NFA: Initial Planning & Booking

So, this post is going up a month after I hoped it would. But, I didn’t end up booking my trip until late last month. Now it’s time: the initial planning and booking phase of NFA!

Hannah B Flute | NFA: Planning & Booking

Last fall, I decided I wanted to go to the 2018 NFA convention. I had never been on a trip like this before, and I thought being a year out of college would be a good time to do it.

These are the steps I took when beginning the planning and booking for the convention.

Why Go?

The NFA annual convention is the largest flute event in the United States. Flutists and vendors from around the world come together for a long weekend filled with all things flute.

It doesn’t matter if you are a student, a professional, or an amateur player. There is something for everyone at the convention. Many flute vendors bring dozens of flutes that you can try.

There are also different recitals, lectures, and other events you can attend. You can also participate in competitions, if you plan ahead.

While I have never been, I am really looking forward to being somewhere where everyone else is as obsessed with the flute as I am.

Saving Up

First, you need to have the money to go on a trip. So that might mean setting some money aside each month. I am lucky enough to live at home and not have many expenses. I have been able to save most of my paycheck.

Convention costs can really add up. There’s the flight (or other means) to get there, the hotel, the registration fee, and more.

As soon as you know you want to go to any convention, start saving the money to cover those costs.

In one of the upcoming segments, we will cover how to save money for a convention.

Becoming a Member

In order to attend the NFA convention, you have to be a member of the NFA. There are a few different membership options, including student, online, and life.

Each level has a different cost, respective of what comes with the membership.

Active membership is the traditional membership; it includes a subscription to The Flutist Quarterly (NFA magazine), access to member profiles on the website, and more.

Student memberships are the same as regular ones, except they don’t include voting rights and are more budget friendly for students.

Life memberships are also the same as active memberships; the membership is paid for once and lasts for the life of the member.

Some levels also have the option for an online membership. You get a small discount but don’t receive a print copy of the member magazine.

Related: NFA Membership Levels

Registering for the Convention

If you do want to register for the convention, do it early. After July 24, the convention fees rise.

You can choose to register for one day or for two-four days. If you do not want to attend more than one day, the single day registration can save money.

The one day pass is also a good option for local residents or attendees who don’t plan to attend multiple days.

If you want the full experience, though, the full registration is worth it.

There are also special events for which you can buy tickets.

You also have to renew your membership at the time of registration.

Booking the Hotel

Possibly the biggest cost for this sort of trip is the hotel. If you want to stay in the convention hotel, you can’t shop around for nightly rates.

If you are okay with staying in another hotel, you can look at others in the area and use ground transportation.

In order to avoid high taxi costs, I chose to book a room at the convention hotel. I did that through the NFA website. That way, I could get the group discount, and I know for sure it is the right hotel.

Booking the Flight

There are many different ways you can travel somewhere. You can drive, take a train, or fly. For me, flying was the easiest option.

After looking around for the best flights, price and schedule, I booked my flights there and back.

If you live close to Orlando (the convention city this year), driving is an option. No need to worry about getting a seat or flying with your instrument.


Are you planning a trip to the NFA convention this year? Have you booked everything yet? Let me know in the comments!


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First Look at Moyse: De La Sonorite

Just as the flute has its fair share of standard repertoire, it also has its fair share of method books. One of these methods is De La Sonorite, by Marcel Moyse. Today, I am going to share my first impressions of this famous flute book.

Hannah B Flute | Moyse De La Sonorite

I am also going to talk about the importance of books like Sonorite. From Moyse to Wye to Taffanel & Gaubert, there are many useful flute books available. Sonorite fits in quite nicely with other advanced books like it.

Last week, I finally got my own copy of Sonorite. I took a trip to my local sheet music store and found Sonorite; I had to have it! So, here are my first impressions of the book as well as why every advancing flutist should have books like Sonorite.

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy, click here.

Sonorite? What?

De La Sonorite is French for “On Sonority,” and that is what this book is all about. Sonority means sound. The flute is capable of many different sounds, and tone development give you the foundation necessary for working with different tone colors.

Sonority refers to the whole sound of the flute. It encompasses tone, dynamics, and so much more. Long tone exercises, as boring as they may be, help you find the sound you want.

A Bach sonata is going to have different tone colors than a French Conservatory piece.

Moyse’s De La Sonorite works the whole flutist. The exercises cover the full range of the flute, and they use different intervals. While chromatic long tone exercises are important, you also need to maintain a good tone between fourths, fifth, and the dreaded tritone.

Why this book?

Yes, there are many different resources for tone exercises. A skilled flutist could even come up with their own. De La Sonorite is important, because it is a classic.

