox? First we have to really understand the nature of articulation. Is it just tonguing; single, double, triple tonguing? Tonguing is certainly one of the first things we learn playing the flute, along with shaping the aperture and making a sound. According to Thomas Nyfenger, tonguing was merely the finishing touch to articulation, but not the actual articulation itself. The actual articulation is based on using the breath, and shaping and directing the air stream at the blowing edge. The tongue merely provides a clear ictus to the note being articulated. One of my favorite Nyfenger quips is that, “tonguing is the anti-tone.” Articulation is how we define style, character and phrasing. There are two basic kinds of blowing, legato and staccato, and as many variations of each as you have imagination. These two types of articulation have to be cultivated separately in order to clearly understand what is required to produce them. For legato blowing, there is no better exercise than Moyse long tones (as in De la Sonorité and Trevor Wye’s Practice Book 1) in groups of two, three, four and five notes in either direction, descending to spread the richness into the low register or ascending to learn to keep the sound open and full of life. Pay particular attention to space between the notes, the continuity of the air as your fingers move. There is a physical and visceral feeling, pushing from your core, when the notes are well connected. Practice pushing through larger intervals as well, both up and down. Also note the difference in how it feels for upward versus downward intervals. Play long, lyrical melodies from the literature. Some of my favorites are the opening of the slow movement of the Ibert Concerto, the slow movement of the Poulenc Sonata, the opening of the Büsser Prelude and Scherzo, the first melody of the slow movement in the Beethoven Violin Concerto, Fauré Pavane, etc. Staccato blowing is more overtly athletic and requires a different kind of effort than legato blowing. The first question to ask yourself is if you can play staccato without tonguing. Can you control how you shape and direct the air stream so the ictus is as clear as humanly possible without using the tongue for definition? You really have to study your focus, placement and the forcefulness of the puff of air you blow. If you can do this, then try the same thing with just a little bit of tongue for definition. The granddaddy of all staccato blowing...read more
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...read more
This month, we are featuring flute ensembles! Flute ensembles and flute choirs are popular with adult professionals and amateurs alike, and we decided to feature some of our favorites. Featuring: Ayre Flutes, Silver Lining Flutes, and the Emissary Quartet. Ayre Flutes How long have you been together? Dare I say nearly ten years?! It’s a good job we all get along well! How did you decide to form the ensemble? Like many of the best things, by accident really! We met at music college and one of us wanted to perform a piece for eight flutes (Golden Sunset by Dave Heath) so we all got together to help her out. We enjoyed the experience so much, particularly using the contra-bass flute, that we decided to carry on rehearsing and performing- inspired by Anna Noakes and Wissam Boustany we explored further repertoire, commissioned new works and the rest is history! What is the focus of the group? Ayre Flutes is a contemporary flute ensemble and so we concentrate on new music: challenging expectations, utilising new techniques and styles, and commissioning new works. We like to take this fresh approach into our performance style. Every member brings different and complementary strengths to the ensemble, and we love collaborating and exploring innovative music with both composers and other performers. What does the upcoming year look like for the ensemble? We are putting the final touches on an exciting new concert programme for 2017 and also a new commission or two with some of the brightest new British composers. Watch this space…! How do you decide and divide business tasks between the group? We share out the tasks as a group, taking into account each member’s skills and interests… and everyone’s busy schedules of course! Everyone pitches in and we like to work as a team. Emissary Quartet How long have you been together? Our quartet began in 2009 when the four original members met at Carnegie Mellon University, in the studio of Jeanne Baxtresser and Alberto Almarza. As Emissary Quartet, we have performed together for two and a half years. How did you decide to form the ensemble? We began as an undergraduate student ensemble at Carnegie Mellon, formed by Professor Alberto Almarza. During the three years we performed together at CMU, we learned that we loved to play together and share new repertoire with audiences. After graduation, we all moved to different cities to pursue Master’s degrees. As we finished our MM’s, the idea of pursuing flute quartet as a professional ensemble started percolating through our conversations, and in October 2014 we did our first performance and teaching residency in Pittsburgh. That year, as we planned various projects and got our feet wet in this new way of working together long-distance, our mission and purpose coalesced in a new way. What is the focus of the group? EQ has a three-part mission as an ensemble. Our first priority is to give high caliber performances that communicate deeply and show off the incredible versatility and expressivity of four flutes together. Second, we are dedicated to expanding the flute quartet repertoire through commissioning new works and creating our own arrangements. Finally, each of us has a passion for education,...read more
