Supplies for Every Flutist or Flautist

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my favorite supplies that every musician should have. Now, I’m going to get a bit more specific and share my favorite supplies for every flutist. It may seem like you don’t need a lot of equipment for such a small instrument, but there are some tools that will make your life easier.

Killer Harmony | Supplies for Every Flutist | There are some things that every flutist needs and others that are just plain helpful. Here are my favorite flute supplies that every flutist needs.

Some of the tools on this list are necessary for every flute player and others are necessary for more advanced players but are helpful no matter your level. I have some tools that go with the flute and others that are nice accessories to have on hand for emergencies.

So, without further ado, let’s look at my list of supplies for every flutist.

Cleaning Cloth & Rod

A cleaning cloth for the inside of your flute is crucial to making your flute last longer without trips to the repair shop. You can use cotton or silk, though a silk cloth will get much wetter, because it won’t absorb as much moisture as quickly.

If you have an old cotton shirt, that can be used, just make sure you stitch up all of the sides so that thread doesn’t get stuck in the flute.

You also will need a rod to help the cloth move through the flute. There are rods made of plastic, wood, and metal. Wood and plastic are better than metal, since they won’t scratch the flute. Wood is the preferred material, but plastic rods can be cheaper and easier to come by.

A Good Case

Everyone should invest in a good quality case or a case and case cover. Most student flutes only come with a hardcover case with nowhere to store extra items or supplies. So, if possible, look for a good case to fit your flute or find a bag that can fit your current case.

Leaving a wet cleaning cloth in the case on top of the flute will almost negate the use of the cleaning cloth, because the moisture could go back into the flute. You also should not leave a cleaning rod in the flute either, if you can avoid it.

This is part of why I recommend the Trevor James 10x or the Di Zhao 200 to students, because both flutes come with a case that has an exterior pocket for your cleaning supplies. A good case or case cover will also last you longer than a cheap one that comes with most beginner models.

Polishing Cloth

A polishing cloth for you flute will keep it looking good on the outside. It is not as important to have one from the start. But polishing  off all of your finger prints and other miscellaneous marks will save your flute over time.

There are many different types of polishing cloths that you can purchase from cotton to microfiber. You should have a separate polishing cloth that you don’t put through your flute. That way you don’t have to polish the outside with the same cloth as the inside.

Flute Stand

While it’s not necessary, a flute stand will help you in many ways as a flutist. You can buy a simple stand that can fit in the foot joint of your flute, though that’s not the best place to store it. There are also more expensive stands that are usually sturdier and have room for a piccolo or multiple flutes.

I have both a portable single flute stand that I keep in my case, and I have a bigger three peg stand for two flutes + piccolo that I keep and use in my practice area. Having a stand will save your flute.

If you don’t use a stand, you will have to carefully lay your flute somewhere if you need to use the restroom or do something else. That can work for some people, but you risk breaking the flute. Flute stands start at less than $20, so if flute is something you plan to continue with, just get a stand. Your flute will thank you.

Pad Paper

Have you ever heard your flute make a clicking noise, particularly when you open a key? That is a sign of a sticky key. And yes, they are annoying. If you have this problem, it is nice to have some pad paper, or cigarette paper, on hand. Using the thin piece of paper, you can stick it under the problem key, depress the key a few times, and blot away the moisture.

You can buy official pad paper or use cigarette paper, because that works just as well. If you use cigarette paper, be sure you are legally allowed to purchase it or get your parent to do so. If you go for cigarette paper, try and get ungumed paper, which won’t have a sticky ridge on one end of the paper. For gumed paper, avoid that side or edge if you can’t find ungumed.

Some people, especially saxophone players, use dollar bills to help sticky pads.  While that is convenient, dollar bills are a bit too tough on flute pads. So stick with thinner papers.

Mini-Screwdriver

Most flute repairs should be done by a professional, but a screwdriver can be helpful in a pinch. If a screw is falling out, you can use a small screwdriver to put it back into place. Having access to a screwdriver is super nice in case you need it.

You can purchase an eye glasses repair kit, and the screwdriver will work for a flute. Or you can buy a special flute screwdriver. The one I have has two different tools. It has a screwdriver day a little tool on the other end t fix loose springs.

At the beginning of your flute playing journey, you won’t need a screwdriver, but it is nice if you play a lot. It can also come in handy if you teach and have students who have problems with their screws.

Flute Plugs

If you have recently upgraded to an open hole flute, you might need to practice getting used to it. Your flute probably came with a set of plugs. If not, see if you can borrow a set from a teacher or friend.

Plugs will fit inside the holes of your keys so that you can still play the flute. Plugs are also useful for more advanced players who have a flute with an “inline G” key. That is when the G key is lined up with other keys, requiring more of a reach from the player’s left hand.