Most professional flutists and teachers have probably worked out of it at some point in their careers. It’s so popular, because it works.

I have just started working through the book, and I already have a different view on tone. Working on tone doesn’t need to be a hassle. It should be fun; you wouldn’t be able to play flute if you didn’t have some sort of tone.

What about other books?

There are many tone and technique books available for flute. Some good ones include Trevor Wye’s Practice Books for the Flute Omnibus Edition, Taffanel & Gaubert’s 17 Daily Exercises, and Maquarre’s Daily Exercises.

Of those, the Wye is the only one with a tone section.

All of these books are important to the serious flutist, but De La Sonorite fills a void. The Wye book covers everything a flutist should know. It doesn’t focus only on tone, like the Moyse book.

Okay, I’m convinced. How do I buy it?

There are many places where you can buy it. I bought my copy from a music store in my area. If you live close to any music stores, call and ask if they have a copy. Most stores can order it in, even if they don’t normally carry it.

You can also order the book online from Amazon, FluteWorld, or another music retailer.

There’s more.

This was mostly a first impressions of De La Sonorite. As I work through it in depth, I plan on writing a full review of each section and each exercise.

I will not be including the exercises themselves, because the book is not in public domain. If you want to check out the book for yourself, I suggest you look into buying your own copy. Or check with a friend or teacher about borrowing their copy.

This book really is the most famous, “standard” tone book.


Do you have any of the standard flute practice books? Do you want to see a review of the others mentioned? Let me know in a comment below!


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The 3 B Flats

The flute has many alternate fingerings for different notes. Alternate fingers exist for many reasons, such as to improve intonation or to facilitate quick passages. The note B flat is a testament to the use of alternate fingerings on the flute.

Hannah B Flute | The 3 B Flats

There are three main fingerings used for first and second octave B flat. Each fingering has its pros and cons. They are also used in different situations. Every flutist should know each fingering and when each should be used.

Knowing the three fingerings and each one’s purpose allows you to make an informed decision on fingerings when playing through a piece. The 3 B flats are what we are going to talk about today.

What are Alternate Fingerings?

Almost every instrument has different ways of playing the same note. The flute is no exception. A couple of notes on the flute have alternate fingerings that serve different purposes.

Some are helpful in faster movements, and others are useful when moving between certain notes.

Alternate fingerings are just that, alternative ways that a musician can play a certain note on their instrument.

The most common note on flute with alternate fingers is the first and second octave B flat and A sharp.

The Long B Flat

This is the most “traditional” fingering for B flat. It is also fairly easy to teach to younger students. The fingering is different enough from B natural to keep confusion minimal.

Hannah B Flute | Long B Flat Fingering

The long B flat fingering is commonly used by beginners. It is also helpful when B flat is not part of the key or B natural is part of the key. Another situation where this fingering is helpful is when the music calls for a lot of high F sharps or G flats.

This fingering is also often used in chromatic scales and passages. It also is used when the other two fingerings are too difficult or otherwise impractical.

The Thumb B Flat

This fingering is the second most common and is taught after a student is comfortable with the long B flat fingering. This fingering is perfect for flat keys, such as F, Bb, Eb, Ab, etc.

Hannah B Flute | Thumb B Flat Fingering

Thumb B flat is sometimes taught to beginners, but it can be confusing for some. The two thumb keys are the “key” to mastering this fingering.

The B natural thumb key is used more often than the B flat thumb key, so it can be hard to learn when to use each one.

While this fingering is easily confused with B natural, it can be incredibly helpful. This fingering is especially useful for fast passages in pieces where B flat is part of the key signature. As long as B natural or C flat do not occur in a piece, the thumb B flat can be used throughout the work.

The Lever B Flat

This fingering is the least common of the three. Some beginner flutes do not even have the key that allows for the lever B flat. But it is, like the other two, a great option in certain situations.

Hannah B Flute | Lever B Flat Fingering

I just started using the B flat lever fairly recently, but it is incredibly helpful. It is great for chromatic scales and passages. The long B flat can be slightly flat, and the lever avoids that. It depresses the same keys as the B flat thumb key, but it allows for an easy transition to B natural or C flat.

The B flat lever does not use the F key, like the long B flat. Excess keys pressed down can change tuning ever so slightly. That is one of the faults of the long B flat with the lever makes up for.

How to Choose?

Each fingering has their merits. The long B flat is great for beginners, because it is the easiest to understand of the three. While it is not always the easiest in faster pieces, it works in almost every situation.

The thumb B flat is perfect for fast runs and scales in flat keys, but it doesn’t work when there are B naturals in the key signature. It doesn’t always work, but it is a great tool when it does work.

