It's been an interesting week, to say the least with preventative measures put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. If you're all bottled up inside and feeling bored, here are some tips that might help propel you along in your flute journey.
#1. Learn A New Song
Not only is learning a new song fun, but it can also bolster your own creativity. A common frustration that I hear from flute players of all levels is that they tend to play the same thing over and over–basically, they’re in a rut. One path out of that rut is by playing something different than normally would and by doing so, you may find yourself faced with a unique playing pattern or a new note to play!
#2. Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
Playing along with a backing track isn’t for everyone, but I’ve seen first hand how it can transform the most rigid flute player from boring, lost and non-expressive to emotive and liberated, yet structured.
#3. Practice Intentional Listening
There’s a difference in leisure listening and intentional listening. When I started out with the Native American flute, there were very few resources available so I grabbed up whatever flute CD (or cassette) I could find and practiced intentional listening. It’s how I learned so much about technique and song structure from the get-go.
Whether you still own a CD player, or you’re just a streamer, you can find my music available everywhere on many platforms.
#4. Observe & Apply
Just as mentioned with intentional listening, there’s quite a bit you can learn by observation. I have several playlists on YouTube including Instructional & Educational Flute Videos, Cover Songs on the Native American Flute and Original Songs on the Native American Flute.
#5. Expand Your Own Skill
If you’re looking to go further faster, the path is pretty clear. You can cut through the noise and work with me one-on-one to address specific needs you’re struggling with relating to the Native American flute. I’ve worked with hundreds of students from all over the world to improve their flute playing, helping them get more out of their flute journey.
Learn more about private lessons if you’re interested in working with me directly!
#6. Join My Online Community
This past week I started two brand new Facebook Communities where students whom I’ve worked with can grow even further. The difference between these two private Facebook Groups is the following:
Growing As A Flute Player Community
- You must have had purchased sheet music, backing tracks, e-books, tutorials or DVDs from me and/OR have taken private lessons from me or attended a workshop. Join me here!
Intentional Flute Players Community
- This is a community for only students who have taken private lessons with me or have attended a workshop/seminar. Join me here!
#7. Write Your Own Song On The Native American Flute
Writing music can be a very rewarding and creative process, but sometimes it can be overwhelming – especially if you're new to this, or you've been told that you're not good at songwriting!
I didn't know anything about music when I started with the Native American Flute, but I came up with my own way of writing music and capturing melodies... and it worked! That framework helped me write more than 100 songs.
In Songwriting Shortcuts For The Native American Flute, you'll learn how to:
- Capture those short melodies so that you can repeat what you just played.
- Arrange your song so that you aren’t mindlessly noodling.
- Connect your story so you have the confidence to share your music.
You'll find capturing tactics, arrangement strategies, blank NAF TAB sheets and a story sheet as part of this e-book to help you maximize your songwriting experience.
#8. Index Your Flute Collection
Knowing how to identify flute makers, the symbols and signs to look for, what key and tuning it is and roughly how much it’s worth based on market value is important. You may have a mental picture and index of all your flutes in your head, but I bet that no one else in your family knows this. What if something were to happen to you? What will happen with your flutes?
Heaven forbid it doesn’t happen, but your family will thank you for your responsible action if it does.
#9. Purchase A New Flute
The truth is, we have no idea the severity this COVID-19 pandemic will have on our economy. That trickles down to our loyal and passionate flute makers. There have already been cancellations of concerts, festivals, shows and vending opportunities for musicians and flute makers alike.
Many of these full-time flute makers were relying on these vending opportunities to feed their families. If you're interested in buying a flute, but not sure what you want or where to go? You can start by watching a few of my Flute Reviews on YouTube.
#10. Clean Your Flutes (if necessary)
This goes beyond just sanitizing your flutes, which you may not even have to do. Why? If they're your germs, you already have whatever it is. Germs generally don't live on wood for more than a day anyway, and some only a few hours. Just don't share your flute with other people.
Alcohol will completely strip off shellac and can damage other finishes. Certain essential oils like lavender and tea tree are antibacterial and antiviral, although I don't know of any actual testing to confirm any of that.
First and foremost, I would ask the flute maker what they would recommend as the material used to finish your flute is important. You may want to even note what type of finish it is on your Flute Collection Index Sheet(s).
Depending on the finish and the climate in which you live, you may want to wax or oil your flute during this time and give it a little bit of a break. I find that the mouthpiece wears down quicker than any other part of the flute–especially if it’s a flattened or wider mouthpiece–because it is more likely to be exposed to saliva.
While officials are advising us to stay away from one another, Mother Nature isn’t off-limits. Grab your flute and get outside today or sometime in the next week. Changing your environment can also positively affect your playing style.