Monday, April 11, 2022

Playing Around with Nielsen

This past week many enjoyed the livestreaming of the Nielsen competition.

'Playing around with Nielsen' was one of the competition features. Each performer created their own flute piece based on fragments of Nielsen's compositions.

Violeta Gil Garcia's extraordinary performance of her composition "Camino" for solo flute was replayed at the awards ceremony. It includes extended technique as well as rhythmic foot stomping typical of her native Andalucia.

Very much worth seeing and hearing!! (video)

Comments are welcome as well as general flute questions!!

For example: does anyone else feel uncomfortable watching Violeta's flute tilt backward? I know she's fabulous, but those backward tilting keys make me think of my own arm injury from playing this way. Love to hear other teacher's thoughts on this.

And again, many thanks to Dianne Winsor for keeping us all up to date on the various flute competitions in Europe.


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Rounds 2 & 3 of the Kobe flute competition

Dear Flutelovers,

All flute performance videos: or on youtube here.

Round 2 and 3 of the Kobe flute competition have resulted in these finalists:

【1st Prize】



【3rd Prize】*

Marianna Julia ŻOŁNACZ


【5th Prize】


【6th Prize】

Joidy Scarlet BLANCO LEWIS

【Special Award】

For performance of the contemporary pieces

Mario BRUNO(work by  Pintscher)

Anna KOMAROVA(work by Ichiyanagi )

*no 2nd and 4th places were awarded.


Best, Jen

Thanks to Dianne Winsor for keeping us all up to date on the Kobe!

Monday, March 14, 2022

Podcast for when you're fired from the arts

Podcast for when you're fired from the arts

Dear Flutelovers,

If you've ever felt rejected after an audition....

If you've ever felt like giving up your art.....

If you've ever wanted so much to be a part of a artistic group, and found yourself on the outside of that group....

If you've ever worked very hard in a very tough field, and then had something inexplicably just not work out....even when it was supposed to be a sure thing....

Well then... as we're coming out of lockdown, you may want to hear this super interesting and funny podcast:

DeadEyes Podcast

I read about it first a few days ago in the news.

Tom Hanks fired a young actor, who then quits acting in despair. He goes to work in a bookstore in New York, and then re-enters the field as an improv comedian ten years later, develops a stand up comedy routine about being fired by Tom Hanks, and then tries to figure out why this all happened, twenty years later, from every possible angle, in a podcast.

It is GREAT work and I binge-listened to it. (There are over 30 short episodes) And unbelievably, the two men meet in the final episode and all is revealed!

You may think: Now Jen, just how is this flute related?

Well you'll soon understand from listening to the many episodes of this enjoyable show! I mean, naturally the so-called "entertainment business" includes classical musicianship AND acting, and agents, and bookings, and racing the clock, and , most unconquerable of all, (duh duh duh DUH!!)... subjective opinion.

Quote from the news article about "Dead Eyes" podcast:

"Although it’s overwhelmingly played for laughs – the construction of the podcast, excavating an old wound from every conceivable angle, gives it the feel of an investigative true-crime show. It’s beautifully done."


Episode 1

Episode 2 

Episode 3

continue in order here:

All episodes 

You'll need to scroll down to Oldest to listen in order.

Jen's fave episode for the Scotsman's story: Episode 10


Comments welcome!


Thursday, February 03, 2022

Masks for flute performing

Click on image to enlarge, or visit link below.
 Dear Flute-lovers,

As well as vaccines and boosters, some flutists are now being asked to perform while wearing face masks especially in seniors settings.

Although I haven't tried them myself, the top product at the moment is the flute mask made by the Broadway Relief Project. They are about $25 U.S. and come in black and beige, with a wire across the top edge to individualize the fit. You do have to leave your flute in place, rather than lowering it, while you're performing an entire piece, but apparently these are the best quality available at the moment.

Just thought I'd share the link here, so folks can find them:

Feel free to comment below if you've found other good quality performing masks for the coming challenges of ongoing Covid.  So much good live music is needed now. Happy masked music making! :>)


Tuesday, January 04, 2022

New Year's revival from Paul Edmund-Davies


Dear Flute-lovers,
I've been away from the computer working on healthy outdoor projects (removing invasive plants from wildlands nearby). And now the job is complete, and as proud as punch, and full of sausage rolls and home baking, I am back!

Sorry for those who were waiting avidly for flutey news. I really had to rest my flute injury (left scapula and left arm.) once and for all and do something completely different. 
So: a very happy 2022 to everyone!

 And hey, speaking of getting back into the swing of things, have you been getting the newsletters from the wonderfully fun-to-follow Paul Edmund-Davies? 
Wow. Such a buoyant attitude and so many brilliant ideas to keep flute practicing valid and meaningful.

To subscribe to the (often hilarious when he talks about London plumbing and country leaf-blowers) Simply Flute newsletter, just scroll all the way down to the bottom of any page at and look for the Sign up to our newsletter. It looks like this and is free:

Currently, if you sign up for the newsletter, you'll see that Paul is re-visiting the "Resoflutions" exercises, and you get a free musical exercise in pdf in every newsletter to re-work these in a more leisurely and well-paced manner, perfect for a new year's come-back: Revisiting Resoflutions

The additional free pdfs and instructional materials for starving students are here:

It is very inexpensive to subscribe ($6. US per month) to receive access to all the materials and access to every single teaching resource on Simply Flute.
I'm definitely going to subscribe, so I thought I'd share the excitement with everyone! And I'm super interested in Paul's new Horn Studies by Gallay and the videos: Gallay Horn Studies for flute

Paul is doing an amazing job through the pandemic!!
Enjoy all the stuff at

Best, Jen
PS. Congratulations to Paul for his October 2021 appointment at the Royal Academy of Music in London as "the Charles Nicholson Professor of Flute"!

Friday, October 08, 2021

Top Ten Secrets of Great Flute Playing pdf

 Question: Good morning Jennifer. My teacher informed me about your website.  I am a new student of the flute and an adult. However, I do play piano and read music. 

I am really trying to get down the embouchure and my teacher gave me this single page 2 of your hand-out (attached to email) that she said she got from your website. However, it is only page 2 and she does not have page 1 and this page refers to the prior page and I am wondering if this article is available for me to see on your website.

Thank you. I love all of this information you provide. I am frustrated with getting a clean sound consistently.

Jen's Reply: 

Here is the complete three page handout in pdf. It's called "Top Ten Secrets of Great Flute Playing" (pdf) and covers everything for a new flutist's basic start:

I hope your teacher gets this link so s/he/they can download all THREE pages!

Thanks for helping me clarify this so others can find it too. I put it up on the web years ago, and it's my most downloaded pdf!

I hope that anyone who plays the flute helps themselves too. Most useful facts in the smallest number of words! And naturally I did the drawings myself on actual paper 20 years ago! hahahhaa.

For a beginner, if you are frustrated with getting a consistent quality of sound at first, be sure to use a mirror and also "headjoint only", because you may not be placing the flute's lip-plate in the exact same spot each time you raise the flute to your face. It takes "Time, Patience and Intelligent Work" as the famous flute players all say.

Here is a flute-embouchure specific "How to use a mirror when practicing the flute" article and pdf.


Best, Jen

Monday, August 23, 2021

Round One of the Kobe Flute Competition!

 Dear Flute-lovers,

Only held every four years! What a thrill it's on again! The KOBE!!!!!!

Update: Sept 5/21: Contestants’ performance videos for Round One were streamed online for free at the Kobe youtube channel. On Sept. 5th Kobe announced 26 shortlisted contestants who have been selected to advance to the second round of the 10th KIFC, taking place in Bunka Hall Kobe on March 22-28th, 2022. 



As it happened (last week):

Kobe Videos Round One

Aug 26th: (video)

Jen says: Really enjoyed the 4th contestant: Riccardo Cellaccihi

The above video is set to start at Riccardo, the 4th Aug 26th contestant.


Aug. 27th: (video)


Aug. 28th: (video)
I really liked Darío Portillo's Bach performance. It was bewitching! The video is set to start at his performance as the third contestant August 28/21.

The JS Bach Suite II bwv 1008 played by Dario is free in pdf here.
Aug. 29th (video)
Today I really enjoyed the playing of Denis Savelyev !!

The Aug. 29th video is set to start at the fourth contestant.
Aug 30th: (video)
I was really interested in the interpretational individuality of Stefan Gottfried Tomaschitz, the final competitor in Aug. 30th's video. I'm now curious whether his idiosyncratic rhythmic ideas prevented him from advancing to the next round?
Aug 31st: (video)
Although the sound quality was a bit diffuse on the recording, I most enjoyed the performance by Ryo Shimizu. This video will begin at his performance, the last of this group on August 31/21:

I notice that so far I've been listing male flutists. Believe me when I say I wish there was a better gender balance so far in my "picks". doh. :>)
Sept. 1st: (video) There were several players that interested me with their presentations this morning, but most noticeable was Catherine Winters Boyack.
Sept. 2nd: (video)

Sept 3rd: (video
I enjoyed Pierre Hurbli's playing! Today's final video of Round One will begin at Pierre's performance.

End of Round One Kobe. 

Jen adds: Thanks to Dianne Winsor for updating us all about this event.