Plugs make it less work to play, but they should be phased out over time.

So…

Those are some of my favorite supplies that every flute player should have, or plan to have in the future. Did I miss anything? What are your favorite flute supplies? Comment below!

Thanks for reading!

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Best iPhone Apps: Summer 2016

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

So, I normally don’t do these types of posts going through my phone and all. I mean, my phone is a pretty private thing. I decided to write a little bit about my favorite iPhone apps so that I can hopefully show you guys some new and interesting programs to try out. I should say that since I have an iPhone, I will be talking about apps that I know are available for iPhone. I’m not totally sure if some of these apps have an equivalent for Android, Blackberry, or Windows.

Killer Harmony | Best iPhone Apps: Summer 2016 | Phone apps are pretty great. You can surf the web, creep on social media, listen to music, and do a lot on the go. In this post, I share some of my favorite apps for iPhone. They are mostly free, except one, which is only $4! I hope you enjoy!
Apps are an amazing thing. They let us do a lot with our small and portable smartphones/mini computers. Almost nothing is better than being able to access the world wide web from (basically) anywhere. Apps make accessing certain things easier or just more fun. Here are some of my current favorite iPhone apps.

PLAYTUBE
PlayTube is an awesome app for playing music. You can login to your YouTube account and play videos without needing to have the app open on your screen. I know, they have YouTube Red now, but I’m in college, and that means I’m on a budget. Plus, budget or not, free is better in almost any situation.
PUFFIN BROWSER

I talked a little bit about this app in my post Laptop vs iPad, but basically Puffin is a third party browser that has more functionality than Safari. You can more easily bypass the mobile browser view, and it even allows you to access websites and play videos that require Flash! You can also pull up an onscreen track pad to make navigating the page easier. This app does cost money (about 4 bucks), but it is totally worth it if you need to do a lot of web browsing on your phone.

PINTEREST

I wouldn’t be a blogger if I didn’t love Pinterest, so I had to include it in this list. I love browsing Pinterest for tips and tricks on how to make this blog better for you all, and I love supporting other bloggers, too. Also, quite a bit of traffic comes here from Pinterest, so if that’s you, let me know in the comments! The app makes it really easy to copy the link to my newest post and pin it to different boards. I will also use the built in browser to look at cool blog posts that I want to pin.

SNAPCHAT

I have recently been getting into Snapchat more and more. I love using it as sort of a step to vlogging, because I can be on video but I don’t have to worry about editing it. I also post some random things on there (mostly daily life stuff and other funny things) that you won’t find anywhere else.

MICROSOFT ONENOTE

I love OneNote! I know that some people use Evernote, but since I have a student package with Microsoft, I get 1 TB (so basically unlimited) storage with Microsoft’s cloud: OneDrive. That includes OneNote. I use the app to log post ideas and other quick things related to my blog when I am on the go, and I use the desktop counterpart on my computer.

BLOGGER

Since I use currently the Blogger platform, I have to have its corresponding app on my phone. That way, if I have some extra time but don’t have my laptop with me, I can start drafting a new blog post on the go. The app doesn’t have much else to it, though, so I still like to use my computer to check statistics and other things.

Update: I switched to WordPress, so if you use that platform to blog or read blogs, you should get it!

GROUPME

I don’t really have many group chats, so I don’t have much of a use for GroupMe aside from my school’s Odyssey group. I have been writing for Odyssey since April, and I would like to continue through next school year, but I have a feeling that senior year could get the best of me, so we’ll see! Either way, it’s a cool app, and I like that you can “like” someone’s post in the chat.

MUSICIANS KIT

This app is amazing for anyone who plays an instrument and doesn’t want to lug around an extra three pieces of equipment. The app comes with a tuner, metronome, and audio recorder. How cool is that! I always have my phone with me, so it’s nice to not have to worry about carrying around, let alone, buying all of those things that come with the app.

So, those are some of my favorite iPhone apps at the moment. I hope you found something new that you might like to test out. I believe that all of these apps are free, except for Puffin Browser. Also, OneNote requires a Microsoft subscription, but if you are a student, you can get a four-year subscription for around $70.
So, do you have any favorite phone apps that you absolutely love and must share with the world? Drop ’em in the comments or hit me up on Twitter at @HannahHaefele

Thanks for reading!

Review on Trevor Wye Practice Books for the Flute: Vol. II

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I was not given this product, I just like it and want to share it with my readers. All opinions are my own. Please see my privacy policy for more information.
Hey friends! If you have not read the first part of this review series, check it out here! Today is the second installment of my series of reviews of Trevor Wye’s Practice Books for the Flute. As you can probably tell by now, it is not a weekly series, more like monthly. I have been working with the second book a little more lately, and so I thought now would be the perfect time to review it.

Killer Harmony | Reviews | Trevor Wye Practice Books for the Flute: Volume 2, Vol. II | A review of Trevor Wye's practice book that focuses on technique. The book includes scale patterns to help improve one's technical skills, but the exercises can also, when applied correctly, help improve tone.
The second volume, titled Technique is just that: a book of exercises to help your technique. It is full of scale patterns similar to those by Taffanel and Gaubert: two other big flute writers. I first started working on it just this semester after I purchased the Omnibus Edition of Volumes I-V over winter break.
The book has scale patterns in a couple of different formats. First it has scale patterns in major that repeat chromatically going up through the range of the flute. This first part of exercises in the book look like one long exercise. Then these exercises are redone in minor. The second way that the exercises are formatted is in single measure chunks with repeat signs. In both cases, there are two patterns: one that starts on the tonic of the current key and one that, as a transition to the next note, starts on the leading tone. Both formats have multiple pattern variants, and both are in major and minor keys.
The point of the technique book is to improve your technique, but I also like to use it as a continuation of my tone practice. As a serious flutist, I would like to be as good as I possibly can at the flute and its auxiliaries. I have learned that we not only need good tone when playing long notes, but also when playing shorter notes and moving around the instrument.
Tone and Technique should work together as the basis for one’s musical practice and musical building blocks. As I stated above, I have the Omnibus Edition of the Trevor Wye Practice books, that way I have all five together, and I don’t have to worry about losing one or another. Currently, this edition is about $45 on Amazon, but that is less than if you bought all five book separately for an average of $15 per book.
Either way you want to do it, or if you want to buy one or two of the books to test out before committing to the whole thing, consider the technique book. I, personally, wish I had gone for the Omnibus Edition first, but I have it now, so that’s what matters, right? I hope you found my review somewhat helpful and that maybe you will now go and buy the book? (If you are serious about flute, do it!)
Thanks for reading!

Review on Trevor Wye Practice Books for the Flute: Vol. I

If you play flute, odds are you have heard of Trevor Wye. If you haven’t, he is a flutist from the UK, and he has written a series of books aimed at advancing flutists. He also has a series for beginners, but I have never worked out of those books. I have played out of his series: Practice Books for the Flute. I have volumes 1-6, and I have to say, they are a great resource. In this review series, I am going to break it down by volume so that I can explain things based on each topic that the different volumes cover. This is the first part in a 6 part series where I will cover in depth each of the volumes of the practice books.

Killer Harmony | Reviews | Trevor Wye Practice Books for the Flute | Volume 1 | In this review, I talk about the first volume in Trevor Wye's practice series. This volume contains information on practicing and improving your tone with harmonics, long tones, and more.

VOLUME I: Tone
This is the first volume that I really started working out of from the practice books. It makes sense to do volume 1 first (right?). The book starts out with a preface written by Trevor Wye that everyone should read. I think you should read all of his commentary on the various exercises. They are hilarious.
The first set of exercises is on harmonics. The idea behind this is that you should realize that the middle and high registers on flute are based on harmonic overtones of the low register. The exercises are pretty short and sweet, and I can play them from memory. If you are wanting to work on your ear training skills, these are s great way to do that.
Next up is the low register. First, you have long tones starting at middle line B and going down chromatically to the bottom note on the flute. Since Trevor Wye is British, and I guess they have a different mindset on low B over there, the exercises stop at low (really middle-if you think of piano) C. There are a few exercises of this type that incorporate different numbers of notes in one run. Then you have some exercises that are a little more interesting. There are some excerpts from the flute repertoire followed by transpositions in different keys going down to the bottom of the instrument.
The next section focuses on the middle register. It starts off in the same way that the section on the low register does. You start on middle line B and move chromatically, although this time you go up, not down, stopping at the B just above the staff. It is structured pretty much the same way as the previous section: simple long tone exercises followed by more enticing ones.
Instead of moving right into the high register, there is a short section dedicated to preparing for that leap into the area that might make grown men cry. (Not my original thought, I saw it in a meme online.) This section has a few nice melodic excerpts that are meant to blend the registers together so that they sound cohesive. You have an exercise in minor and one in major, going up chromatically, as per usual.
Then you have the high register. You start at the B above the staff and go up chromatically for one octave. You can go higher if you want, but it is only written for one octave. You, again, have a few different exercises to improve your playing, but there are not any melody-based exercises for the top register. This is fine, as you can always look for melodies written for piccolo if you want to experiment on your own.
I have not had the chance to experiment with every part of this volume, but there is a section on high E and high F#, since those notes can be pretty tricky. There is also a section on flexibility with different exercises to improve your embouchure flexibility and to strengthen those muscles. These flexibility exercises not only work your lips, they are great for improving your note reading abilities. I have played the first one, and it definitely takes flexibility.
There is also a section on pitch control which uses some of the harmonics that are covered earlier in the book. Then you have a few excerpts for things like tone and flexibility. These come from the flute repertoire.
Next, I will cover Volume II: Technique. I hope this review helped if you were already interested, and if not, maybe it sparked an idea in your head for a new method to try! If you want to buy Volume I, click here
If you want to check out the Omnibus Edition, with the first five volumes, click here
Thanks for reading!

#BlogLife: WordPress vs. Blogger

Note: Since I have only ever used Blogger and WordPress.com (the free WordPress site), that is what I will be comparing.
I have been blogging since September 2013. For a long time, I didn’t blog regularly. It wasn’t until many months later that I started to take it seriously as a hobby and a possible career. (I haven’t made any money from this yet, but I am working on some projects for my Etsy shop).

Killer Harmony | #BlogLife: WordPress vs. Blogger | A battle of the two biggest, most popular, free blogging platforms. This post is mostly based off of my opinions, and I realize that not everyone will agree. Please consider your situation before deciding on the best platform for you.

Over the course of the past two plus years, I have used both Blogger and WordPress. I switched over to using WordPress on Christmas Day, a decision I later regretted. I was using the free version which, in my opinion, has more limitations than the free Blogger. I will be comparing the two platforms by categories: Website, Mobile Apps, Customizability, Templates, Ease of Use, and then a final overview of the pros and cons of each.
Website
While Blogger is clean and simple, the WordPress online site allows you much more flexibility and creativity with your site. If you are starting your first blog or if you are not very tech-savvy, Blogger is a good choice. More likely than not, you probably already have a Google account, in which case you can simply login to Google, click over to Blogger, and start a blog. If you have been blogging for awhile or you want to grow your blog, it might not be a bad idea to use WordPress. It is not for the faint of heart blogger, but if you have a passion for blogging, it is the way to go.
Winner: Tie (Use your best judgement based on your personal situation)
Mobile Apps
WordPress takes the cake on this one. The Blogger app is very limited. All you can do in it is write, edit, and immediately publish posts. If you want to schedule a post for later, check statistics, or anything else, you will need to access the website. WordPress’s app allows for all of this. You can even change the settings of your site from the app, too.
Winner: WordPress
Customizability
I have heard that many people think that you can’t do much to customize your blog if you work in Blogger. While this is true if you want to use the premade templates. However, if you are willing to get your hands dirty and learn a little HTML, anything is possible. With WordPress .com, you cannot access the HTML, so you are limited to the templates. Sure, you can change the color or the font (you can do those things in Blogger, too), but you can’t do some of the other things that require access to the back end of your site.
Winner: Tie (If you want to learn HTML: Blogger, If you can’t care less: WordPress)

Templates
Both platforms have different templates, and the options vary. If you don’t want to mess with HTML, WordPress definitely has more. Again, if you are interested in writing your own code, then Blogger is where it’s at. WordPress has a huge selection of both free and paid templates, and there are also many third party templates that you can use.
Winner: WordPress
Ease of Use
Even though WordPress has come out ahead in almost every other category, this is where it falls a little flat. Once you learn how to use it, it is not that bad, but I am still finding new and interesting ways to do things. Blogger, however, is much easier to learn to use. You just pick a template, write your first post, which you can access that from just about anywhere within your account. WordPress takes a while longer to learn, but it is not that bad.
Winner: Blogger
Overall, neither platform wins. I love using Blogger, but I think both platforms are worth giving a try to see which one you like more.
Pros of WordPress:
More capabilities, both on the website and within the mobile apps.
More templates, fonts, and colors which allow you to customize your blog.
Used by a large portion of bloggers and website owners in general.
Cons of WordPress:
Takes time to learn how to use it well.
Not as easy to set up.
Not the best in terms of starting a blog for the first time.
Pros of Blogger:
Comes with a Google account.
Quick and easy to set up and start writing.
Can use AdSense with a subdomain.
Cons of Blogger:
Limited in terms of customization and access to different functions on the mobile app.
Not very much active support when you need help.
Your blog looks a lot like other blogs.

I hope this information helps you with your decision between WordPress and Blogger! Next up, scheduling posts! Don’t forget to keep up with me so that you don’t miss the release of my eBook. You will get offline access to all of the posts in my #BlogLife series as well as bonus content that you won’t want to miss!
Thanks for reading!