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Flute Deals & Rebates: Fall 2017

Buying a new instrument can be expensive, and coupons or other deals can help bring down the cost. So, I wanted to talk about a few flute deals and rebates that are going on now. If you want to buy a new flute, now is the time to do it. There are multiple rebate programs going on right now.

NOTE: I am not affiliated with any of these programs. I just want to share the information with you if you are in the market for a new flute.

Killer Harmony | Savings & Rebates for Flutists Fall 2017

I found all of these deals on FluteWorld, but you can qualify for these programs if you purchase a new instrument through a reputable dealer. Each of the programs have varying terms and conditions, so I will link to an information page where you can learn more.

So, let’s get started!

Jupiter’s Banding Together Celebration

Jupiter is a well known musical instrument brand, and flutes are just part of what they make. They have quite a few models that will qualify for this program, and the best part is the savings are instant.

This is not a rebate program.

You won’t have to wait to get your savings.

The Banding Together Celebration runs from October 1 through December 30, 2017. A few select Azumi flutes are also part of the savings program.

Qualifying Instruments

Piccolos: JPC 1000, 1010, & 1100E

Flutes: JFL 1000RBO, Azumi AZ1, AZ2, & AZ3

Alto Flutes: JAF 1000, 1000U, 1000X, 1100E, 1100UE, & 1100XE

Bass Flutes: JBF 1000

Contrabass Flutes: JCF 1000

More Information

Pearl Flutes

Pearl Flutes is offering a cash back mail in rebate for their Quantz flute line. These flutes are great for students who are outgrowing their first instrument. While I have not personally played any of these models, I do love my Pearl piccolo.

You will have to send in the rebate form in order to get your savings, but for $50, that is worth it. Any bit of savings helps.

This program runs from October 1, 2017 through January 15, 2018.

Qualifying Instruments

Flutes: PF-525, 665, & 765

More Information

Trevor James Step Up Rebate

I know a lot of people (online anyway, lol) who love Trevor James flutes. I have their 10x student model, and it sounds better than other student flutes. For this program, you do have to fill out a rebate form.

If you want to buy a Trevor James step up flute or low flute, you are in luck!

This rebate program started October 1, and it ends December 31, 2017.

Qualifying Instruments

Flutes: Cantabile, Virtuoso

Alto Flute & Bass Flute

More Information

Step Up to Yamaha 2017 Promotion

Yamaha is a very well known musical instrument brand. They are also another brand offering a promotion for any step up instrument purchased.

I have never played a Yamaha flute, but I know they are common for beginners. Some people love them enough to upgrade to a more advanced Yamaha model.

The Yamaha program is a rebate program. Some models will get you $50, others $100.

The program runs from October 1 until December 31, 2017.

Qualifying Instruments

Piccolos: YPC 32, 62*, & 81*

Flutes: YFL 362, 382, 462, 482, 577*, 587*, 677*, 687*, 777*, 787*, & 800 series*

Low Flutes: Alto & Bass flutes*

More Information

Please Remember!

Every flutist has different needs and what works with one flute might not work with another. Always try before you buy if you can, or make sure you can return the instrument if you are not satisfied.

Each of these brands make high quality flutes, and I would not recommend these programs if I didn’t trust these brands. However, you should still test out the models you are interested in. We all have different mouths, and we all have different needs when it comes to our instruments.

So…

I’m considering getting an alto flute from one of these companies, and if I do, I would love to do a review. Let me know if you would like to see that!

Are you in the market for a new flute? Do you think you will check out some of these instruments? Let me know in the comments!

How to Start on the Piccolo

For flutists, there is one instrument that always brings up a heated debate. That instrument is the piccolo. It seems like you either love it or you hate it. There is no in-between.

I, personally, love the piccolo. It adds a little something to my musical life. Though there are many people out there who would rather play alto or bass flute and leave piccolo in the dust.