Trevor Wye studied the flute privately both with Geoffrey Gilbert and the celebrated Marcel Moyse. He was a freelance orchestral and chamber music player on the London scene for many years and has made several solo recordings, notably on his specialist instrument, the flute d'amour, which he reintroduced in modern times. His formative years were influenced by many players and singers, particularly Alfred Deller, Marcel Moyse and William Bennett. He was formerly a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music, London and for 21 years at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Trevor Wye is the author the famous Practice Books for the flute, which have received world wide acclaim and have been translated into eleven other languages. More recently, his highly praised biography of Marcel Moyse was published in English and in four other languages. Please list 3 pivotal moments that were essential to creating the artist that you've become. Practice while young. Be nice to people. Have a lot of luck. What do you like best about performing? Getting paid - and a beer afterwards. And teaching? Seeing students gain success in their careers. What are your goals personally? To stay alive and keep busy. Professionally? To stop playing before I make a complete ass of myself. What inspires you the most in life? Reading and hearing about the terrible events that happen in the world, the misery, starvation, disease, violence and conflict…and feeling very lucky. What has been your greatest challenge? Keeping up with what's new in flutes and music. Who were your music mentors? and what did you learn from them? Geoffrey Gilbert. Discipline and careful practice. Marcel Moyse. Artistry - and looking beyond the notes. Can you give us 5 quirky, secret, fun, (don't think too much about this) hobbies or passions? Making electronic things and musical instruments - and combining them. Debunking idiots. Animals. Watching performers perform. World history. What 3 things would you offer as advice for a young flutist? Practice - and listen to your teacher. Be kind to people. Take care with your appearance, behaviour and...read more
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...read more
As part of our ongoing series of interviews with college flute studios across the United States, we interviewed Jan Vinci, Senior Artist in Residence at Skidmore College, and her students: Michelle Kurz Kelsea Schimmel We asked them about their passions, goals, inspirations, and advice they would offer to young students. Jan Vinci Senior Artist in Residence, Skidmore College First Prizewinner of England's International Electric Music Performance Competition and recipient of the Classical Recording Foundation Award, Jan Vinci has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in Carnegie, Alice Tully and Merkin Halls and for events such as the Blossom Festival, ICMC in The Netherlands, Electric Music Festival in England and Killington Music Festival. She is often the featured artist for flute club festivals and performs for NFA conventions. Vinci recorded four CD's on Albany Records. American Record Guide said this about Vinci's CD “Global Flutescape” ... "This is a fabulous recording. ... [Vinci] plays with control, color, and effortless technical facility. Her tone is beautiful, rich..." Vinci’s up-coming CD on Albany Records is “American FluteScape: A Tapestry of Premieres and Classics, collaborating with pianist Reiko Uchida and the New York Dream Orchestra. ” The commissioned premieres on this recording are Crow’s Nest for solo flute and TINGsha Bom-t-Bom-t- Bom for flute and orchestra by Mark Vinci and Flute Poetic for flute and piano by Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon. Multi-Grammy winner Adam Abeshouse has been the recording engineer and producer for three of Vinci’s Albany Records CD’s. The other works are Poem by Griffes, Medieval Suite by Hoover and Acht Stücke by Hindemith. As an avid proponent of new works, Vinci’s recent projects also include Pulitzer Prize winner Long Zhou’s “Confluence for solo flute” (as part of the Flute New Music Consortium), Carleton Macy's "Autumn Sky: Fantasy for flute and concert band," and Tom Stoneman’s “A Day in the Life for flute, hip-hop artist and electronics.” Vinci holds a D.M.A. from The Juilliard School, M.M. from The Cleveland Institute of Music, and B.M. from Bowling Green State University, studying with Julius Baker, Samuel Baron, Maurice Sharp and Judith Bentley. Former faculty member of Queens College, Hofstra University and the Skidmore Flute Institute, Vinci is Senior Artist- in-Residence at Skidmore College and often teaches master classes at colleges and for flute festivals. Vinci served as President of the New York Flute Club. For a breadth of musical offerings by Ms. Vinci, please visit janvinci.com. Please list 3 pivotal moments that were essential to creating the artist that you've become. 1. Meeting my first teacher, Judith Bentley. She opened me up to the world of flute playing, and even more importantly, to the interpretation of music of all eras. She had studied with the great William Kincaid. Her parents gave her a choice: they would pay for her to study in a Master's program, or to live in Philadelphia and study with William Kincaid for a year. She chose the later. During that period she won a concerto competition that awarded her to the opportunity to perform a concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra! Later, in Tennessee, Mrs. B was principal flute of the Knoxville Symphony and taught flute at the University of Tennessee. My junior high band director Charles Hurt, an exceptional musician himself, set up an...read more
