Flute Solo Music

Music and more for the flute

This site is being shut down.

It’s been fun, folks. I enjoy sharing my thoughts…but facts are facts. This site costs me monthly, and I have not sold enough music to support it.

I am not giving up sharing ideas, though!

Check out flutesolomusic.blogspot.com

When the Recital is Over

I spent the better part of a year preparing my flute solo music for my recent recital. This was a very big deal to me. After last years’ recital I bought a digital camcorder so I can video and post my performances on YouTube. I had a beautiful piece of music that I loved. I was prepared. Ready to go. Polished and confident. I played, as is usual for me, without being nervous.

And I was disappointed, which brings me to my thoughts for today. How often do we perform and then spend the next minutes, hours, days and sometimes more criticizing ourselves for every little thing that didn’t go as we wanted it to? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can’t we just be happy with what went right, and move forward? I don’t have the answer.

In spite of my “after-thoughts” I am going to post the video for the world to see. It’s not my best performance of the piece. I started too slowly, and that left me gasping for air in the middle of phrases I KNEW I could play without a breath. Of course, that led to mental distraction. I forgot to maintain good posture in my arms and legs. I forgot to maintain a nice round inner mouth. I forgot to hold my shoulders back and stand tall. I got in a hurry afterward and didn’t take enough time to acknowledge my audience. I look at the video and see an old hunched lady (“why are my shoulders so round? and when did I get so old???–I don’t FEEL that old….usually”). “OW! that note cracked! Oh, dear, I KNOW I can play that phrase without fumbling my fingers! How can I be so BAD after almost EIGHT YEARS!?”

Yeah. If you’ve ever played in a recital, this should sound pretty familiar. The details may be a bit different, maybe it’s your hair, or your outfit….We can all find things about ourselves to criticize.

So what’s my point? It’s this:

1. Forget about yourself, get over it. It’s about sharing, not about perfection.

2. Be happy with the fact you had the courage to get up there and DO IT.

3. Remember there will be other opportunities, and every time will be different.

4. Be willing to accept praise from your listeners. They are looking for your success, not your failure.

5. Focus on what you did RIGHT, and then praise yourself for those things, even if it’s just that you walked up there and didn’t faint or quit!

So here it is, in all it’s imperfection and flaws….my performance of the “Hamburg Sonata in G major,” first movement, by CPE Bach. It’s a lovely piece of music which isn’t played often enough, and in my humble opinion, like the “Minute Waltz” – usually played too fast to let the listener enjoy.


Hiking the NaPali Coast

Many years ago we had the opportunity to go to Hawaii. We figured we may never get another chance, so we made it a big trip. We stopped for a day in Oahu, then on to the Big Island for 8 days, and finished up on Kauai for another 5 days. It was a wonderful trip.

While on Kauai our friends who were traveling with us encouraged us to go hike a “short” distance along the fabulous NaPali Coast trail. Now, I am NOT a hiker, but my friend said it was well worth the effort, and we were only going to hike into the first beach area, swim a bit, and then back out.

Two grueling hours later we arrived at the base of the trail to find multiple signs that warned us that the currents in the water were so dangerous that even wading could kill you! I was pretty mad at my friend, because of course, we had to hike back out again! So I sat with my feet in a little stream that came down to the beach, the kids played in the sand, and explored a lava cave, and after a bit we headed back out.

Here’s the wild thing…it was the highlight of our stay on Kauai!!! I will never be sorry we spent that time exploring the coast. The views of the ocean were amazing, expecially the first overlook where you can look down onto the beach where they filmed “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta’ My Hair.” If you ever get to Kauai, go at least that far, you won’t regret it.

The saddest thing is that I had a new camera, hadn’t installed the film correctly, and when I got home, I discovered a blank roll where my pictures should have been. So all I have now is my memories of the trip, and pictures that other people haved shared.

A friend asked me to write a piece of music for piccolo and guitar. As I began to write for the piccolo, the tone of the instrument took me back to the experience of NaPali.  I’ve made a video, using photos others have shared, and Sibelius Music Notation software to create the music. It lacks the human quality, but I have not yet recorded it with real people…a CD is in the planning stages. Click on the title below and experience hiking the coast, or remember it, if you’ve had this opportunity.

“Hiking the NaPali Coast”

Special thanks go to Armin J Hinterwirth for his photos that capture the hike as I remember it.

If you are interested in purchasing the score, please contact me by sending an email to: flutesolomusic@gmail.com

Recital in Two Weeks – or – How Long Does it Take?!

