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. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Check out my partnership with Wyoming Arts Council!

I am super excited to work with the Wyoming Arts Council (WAC) this summer to host a series of workshops focused on business skills for artists! See details below, and join me if you're local! (If you're not local but interested, drop me a line.)

On Wed., May 25 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. Nicole will host a Portfolio Kit workshop at the University of Wyoming Art Museum in Laramie. In this interactive workshop, participants will build a solid, usable portfolio that they can pull out and tweak as needed, allowing them to be ready for sudden opportunities. 

On Wed., June 15 from 5:30- 6:30 p.m.  Nicole will host a Funding workshop at the UW Art Museum. It’s undeniable that providing for our basic needs requires cash and credit. It’s also undeniable that as artists, we find ways around the need for cash as often as we can. This workshop aims to take what participants already do and spark creative thinking about how to “get the work done” without having to go to the same funding wells over and over. In this workshop participants will learn about traditional and contemporary funding models and think creatively about models they can implement in their work and communities.

Both workshops are a suggested cost of $10 or pay what you can and are open to artists of all mediums. Register online at Eventbrite today. Each workshop is limited to a maximum of 25 participants. The curriculum for these workshops is based off of Springboard for the Arts’ Work of Art Program, a proven model that has been replicated all over the country. 

These workshops are a pilot for what the WAC hopes to expand in the near future. Looking forward, there are a number of other topics that can be taught in several communities throughout the state and online. 

Classical flutist Nicole maintains an active national presence as a recitalist and pedagogue. A champion of new music for flute, she also serves on the board of Flute New Music Consortium, a non-profit commissioning organization. With experience starting both non-profit organizations and LLCs and working as a studio artist, freelance performer, chamber ensemble manager, and orchestral musician, Nicole brings many perspectives to her advocacy work for artists. Nicole currently teaches flute and entrepreneurship classes at University of Wyoming, where she also oversees the Entrepreneurship Certificate program. She is also a guest instructor in iCadenza’s Coro program, where she has produced instructional videos for emerging music entrepreneurs and serves as a career coach.  Nicole holds degrees from University of Illinois (BM), Michigan State University (MM), and Indiana University (DM).  Nicole was trained by the Springboard for the Arts team to lead these workshops. 

For more information, contact Taylor Craig at 307-274-6673 or

Saturday, September 18, 2021

WyoMEA All-State auditions 2021!

It's that time of year again! If you are a high school flute student anywhere in Wyoming, I hope you will audition for All-State Band this year. If you get in, it will be a great experience playing with your fellow ambitious flutists from around the state, and if you don't you'll still learn so much about playing and conquering your fears! 

I'll be giving two free virtual workshops again this year to help students prepare for their auditions:

Monday, October 11 at 7pm: All-State Practice Session for Flutes (register here by Oct. 10)

Monday, October 18 at 7pm: Piccolo Basics and All-State Practice Session (register here by Oct. 17)

To get you started, here are some pointers on this year's etudes:

Etude #1 (Con fuoco):

  • Strive for 4-measure phrases when possible; otherwise, make them 2-measure phrases.
  • Start subdividing the 8th note pulse in m. 7 to make a smooth and accurate transition into the mixed compound meter at m. 9. 
  • Review your extreme dynamics by practicing lots of crescendos and decrescendos with the tuner.
  • Accents get their weight from length and strength; staccatos get their lift from letting the tongue snap back down faster after the initial attack.
  • Always practice with the metronome--you can even put it on the 8th note beat to make the compound meters easier. 

 Etude #2 (Tenderly):

  • Strive for 2-measure phrases in this one so that you're not tempted to play with a tiny sound in order to "save air".
  • Use a free, spinning vibrato on last notes of phrases, and especially in m. 8 to help exaggerate your crescendo. 
  • Be very accurate with articulation--where exactly does each slur begin and end? Don't improvise. 
  • Review advice on dynamics and metronome work, above!

And listen to my demonstration of the flute etudes!:

You can always find composer's notes, download etudes, and look up selected scales at the WyoMEA website here.

Good luck to everyone auditioning, and I hope to see you at one of my virtual workshops this year! 

Dr. Riner