Reaching a brick wall with my flute!

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JennyColville
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Reaching a brick wall with my flute!

Post by JennyColville »

I have played the flute since I was 7 (for 14 years) and achieved a Diploma in Performance at the London College of Music last year. I love playing the flute very much and the sense of achievement it provides me with and I have worked very hard to reach the standard I now play at. The problem that I am faced with is that I perform to nobody but myself and my flute teacher (and occassionally an examiner when I take flute exams!). I struggle to commit to orchestras as I am a childrens nurse and work shifts meaning I cannot always attend rehearsals. I have reached a point where my confidence is being affected because I never play to an audience; losing out on the sense of achievement and pride performing gives you as well as the praise I sometimes feel would be useful! I do not get praise from my teacher as her teaching method is mostly based on criticism and I never praise myself as I have truly lost touch with what standard I am actually at (as I have nothing to compare myself to!). How do I know if I sound good?!

I would love to publically perform (especially solo) and hear an applause at the end of a piece for once! It has also occured to me to take my flute further, perhaps more professionally, but I do not know how to do this nor what jobs you can get playing the flute! I have also always dreamed of playing another instrument, in particular the oboe, but cannot afford to buy or rent an oboe/other instrument.I am aware I am always learning and improving my playing but feel I have reached a dead end and no longer know how to further myself as a musician and passionate flautist.

Any advice? I have emailed loads of famous flautists for advice but as you can imagine, responses are rare!

Help!! :?

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

How about a recital? You could plan several months ahead, learn the music on your own time, advertise it etc...

Maybe you could get your teacher to arrange a recital for her entire studio. My teachers do that often (because a sense of achievement is important.)

fluttiegurl
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Post by fluttiegurl »

A recital is a great idea. Also consider it as an advertisement to others who may be looking for a flutist for a wedding, reception, etc.

I play freelance in my area and though I do not make as much money as I did in the past, I really like what I do. I just played at a historical home for an open house this past week. It was a wonderful experience! The more I play here, the more people call me. It has taken some time to get noticed, but it is happening and rarely does a week go by that I do not get a call from someone.

Tarandros
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Location: Brighton, England.

Post by Tarandros »

I'm in the same boat. One way is to do more exams. As you already have a Diploma, you could take the LRSM externally or whatever is the Trinity College equivalent. (LTCR, I think).

Various other options I've thought of for myself are: busking; playing at pub open mic nights, trying to get a concert at one of the local lunchtime concert venues, and entering for a competition in one of the many music festivals across the country. You can see a list of all the British music festivals here:

http://www.federationoffestivals.org.uk ... ivals.html

I haven't done any of these yet, as I only returned to playing the flute after many years some five months ago, but I'm getting to the point now where my technique is about back where it was, surprisingly (I played for about two years after grade 8 (dist), but didn't go to music college, so for me the next step will be a Diploma externally. I've registered, and the next exam dates are in December). You could also get together with other amateur musicians to play duets, etc. I tried this with guitarist friends, but the first of these proved unreliable and I'm hoping for better results from another guitarist friend once he's worked up his part in a transcribed version of the Bach E minor sonata. Like you, I'm just practising solos at the moment (Ibert Piece, Ferroud Three Pieces and Alwyn Divertimento and a couple of Telemann Fantasias). Apart from the Telemann, none of these are on the Diploma repertoire list, so I'll have my work cut out for me over the next four months ...). Regards, T.

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JennyColville
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Post by JennyColville »

Wow thank you for all the replies!

I am currently working towards my LRSM (which would be taken externally; as with all my exams!). A recital sounds perfect and this is something I have thought about before but it has never occured to me to 'advertise' myself. I would be happy to play voluntarily; some of the places I have thought about include the salvation army building near my house (lots of old folk that would love to hear some music), local churches (although I am not religious) and at my local music centre as they have regular concerts. I would also like to get involved with my old schools concerts but as I am now 21 I don't think that is appropriate!

Thank you very much for the festival link! There are several nearby which I could enter and seem like just the sort of thing I was looking to do!

Tarandros - Good luck in your Diploma! From the sounds of things, you will get up to that level very quickly!

Tarandros
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Location: Brighton, England.

Post by Tarandros »

JennyColville wrote:
Tarandros - Good luck in your Diploma! From the sounds of things, you will get up to that level very quickly!
Thanks for the encouragement. I'm certainly not underestimating this exam even though my return to the flute has so far gone better than I'd predicted. It's going to be a long haul and if I pass it, who knows? I might then go on to attempt the LRSM as well (good luck with it by the way). Regards, T.

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JennyColville
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Post by JennyColville »

Considering the entry fee, I wouldn't underestimate it either! However, my flute teacher felt unsure of whether I was readyt to take my diploma but I ended up getting a distinction so the examining style is perhaps different from Associated Board grades. It seems to be examined more on your passion for the repertoire and interpretation of the music rather than technical ability (although this is, of course, also important). I would recommend the LRSM, it is a wonderful achievement :D

Good luck!

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sidekicker
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Post by sidekicker »

I was in your shoes a while back, so I know that feeling quite well. What brought me out of it was playing in church. That has led to a personal ministry where I now play pretty regularly at various churches. You will likely not get any applause in that type of playing environment, but you will certainly get tons of compliments at the end. I do not, never have, and never will, charge to play in any house of worship -- which probably makes for a more attractive offer for my services. I'm not knocking those who charge for it; but it's just not something my conscience permits me to do considering that I see it as a ministry as opposed to a "gig". However, I have been able to play in some of the most beautiful churches and cathedrals in the area.

Good luck!

SK

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Zevang
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Post by Zevang »

Would that be perhaps a crazy idea for you to play at the tube? :-)
I know this might be strange at first. Also, could involve some kind of burocracy to do it right (permissions, etc). But the feedback and the results would be certainly amazing!

I remember once, in 2000, I was in London and I saw many tube stations with people playing solo. It could bring you some money too ;-)

cheers
Zevang

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JennyColville
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Post by JennyColville »

Yeah I have thought about busking before. I believe you have to gain permission off the local council/authority but that usually isn't a problem. I have also seen flautists playing on the streets before and it's really quite nice, especially at christmas. I'm a bit worried about taking my expensive flute though and it getting stolen :?

Am I being over-paranoid?!

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Zevang
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Post by Zevang »

Oh no, not at all! I would be just like you because mine is very expensive too. I would take all precautions not to put it at risk.
Maybe the good idea is studying a place first and find one where you feel secure.
Perhaps you can choose a location near the security staff or the ticket booths. I remember seeing many guards inside the tube stations positioned at strategic positions.

regards,
Zevang

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MissyHPhoenix
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Location: Hammond, LA, USA

Post by MissyHPhoenix »

This struck me -- does your instructor never give you positive encouragement??? You must be a stronger person than I am because if I only ever got criticism, I would not want to continue playing. I believe that there is always something good to say to someone in every situation, and private lessons are no exception! My students get praise as well as criticism. I hope you get the same.

Good luck! I'm sure you will do very well in whatever venue you choose.
Missy

Why Be Normal????

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