I have a recital in two weeks. A flute solo. I am prepared, finally. I started working on this piece of music eight long months ago!

EIGHT MONTHS!!!

Now maybe that isn’t surprising to more seasoned performers, but it’s pretty incredible to me. I remember how shocked I was when I finished my third recital and at my next lesson my teacher asked, “Now, what are you going to play next year?”

A YEAR? WILL IT TAKE AN ENTIRE YEAR? . . . . it did. Camille Saint-Saens, “Romance for Flute and Piano, Op. 37” I never did get those quick runs up to speed…sigh…

The next year I chose “Valse Bleue” by Angela Morley. So pretty. It took so long to get the music that I “only” had eight months. . . still struggling with some quick runs at performance…sigh…and not up to tempo, either.

Last year was easier…I simply wrote my own piece to play. It’s here on the site: “Pirouette,” the third portion of my suite for unaccompanied flute or piccolo. Did I say easier? I STILL worked on it for months! But I didn’t mess up anything. Pretty cool.

This year is different. I’m prepared. Finally. There are 9 sets of 8-32nd notes that were my mountain to conquer. Of course, they have to be arpeggios, and they end on E and on F sharp…top of the flute range…two of the most difficult notes, at least as far as I am concerned! But I am ready. What a lovely feeling!

I wasn’t ready a month ago. Those arpeggios were ugly! Impossible! Hopeless! Then came the challenge from my teacher: “Do them 20 times a day–for 5 days. That’s 200 times.” 

Do the math: 9 times 8, plus a few extra notes (about 10) that set the arpeggios up, times 20…thats 1,640 notes…whew! First time I did it I was exhausted. Oh, and of course there’s warm up and playing through the rest of the piece, too. (8,200 over the 5 days)

It worked. Then all I needed to do was to relax.

So how long does it take? I don’t know. For me, this year…eight months.

Here’s the pay off though. I have my own video camera this year. So look for a video to be posted after the recital. I promise to get it posted by the end of November.

Oh, I didn’t tell you what I’m playing, did I? Check back next month to find out!

Or, if you happen to be in the L.A. area…Lake Avenue Church, Pasadena, Ortlund Hall, second floor, November 6, 4pm. You can see it live!

Preparing a Flute Solo: Are You Fighting Frustration?

Are you preparing a flute solo for a performance? Have you become frustrated? Do you feel like your tone has gone into the trash can, your technique out the window, and nothing seems to help? Are you discouraged and wondering if you’ll ever improve?

The first thing you want to explore is the source of your frustration. Mine is completely self-generated. I am motivated by performance. I want every performance to be perfect, and when I feel like I am not moving toward that goal, I get frustrated. It’s silly, I know, but that’s the way I work! Other people become frustrated because they are trying to meet the standards someone else has set for them.
 
No matter where your frustration comes from, it does not have to be an on-going part of playing an instrument!  Nevertheless, if you struggle with it like I do, and if you’ve answered yes to any of the opening questions, then this article is just for you! I am going to share some tips that help me, including one I just discovered today, which was my motivation to write this article.

Techniques to fight frustration:  
 
First apply your scale study techniques–

  • Before you start to play through your solo music, play the scale that matches your key. Play it from the tonic all the way up and down.
  • Next play it so that you cover the entire range that your music covers. For instance, if your music is in the key of D, and the highest note is a B, then start on low D, go all the way up to the highest B and back down to D.
  • Work your way up and down the scale, staying in the key.
  • Work your way up and down the scale, chromatically. ie: D to D, then D sharp to D sharp, now E to E, etc.
  • Now play it in arpeggios.

Now use your theory:

  • Go through the music and identify scale progressions in other keys, and practice them.
  • Break your music into short pieces, say 4-12 measures. Then practice ONLY one section a day. Use a metronome and focus on all aspects of that section, rhythm, dynamics, ornaments, finger patterns that trip you up.
  • Go through the piece backward. Start with the last 2 notes. Play them. Make sure they work well together. Then the last 3 notes, then the last 4, and so forth. In doing this you will identify little spots where something is a problem. The fun thing is that usually it will be a surprise where those problems are!

AND HERE’S THE ONE I DISCOVERED TODAY:

  • Ignore your solo piece for a day, and pick up music that you played as a solo a year or two ago. Play it through, just like you were sight reading. Listen to yourself. You should be very pleasantly surprised and able to see how much more skilled you are, how much easier it is. This is especially effective if it’s something that you had to work at, or had frustration with at the time.

