Sunday, September 08, 2019

Dystonia interview, Underwood, Davies Noodles

Dear Flute-Lovers,

There was a question on one of the flute groups about Focal Dystonia (musician's injury of the hands or embouchure caused by brain-mapping malfunction) and thankfully, someone recommended this great interview!

Have a listen: (video-audio)

There are wonderful interviews with all kinds of performing flutists in this series if you didn't know about them, they are called Flute Unscripted:
Flute Unscripted (see/hear all interviews with flutists), from New York.

This Mortimore/piccolo-at-the-Met interview also mentions the great flute teaching of Keith Underwood, which I also have recommended on this blog recently.
Excellent! In case you're wondering who Keith Underwood is, here are some links:

Jen's blog posts on Keith Underwood's teaching:

Underwood interview (video)

Spit-buzzing 101 by Underwood (teaching videos at Legrand's website from "Ghostwood" classes)

2017-19 Underwood masterclasses & lessons available via video: scroll down to see second story under Tchaik competiton.

Paul Edmund Davies free flute warmups

Another good flute resource appeared this week from Paul Edmund-Davies: New warmups!


Simply Flute's Coffee Noodle No. 1 (free)

Click here to see videos and download the noodle warmup.

Paul writes:
Simply Flute Coffee Noodles have been designed to give you something new to start your flute day with.

We all know that first off we should make sure that we are ‘toned up’ to meet the challenges and demands of the instrument and the session of practice ahead, but there is always the possibility that we end up playing the same material, day in day out, which in turn takes us closer to functioning on automatic pilot and with a total lack of engagement! When this happens, alarm bells should be ringing and very loudly!

So, the idea behind these exercises is to have something that will warm up those key areas (lips, breathing, tongue, fingers, stamina and brain) whilst at the same time being comparatively simple and hopefully enjoyable to play.

Then, to really get ourselves into peak condition, Simply Flute Coffee Noodles swing through all the major and minor keys, so that we can explore different sounds and play with a variety of expression too.

Each SFCN, being something between an exercise and a short study is on the long side (Coffee Noodle 1 is 27 pages long!). The full versions of all 7 of these Noodles, will only be available to our subscribers to download and print off.

We will be posting the music ‘teaser taster’ download of each Noodle in C major and A minor, for the general flute public, but as indicated, only subscribers will have access to the complete versions.

To access ‘Gentle Warm Ups to Start the Day, Coffee Noodle 1’ please go to

See all Paul's free flute stuff at:

Love these resources.

Questions & comments welcome (use the comment button below; they take a few minutes to appear as it is set to "approval". thanks. Happy Fall!)

Best, Jen

Friday, August 09, 2019


Speechless; and you'll soon see why. (video)

Twelve year old Julin Cheung from Seattle, plays Rodrigo,
by memory, for Sir James Galway this past week.
Another camera angle is on Galway's facebook (where you can
 see that the performer has no copy of the music in front of him.)

Jen not often this speechless

ps.   Don't quit. 

Even the tiniest village needs its flute players!

pps. :)

click on jpg to enlarge; back button to return here.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Comparing multiple thousand dollar flutes

click on jpg to enlarge., then back button to return here.

Dear Flute-lovers,

I've definitely been away from the internet for awhile, (working offline,, Brahms ha ha) and so I had missed a whole generation of online flute videos that expertly compare flutes that cost from $600 to $30,000 dollars.

Eureka. At last, and ta-da! :>D
They exist now!

When I first came on the internet in the '90s there was only anecdotal evidence for which flutes sounded well, and which sounded "thin" , which carried thoughout a hall, and which took a powerful amount of blowing etc. etc.....

And the only thing that we early-internet-using fluteplayers could do at the time, was type out emails, talking about our comparison experiences and mass-typing on email listservs. Some pretty  wild anecdotes were told; but it's massively subjective, afterall. :>)

But here we are in 2019 and there are church-recorded, honestly run videos of flute demonstration/comparison tests like this one: (video)

The sound is great, and the player is great.
 I like the subtle differences and the way the player has to adjust to each flute.
(and it's the way the player PLAYS that makes the flute!)

Fabulously interesting to hear. I hope I'm not the last one online to have found this film.

We've come a long way since anecdotal evidence for what a flute player is looking for in sound quality with each level of flute.

Enjoy. You can really hear the differences.

And hahahaha, and of course those Yamaha 200s really still pull off a whole lot of workload, eh?

Best, Jen

ps. Hilarious when done on Violin by TwoSet:

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Tchaikovsky competition & Underwood Classes

Dear Flutelovers,

The Tchaikovsky Competition just completed, with online broadcasts of all the woodwinds available in video replay.
I read on one of the flute groups:

"Of those who played yesterday, the Venezuelan Joidy Blanco, 27, was outstanding."

Hear Joidy's first round here: Joidy Blanco's First Round in Replay
Hear her semi-final round here: Joidy Blanco's Full Semi-Final Programme
Joidy's FINAL round here: Joidy Blanco's Final Programme

I listened to several first rounds, and in this player I hear PURE musicality and emotion which basically caused me to ignore the other competitors, and only listen to Blanco. Every phrase of the Bach unaccompanied Sonata in A minor is sung with sense of what it is saying and the joy and tumble of  the thoughts of the composer. The other competitors.....not so much. But hey, it's a huge stress being in such a competition. But what courage this Blanco has! Lovely! She goes from strength to strength. Check it out. This lovely player made it to second place overall, and the winner's Final round is here: Matvey Demin. And lastly, here is Matvey Demin's semi-finals, for comparison to Blanco's. Both are excellent in their own ways, of course!

See more flute video replays for this competition: all woodwind Replays

Other insanely EXCELLENT flute stuff:

 Keith Underwood's Flute Classes at Lesson Face are amazingly fantastico!

Have a look at the index of the classes given from the past three years.

I purchased a whole year's worth of Underwood classes and watched them all ( I chose: 2016-2017).

Keith's teaching is the most insightful ever in the history of the flute, and I'm not exaggerating.
Highly recommended. You won't believe just how fantastic until you see them for yourself.

(I'm not related to this business in any way, I'm just a huge fan.)

I've previously recommended his "spit buzzing 101" (see previous blog post.) and since the newer classes have no preview, and you just have to take it on flutey look at the blog links to spit buzzing at Ghost Valley Ranch, to get an idea at the neuro-flutistic/linguistic-mouthistic programming.
 Such a boon to know these quick fixes! ( Ex: Spit buzzing pulls your upper lip down so it hangs just a few millimeters below your front teeth. When you stop buzzing and play the flute, you suddenly have incredible control over pulling your upper lip down to form a better tone quality. Only takes a few minutes to learn, and brings your embouchure back after a gap in practicing.)

If you are an intermediate to very advanced flutist already, and want to improve quickly or revive your flute-playing, partake of these previously filmed classes, instead of travelling to a big flute convention or fair. It will cost the same (or far less!) than a flute-day, or say, 2-3 basic flute lessons, but you will stay home with your flute out and ready, the pause button at your fingertips, innumerable lifetime of replays of any of the videos,  and learn more quickly and be more inspired at your flutey progress than ever.
Totally worth it! An 11/10 rating from moi! :>)

 Keith Underwood's Flute Classes at Lesson Face  videos available in packages.

Only the best for my readers!

He also has individual lessons online for those who really need specific help:
Keith Underwood private lessons online.

Keith is very adept at teaching woodwind multi-instrumentalists/doublers too, for those who specialize in that.

Comment using the comment button if you have questions for me.
Summer is here!! Ask away. Your comment will appear after a short approval-delay.

