Are you considering auditioning for a college music program? Embarking on a journey to pursue a musical education is an exciting and transformative endeavor. Whether you’re a budding virtuoso, a passionate composer, or an aspiring music educator, choosing the right music school is a critical step in shaping your future. Let’s look at a few factors to consider when looking at music schools to help you make an informed decision that harmoniously aligns with your musical aspirations.
Dr. Julee Kim Walker, Associate Professor of Flute at Texas A&M University-Commerce, suggests prioritizing compatibility with the flute instructor. “Get a trial lesson if possible. And seek a teacher that will offer support and mentorship both as a current student as well as after graduation.”
Dr. Walker adds, “Consider the location of the school. Does it have access to private teaching and freelance opportunities [for you]? Does it grant access to observe great music educators? Does it offer access to the arts: symphony, opera, etc.?” As you are learning to be a career musician, be
Choosing a music school is a significant decision that will shape your musical journey for years to come. By carefully considering your goals, preferences, and the factors mentioned above, you can make a more informed choice that sets you on a path toward musical excellence. Remember, each school has its unique strengths, so take the time to research and explore your options thoroughly. With dedication, passion, and the right education, you’ll be ready to compose your own success story in the world of music.
Walfred Kujala's ornaments for Vivaldi Concerto in C, provided by Flute Talk magazine.
Concert and Contest Collection https://www.fluteworld.com/product/concert-and-contest-collection-flute-audio-access/
Flute Music by French Composers https://www.fluteworld.com/product/flute-music-by-french-composers-2/
Flute and Piano
Flute Alone Flute and Piano
Flute Alone Flute and Piano
What are piccolos made from?
Piccolos can be made from various materials, each having its own unique characteristics and sound qualities. The choice of material can significantly impact the tone, projection, and overall performance of the instrument. Here are some common materials used in piccolo construction:
Wood: Grenadilla, also known as African blackwood, is one of many types of wood used in professional-level piccolos as it is a dense wood. It is resonant and offers a warm, rich tone and excellent projection. Grenadilla wood is highly valued for its tonal quality and is often preferred by professional performers and orchestral musicians. It can be affected by temperature and humidity, so are not recommended for outdoor overuse. These piccolos are used by musicians who can properly care for the instrument. Common models include the Bulgheroni 401, the Yamaha 81, and the Burkart Elite.
Composite Materials: Some piccolos are made from composite or synthetic materials, such as wood resin or carbon fiber. These materials aim to combine the tonal advantage of wood, with more durability and resistance to environmental changes. Their tone falls between the warmth of wood and the brightness of plastic and are great for pre-professional use. Common models include the Roy Seaman Storm and the Pearl 105.
Plastic: Plastic piccolos are a popular choice for beginners and students due to their affordability and durability. They are lightweight and resistant to temperature and humidity changes, making them less susceptible to damage and cracking. Plastic piccolos tend to have a brighter tone compared to wooden ones and are great for the average band musician. Common models include the Gemeinhardt 4P and the Guo Grenaditte
Metal: Metal piccolos, usually made of silver or nickel silver, are less common but can be found in certain musical genres like marching bands. Metal piccolos tend to produce a bright and penetrating sound with excellent projection. They are durable and can withstand outdoor performances in various weather conditions. Common models include the Yamaha 32 and the Jupiter 700,
It’s important to note that material is just one aspect of a piccolo’s overall construction. The design, craftsmanship, and quality of keywork, headjoint (including traditional or wave cut), and other components also play a significant role in determining the instrument’s playability and sound characteristics.
Gifts for the Graduating Musician
Show your support to a musician by giving them a gift that shows you care about their passion. If you’re looking for graduation gifts for a flute player, here are some ideas:
1. Music accessories
You can gift your flute player accessories like cleaning kits, new cases, flute gig bags, music stands, and music electronics. The Valentino Flute Wand and Valentin Flute Helix Wand are great options that will save them time cleaning their flute, extending its life. Beaumont Case Covers are a great way to add a little functional style, with multiple patterns and designs, while the ergonomic backpack-style Altieri Flute and Piccolo Travelers remain the most popular gig bag among professionals. Music stands are a necessity in setting up a comfortable practice space, and portable stands like the Peak Music Stand is a great option as it can go from gig to dorm to rehearsal. The Konig & Meyer Folding Flute Stand is also a handy accessory that fits easily in a gig bag and gives the flute player a place to rest their flute upright. A Korg Tuner-Metronome is also a great gift, as phone-app tuners can provide an added distraction from productive practice.