Killer Harmony | How to Start on the Piccolo for Flutists

If you are part of the “love it” group, or you are just interested in the piccolo, this guide is for you. I am sharing all of my tips and tricks for starting on the piccolo. I will cover everything from the different piccolo materials to prices to actually getting a sound.

So, here is my big beginner’s guide to starting on the piccolo.

Get a quality instrument.

Piccolos come at all different price points, but that doesn’t always mean they are equally as good. You get what you pay for, especially with musical instruments.

You can find cheap piccolos on Amazon and others sites for around $100, but those models won’t last. They are cheap for a reason. Do not be tempted by the seemingly good deals.

Sources for quality instruments include music stores, online music websites, and (if you’re smart about it) Craigslist. There are tons of different flute and music online stores where you can buy a good new or used piccolo.

If you are unsure of whether you will stick with it, look into renting a piccolo. Just as with flute, some music stores offer piccolo as a rental instrument.  That way, you can return the piccolo if you don’t want to continue.

Here are some more tips for finding a quality instrument.

Consider your budget.

You shouldn’t skimp on paying for a new (or new to you) instrument. The instrument you buy should be good quality, but it should also fit your level. As a beginner, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a piccolo.

If you are looking at used instruments, you can expect to spend anywhere from $300-800 for a beginner model piccolo. If you prefer to buy a new instrument, your budget should be a bit higher. You can expect to spend around $500-1000 on a new student range piccolo.

Materials, Materials.

Piccolos, even beginner models, come in different materials. You have all plastic, all silver plated (like student flutes), and a combination of the two. The material you choose can be determined on your use for the piccolo.

Will you be playing in marching band? Do you plan to play mostly indoors?

Another thing to consider is the presence or absence of a lip plate. Some flutists feel more comfortable with a lip plate and thus want a metal headjoint. I believe that there is no difference, and having a lip plate is more of a placebo affect. You’re used to having one on flute, so it’s easy to think having one on piccolo will make it easier.

I started out on an all silver plated Armstrong 204 piccolo. I found a used one for a great deal. But all silver plated piccolos are not that common. The most common set up for beginners is a plastic body and silver plated headjoint.

Plastic gives a darker sound than silver plated, so it is usually preferred for indoor performances. Having a silver plated headjoint can make the switch less intimidating for some, since it feels similar to the flute. These models are also more budget friendly.

My all silver plated piccolo, new, would cost around $1000. Plastic and metal combos run for about $600.

Assembling the piccolo.

Putting the piccolo together is similar to the flute. The main difference is that there are two pieces for the piccolo, while a flute has three pieces. The piccolo is also smaller, and most models connect with a cork. One exception is all metal piccolos.

You want to be really careful when assembling the instrument so that you don’t bend any keys. That is more difficult on piccolo, because you don’t have as much smooth space as on flute.

Once you have your piccolo ready to go, be aware of how you should hold it when not playing. The piccolo is small and so is the mechanism, which means it can bend very easily. Hold the piccolo closer to the top, and put most of the weight on the side without the keys.

Making a sound.

The piccolo is placed in a similar way to the flute: across the chin just below the opening of the lips. However, the piccolo should be placed a bit higher on the lips than flute.

The piccolo is smaller, so it needs to be closer to the lip opening for you to make a sound. When you go to play a note, you can’t always use the same method as for flute.

If you finger low A on piccolo, for example, pretend you are playing middle A on flute. This will help you get a sound out. Those notes sound the same, because the piccolo plays an octave above the flute.

It is for that reason that it is important to be confident on flute before you start playing piccolo. The piccolo plays higher, and you need to know how to form an embouchure and use your air to compensate for that difference.

For some players, it can take time to make a sound on piccolo, but keep at it. If you are having trouble, then warm up on flute first. Work on the second and third octaves of the flute, because those octaves overlap with the piccolo.

After you have worked on your flute playing, you can then switch to piccolo. Some of the concepts and techniques will transfer with time.

What to play.

A good place to start for the piccolo is to go back to your beginner flute books. Most of the exercises will work on piccolo, because the written range is (almost) the same. The Rubank elementary method for flute/piccolo is also a good book to use if you haven’t before.

You can also use most of your flute music for piccolo, assuming there are no low C’s or C#’s. The piccolo only goes down to (written) low D, so be mindful of that when choosing what to play.

As you progress on piccolo, you can then move to more advanced flute exercises and specific piccolo books. Some of my favorite piccolo books include Trevor Wye’s Practice Book for the Piccolo and Patricia Morris’s Piccolo Study Book.

Should you play piccolo?

This is somewhat of a loaded question, but I wrote a post a few months back on reasons why you might want to play piccolo. You can read that post here.

But the short answer is: do what feels right to you. I’m not here to tell you yes or no. I’m here to give you the information you need to decide for yourself.

So…

Do you play the piccolo? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to leave any music or flute related questions down there. I might just answer them in a future post!

Tools & Resources for Self Taught Flutists

If you have ever taken private flute lessons, you know that they can be quite expensive. I wrote a post a few months back asking: Are private lessons necessary? Now, I want to share some tools and resources for self taught flutists, because lessons aren’t always realistic.

Killer Harmony | Tools & Resources for Self Taught Flutists | Cover Image

Since finishing my degree in music performance, I have significantly decreased how often I take private lessons. They are no longer included in tuition costs, and it can be hard to schedule them. Now that I have a full time job, scheduling lessons is even harder.

So, I want to share some of my favorite tools and resources that can help you improve your flute skills, even if you aren’t taking lessons.

YouTube

There are dozens of videos on YouTube that can help you learn everything from the basics of the flute to advanced techniques. There are many flute and general music YouTubers who post tips and tutorials on various music topics.

One of my favorite flutist-YouTubers is Joanna Tse, or JustAnotherFlutist. She posts tutorials and flute reviews as well as funny stories that make her super relatable. I haven’t been able to find any other flutists on YouTube as funny as her.

Then, of course YouTube is also a great place to find free recordings of music you might be working on. When you don’t have a teacher to demonstrate how a phrase or piece should sound, recordings are a great option.

You can listen to multiple recordings to get different interpretations, and you can use different ideas to create your own sound. Even if you do take lessons, YouTube is the best place for free recording. Plus, the video format usually (not always) allows you to see the flutist in action.

Trevor Wye’s Practice Books for the Flute

If you are at the intermediate level or above, these books are perfect for you. Trevor Wye includes some text to describe how different exercises should be worked on.

The six books in the omnibus edition include: tone, technique, articulation, intonation & vibrato, and breathing & scales. The last book covers advanced exercises, and that one has a ton of reading material.

I use some of his tone exercises for my tone warm up, and it is amazing how those exercises help. The exercises in his other books are also great for improving in those areas of flute playing.

Trevor Wye’s Proper Flute Playing

Wye also wrote a book that goes with his practice books, except that it is meant for reading. There are no exercises, but he does go into different concepts of flute playing.

If you want to read about how to play the flute well, get this book. Proper Flute Playing talks about almost anything related to the flute.

Taffanel & Gaubert Daily Exercises

This book is really only for advanced flutists, but it is super helpful. If you have worked through various beginner and intermediate books, and you have started on Trevor Wye’s books, this is another resource to look into.

This is another book that work out of almost every time I pick up my flute. I have worked on some of the exercises so much that I know them by heart. That’s how good this book is.

The T&G book has 17 different scale exercises including different patterns and finger twisters that can be played in each key. It is a relatively expensive book for what you get; my copy cost about $20. But for advanced flutists, it is worth it.

If you are a beginner, these exercises are going to be intimidating, so I would recommend working through some beginner method books and then the Trevor Wye book before jumping into this one.

Amazon

If you want a one stop shop for a lot of music stuff, Amazon is (almost) perfect. While you should definitely avoid most of the lower cost instruments, they also carry sheet music and flute accessories.

I have purchased many different pieces from Amazon as well as my piccolo swab and all of my various flute and piccolo stands. If you are an Amazon prime member, you also get free two day shipping.

The great thing about Amazon is that you can use it as a resource for more than just music. You can get all of your flute accessories, clothing, and even groceries from one website. It’s amazing.

Blogs, like this one

Of course I have to mention my blog as a resource for self taught flutists. While I do want to branch out from the music niche a little, I do still plan on writing posts about music in the future.

There are a few other bloggers who write about music and the flute, such as Jennifer Cluff and Bret Pimentel. They are both super interesting to read. Pimentel is a woodwind doubler, so if you play any other woodwinds, he is definitely a good resource.

But, reading this post, you have obviously stumbled onto my blog. So, have a look around, and I hope you find something that piques your interest.

So…

Do you have any other favorite resources for flute? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to follow me on Instagram (@killerharmony) for behind the scenes pics!

Life Update

Hey guys. I know it’s been awhile since I posted something here. That is because I have had a lot going on in my personal life. So, I thought it was time for a life update for you all.

While I do not make any money from blogging (some bloggers do), I still love sharing tips and tricks with you all. I also like being able to give you small glimpses into my life offline.

Killer Harmony | Life Update | Grey background with maroon text "Life Update" and teal text "About Me"

In today’s post, I am going to do a bit of the latter. I have some news to share, and I want to share my thoughts on the future of this blog. Don’t worry; I don’t plan to quit blogging anytime soon.

My New Job

I got a new, full time job! It took a few months of on and off job searching and about a dozen interviews, but I did it. At the beginning of this month, I accepted an offer to work as a teller for a local bank.

It may not be a music or writing job, but I have been enjoying it so far, and I think it fits my strengths and skills. I have always been good at mental math, and I am also very meticulous and detail-oriented.

I started last Monday, so I have officially completed a week of training, and I still have another week of training this week. These two weeks are at a different, busier branch than where I will be working. Then, next week, I get to go to the branch where I was hired.

Now, some of you might be curious about the bank I work for. For privacy reasons, and to stay in compliance with the company social media policy, I will not be stating the name of my employer.

*NOTE: The views and opinions in this post do not represent those of the bank for which I work.

Future Posts

With my full time job, I do have less time to dedicate to blogging, so I think I will stick to one post per week. If I have time to write a second post, then I will. I definitely don’t want to limit myself to one post a week.

However, I also need to have time to do other things, like cook myself some food and practice flute, and just be a twenty-something. Another change I am considering is adding some posts here and there that relate to my new found career path.

I am thinking about writing posts on applying for jobs (part time and full time), the interview process, and then maybe a few posts about the basics of my job.

Since blogging is not my job, I don’t feel bound to stick to one niche or subject. I have the freedom to write about what I choose. Blogging is something I do for fun, one day it might be for profit, but that is not the case right now.

I also want to use that freedom of a personal blog to appeal to a wider audience. You may not be interested in everything I post, but I want to have a little something for everyone.

That’s what blogging should be about, right?

I Still Love Music

I am still playing in a local flute choir, and I take private lessons when I can. Music is what I studied in college, and I want to maintain the skills I achieved.

Flute and piccolo will always be a part of my life; I have no doubts about that. Since I do have a job in another field (which I love), music has taken a slight back seat. I can’t get in much practice except for evenings and weekends.

I think that has been hard. As a music major, the bulk of my day was spent practicing alone or with others. That is not the case anymore. Music is still a huge passion of mine, and I want to keep that passion alive as best as I can.

Changing My Diet (Slowly)

This may or may not interest you, but since I have been out of the dorms, I have slowly changed my eating habits. In college, I was subject to what food was in the caf. If I didn’t find anything, I would have to order in or eat from the vending machines.

Now that I am back at home and have access to a kitchen, I have become more mindful of what I am eating. I meal prep my lunches for the week. I try to find healthier alternatives for snacks. Small changes have made me want to make bigger changes.

I have also started to limit my consumption of animal products. I already don’t eat any red meat or fish. Milk products and eggs don’t really appeal to me on their own. When I do consume animal products, I try to be more mindful of what I am putting into my body.

It’s the little things.

So…

I know this post is a bit out of the ordinary. I normally write more informative content. But, I wanted to share a life update with what has been happening and why there was no new post last week.

With these changes, I will be blogging a little less frequently. For more regular updates and content, follow me on my other social media accounts.

Facebook: Killer Harmony

Twitter: @HannahHaefele

Instagram: @killerharmony

The What & Why of Score Study

No matter what instrument you play, you will probably have to play with others at some point. Multiple parts means there is a score available for the piece. So, I wanted to talk about score study.

What is it? Should you study scores? Why do you need to know the other parts? Those are all good questions that I hope to answer in this post. The short answer: score study is very important for understanding a work in its entirety.

In most cases, there is more to a piece than just the part you play. There will be other melodic lines and more accompaniment-based parts. So, here are the ins and outs of score study and how to get started.

What is Score Study?

Score study is something that all conductors and many advanced and professional musicians do with every piece they work on. Score study is exactly that: you study the entire score.

Studying a score allows you to figure out what is going on in each part at each moment in a piece. It could be as simple as a solo or as complex as an orchestral tutti passage.

Looking at the score and all its components can also tell you how and where you fit in. Are you the root of the chord? What kind of chord is it? How do your dynamics relate to other instruments?

Those are all good questions that can be answered from looking at a score.

Who Should Practice Score Study?

If you are a musician who plays with others, and you are no longer a beginner player, you should practice score study. Once you know the fundamentals of how to play your instrument, you can start to learn how to play the music.

Score study gives you more than just the notes and markings for your part. Knowing the relationship you have to other parts will allow you to make more informed choices regarding dynamics and articulation.

If you are a more advanced or professional player, you should definitely work score study into your routine. Just a few minutes with a score can answer many questions you have about a piece you’re working on.

What if I don’t own the score?

For solos and chamber music, you can find the score or accompaniment part online. You can order it from many different online shops, or you can look for it on IMSLP.

If you want to see the score for a large ensemble, check IMSLP or ask your director if you can borrow a copy. If that doesn’t work, you can then make a list of questions to ask the director next time you meet with them.

However, you should own both the solo part and the accompaniment to any solo repertoire that you are working on. Yes so you can use it for score study, but also so that you can provide a copy of the music to an accompanist if needed.

Another option if you really can’t get your own copy is to check with a local library or interlibrary loan program to see if you can borrow a copy. That way, you can make marks in your part so that you can be better prepared for a performance.

How I Started Score Study

The first time I had to actually study a score was for music history. Each semester, we were assigned a work from the standard orchestral repertoire to analyze. I had to find the main themes, any changes in key or tempo, and other big parts of the score.

Then I had score study assignments again during my conducting class. As a conductor, you need to know what is going on in each part through the whole piece. So conducting really made me aware of more than just my part.

If you are feeling intimidated, start small. Take a look at a duet, either from your teacher or your own collection. How do the two parts relate? What is each part doing? Where is the melody? Ask yourself those questions and the other questions scattered throughout this post. They will help get you started.

How it Helped Me

An example of how score study helped me perform a piece happened last year. I was set to play Mozart’s Andante in C for flute as part of a recital. The piece has piano accompaniment, and the piano part helped me understand how the flute line works.

There is a section in the middle where the piece changes key, but that is not obvious in the flute part alone. So taking a look at the entire score showed me that it does change. Instead of trying to make it sound major, I was able to make a better choice to give a more solemn tone to that phrase.

So…

Score study may sound intimidating, but it can open your eyes to a whole side of music making. You can actually see what is going on in other parts. It’s pretty cool when you think about it.

Have you done score study before? How has it helped? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to follow me on Instagram (@killerharmony) subscribe below for exclusive music tips sent straight to your inbox!

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