Pandemic Magic Flute Rehearsals

THE SHORT VERSION: We are ready to start rehearsals for anyone who feels comfortable joining us. We don't know when or if we will be able to perform, but we should still have tons of fun rehearsing!

FOR MORE EXPERIENCED PLAYERS (THE MAGIC FLUTES):

First rehearsal will be September 5th.

We will meet OUTSIDE at 10AM Saturday mornings for a short, 30-minute rehearsal at my house.

Please warm up before you come as we will want to spend all of our time on repertoire.

Please bring clothespins to hold your music against the wind, and a flute stand if you have one. (If you want one, let me know and I'll make sure to have some available to purchase.) I have enough music stands for now, but if you want to bring your own so you aren't touching mine or sanitize it before using, feel free.

We will have a virtual option for those out of town or who are not ready to join us. We will play audibly, you will be muted and play along with us.

FOR BEGINNERS (ANYONE IN THEIR FIRST YEAR OF PLAYING FLUTE, or who does not know more than 8 notes as of September 1st):

We will meet OUTSIDE at 11AM Saturday mornings for a 30-minute class/rehearsal at my house.

We will learn basics of flute playing as well as preparing some ensemble pieces. We will work with you where you are - if you can't get a sound yet or if you can whip out "Ode to Joy" already, you're more than welcome!)

Please bring clothespins to hold your music against the wind, and a flute stand if you have one. (If you want one, let me know and I'll make sure to have some available to purchase.)

There will be no virtual option for the beginner group.

ALL REHEARSALS ARE DEPENDENT ON WEATHER CONDITIONS. WATCH REMIND FOR CANCELLATION IN CASE OF WEATHER PROBLEMS.

THE EXPLANATION/LONG VERSION:

Due to the pandemic, we cancelled all rehearsals last spring. But of course we all want to play together! I've been following ongoing studies regarding aerosol spread while playing wind instruments, most notably the NFHS Study. While all results are preliminary and not yet peer-reviewed, there are some basic findings and recommendations that I am basing my decisions on. This study recommends playing outside at a distance of at least six feet from each other, keeping rehearsals to 30 minutes, and waiting for the aerosols from one rehearsal to dissipate before beginning another. This will not eliminate risk, but it will reduce it. On a positive note, initial findings suggest that flutes actually produce far fewer aerosols than other wind instruments. I am happy to talk through my personal understanding of these study results with anyone interested; although I don't pretend to be a scientist I have watched/read as much of what is coming out of these studies as I can and have a fairly good understanding.

Now that the weather is cooling off a bit, we have a chance to meet in person with relative safety if we follow the above guidelines. Please do not feel obligated to join us if you are uncomfortable with the idea of playing in a group; we will expect to start with a very small group and you will be welcomed back whenever you feel ready - no need to wait for a new rehearsal season to join us if you are ready earlier. If you'd like a copy of the music to practice until you can join us (or so you can join us virtually), let me know!

Because our rehearsals are so short and because we will be playing outside, there are some modifications that will be made. Clothespins or other clips will help your music stay on the stand during gusts of wind. Setting your flute on a stand when not playing will make it less likely for it to have an accident outside where accidents are often more serious. You can easily make a homemade flute stand, or if there's interest in buying commercially made stands my studio will invest in some to make available for purchase. Wind also plays havoc with your sound when playing outside. Hopefully we can work around that, but if you're worried you could invest in a Win-D-Fender (available through online stores or my studio can order some if interested - they're usually about $50 each so not cheap, but they do their job well!).

Because we are shortening our rehearsal time, and also to reduce travel and possible inter-county spread, we will have a virtual option available for The Magic Flutes for anyone far away or who is not ready to join us in person. We will connect with you virtually and you will be able to hear us and play with us. Because of the inherent lag in internet connections, those joining us virtually will need to be muted. In this way you can play with us, but we will not be able to hear you. I'm happy to help anyone who wants to do this option set it up one-on-one before the rehearsal if you're worried that you will have technical issues during the rehearsal.

We also will not have beginners joining us in The Magic Flutes this year. Instead, beginners are welcome to come from 11-11:30 for a free 'prep' class that includes ensemble playing. I am not sure how long this class will continue, but I feel strongly that beginning flutists need this extra support from an experienced flute teacher at this time. This class/ensemble will include flute-specific guidance not available in public school programs. By the end we will have 1-3 pieces ready for performance.

A word of warning: I usually avoid having rehearsals on Saturdays because I know that Saturdays often have conflicts, and because I like to reserve weekends to spend with my family. But in order for us to meet when it is light outside, Saturday is really the only option. I reserve the right to cancel practice at any time if anything in my schedule conflicts with Saturday practice, and of course if your plans conflict just let me know so I won't expect you. I'll send out cancellations via Remind - be sure to join there if you haven't already! Send me a message if you need to know how to join remind.