2. Sheet music
Investigate sheet music the student wants to learn for fun and for upcoming performances, and also consider sending your flute player off with some of the most common pieces and books. Most anything from the Best Sellers list will be a welcome addition to their library. Some of the most commonly requested staples for music majors include Baxtresser’s Orchestral Excerpts for Flute, the Taffanel and Gaubert 17 Daily Exercises, the Trevor Wye Omnibus, and the collections Flute Music by French Composers and Bach Sonatas. Check with their current or future flute teacher with a phone call or email – they will be glad to help the student get the best music for their next steps.
3. Flute gear
Consider gifting them flute-themed apparel, jewelry, or coffee mugs to showcase their passion for music. A button or keychain can be a great apparel accessory to their jacket or bag, fun and hip. Flute-themed jewelry can be a wonderful addition to their concert blacks, that can also be worn daily to show pride in their instrument. A flute coffee mug will be a welcome companion to early-morning classes or late-night study and practice sessions.
4. Gift cards
One may never really know what is best for a flute student, and their needs might be changing as they advance and progress. A gift card can be a thoughtful way of showing you understand that their needs are growing and changing, as that gift can provide them with what they need when they need it.
5. Music lessons
Purchase a package of music lessons with a professional flutist to help students improve their skills after graduation and stay motivated throughout the summer. Feedback from an experienced professional, whether in person or online, can inspire and challenge the student. The expectations of these teachers might also help the student better understand the repertoire and practice demands awaiting if they are pursuing music in college.
6. Concert tickets
Purchase tickets to see an orchestra or chamber ensemble concert, especially if it features flute music. This will allow them to experience live music and get inspiration from other musicians. Listening to music is one of the best ways for a student to understand high levels of performance and preparation.
Remember, musicians' talents are always evolving, and the process can be quite challenging. Showing your support to your flute students and their passion will shape their attitude as they feel empowered and inspired to pave their path forward.
Wood flutes and piccolos are some of the most beautiful, versatile, and sought-after musical instruments. For centuries, concert flute have been made of wood, providing an incredibly dynamic, emotive sound that continues to capture the imagination of musicians and audience alike. Here are a few things you should know about wood flutes and wood piccolos:
The Feel of Playing Wood Flutes and Wood Piccolos
Playing a wood flute or piccolo can often provide you with a deep level of personal satisfaction, as they are known to help deliver an incredibly expressive, nuanced sound. The tone of wood can elicit a variety of emotions and moods – from haunting and sorrowful to joyful and celebratory. With a much lower material density than metal flutes, the wood concert flute will respond differently to your air and articulation, opening a new range of tone colors.
The Different Types of Wood
There are numerous types of woods used in crafting flutes and piccolos, each with its own qualities. The woods picked for flutes generally have a high density compared to other woods. As each wood has unique characteristics, its important to choose a type that aligns with the sound you are hoping to create.
Proper care and maintenance are critical for ensuring the longevity and performance of a wood flute. Wood flutes should be stored in a climate-controlled environment, shielded from sunlight and humidity, to avoid warping, cracking, or other damage to the wood. Regular cleaning and oiling of the wood will help to preserve the instrument’s natural finish. Consider keeping your wood flute or piccolo in its best shape with the regular maintenance included in a Flute Care subscription.
Overall, wood flutes and piccolos offer a unique appeal and beautiful sound that is unmatched by synthetic instruments and separate from metal instruments. With the right care and maintenance, a wood flute or piccolo can last for your career, providing you with a source of inspiration from its warm, rich tone for years to come.
Starting a Community Flute Choir
Starting a community flute choir program can be an exciting way to bring together a diverse group of people through a common passion. It can offer an opportunity for individuals of all ages and skill levels to create beautiful music while building relationships, and importantly, having fun. Here are some steps to help you get started with your own community flute choir program.
Step 1: Define the Purpose and Goals of the Program
Before you begin organizing your flute choir program, it is important to determine what you hope to achieve – define the purpose and goals of this program. Do you want to provide an outlet for amateur flutists to come together to casually play music, or do you want to create a high-level performance ensemble to perform at events? Do you want to focus on repertoire for C flutes, or expand to include the whole flute family? Do you hope to be paid for your time and, if so, how do you plan to handle finances? Do you have a library, plan to use music in public domain, or need to fundraise to purchase new music? Write out all of the goals and purposes of your program in a list, but know that list might need to be flexible as your ensemble grows.
Step 2: Recruit Members
The success of your flute choir program will depend on the members who join. Start by spreading the word about your program through local schools, music stores, and community organizations. Post flyers in community centers, libraries, and other public spaces. Reach out to local flute teachers and ask them to refer their students to your program. Flute teachers can also be a great resource for borrowing or renting music parts. Consider hosting an open house or audition to attract interested flutists.
In these first contacts, be clear about the expectations for members, including rehearsal schedules and performance commitments. Survey those interested to see what instruments they have from the flute family (piccolo, C flute, alto flute, bass flute). Also be ready to provide resources to returning flute players.
Step 3: Find a Rehearsal Space
You will need to find a suitable space to rehearse. Consider renting a space from a local school or church, or contact your local parks and recreation department to see if they have any facilities available for use – some might even be willing to officially host, collect fees, and provide payment. Consider if the space has music stands, chairs, and other useful tools, or if the members will need to bring their own. Be sure to choose a space that is large enough to accommodate your group and has nice acoustics for larger groups. Make sure it is accessible to all members and has adequate parking.
Step 4: Choose Music and Arrange Parts
Choosing music in an important aspect of organizing a flute choir program. Consider the skill level of your members and choose pieces that will challenge them but are manageable. Select music that appeals to a wide variety of musical tastes and styles, and be sure to include both classical and contemporary pieces. Once you have chosen your music, arrange the parts for your ensemble. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your members, and make sure that each part will be well-suited to highlight their abilities in an uplifting way.
Step 5: Rehearse Regularly
Rehearsal is essential to the success of your flute choir program. Schedule regular rehearsals at a convenient time for all members and be consistent with your schedule. Make sure that members are prepared and have the necessary music and equipment for each rehearsal. Use the time to work on technique, blend, balance, and expression. Provide feedback and encouragement to your members.
Step 6: Plan Performances
Performances are a great way to showcase the talents of your flute choir program. Consider performing at local events such as fairs, festivals, and community concerts. Also, consider hosting your own concerts and inviting friends and families to attend. The local retirement centers can also provide a welcoming audience. Be sure to plan and promote your performances well in advance, and make sure your members are prepared and confident.
Starting a community flute choir program can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved. It requires a lot of work and dedication, but the end result is a beautiful and harmonious ensemble that brings people together through music. By following a simple plan, you can create a successful flute choir program in your local community.
Find the Joy in Playing on Days Where Things Aren’t as Easy
Learning to play or master a musical instrument, such as the flute, can be a deeply rewarding experience. However, there will be times when you don’t feel like you’re playing at your best. Maybe it’s the weather, a stuffy nose, what you ate for lunch, your energy, your attitude, or so many other reasons - within or out of your control. It can be frustrating and discouraging, and it’s easy to lose motivation.
But don’t worry. There are ways to find joy in practicing the flute even on those difficult days. Let’s explore some tips and techniques to help you stay motivated and find joy in playing, even when things aren’t going quite as planned.
In conclusion, learning to find joy in practicing the flute is a skill that takes time and effort to develop consistently. By focusing on the process, setting achievable goals, practicing mindfully, practicing with a purpose, and finding inspiration, you can stay motivated and engaged, even when things aren’t going perfectly. Remember, playing the flute is a journey, and every step you take is progress. Enjoy the journey, and remember to celebrate your achievements along the way.
Finding time to practice flute – or any skill or hobby – can be challenging, especially when you
have a demanding career or family responsibilities. However, dedicating time each day to
practice can lead to significant improvements in your skills and overall well-being. In this blog,
we will discuss some tips to help you to find time to practice daily while balancing your work
and personal life.