Best, Jen

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Prague Flute Competition 2019

Dear Flutelovers,

The Prague Flute Competition finals from today:

Finals: part1, part 2

Repertoire list

1. Anton Reicha Quartet for Flute, Violin, Viola and Violoncello No. 3 in G major Op. 98 Musica Antiqua Bohemica Editio Praga

In collaboration with Bennewitz Quartet

2. A work of the candidate´s choice (MEMORIZED)

a) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Concerto for Flute and Orchestra in G major KV 313 Urtext Bärenreiter

b) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Concerto for Flute and Orchestra in D major KV 314 Urtext Bärenreiter

c) Vilém Blodek Concerto for Flute and Orchestra in D major
Previously performed (not recorded):

Preliminary Round
1. Jindřich Feld Quatre pièces for Flute solo – 1st (Meditation) and 4th (Burlesca) movement Alphonse Leduc

2. Johann Sebastian Bach Sonata in E major BWV 1035 – 1st (Adagio ma non tanto) and 2nd (Allegro) movement Urtext type of  Bärenreiter, Breitkopf, Henle etc.
Round I
1. Erwin Schulhoff Sonata for Flute and Piano

2. Georg Philipp Telemann 12 Fantasias for Solo Flute – one of the Fantasias of candidate´s choice Urtext type of  Bärenreiter, Breitkopf, Henle etc. (MEMORIZED)
Round II
1. A work of the candidate´s choice

a) Bohuslav Martinů Sonata for Flute and Piano H 306

b) Jan Novák Sonata Super „Hoson Zes“ for Flute and Piano Bärenreiter

c) Carl Reinecke Sonata “Undine“ for Flute and Piano Op. 167

2. Gabriel Fauré Fantasie for Flute and Piano Op. 79

3. Johann Sebastian Bach One of the following sonatas Urtext type of  Bärenreiter, Breitkopf, Henle etc.

a) Sonata in E flat major BWV 1031

b) Sonata in C major BWV 1033

4. Jaroslav Pelikán Composition commissioned for the IMC Prague Spring 2019

Comments welcome. Best, Jen

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Nathan Cole's Excellent Teaching

Dear Flute-lovers,

Nerds of all flute practice tricks unite!   :>D    Ha ha!

Unite your tiny nerdy flute-selves and head over to the excellent Nathan Cole Violin Facebook page and/or Natesviolin signup to see some amazing expert musical teaching on video! (insider's secrets of practicing that are massively applicable to the flute.) (!)

Note: you don't have to be a member of Facebook to see these videos or visit these sites; just say "Not now." if a pop-up asks you to sign-in; all is public and free. Click on the word VIDEO on the left hand column when you arrive if you are viewing live on Facebook:

Nathan Cole is a GREAT violin communicator! And he plays extensively with orchestra, so he's covering all of that finesse and knowledge, and more. I am feeling total expert musical/teaching corroboration and learning so so so much from watching his free, three-video violin "how to practice to improve" video interactive-intensive.

 Almost ALL of it applies to flute, you'll see immediately.

First Day of the live broadcast (May 6th 2019) was "Practice Mindset", Second day (today) was "Etudes/Exercises for Violin and how they relate to the repertoire", and Day Three is tomorrow (May 8th) where he goes into detail about "How to break things down in your practicing, in order to have fantastic, successful practicing."

Really worth viewing. Seriously. You will just know excellence when you see and hear it.

You can sign up for this particular three day live Facebook broadcast here(free) in order to get reminder emails and replay link newsletter type reminders of videos:

After you sign up all the teaching videos are available in replay even if you didn't see it live.
You are emailed a link to view them. So go for it.

Nathan Cole also has a blog of interest, and a GREAT podcast.
Check these resources out. This is how we need to teach the flute.
It's all so obvious what good communication about music is, once you see it done well.

Enjoy and comments welcome,
(I am no relation to this violin teacher and his excellent work, btw...although he was raised by fluteplayers. It's just a must see no matter what your instrument. )

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Nielsen Competition Finals

Dear Flutelovers,

Although Round 2 films are still not on replay, but will be eventually, (Still not online yet! April 28th, 2019) The Finals of the Nielsen are online to view Rounds 1 and 3.

Here are the three films of the finalists:

Comments welcome!

Semi-Finals (Four CPE Bach's and a Vivaldi) and the missing (and very exciting!) Second Round will appear at the link below:

See all rounds:

Best, Jen