I made the transition from band kid to conservatory hopeful when I was just about to start 10th grade. My parents had taken me to hear Jean Pierre Rampal play with Robert Veyron Lacroix at Montclair High School (where my oldest daughter is now a student -- great auditiorium!), and that was it. I was hooked. They found me a private teacher who, fortunately, did not charge a lot, and the serious work began. Soon after, when I was in the high school regional concert band and started meeting other serious young musicians from other towns, I found out that they did all kinds of supplementary things in addition to private lessons: music camp, master classes, workshop weekends...all of which were EXPENSIVE. These opportunities for development were not open to me, my parents made that clear. In college, I quickly learned that the same thing was true, but on a larger scale. In the summer, my friends would go off to perform at Graz, Tanglewood, Aspen, Chautauqua, and other festivals, but I stayed in New York City to work -- usually multiple jobs -- so that I could return to school in the fall. I was keenly aware of what kind of development opportunities I was missing. Musical success seemed to be the demesne of the well-off.
As a professional, an educator, and a parent, I have always hoped to change that state of affairs in my own little realm. It is my wish that the opportunity to study and grow as a musician is not only open to students and parents with disposable income. Many of you know that I offer a variety of free master classes and workshops throughout the year, and guests are often welcome. I have also been teaching for The Nikhil Badlani Foundation, which offers free, after-school group lessons to qualified students in West Orange Public Schools. Beginning this month, I am able to offer something new. I have recently registered to partner with The Music Link Foundation. The Music Link Foundation makes it possible for aspiring music students to study privately with local teachers for half-price or less by providing compensation in kind to music teachers. Because of this association, I am able to offer lessons at 50% of my normal rates to 2 deserving scholarship students at any given time. Qualification is based on need, which is evaluated by The Music Link Foundation. The hardship standard for qualification is the same as the federal free or reduced lunch application. Continuance in the program is based on merit and achievement: practice habits, attendance at lessons, and achievements of certain benchmarks are monitored and evaluated by me regularly.
If you think that you or someone you know may qualify for this program, please visit The Music Link Foundation website. Potential flute students can complete the application and if they qualify, can select me as your teacher if you are in the region.
Through The Music Link Foundation, like-minded colleagues and I hope to make musical success possible for every student with the desire and commitment, regardless of their ability to pay.
It's the end of another year at The Global Flute Studio! It's been a wonderful year, with our first studio winter concert at Care One in Teaneck, NJ, on December 3rd. Yesterday, we had our second annual North Jersey Regional Band Audition Repertoire Master Class for flutists in grades 7-12. We were a small group because of this terrible cold that's going around (my own daughters have it, too), but we learned a lot. Two of the Global Flute Studio professional-level students performed to demonstrate (because our middle and high school students were shy this year), and professional-level student Lynn Saltiel, LCSW, also led students in a guided meditation as part of our discussion of performance anxiety in the audition room. This is an annual event, and we hope to have increased attendance every year.
In the new year, we'll be starting a new session of our theory for improvisation class, level 1A. This is the most elementary level, so even if you don't know all of your major scales yet, you can learn in this class. There will be a separate blog post with details about the course.
We hope you're having a wonderful winter holiday season, full of love, fellowship, and recreation!
I've just returned from a 9-day trip to the northern midwest. This year, the National Flute Association's annual convention -- a yearly gathering of thousands of flute luminaries, professionals, teachers, amateurs, and students -- was held in Minneapolis, MN, where I happened to live in the summer of 1986.
This was my first NFA convention when I had a greater role than that of a regular member and attendee. In the fall of 2015, I was appointed chairperson of the World Music Committee. A death in the family forced me to cancel my attendance at last year's convention in San Diego, so this year was the first when I could preside and participate over activities sponsored by the World Music Committee.
Our activities this year were a World Flutes Petting Zoo at the Shared Committees Table in the exhibit hall. This table was a lot of fun and a huge success. I displayed my own collection of 50 flutes from 15 countries, as well as CDs and related to global indigenous and traditional flute topics. Dozens and dozens and dozens of NFA members stopped by every day to try the flutes, talk about them, tell me about their own collections, or take impromptu mini lessons on getting their first sound out of a notched flute. Rim-blown flute experts stopped by to play the ney and ancient Pueblo flutes. Flute makers of Celtic flutes and Native American-style flutes came by to visit and talk shop. The NFA membership is definitely now more aware of the World Music Committee's existence and activities, and the NFA is expanding its scope beyond the modern silver flute and classical and jazz traditions.
The World Music Committee's sponsored artist was Latin and jazz flute legend Art Webb. Art is perhaps the most extraordinary virtuoso I have ever heard, and has been one of my heroes since 1994, when I first heard him performing with SoCal-based Latin jazz charanga Bongo-Logic. Since my appointment, I have made it my mission to bring Art to the convention to perform and to receive some long overdue recognition by the flute community. Art's performance was outstanding, and far beyond even my greatest expectations. He made such a tremendous impression on everyone in attendance the NFA Jazz Flute Big Band director Billy Kerr invited him to perform the following evening as a soloist on the big band's concert.
I also presented as an individual, but on a world music topic, so I am unofficially considering it to be a World Music Committee success: I compiled a panel of charanga experts from the NFA: myself, Ernesto Fernandez (University of Miami), Martha Councell-Vargas (Western Michigan University); all of us have written about charanga, and of course, Art Webb as our celebrity guest. The panel was well-attended and well-received, so we are successfully spreading the gospel of charanga throughout the NFA membership.
