Today, I’d like to introduce myself to you and give you a little peek into my background! I hope it gives you some insight and encourages you on your journey.
I grew up in a smallish town—Salem, Missouri. And, let me tell you… we lived in the middle of nowhere. Literally. Like, a “house-surrounded-by-eighty-acres-of-woods” nowhere. Not ideal for a teenager wanting to hang out with her friends (and this was WAY before texting—even before widespread internet, if you can even imagine!)
I started playing flute when I was eleven and took to it quickly. I had a musical family (dad was my band director), and honestly, I didn’t have to work that hard to get first chair in my band most of the time.
You might be thinking--- oh geez. That must have been so hard. Poor you.
But don’t let my circumstances fool you. Sure, it wasn’t too hard to swing first chair out of the two others in my middle school band… but once I got to high school and started auditioning for things like All-District Band and especially All-State Band, I had a rude awakening.
My natural ability wasn’t cutting it anymore. And I had no clue how to practice—or even how to make myself practice.
So, you can only imagine what happened when I stepped into my first All State Band audition.
Had I prepared? A little. Did I know what I was getting myself into? NO.
I wasn’t prepared for the hundreds of other flute players who would be there—sounding AMAZing. This freaked me out so much that I actually blacked out during my audition. I have no idea what came out of my flute—or if anything came out at all! All I know is that I didn’t make call-backs, and I was so down on myself about it.
It didn’t have to be.
If I knew then what I know now---and if I had access to experienced flute teachers close by, my audition experiences would have been much smoother. I just needed someone to help me believe I could achieve my goal—and someone to show me how.
It took me about fifteen more years to learn how to prepare well for auditions and combat audition anxiety—and I have to say that I am in a MUCH better place then I was then. However, I want to do everything I can to share my experience with flute players just like you so that you don’t have to walk out of your auditions and performances feeling like you didn’t do as well as you wanted to.
Thank you so much for reading my story! If any of it resonated with you, I hope you will join me and the other flutists in my tribe as we crush those amazing goals you have. Be sure to follow me on YouTube for weekly videos and on Instagram for all of my studio and home life shenanigans. I can’t wait to hang out with you there!
Have an amazing day… and Happy Practicing!
It's the moment you've been waiting for!
Get started on your All-State Band Flute audition today with these FREE starter videos, tip sheets and ASB Scales eBook!
Here's to a fabulous audition season!
Join us for the 3rd Annual Spring Flute Recital! Enjoy flute performances given by students of all ages and level of experience as well as a special encore featuring Howard & Smyth Flute and Guitar Duo!
Admission: Free / Donations Welcome
RSVP and SHARE on Facebook!
Are you sweating your audition for All District Band? If you're anything like my flute students, marching band has taken over your life, and you're struggling to find practice time. Sound familiar? Well it's time to wipe off that sweat and head over to my YouTube channel, because I'm posting vlogs on all the excerpts. You'll be able to hear each piece, get practicing tips, and play along with me at different tempos. Are you ready? Let's go nail that audition!! Click the image below to get started.
Come out next weekend on Saturday, June 3rd for an afternoon filled with flute music right here in Jefferson City! Performers include Smyth Flute Studio students accompanied by wonderful area pianists! Works by Telemann, Mozart, Gaubert, Bloch, and more! Hope to see you there!!
All the early mornings, late evenings, smelly band bus excitement is over and you probably have a sudden influx of free time on your hands. Though it may be tempting to play the "i deserve it" card and spend the extra hours vegging on the couch snapchatting with your friends, it might be a good idea to start thinking ahead.
What a novel idea!
In about two months, Christmas break will be over and your band directors will start talking about this crazy little thing called Solo and Ensemble Contest. Now, if you are like most band students, you will hear that talk about twenty times before it finally registers that... "Oh crap. I wanted to do that. But I am NOT prepared. Oh crap. Oh crap..."
Well, let me save you the anxiety.
Give me a shout today and we can start up some flute lessons and pick out your contest music NOW so that you have PLENTY of time to get ready. You'll fly through those Springtime performances with raving scores and crowded rooms filled with ear splitting applause. All because you thought ahead... planned your course... and practiced your fanny off.
What are you waiting for? Let's get it started!!
Yes...I'm talking to you.
You know...the one who "forgot" to practice all summer.
It's ok...you can come out from where you've been hiding, because I am JUST as guilty as you are.
In fact, when I was in Jr. High and High School (do they even call it Jr. High anymore??) I don't think I EVER took my flute out of the case during the summer months unless it was a Fourth of July parade...
Add that to one year in the color guard (don't judge...) and two years as a drum major...sometimes it would be November before I really played my flute! Eek!
The only thing that saved me, I have to say, was taking private lessons. Even if I did lose a lot over the summer, seeing my flute teacher every week really boosted my motivation to, well, not suck anymore. :)
Don't be that guy! Contact me today to get those beginning of the year lessons started!
Here's a throwback to my high school years---My dad and me posing before a concert. Did I mention that he was my band director?? :) Fun times. Looking back (literally), I really should have heeded the advice on that motivational poster behind me...
It's that time of the year again, and that means school is starting! What better time of the year to set up flute lessons right here in Jefferson City, Missouri? Whether you are just starting out learning to play or looking at an overwhelming audition packet for district band or orchestra, we can tackle it together at Smyth Flute Studio! I've been in your shoes and have lots of experience breaking down the difficult concepts into bite sized chunks you can handle. You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish and how great you can sound with personalized guidance and consistent practice! Contact me today to schedule your first lesson--I'm looking forward to working together!!
Well, the title speaks for itself, but Smyth Flute Studio has new digs in Jeff City Missouri! If you are a flute player in the Capitol City or surrounding areas (Wardsville, Holts Summit, Ashland, Tebbets, Hartsburg, St. Martins, etc...), contact me today to schedule lessons! I'm so excited to gain a whole new group of flute students and grow musically together!
Read more about flute lessons HERE.
Listen/Watch me in action HERE.
Read about my experiences HERE.
I am SO looking forward to meeting you and playing awesome music!!
Mastering the notes and rhythms of a piece is only one small part of learning music. Much more artistry lies in the ability to convey the style and message the composer intended. Do you know who composed your piece? Do you know when in history that composer lived and penned the music you are playing? Do you know the ins and outs of that particular period of music history?
When I was a young high-school and college music student, I rarely spent time thinking about these things. It was my goal to "get-by" with just learning most of the notes and rhythms and trying to pass my juries and perform my recitals without making too many mistakes. I felt like a trained monkey with little to offer in terms of emotion or style. I just wanted to survive without the dreaded violent shaking and blackouts that often plagued my performances..
Well, I'm here to tell you that this is a very sad existence. Music is so much more than playing everything "perfectly" and I guarantee you will glean much more excitement and satisfaction from your musical pursuits if you can enter into the lives and purposes of those who composed the pieces you are learning. Becoming familiar with the social norms and events that were occurring in these time periods adds a whole new layer of understanding and connection your audience (or jury panel) is sure to appreciate.
To explore the historical context of the piece you are learning, here's a handy guide:
1. Research the composer and the musical period in which the piece was written. These times are approximate--there is much debate over the actual dates of each period.
2. Find out the purpose of the music.
3. How does the historical context relate to the performance practice of the piece?
4. If possible, look for recordings from the time period the piece was written, or a modern recording that uses period instruments and styles. As you are listening, make notes about the performer's interpretation.
As you explore the historical context of your piece, here are some handy online resources:
Oxford Music Encyclopedia
Famous Composers by Musical Period
Learn Listening Online
If you are really interested in learning more, go to your local university's music library and start exploring! Most music librarians are very eager to point you in the direction of your research--make good use of their expertise!
I hope this guide is helpful for you in your study--leave me a note in the comments to let me know how your music preparation is going!
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