1. Prioritize and plan.
The first step in finding time to practice is to prioritize and plan. Make a list of the most
important things to you, including your career, family, and music. Identify which activities
require the most time and which ones can be minimized or eliminated. Create a daily or weekly
schedule that includes your work time, family time, and practice time. Stick to the schedule as
much as possible, but make adjustments as needed.
2. Use small pockets of time.
You may not have hours of free time each day to practice, but there are likely small pockets of
time that you can use. For example, you can wake up 30 minutes earlier or use your lunch break
for practice. You can practice while waiting for your children’s activities or appointments to
finish. You might consider leaving your flute accessible but protected (consider a stand and a
cover), during certain periods of your day to make for a quick practice session between tasks.
Even just 10-15 minutes of practice each day can make a difference.
3. Involve your family
Practicing a skill or hobby can be a great way to bond with your family. Consider involving
your family in your practice sessions, especially if you are working on music that can be enjoyed
by everyone. Play music as a family, encourage your kids to move and dance along, or have the
family create a drawing based on what they hear you playing. You might even play a few
familiar tunes as a warm-up or part of your practice to strengthen their appreciation of your
music. This can be a fun way to spend time together while productively improving your skills.
4. Make it a habit.
To make time for practice in your busy schedule, it’s important to make it a habit. Set a specific
time each day to practice and stick to it. Over time, practicing will become a natural part of your
routine, and you’ll be less likely to skip it. You can use habit-forming techniques such as setting
reminders or tracking your progress (consider a practice notebook) to help establish the habit.
5. Be flexible
Despite your best efforts to stick to a schedule, life can be unpredictable and plans can change.
It’s essential to be flexible and adaptable when trying to find time to practice. If something
comes up and you can’t practice at your usual time, try to schedule an alternative time or an
additional practice the next day. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or two, but try to get
back on track as soon as possible.
In conclusion, finding time to practice daily while balancing career and family responsibilities
can be challenging, but it is possible! By prioritizing and planning, using small pockets of time,
involving your family, making it a habit, and being flexible, you can carve out time in your busy
schedule to improve your skills and well-being. Remember that consistency is key, and even a
few minutes of practice each day can lead to significant improvements over time.
There are a LOT of flutes out there . . .
As a professional performer, teacher, and flute representative, I would like to offer a few of my thoughts with hopes that they will assist in your purchase. This is simply meant to be a brief introduction to the many options in new flutes. This is also meant to be a guide for purchasing a step-up flute. The most important consideration in a flute is the way it plays, sounds, and feels to play; these cannot be noticed in a written description.
Please consider working with a professional flutist in making the decision on this investment. Good luck and happy fluting.
G-KEY: IN-LINE vs. OFF-SET
This decision is completely up to the player. Many flute players find an off-set G key (top) to be more ergonomic, or comfortable for safe flute practice. Some flutists, particularly those with a longer ring finger, do not. There is really no significant benefit of one versus the other, save that of comfort.
VALUE = No price difference. Go with what the student finds comfortable.
OPEN-HOLE vs. CLOSED-HOLE
Most step-up flutes are open-hole (top), which is also referred to as “French Style.” Most beginner models (and some professional flutes) are closed-hole (bottom), which is also called “plateau.” In addition to a slightly enhanced resonance, the open holes will provide opportunities to practice more advanced and modern techniques. Students who practice on open-hole flutes are less likely to fall into bad technique habits as the instruments require more efficient technique. I also feel like I have more of a connection with my sound, since I can feel the vibration in my fingertips.
Value = 80%. I see value of investing in an open-hole concert instrument, with no hesitations nor drawbacks.
HEADJOINT: SILVER-PLATED vs. SOLID-SILVER
The headjoint has the most significant impact on tone, resonance, and response. An intermediate flute will have few options, whereas professional flute headjoints are as diverse as the performers. The most frequent headjoint option will be the materials from which it is made.
The most basic step-up comes with a silver-plated headjoint. These will receive few of the precious metal’s benefits to tone. The plating will likely wear in time to diminish aesthetic value.
Silver headjoints (usually stamped near the crown as “Sterling,” “Silver,” or “925”) will almost certainly have more resonance and responsiveness, often a “clearer” sound. It is hard to say whether the purity and density of the metal is the reason silver headjoints are superior to plated headjoints – perhaps it is due to the craftsmanship and attention the headjoint maker gives the more valuable metals. Regardless, the difference is clear. Literally, a clearer sound.
VALUE = 100%. I think this is the most important investment in a new flute.
LIP-PLATE: SILVER vs. GOLD
In professional flutes, gold lip plates exist. In intermediate flutes, what appears gold is usually a gold-plating or just a finish. In this case it does NOT add much to the quality instrument. Although some find the gold look to add aesthetic value, there is hardly any noticeable improvement to the sound or responsiveness – even to the most trained ears.
VALUE = 0%. The sound of the flute is more important than the look.
BODY: SILVER-PLATED vs. SOLID-SILVER
The body of the flute is still part of the main resonating chamber. Its density, thickness, and finish will alter the tone and responsiveness of the instrument. Very trained ears will notice more depth in the tone of a solid-silver body, but both instruments can be played masterfully. Solid silver bodies (usually marked near the barrel as “Sterling,” “Silver,” or “925”) tarnish less and are less likely to corrode from the pH of our body’s oil.
VALUE = 60%. I think the silver body is a great investment, especially for serious students. But when on a very restricted budget, a student can wait until they consider pre-professional or professional flutes in the future.
KEY ARMS: Y-ARMS vs. POINTED-ARMS
Key arms or tone arms are the stems of metal that suspend the key cups from the hinge tubes. Y-arms are characterized by the “Y”-shaped arms (left). Pointed-arms (right) are distinguished by pointed stems extending to the center of the key. Pointed-arms were long considered superior in quality and stability. However, in modern times, flute makers have improved the production process resulting in high quality key arms in both styles.
VALUE = I place 20% value of the cost of pointed tone arms; there is no functional difference between the two on modern flutes. However, some of the higher models of flute and more expensive instruments receive more detail and attention from their manufacturers.
MECHANISM: SILVER-PLATED vs. SOLID SILVER
The mechanism of the flute also comes offered in different materials. I doubt and audience member will ever notice the difference between the options. The performer might, especially in terms of the responsiveness of the instrument, but it is usually slight. However, do consider that some repair techniques strip the silver-plating from the keys, and that solid silver is less likely to corrode. If your student’s current flute has gold-brown or greenish speckles on the keys, or is rough to the touch, their body chemistry might do better with silver.
VALUE = Variable. If the student does not have any nickel allergies or issues with tarnish, they will likely be fine with silver-plated keys. If the student does, then I think it is worth investing in an instrument that will last in their hands, and provide years of comfortable playing.
To be perfectly honest, I do not claim for any one brand to be superior or deficient. The most important thing to consider is how well the instrument plays. All companies make gems as well as lemons. And sometimes an instrument can arrive with damage incurred from shipping. Consult a professional flutist and/or repair technician when making this purchase. Do not let any one person’s bias for or against a particular brand totally direct your decision. We have each had experiences with instruments, just as we have with people, and each deserves its own consideration.
There are flute embellishments about which you might read or hear. Most of these options are for professional flutes, or might be copied onto student models to improve sales. Some options on professional flutes include:
Briefly, I would like to mention different materials of student piccolos: metal, plastic, synthetic wood, and wood. Generally, that would be my order of preference, from least preferred to most preferred sound.
Metal piccolos seem to be durable and appropriate for marching fields. Usually, the sound is very thin and a little shrill to my ears. Some metal piccolos are made from precious metals, which marginally helps the tone.
Plastic piccolos are durable enough for marching band, but have a slightly more mellow sound. I prefer this sound for young players and see success in their control of sound and blend within an indoor ensemble.
Synthetic piccolos have a wood-like sound, but are flexible to changing atmospheric conditions. They probably could survive the marching field, but I respect these instruments enough to caution against using in band camp.
Wood piccolos are the material of choice for professionals. They have the richest sound, but are also fragile. Extreme temperature changes can damage or crack the piccolo, and they require more regular maintenance.
This chart merely provides a ballpark of the price for new, intermediate flutes. It is a reference to help determine budget, and should not be a price comparison of any brands.
When budgeting for a new flute, there are several factors to consider: