Monday, December 12, 2022

new podcast: Music Crush with FMNC!

Happy December, everyone! My friend Elizabeth Robinson and I have started a podcast called Music Crush, under the auspices of our organization, Flute New Music Consortium. Episode formats vary between interviews with composers and flutists influencing the contemporary performance world, new music listening sessions, and conversations exploring the nature of our work as musicians and collaborative artists. New episodes will come out every other Wednesday.

You can subscribe anywhere you get your podcasts, and find complete show notes at our website. Here's what we've got lined up for the next few episodes: 

E1 (12/7): MICHAEL GENESE, composer of The Highest Arm for flute and electronics (winner, FNMC 2022 Composition Competition), chats with Nicole and Elizabeth about how different NYC communities dealt with the pandemic, social justice in music circles, the great importance of having a collaborative community, and some great advice on learning how to wear multiple hats as a musician.

E2 (12/21): Is there an endpoint?: Elizabeth and Nicole discuss the ups and downs of all-ages performance competitions, things we didn’t learn in grad school, musical taste and professional guilt, doing right by composers, and being middle aged ladies. And because we’re nerds, there’s a little flute pedagogy talk, too.

E3 (1/4): ROBERT MCCLURE, composer of writhe unfurl for flute quartet, (winner, FNMC 2022 Composition Competition), schools Elizabeth and Nicole in desert grasshoppers and the linguistic controversies surrounding how to pluralize the word octopus, explores the visual aspect of his soundscapes, and fills us in on his excellent composer collective, ADJ-JECTIVE. Bonus: we learned what a demi clarinet is, too!

E4 (1/18): I like chickens, I like feminism, and I like Jennifer Higdon: Elizabeth introduces Nicole to some new-to-her music she’s working on, explains her deep love for Jennifer Higdon as a human being, and discusses her commissioning experiences. Nicole also explains her weird coordination issues with extended techniques and they both explore the plight of the composer whose work isn’t accurately represented in performance. (PS, please communicate with your composers before you perform their pieces!)

E5 (2/1): LISA NEHER, a singer and composer based in Portland, won FNMC’s 2022 Composition Competition with her solo flute work Reach Out. She discusses the dichotomy between performing and composing, the importance of genuine social connection, and some great practical advice for composers looking to pay their rent (spoiler alert: you will not make all of your money from sheet music sales).

E6 (2/15): Find a Way to Make it Work: Flutist and composer NICOLE CHAMBERLAIN visits with Elizabeth and Nicole her recent struggles trying to compose during tragedy, the challenge of remaining relevant as a freelancer, and the balance between self care and grit. Nicole C. shares some great marketing for other musicians of all stripes, as well.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

WMEA 2022 All-State Band audition etudes

 Hi everyone! It's that time of year are demonstration videos, made in my home office, along with a few tips as you prepare your All-State music this year. 

Etude I (fast)

There isn't a lot here that's particularly flute-specific in this etude, but be sure to keep these things in mind anytime you play:

Technique should be clean and even, with no accidental notes ("flams") between the written notes.  Keep all fingers rhythmical and working together as one team. 

Every piece is a tone exercise! And a dynamics exercise! Review how to find your best tone and control dynamics in my blog post here. 

Practice with the metronome on the 8th note subdivision so that you can learn to move seamlessly in and out of the mixed meter mm. 17-21.

Etude II (slow)

These phrases are long, and not all the same length. Note the breaths I take in my video above, and consider these additional options if you have trouble:

Breathe after the third note of the piece

After the downbeat of m. 6

After the G 8th note, beat 3 of m. 13

The 8th note beat might also be helpful on the metronome here to make sense of the 16th note triplets. 

Ditto my comments on technique, tone, and dynamics above. 

Good luck to all, and enjoy this opportunity to learn and grow!! Don't forget, you can sign up for me free virtual practice session with this form through October 9, 2022. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

All-Northwest 2023 Auditions, part 2 (Andersen, Brahms, Bach, and Grainger)

 All-Northwest hopefuls, your audition music is available here. It's worth noting that some of these excerpts get repeated from audition one year to the next, so get started now, and even if you don't make it this year, you are investing in your future chances! 

Good luck to you all this September, and keep in touch if you'd like some individual help at ; )

Andersen: It's easy to rush ahead in this etude. Practice with very vertical placement, and treat it like a march in style. I love to practice with the metronome on the offbeats whenever I find myself rushing--try it for yourself! 

Brahms: Many eloquent articles have been written about this important orchestral excerpt; this blogpost by Mary Hale is a nice place to start. I will just add that, beyond the hairpins under each mini-phrase, you should treat this entire solo as one big, luxurious phrase that grows all the way into the A# past the high F#, then naturally relaxes in sound (but not tempo!)

Bach: You may have seen this with a different metronome marking, different articulations, and/or with a wide variety of dynamics.  Baroque music is like that--up for interpretation by any editor who has an opinion! Be careful to follow these particular markings as much as possible before adding any of your own dynamics--you are being tested partly on your ability to follow directions on the page. 

Grainger: This is an Irish dance!  Practice while stomping your feet, imagine drums playing underneath you (bonus points if you have an actual drummer in the house for support), and go to town! 

All-Northwest 2023 Auditions, part 1 (Wind Symphony)!

 All-Northwest hopefuls, audition excerpts for the Wind Symphony are out and so are my demonstration videos! Wyoming flutists. see if your school qualifies here and read on for some helpful tips on preparing. 

I've recorded the entire audition page with the metronome on so that you can also practice along with me.  Good luck to you all this September, and keep in touch if you'd like some individual help at ; )

Exercise 1 / Chromatic scale: be sure to keep your sound even and full from bottom to top. Keep fingers very clean so that they all work together as a rhythmical team, with no stray movements between notes. Hold the top note for the full two beats indicated with beauty and a shimmer of vibrato! 

Exercise 2: Note the wide variety of articulations in this etude, and be sure each indication--staccato, accent, legato, and slur--sound clearly different from each other. There is not a lot of dynamic contrast here, but it is a good opportunity to display your tapering skills at the ends of phrases, where indicated!

Exercise 3: Now we have much more consistent articulation markings and a wider variety of dynamics. Staccato means short and light, but not clipped and dead, so be sure you're only articulating lightly at the front of the note, not also stopping the end ("tah", not "tut"). Map out your dynamics so that you know exactly where on the head joint you will blow each for f, mf, mp, and p.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Join the FNMC team!



The Flute New Music Consortium is a growing 501c3 non-profit organization with the shared mission of promoting new music for the flute by commissioning works, organizing simultaneous premieres, and encouraging repeat performances. Music enthusiasts and flutists of all ages and abilities are invited to join us in funding new works featuring the flute by becoming a member or making a donation to the project fund. FNMC also hosts an annual Composition Competition in order to seek out and promote new repertoire for flute, and has hosted a biannual New Music Festival since 2020.

FNMC seeks an Executive Director. The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring that the organization achieves its objectives both internally and in the community. If you have strong leadership skills, fundraising and business development experience, and you’re looking to have a positive impact on the new music community, then FNMC may be your next great career opportunity. Experience in music and non-profit administration is desirable. We welcome flutists and non-flutists, alike, to apply.

For a complete job description, click HERE. 

Review will begin June 1 and continue until the position is filled.