Five New Year’s Resolutions:
To only eat good (as in healthy) food.
I love snacks! But they have to go in 2021. Since the virus came along we have been buying all our food online and the difference in quality is amazing. Most supermarket food seems to be quite lacking in taste and flavour by comparison. It was Turkey for Christmas this year (which I don’t normally like so much as it can be horribly dry), but this was from a small nearby farm, where the Turkey are free to roam and are fed properly. It was so moist and full of flavour. Utterly delicious!
To make the most of every day.
With the virus hanging over us constantly like a cloud, it has been difficult on some days to drag oneself away from the snug and warm comfort of the bed. In particular at this time of year, when the mornings are dark and cold. However, I am determined to get up no later than sunrise to make the most of every day. Time is precious and to feel alive and as positive as is possible right now, is so important.
To exercise more.
When I was traveling, I was much more active than I have been in the past 10 months or so. I am allergic to most forms of exercise, but I love walking and even though I live in London, I will be getting out regularly to pound the streets and once it is safe to do so, I shall be off to the countryside, for fresh air and long walks in open fields.
To drink less coffee.
There is a proper Italian coffee machine in the kitchen and staying at home so much has given me a wonderful opportunity to explore the magical world of coffee. When it is good, it is absolutely amazing! It doesn’t seem to have any negative effects on me, but I am aware that quite a lot of the dark brown liquid is ‘injected’ into me every day. It might be a healthier idea to investigate some herbal teas for a few months!
To practice ‘Resoflűtions 2’ regularly.
I have just written 24 brand new methodical and progressive exercises for ‘Resoflutions 2’, which is a 4 week flute ‘boot-camp’ on Simply Flute. It can be started at any time of the year, but is aimed at providing some possibly much needed motivation to pick the flute up again early on in the New Year. This one will kick-off on 4th January 2021. I really should practice what I preach! https://www.simplyflute.com/flute/resoflutions/
Five New Year's Resolutions
1) I wish everybody an exorable year through which we love each other more bearing in mind how much we need each other.
2) We should bear in mind the possibility of the prolongation of the pandemic through the new year and we need to face up to such possibility patiently.
3) I wish everybody a year during which we all improve our changing working environments (acoustics, etc.) in our homes, through which we get used to perform on digital platforms, and benefit from online opportunities and facilities (concerts, masterclass, etc.) more, and through which we maintain our creativity, and productivity.
4) I hope we always keep in our mind the lessons we learn from these hard times, and we all appreciate the value of being next to a colleague on the stage, being face to face with the student, being in front of the audience in a deeper sense, and be live our life more gratefully afterwards.
5) I believe these hard times are rather a period in which we need to be fed internally. I hope we all remember to return to the music, and our instruments, and remember that our greatest motivation is being fed from those.
1-Trying to find the most efficient way to practice as I’ll discover life as a first-time mom with very little time to play the flute.
2-Keep up a routine for the traverso, which I started very recently and definitely is a very different instrument.
3-Contribute to making Jolivet’s works better known to music lovers of all kinds.
4-Discover new repertoire and put it on my recital programs.
5-Learn Luxemburgish, the mostly unknown language of the country I’ve been living in for the past ten years.
My resolutions for 2021?
1. Stay at home as little as possible! I want to travel, to meet people, to play as much as possible. More than making music, I missed human contacts tremendously. The impossibility of meeting the people I care and love has been a big pain.
2. I learnt that technology is of course very useful. But its role in our lives is very limited and should only be used for professional purposes or emergency messages. It will NEVER replace the human contact and I will care much more of my acquaintances.
3. To motivate again the students who are facing an extremely hard period in their lives: no competitions, no auditions, everything cancelled or postponed... never in the future of young people has there been such uncertainty. It's something which pains me a lot.
4. Enjoy every single second of our lives: this experience has taught us how fragile we are, and how things can suddenly change.
5. Enjoy much more my freedom: having lost it more than once in the past months, I have been thinking a lot of its meaning. I want to enjoy it as much as I can: maybe it's an illusion? Even so, I will try to enjoy as much as I can.
Reso-flutions for The Flute View: I want to tell you a secret…when I was first asked by The Flute View to write my New Year’s resolutions, I really didn’t want to. I’m not really a “resolutions” kind of guy. In fact, I am of the opinion that they really aren’t necessary. After all, surely any committed musician is constantly assessing and analyzing achievements and goals as they happen rather than a need to set a strict set at the start of the year to adhere to? A set of rules that are most likely to be broken by mid-March anyway. So I have avoided….until now.
But I really like The Flute View. I admire the mission of the magazine and more importantly, I admire and respect the people that run it and I am always very flattered to be asked. So I said yes. I agreed to write my resolutions.
Then something curious happened……I sat down and I wrote my 5 resolutions. Then I thought a little more about them. Then I changed 3 of my resolutions. I changed them to things I really want to work on and achieve. My resolutions are now pinned to the wall of my music room so I can see them and think about them every day. So I can stay on track and make them a priority.
And I am really glad they are there!
1. Build stronger roots. Like many, many musicians, I have travelled a lot for work. In fact, pre-covid, I often was rarely ever home. Of course, that is challenging. Tour life is not what people think it is. But genuinely I enjoyed it most of the time. I miss travelling. I miss visiting different places. I miss making music. But even off stage, I moved about a whole lot. I have lived in quite a few cities over the years and just as I begin to get settled, I have moved again. For lots of reasons; sometimes for work, sometimes for a relationship, sometimes just because I really, really liked (or did not like) the place!
But now I would really like to start feeling more settled and building roots. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to travel, tour and work anymore. I really do! As much as I am allowed if Covid travel restrictions are ever lifted and concert venues opened again. But it would be nice to come home after each trip away to a place that really FEELS like home. A permanent home.
2. Teach more. I have never really had much time to teach over the last 10 years. I used to teach a lot….but then as my performing life became busier, my teaching had to reduce. Of course, there have been many masterclasses and similar but with regards to my own students, it was 1 teaching day a month (if I was in the country). That was it. I always enjoyed it but over lockdown, I have taught much more. Online of course. But after things return, I want to make a little more time to teach in person. I finally feel like I have a better idea of what is going on to play the flute and make music. I would love to make the time to share it more.
3. Conduct more. I have always wanted to conduct. In some ways, I feel it’s my calling in life. Much more so than flute playing. I often have gotten involved in conducting large flute ensembles and the occasional orchestra. Some years ago, I studied it privately for a short time and attended some courses as a conducting student which I loved. I’d really love to study it formally sometime. My friends will be sick of hearing me say this! But when time is limited, these “silly” ideas are the first to be disregarded. So now is the time to make these things happen!
4. Enjoy the moment more. I am very guilty of not sitting still. Not stopping and thinking about what’s going on. I am ambitious. But as soon as I have worked hard towards a goal and achieved it, I immediately move on to the next goal. I never stop and breathe and take enough time to appreciate the joy and wonder in life and especially in being a musician. I adore music. I really do. But I often don’t enjoy being on stage so much. I think just taking time to appreciate what is actually going on could be a real eye opener for me and allow me to feel a sense of pride at things in the past, a sense of pleasure from the present and a stronger sense of excitement for the future.
5. Learn the Khachaturian Concerto from memory. That’s pretty much it. There is no deep or hidden meaningful message here. I just really want to do it. Each year, I play Mozart and Ibert concertos a whole bunch. But never Khachaturian. In fact, I have never played it. Firstly, because I’m not totally convinced (yet) how successful it can be played by a solo flute with a huge orchestra sitting behind. There are so many challenges with regards to projection and register. So it’s never really been a consideration for me. Also its very long! At over 40 minutes in length its double the length of the other flute concertos. I’m not sure how popular it would be for orchestras to slot it into their seasons. But I just think it’s a really baddass piece! Besides all these issues, I just really want to play it. So whilst everything is cancelled, I am going to spend the first few months of 2021 memorizing it in the hope that maybe, just maybe, one day, I might get to perform it.
Happy New Year flute players! This year has been such a struggle. For all of us. But we are still here. We are still here practicing our flutes. We are still here reading articles about the flute. Our passion still burns brightly. What a privilege it is for us to have something in our lives that we care about so deeply about. Besides the challenge of 2020, there is much to celebrate. So here is to our life long joy of music and flute playing. With love…..Happy New Year!
My Five New Year's Resolutions
In February we lost our beloved, fur ball cat, Alex. In March, I lost my international touring career. In June I experienced my "Miracle Blessing" in that I survived a head-on collision traveling at 55 mph on the Pacific Coast Highway. No one survives this sort of thing! I lost some vision in my left eye, and my face will need a little plastic surgery, hence the videos of me with sunglasses on Facebook. I also broke my thigh bone (femur) and I’m still on a cane but getting stronger every day. I am so thankful to be alive!!! I am so thankful I can still play my flute!!!! As I said, I refer to it as my Miracle Blessing as I have learned so much from the whole experience.
Thankfully, I continue teaching at University of California Santa Cruz and conducting the Peninsula Youth Orchestra Flute Choir. My COVID life and my Miracle Blessing have taught me the beauty of slowing WAAAAAY down. I am actually really enjoying my new speed of life. I am relishing in life's gentle nuances, and serendipitous encounters, something I never had time for in the past. After touring internationally 50% to 85% of a year for the last 25 years, and living my life at Mach-9 speeds (speed of sound), I can safely say, I have never spent so much time with my husband before! He was only AMAZING while I was immobile and recovering as he became My Nurse, My Chef, My Chauffeur. He assumed all these roles for me with such ease and grace, that I realize I love and appreciate him more than ever as a result of my Miracle Blessing.
My New Year's Resolutions this year are completely different than any other year of my life. I used to focus on how I could grow my career and touring life and of course, practice more. This year, my Miracle Blessing has taught me the beauty of living at nano speeds. My Miracle Blessing has also reinforced the importance of gratitude.
May I continue to appreciate, honor and cherish my husband and my life at home.
May I continue to spend time with my wonderful mother who gave me the gift of music.
May I continue to spend time with my beloved animals that are in my life at this time.
May I continue to spend as much time as possible in nature in the breathtaking landscapes that surround me here in Northern California.
May I continue with my Russian studies, continue learning the Daf (Persian drum), and continue with my various writing projects (musical and non-musical). Oh, and Natalia Jarzabek has inspired me to learn circular breathing!
Resolutions for January 2021
1) Continue to appreciate the gift of Zoom, where my middle school Band students and I are able to meet and play together each day. Being home for months has been tough all around, but we still manage to have fun in our virtual Band rehearsals learning solo skills and using technology that we’d never before dreamed about
2) Have a good time celebrating my birthday all month (not just on the 4th) as the days start to get longer and brighter once again
3) Take a lunchtime break from Google Classroom for yoga and Pilates
4) Play a bit before school starts with a warm-up routine for myself (not just what I do with the kids each day)
5) Get it together with more sleep; fewer veggies (my DIL says I eat too many); more water… doing that right now.
My Five New Year's Resolutions 2021:
The past year has shown me in an unplanned, unpredictable way that so much of what we always think is incredibly important often doesn't have to be essential to a well led, happy and healthy life. For the year 2021, I wish above all to be able to spend time and attention on the truly important things in life, which means for me:
1. not always choose the fastest and most efficient way to the goal, but to walk the path that is most beautiful, rich and meaningful for me and my environment already while walking.
2. to be able to enjoy and experience the here and now, the moment as it is with time and without too many thoughts about the future.
3. be mindful of myself, my health and my life - we have only this one...
4. integrate more of the things into my everyday life that are personally important to me
5. and last but not least: find time for my friends and loved ones especially outside of Berlin and Germany, who I have not been able to see for so long due to Corona - oh my god - I miss you all so dearly and can hardly wait to hopefully be able to hug you again in 2021!!!
So dear 2021 - please be good to all of us - I am full of excited anticipation and more than ready for you!
1) SMILE.... Something so utterly basic, harkens to the famed saying, "move a muscle, change a thought". But I have to say that just the act of smiling, not in a forced or contrived way, has been so uber useful. Just TRY IT! "Act as if...." It works. Much like, "lift up thine eyes, from whence comes thy help".
2) NO SLUMPING ALLOWED.... Given by my PT when dealing with back issues as a result of 10 months of Zoom time, standing and sitting. It is so important, what with 30+ hours of active teaching and coaching in front of that rectangle called a computer, that we apply simple basic commands-- plus I apply all my Alexander and over all body work to survive. I predict this is going to be a way of the future in front of the computer, so we'd best take action immediately.
3) IMPROVISE..... I say that with the understanding that this is not the "norm" activity for most classically trained flute players, but the act of free improvisation has brought another dimension of freedom and trust to my inner musician. So much so that at my/our CREATING RESONANCE RETREAT at the Rochester Folk Art Guild, (we were to have had our 3rd this past SEPT 2020, and did an online event Creating Resonance Online this past July 2020) it has become a very important feature and one that I enjoy doing in an ongoing basis.
4) ACKNOWLEGE/LABEL, LET GO and MOVE ON! When we all hit "the blues" or overload (whether practicing, not practicing, trying to achieve, not achieving enough, journeying or day dreaming into the future~with not a whole lot of "knowns" right now!!?!?!@)#%@)!!!) it is important for me to label without judging what is going on, acknowledge it, let it go, and MOVE ON! These pandemic days, whether glutted with endless work demands or tasks and obligations, I try to find BALANCE and use every ounce of inner discipline to not judge, to remain impartial as best I can.
5) PRACTICE GRATITUDE, COMPASSION and GIVING BACK. For me, I try to do one good deed a day, at least. Of course, I am giving, giving, giving to the music community and my family through teaching, performing, coaching, parenting. But there is something about the "return" when I show kindness daily, of which there are innumerable examples. I, we all, know how to show kindness, so JUST DO IT!
6) MIX UP the ETUDES and DAILY EXERCISES... I try to read one new etude a day... or one new daily exercise. It can be the simple act of reversing an articulation or a rhythm pattern, or just trying something in a different key. And certainly one new orchestral excerpt a day or a week. I find orchestral excerpts are GOLD.. pure gold. It is like playing "Clue" where you have to unlock the mystery and solve it!
7) LISTEN! ... This is a huge one for me. Whether it is in a 'silly' poem (which I recite on my long, daily power walks in Riverside Park):
A wise old owl sat in an oak.
The more he saw, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Now why can't we all be like this wise, old bird?
Or whether it is being mindful and remembering to BREATHE when working out a difficult passage, I need to keep LISTENING...
the breath, the total body, and the phrases!
But why is it that I (we) forget to listen? Why? Ah, the great mystery. It is that point of remembering that yanks me back, and gives me another
And by all means, I vow to LISTEN to some glorious performance on youtube ... to remain inspired... a MUST!
8) COLLABORATE SOMEHOW! Being engaged and playing with other musicians as a flutist is a must for me. We are a single line instrument, and the need for instrumental complementation is to be FULL-FILLED musically. So HOW do we do that when we are alone during a pandemic? I found that asking my student or zoom companion to go on mute, while I play the Flute 1 or 2 part, was fun and rewarding and broke up the solitariness. And then change: I mute and listen to the other player and play along! Something so utterly simple as this also gives an energy surge. Little did I know that my publications (Lauren Keiser Music Publishers/Hal Leonard) of the etudes of Andersen op. 33 and 15, the Berbiguier 18 Studies and the Mozart D+ and G+ Concerti for TWO FLUTES would come into such helpful use.