 
That’s what I did. I played a piece of music from a performance a year ago. It’s not an especially hard piece of music. It wasn’t terribly hard before, it’s just a piece of music I enjoy playing. I didn’t expect anything to happen, and what a surprise!

wow, Wow, WOW!!

All of a sudden, my fingers flowed with ease.
My dynamics (always a struggle for me) were right on target.
I heard myself and the tone was lovely, full of the right expressions.
It was so much MORE in every way than the last time I performed it.
Best of all, I enjoyed playing it–no frustration, no struggle, just making pretty music.

So now I have a new tool for fighting frustration and discouragement: play something that I haven’t played in a while. When I do that, I re-discover the joy of making music. I see my own progress. Once I’ve done this, it is much, much easier to go back and work on the new piece because I know that one day I can come back to it and find it easy!

IN SUMMARY:

These are not all the techniques that exist to fight off frustration. I’m sure you have ones that work well for you. Write a comment and share your own favorite techniques!



 

Musical Journeys Now Available

Musical Journeys” – I am pleased to announce that I have added a Youtube video of another of the songs in “Musical Journeys!” Each of the songs I produce into video goes a little faster as I become more proficient at creating the video. I’ve also learned to enhance the music a bit so it sounds a little less like the computer who is playing it. As I progress in skill, I’ll find a way to bring to you actual “human created” music. But for now, please click on “Springtime in Vienna” and listen, comment and enjoy!

I am pleased to announce that  my collection  of   Flute Solo Music, “Musical Journeys,” is now available for purchase! The collection consists of six solos and one duet, all with piano accompaniment.

                                                          

All of the pieces are three to five minutes in length and each one has a story to it, here they are:

Festival Dreams was my first path along the trail that led to today. It began life as a piano piece. The music dropped into my head while at a Fall Festival with my church. I didn’t know if it was something I had heard before, or was an entirely new piece of music. I didn’t have access to a piano, so I jotted down the music in a notebook and when I got home a week later was surprised to see I had only put four lines for the staff! Amazingly, as I sat down to the piano, the melody again dropped into my mind, and I was able to set it down. It was a long time before I finished it–somehow it didn’t seem to go anywhere. I finally added an arpeggio and called it done. Years later, after I started playing the flute I ran across this little piece in my piano bench. I added a flute descant to go with it and so it appears at the beginning of this collection.

On A Lovely Afternoon” also dropped into my mind one day. The roses were blooming in the rose garden, birds were singing in the trees, and next thing I knew I was at the piano jotting notes on paper. After a bit the song seemed to get lost, so I set it aside. I remembered one form of music from a long-ago college class: Rondo. I always liked the idea of a rondo, identified as A-B-A-C-A. So I wondered if maybe I could build this little melody into a full piece by using that form. After it was finished, I thought it would be fun to play it with a violin, and that’s how I started the treble line which eventually became the piano part. Still, I wonder how it would sound if I violin played that line? Or maybe an Oboe?

My next stop on this journey was ”Springtime in Vienna.” It started life with a different name, which I don’t remember anymore. Then one day a friend asked me if I had something I could share with her piano students so they could have the experience of being an accompanist. I showed this piece to her and she liked it, but there was a small problem. She had a theme for her students: each piece played was to have a country in the name. So I thought a bit, changed the name to “Springtime in Vienna,” with the plan of it being a temporary change. Then I decided the new name suited the piece so well, and decided to keep it. When I think of Vienna I think of happy music and friendly people.

This piece was the first one that I wrote while actually playing the flute. I was warming up, and next thing I knew I heard a happy melody, so started to write it down.

Now I decided I would like to write a song in 6/8 time. I love playing in 6/8! So I began “Kenellen: A Love Story.” As I was trying to come up with a melody a friend of mine told me about the fascinating lady he had just met. That was the trigger to start the music! I kept getting stuck, and it sat there a while. As my friend fell in love and eventually proposed the rest of the music came together. Along the way the 6/8 time got lost, although there is still a section in 3/8…

So now I had written four songs, each one beginning with a melody popping into my head. I decided to see if I could write something just because I wanted to. I asked my teacher to give me a time and key signature, and that was the beginning of “Gentle Breezes & Bird Song.” I had met a young lady who played harp, so I tried to write something she and I could play. Before it was done she had changed instruments, so I turned the harp line into a second flute, added the piano and there it was! I was quite fascinated with Pachebel’s “Canon in D” (who isn’t!?) so I copied the idea of making 8-bar phrases. I like the little trills of the birds in the first flute part! Oh, and don’t worry that you NEED another flutist to play this piece! This song can also be a solo, too–just leave out the second flute. It will still sound lovely!

The final two pieces, “Walking in the Sand” and “Crossroads,” came in fast succession. I hadn’t even finished the accompaniment to one when the other started to build itself in my mind. Each of these were written almost entirely on the flute, only using the piano to get the rhythms right.

It has been a lovely journey, this musical path. Along the way I have had a great deal of help and support, most of all from my friend and teacher,Stephanie Doell. Here are her comments about Musical Journeys:

“I highly recommend “Musical Journeys” for any flutist wanting to explore the beauty of their tone, the depth of their vibrato, and the richness of colors the flute is capable of producing.  With simple rhythms and a moderate range, this collection of 7 pieces is great for younger flutists developing their sense of musicality and their ability to hear phrasing in music, but it is also a fulfilling experience for the advanced flutist because of its lyrical melodies and array of textures.”

1/2013: PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO FLUTESOLOMUSIC@GMAIL.COM TO ORDER. There is a problem with the order button below. Sorry for the incovenience. I hope to fix this very soon!

TO ORDER: Please email me at flutesolomusic@gmail.com 

Thank you for ordering and enjoy the music!


Three Ways We Use a Scale

By Stephanie Doell

I was fascinated, absolutely enthralled, the first time my teacher told me it had to be a double sharp.  F DOUBLE SHARP!!  Why can’t I call it G?  Isn’t F DOUBLE SHARP more difficult to read?  Did I really have to concern myself with raising a note two half steps?  The piece was the Moonlight Sonata.  I was somewhere around the age of eleven and learning to play the piano.  It all began there.  Notes, my teacher explained, have functions in music.  Every note in a musical line leads somewhere.  All of a sudden, I could see purpose to the ups and downs and twists and turns.  The composer had a plan, and I was going to go with him on his musical journey.  Through my years of study, scales have been the foundation of all of the information that I gather about a piece.  Learning scales equips a soloist with ease of mobility, knowledge about note function, and a trained ear.

Scales are the basis of our technique.  There are many, many different types of scales.  First we learn our major scales, then our minors.  We learn a chromatic scale, and we may even learn an octatonic scale (a scale that alternates whole step, half step).  Learning to play scales is a rote activity.  We repeat a scale over and over until our muscles memorize the pattern of notes.  As soon as our muscle memory takes over, we can begin working for speed.  It is very important to a solo performer to be able to execute scales with great speed and fluidity.  Scales provide us with the technique needed to execute consecutive grace notes, glissandos, turns, etc.  They are essential for embellishments.  Scales also comprise the majority of technical passages in a solo piece.  For example, Chaminade’s “Concertino” uses a D Major scale followed by an Eb Major scale for it’s very fast passages.  If a soloist already knows his scales, then he can fully concern himself with learning the rhythms of the passage.  Sight reading will also be substantially easier.  Learn a variety of a scales and a world of music will be available to you.

We also use scales to learn something about the direction of the musical line and how individual notes function in their settings.  Each note of a scale is assigned a number based on where the note falls in the scale.  If we are playing a C Major scale, C would be one.  D would be two, etc.  We learn from experience, as well as in our theory classes, that the fifth note of the scale and the seventh note of the scale often resolve to the first note of the scale, which we call tonic. Every major and minor scale is built alphabetically, neither repeating nor skipping a letter.  That is how we explain our F double sharp.  F double sharp is the seventh note in a G sharp minor scale.  Calling it G would be incorrect because G functions as tonic and is sharp.  F double sharp is the leading tone in G sharp minor.  As repertoire becomes more challenging, the scale that the piece is using changes more rapidly.  An awareness of how each note is functioning within the current scale of the piece helps the performer give every note purpose in the piece.  G will lead to C in C Major but will take us to an A flat in A flat Major. 

Lastly, scales train our ears to recognize patterns in music.  Each scale is defined by a unique pattern of whole steps and half steps.  For example, a major scale is comprised of two groups of whole step, whole step, half step with a half step separating the two groups of notes.  When a performer learns major scales, he is training his ear to recognize the distinct sound associated with this particular pattern.  That is true of every scale a performer learns.  Being able to recognize the sound of a particular scale and identify scales within the repertoire enables the performer to easily identify mistakes when practicing.


Scale practice is essential for anyone wishing to develop skills in performance.  One should practice basic scales from tonic to tonic as well as scale exercises that have been created to develop musicality,  ear training, and further technical skills.  And, remember, the next time you see F double sharp, ask yourself where it’s going instead of why it’s there.


Stephanie Doell graduated in 2003 from Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor of Music.  She has studied flute performance, music theory, and music therapy extensively. Stephanie has performed in orchestras, small ensembles, and as a flute soloist throughout both the Greater New Orleans area and the Greater Los Angeles area.  She is available to perform on both flute and piccolo and offers lessons in flute performance, ear training, and music theory.  She is located in Pasadena, California.  Please visit her website to contact her with any questions.

<http://www.stephaniedoell.com

Scales for Solo Excellence


Every music student has encountered scales. Most of us are not very fond of this part of practice! For all the teachers reading this, wouldn’t it be wonderful if all your students came to each lesson all excited to do scales? If only the students could see how incredibly valuable scales are to performance!

 

Now, this site is mainly related to Flute Solo Performance. Every piece of music ever written is based on scales. If you take the time to examine your solo, you will find that scales are everywhere, even though sometimes they are only two or three notes long. As you progress and your music becomes more difficult, you will find scales of more than one key throughout your music.

 

As you begin to look at a new solo, take a bit of time to identify the different scales. Then practice those scales as your warm-up each day. Oh yes, daily scale practice. Now we get into the part so many of us don’t want to do!

 

Let’s see if we can find a few ways to make it more palatable.  There are many good books out there. Most of them just go up and down the scale. If you take time to explore a bit, you can find quite a bit of variety.

 

I like to try to make my scales sound like music. Sometimes I go up five notes and down four, working up as high as I can go. For instance, in the key of C:

C, D, E, F, G, F, E, D, D, D.

D, E, F, G, A, G, F, E, E, E.

I repeat the last note, just to give it a little more flavor and fun.

 

FUTURE PLANS FOR Flute Solo Music.com:

 

·      Guest authors – if you would like to submit an article, please contact me

·      A book of scales designed for teacher and student to work together. These scales are very musical in nature.

·      A book of scale studies designed to train the fingers and the ear to play a scale in the middle 

·      Musical Journeys a new collection of seven original compositions for flute with piano accompaniments. One is a flute duet. Each piece is three to five minutes of mood music written for performance.



The Time Has Come To Play A Flute Solo!

by Janet K Bordeaux

Welcome all flute music enthusiasts! You have come to the right place to find solo music for the flute that will delight your senses, thrill your fingers, move your listeners and please your teacher!

What is the first thing you do when your teacher asks you to plan for your next recital? If you are like me, you roll your eyes and groan. The first thought to come to your mind is “I don’t know what I want to play! Something not too hard, but that will sound impressive. A piece of music I can polish so that my listeners will enjoy coming to my recital. A solo that will impress the other flutists.

As you begin the process of finding just the right solo you probably first look at the music you already own. Sometimes your teacher may suggest a solo piece. At other times you need to go to the music store and browse. I have done all of theses things, and have discovered how hard it is to find the right flute solo which will challenge me, delight me, but not too much. I have spent money on music only to discover that it is too hard, or too easy, or boring, or it just doesn’t “speak” to me.

An important factor when you start to search for a flute solo is to make sure that you can at least get through the piece, even if you stumble. If the music is too hard, you will become discouraged. If it is to easy, then you will not build valuable skills and improve as a flutist.

Another importatnt considerations is that the flute solo music appeals to you. You must enjoy the melody and like the overall tone of the mood. The music must speak to you so that you can move your listeners to join you in the mood of the music.

Music for the flute is often filled with quick passages, tricky rhythms, trills and other frills. If there is too much, then it becomes busy and very difficult to execute well. If there isn’t enough, it becomes boring and dull. Once you are no longer a beginner it seems to be very difficult to find challenging pieces that are manageable.

The flute solo collections you will find here are designed to carry a chllenge. They are designed with the intermediate flutist in mind. FluteSoloMusic.com is the place to find unique compostitions that are less well known or newly written pieces. We are looking for composers to submit their works to us for distribution, or to link to our website.

Visit here often, as we will be adding more music and links to other sites. If you do not find solo music for the flute here that delights you, please contact us with your requests and suggestions.

Also check out my companion article on eZineArticles.com          As Featured On EzineArticles

If you are enjoying this site, please help to share it with others. All you need to do is click the StumbleUpon icon (looks like a blue/green marble!) below, and say you like this site. Then, as musicians and flutists explore on the internet, they will “stumble upon” this site.

StumbleUpon.com is free software which allows you to select your interests and then just hop from site to site. As you mark “like” or “dislike” the programing “learns” your preferences and guides you to them. I have found some very interesting sites by stumbling around.