“Modern dating” has been a hot topic of conversations among people of all ages. Being only 25 years old, my own life of dating has embodied stories that are similar to the ones recounted in blogs, movies, and songs. I have spent hours texting my prospects, crafting online dating profiles, and going on seemingly promising dates. Within a few weeks of dating, these men will suddenly ‘ghost’ me- where they cut off communication, for seemingly no reason. I joke to my friends that I haven’t dated the same person any longer than the amount of time that it takes for a pair of new pantyhose to snag. This length of time is around 4 weeks. Due to my love of the flute, my love life has always felt more like a love triangle. As a teen, the only “dating” I did was “date” my flute. I was too busy, and too awkward in personality, to pursue a dating life. On weekdays after school, I practiced, or attended extracurricular activities. Weekends were spent at youth orchestra and taking private lessons. Glimpses of free time were spent with friends and family. The high school I attended contained guys with very different interests and aspirations, so I was never interested in anyone from my high school. I can specifically remember two different crushes of mine. At age 16, I had a crush on a cellist in my youth orchestra, but he was already dating someone, and I wouldn’t dare challenge the woman he was dating. When I was 18, I had a crush on a vocalist in a local metal band. However, the timing for us to date was wrong, because I had just committed to attending my undergraduate institution, located far away from my hometown. Upon starting my degree at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, I became aware that my pursuit of a musical education would be a blessing and complication to my dating life. My aspirations for a fruitful music career would require an immense amount of time and personal commitment, and that may make it more difficult to pursue a meaningful relationship. Despite the recent loss of my high school crushes, I anticipated meeting lots of eligible men during my undergraduate education. My reasoning for desiring a serious relationship is so that I could have someone to share the adventure of my music career with me. I soon figured out that the guys I liked from college were either not interested in dating, or were already taken. Playing the flute continued to be my most loyal love interest throughout undergrad, and I embraced the opportunity to improve my musical abilities. I was blessed with numerous friends in the music department, and I flourished as a flute student of George Pope. I became especially interested in jazz improvisation and extended techniques. Nearly every weekend, I was performing in concerts on campus. With this busy and fulfilling schedule, there was little time for me to worry about my love life. During my senior year, I was accepted to graduate school. I had a earned a scholarship to attend NYU, as a student of Robert Dick. This was my dream school, and I was elated to have this opportunity. Once I made plans for grad school, something in my conscious shifted. Tackling the New...read more
Download the January 2017 PDF here The January issue contains New Year's Flute Resolutions, interviews from the flute studios of Alice K. Dade and Naomi Seidman, Touring Tips, Trevor Wye's History of the Flute, and Barbara Siesel's monthly Entrepreneurship column, "Can Women Break the Glass Ceiling?" Happy New Year!read more
As part of our ongoing series of interviews with college flute studios across the United States, we interviewed Alice K. Dade, Assistant Professor of Flute at University of Missouri, and her students: Ryan Koesterer, Breanna McCaughey, Kelariz Keshavarz, Gina Finazzo, and Karen Sanders. We asked them about their passions, goals, inspirations, and advice they would offer to young students. Alice K. Dade Assistant Professor of Flute, University of Missouri Please list 3 pivotal moments that were essential to creating the artist that you've become. 1) I came home one summer after going to my first music festival and didn’t feel as if I was floating along in life any more. I started staying home to practice while my friends went out and I saw the weekend as more time to practice. I subscribed to Flute Talk and listened to so many recordings. I finally had a focus in my life! I figured out who I was. Unfortunately, I was a workaholic, ha! But I discovered I had drive when I really wanted something. I was fourteen. 2) I grew as a person because of living and playing in Sweden. I believe it is a true test of character when you are thrown into a completely different culture and environment. I continue to seek out similar opportunities because I know I will grow as a performer, person, and comedian (the funny culture-shock stories are endless) 3) When I auditioned for the job at The University of Missouri, I loved the process. As I worked with the students in a masterclass, I quickly came up with how I could help them achieve their goals. I couldn’t imagine leaving campus and never seeing them again. It felt like I had turned a corner. I loved teaching and this was a new chapter in my career. Who knew?! What do you like best about teaching and performing? I always tell my students that when you are down or extremely frustrated, take it to the practice room. It can be so therapeutic. This is especially true in performance—all these emotions that we experience come through in our interpretations. If you walk off stage a little embarrassed, that’s usually a good sign. I can’t imagine not performing. I think I like teaching because it’s my way of contributing. I can help my students achieve their goals and, at the same time, challenge myself to be clear, creative, and methodical in my approach. Everyone is different, has different needs, and learns in a different way. I find it fascinating to discover what works best for each student. What are your goals personally/professionally? I want to be happy. I want life to feel simple even though it can be chaotic. And I never want to stop laughing. Professionally, it’s actually pretty similar. I’ve had this idea for a chamber ensemble that I would really like to see happen. Stay tuned. What inspires you most in life? Meeting interesting, funny people, who are able to listen and to talk. What has been your greatest challenge? To live in the present. Who were your music mentors? Oh my gosh…Claudia Schnitker, Eldred Spell, Tyra Gilb, Carol Winenc, Robert Langevin. They all come up in lessons with my students, suddenly, out of nowhere! I am...read more