Early on, I was introduced to David Wright, saxophonist with the Minnesota Orchestra and himself a fine flutist (student of Julia Bogorad). He acted as our tour guide, booking dinner reservations and telling Rick and the kids about the best, most interesting activities in the Twin Cities. I was also very happy to run into Jane LeNoir, another one of my heroes, who is a tremendous flutist in many genres. She is one of the most accomplished classical flutists I have ever met, and she also plays jazz and Brazilian choro. She runs the Berkeley Choro Festival and is a lady with true ginga.
In the NFA exhibit hall, I got to play on outstanding flutes from all of the established makers and some new upstarts. I also tried out historical and vintage flutes, both pre-Boehm simple system, and vintage Boehm system flutes. I also played keyless Celtic flutes, whistles, and checked out new publications, gadget, teaching tools, accessories, and more, from various vendors and exhibitors in the hall. Yamaha Flutes sent me a special invitation to try out their newest handmade flutes in their private suite, so that was exciting! Yamaha is making some great flutes, they also have wood Boehm system flutes, and I am very impressed by their new piccolos.
Gala concerts presented newly commissioned concertos, early music, composers from Latin America and Brazil, new and old pieces by American composers, and jazz/classical fusions, and beatboxing. Their were workshops on Brazilian music, jazz, Native American flutes, baroque flute, headjoint making, and more. It was an exciting convention. Most exciting for me was, I WON the raffle held by Schmitt Music (Brookline, MN) of a brand new HAYNES Amadeus 780!! Woo hoo! Seldom have I ever won anything, certainly not anything so valuable.
On the trip there and back, we stopped to visit flutists doing interesting things. Melissa Ashley Keim and Victoria Shumaker both showed us traditional flutes of many types on our journey. We saw nose flutes, neys, ancient Pueblo flutes, Celtic flutes, bansuris, and more. We're looking forward to next year's convention in Orlando, Florida!
Friday, July 28, 2017 by Jessica Valiente | Workshops
Band directors and instrumental music teachers, I know you don't want to think about this right now. You're grilling on the back deck, or you're sipping a margarita with your feet up, or you're watching the kids splash around at the water's edge in Seaside Heights. You definitely don't want anyone to say the "S" word (either of the "S" words). I hear you. Sc---l and Sep----er are forbidden words in our house in July, as well (my husband is a middle school instrumental music teacher and band director, like so many of you). But that day is coming. The day is coming when the rental instruments will have been delivered to your band room, you'll have a room full of bright, shiny faces in front of you, eagerly waiting to make that first, satisfying sound on their new instruments.
And then there are the FLUTES.
It's rare that a kid gets a great first sound on their instrument, no matter what the instrument is. But for the little flutist, they often don't get even a squeaky, squawky, or buzzy sound on the first try. Usually, they get no sound, which can be very disheartening. And if flute is not your primary instrument, helping them get that first, good, satisfying sound can be an elusive goal. Even for the most seasoned veteran woodwind teacher, there is always that one kid...but you don't have to give up on them.
We flute specialists have quite of few tricks and tips that were probably not covered in your woodwind methods class, and we have access to the latest helpful devices that help young flute students get off to a great start. In this workshop, I share these tricks and tools with you. I also dispell any flute myths that may be holding your students (or even you) back, review care and maintenance, provide you with a list of the latest peer-approved resources, and a list of the best maintenance people in the area.
This workshop takes place at Spinosa Music Center in Belleville, NJ. Spinosa specializes in quality second-hand musical instruments, has large instruments for school collections (basses, bari saxes, tubas, percussion). They also have the complete variety of Latin percussion and traditional Latin stringed instruments (cuatro, tres, laud, etc.). Plus all of your usual band and orchestra instruments and accessories.
I'm sitting at a shared computer in the conference room of the School of Conservation at Stokes State Forest in Sandyston, New Jersey. The view from my window is of green fields, trees, ancient rocks with half a dozen tiny chipmunks cavorting around them, and beautiful Lake Wanalappe. The only thing that could be more wonderful than being here would be being here while playing music with accomplished colleagues and teaching flute and chamber music to marvelously smart and talented tweens and teens -- oh, wait! That's what I'm doing!
I cannot find adequate words to tell all of you what an exciting, fun, and gratifying experience this has been -- teaching at Stokes Forest Music Camp. My own children are campers here, and I can see that they and all of their fellow campers are having the time of their lives, all while learning and making great music. Stokes Forest Music Camp offers something for every young musician, ages 10-17. There are opportunities for instrumentalists and vocalists, with orchestra, concert band, jazz band, rock band, select choir, a musical theater production, chamber music, brass ensemble, percussion ensemble, private lessons, and nightly concerts and presentations by Stokes faculty, counselors, and campers. Many students are multi-instrumentalists, and they have the opportunity to grow on their primary instrument (or voice) and also explore a secondary instrument. Stokes Forest Music Camp is a 2-week sleep-away camp. One-week attendance is an option, and students in nearby Sussex County, NJ, and eastern Pennsylvania, can be day-campers if they prefer. The sleep-away experience is an extraordinary opportunity for your child to develop independence, personal responsibility, and self-confidence, while being guided by caring counselors who facilitate mutual courtesy, cooperation, and sensitivity among the campers.
If you're interested in sending your young musician to this wonderful summer camp in 2018, check out their website for information in the beginning of next year: