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NFA Recap: my 48 hours in Vegas!

The Sensible Flutist: NFA Recap: my 48 hours in Vegas!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

NFA Recap: my 48 hours in Vegas!

It's hard to believe that less than two weeks ago, I gave my presentation at the NFA convention in Las Vegas. Since then, my days have been a whirlwind of travel and moving that has made it difficult to keep track. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at NFA. I wanted to meet so many people and attend as many events as I could while also making time for fun. Here's a brief recap of the events I attended:

I started the convention by briefly listening in on the High School Soloist Finals. I was able to listen outside the door to one finalist, and sat in the room to hear another. The level of playing was fantastic. I especially enjoyed the commissioned piece for the competition, The Black Swan by Leanna Primiani. This addition to the repertoire is very accessible while still including some extended techniques.

The other competition I was able to attend was the Piccolo Artist Competition semi-finals. I helped with this event, but I sat in long enough to watch eventual winner Zach Galatis perform. His first piece, the Allegro from Vivaldi's Concerto in C Major, was a delight to watch. Zach played with an ease that was very musical and inspiring.

I also attended the Graduate Research Competition winner Elizabeth Robinson's presentation on the solo flute works of Takemitsu. I have Itinerant and Voice in my library, but have not yet learned them. I was fascinated to hear Elizabeth break the pieces down based on theory and Takemitsu's own philosophy so that the pieces (at least, to me) are less intimidating.

The last presentation I attended on Thursday was Bonnie Blanchard's Jump-Start your Teaching and Get Paid What You're Worth! Blanchard has written two books that are excellent reference guides if you have a teaching studio. The presentation was intended to introduce people to the books so as someone looking for new nuggets of information, I was a little disappointed but given this was my first convention, this was a lesson learned for subsequent presentations.

I visited the exhibit hall for the first time on Thursday afternoon. My intent was to try a lot of flutes, but I only tried Mancke headjoints. My friend and fellow Andover Educator trainee Melanie Sever was helping at the booth, and she guided me through some choices to try. My favorite was a sterling silver head with a platinum riser and 14K gold crown. I tried the wooden headjoints as well as some of the metal ones and each one played well. My favorite one felt the most like my David Williams headjoint.

The Palazzo!
I tweeted up with a lot of people on Thursday. I met Cory Tiffin, Meerenai Shim, Megan Lanz, Jennifer Grim, Nicole Camacho, Fluter Scooter, Viviana Guzman and Daniel Dorff. These are all people I've interacted with regularly on social media, so meeting them in the flesh was quite exciting!

On Friday, I began the day with my presentation, Holistic Practice: Practicing for the Whole Musician. I had a full room which was awesome. It was the first time I had witnessed first hand how hungry flutists are for information about the body. Given how well the presentation went and the number of people that signed up for the slideshow and resource list, I felt like this was a confirmation that I am doing what I'm meant to and that was well worth the craziness to make it to the convention.
Fluter Scooter was my volunteer!

Later that morning, I attended Phyllis Louke's Begin with Excellence. I use the Flute 101, 102 method series that she co-wrote with Patricia George in my own teaching studio, so I was excited to meet Phyllis for the first time. I got some interesting tidbits in this presentation to try in my own teaching.

Continuing along a pedagogy focus, I attended part of FUNdamentals!, a participatory workshop led by Cassandra Rondinelli Eisenreich, Julie Hobbs and licensed Andover Educator Kelly Mollnow Wilson. The games and exercises presented were fun and interesting. I hope to be able to access the information on NFA's website when they post the handouts.

Jim Walker as Dean Martin with Marilyn Monroe
Cirque de la Flute was next on the agenda. This was an interesting networking idea that placed people in groups by interest and let people meet one another while being entertained with a variety of acts escorted by various NFA personalities in costume. The group that I chose included the "non-flutists" at the convention, and Nancy Toff's mother, Ruth, was in attendance. It was a delight to meet her and hear some stories about her daughter.

The next event I attended was the Open Amateur Masterclass led by Lisa Garner Santa who teaches at Texas Tech University. Lisa is very movement oriented, and I did a quick google search to see that she is a certified yoga teacher. When she incorporated movement into her instruction with the participants, their playing noticeably changed.

The final event I attended of the convention was a concert highlighting short pieces from a variety of performers. My sponsoring teacher for my Andover Educator training, Amy Likar, was on the program. Unfortunately, the program went longer than scheduled and I had to leave prior to seeing her perform. The program included two world premieres. Alba Potes' Evening Conversations for two bass flutes and Russel Scarbrough's Cylindrical Sea for flute and clarinet.

Since returning home and reflecting on my trip, I feel like I didn't particularly plan my convention experience well but I think that it's a result of the immense number of things on the schedule. There is something for everyone. The only thing I'll do differently next time is choose presentations on topics I'm not very familiar with since most seemed to be introductory in nature. It was disappointing to miss the last two days of the convention, but I did well for just 48 hours in Vegas!

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