The lever B flat, while the least common, is useful in slower chromatic passages. Intonation is more noticeable in slower music. Since the lever is not as quick and easy to use as the other two fingerings, slow music is where it shines.

Related: Tools & Resources for Self Taught Flutists


Have you used each of these fingerings before? How do you choose which fingering to use? Leave a comment below!


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Career Paths for Musicians

Usually, I write about stuff that would appeal to all sorts of musicians. I try to appeal to both amateurs and professionals. But not all music topics will be for all musicians. So today, I’m focusing on those of you who are professional musicians or aspiring professionals: career paths for musicians.

Hannah B Flute | Career Paths for Musicians

A music career is very difficult. Pro and aspiring pro musicians often have to work multiple jobs to bring in enough income. It is not impossible to become a professional musician; technology has actually made it easier than ever.

In this post, we are going to explore some different career paths for musicians. Some common, others not so common.

Portfolio Careers

Most musicians have what is called a portfolio career. They do multiple different things. Performing on the weekend and teaching during the week is a common combination.

Some musicians even have day jobs outside of music. They pursue music on the side until they can do it full time.

A portfolio career is important for any musician. You don’t want to rely on one stream of income. If you’re a performer and suffer from a huge injury, you need something else to fall back on until you are well enough to perform.

A composer needs another way to make their income in case they have a bad bout of writers block.

If you’re a musician who plays or works in the music industry professionally, you need options. This blog post will help you figure out those options that are right for you.

Related: Portfolio Careers: What, Why, Who?


This is the most common career path in music, and it is also the most competitive. It is also the most draining, because performing usually means a lot of time spent traveling.

But performing solo, in a chamber group, or in a larger orchestra can be a fulfilling career path. Most performers supplement their income in other ways, because a lot of them don’t make a full time income on performing alone.

If you love being on stage and playing music for other people, consider working towards a performance career.

There are many performance jobs out there, including orchestral positions, pit orchestras, musical theatre, opera, chamber groups, and solo jobs. It can be tough to get started in a performance career, so be sure to never stop working and building connections.


Music education is a major at almost every school that has a general music major. Why? There is a a growing need of qualified music educators. Even though school budgets have cut many music programs, there are other places where you can teach music.

You can teach anyone from preschool to adult, and you can teach for a school, a community center, or on your own. You can even teach music online with some programs now.

If you enjoy working with people and you are good at helping others learn, consider being a music teacher.

There are dozens of ways you can teach music. There are the traditional teaching careers: K-12 teaching in a public school and college/university teaching. With the advancement of technology, however, there are even more ways of teaching.

You can also set up a private teaching studio, where you teach who and what you want. Your studio could be online, out of your home, out of a music store, or a combination of these.


Music therapy is a growing field. It combines music with other therapy techniques. Music therapist work with people with disabilities. They use music to help patients in various ways.

This includes allowing a person with autism to express themself or helping a patient with early stages of dementia slow down memory loss.

While it is a new field, music therapy it is a legitimate career path with a growing number of jobs.

If you want to work with people with disabilities and you are patient and caring, consider being a music therapist.

You do need special training, either a bachelors in music therapy of a bachelors equivalent for those who already have a degree. If you are interested enough and willing to do the work, music therapy can be a very rewarding career.

Music therapists either work in hospitals or for themselves with a private practice. Some even work in music stores.


Another new way to make money as a musician is by writing articles, blog posts, and even books. With the internet, it is even easier to write and publish a book on your own. A blog is even easier to set up.

There are a few different free platforms where you can start a blog. The most common are and Blogger (Google). I started this blog on Blogger, because I could use my already active Google account to set it up.

Blogger is totally free, and it allows more features than the free plan on and other “free” blogging sites. Other free sites usually have some strings attached.

The platform might post ads on your blog, and they keep any profits. Free blogs also have certain limitations on what you can do. And almost all of those free sites? They can claim ownership of your content. They can even shut down your site if they feel it goes against their policies.

Whether on your own website, a free blog, or in a book, writing is a great way for musicians to make a living. Writing is flexible; you can do it from the couch or in an airplane.

A blog is the easiest way to get started with writing. It can build your web presence, and you can figure out if you like writing enough to make it part of your career.

Related: How to Start a Blog


One popular career path for musicians is composing and/or arranging music. Composing is pretty straightforward. You write new music. Arranging is where you take music already written and write it for a new instrumentation.

An example would be a concerto written for a solo instrument with piano accompaniment. A concerto, by definition, is for a soloist with orchestra. But since most musicians don’t have easy access to a full orchestra, music publishers will make and sell arrangements with piano.

If you are good at improvising or you like experimenting with new instrumentations, composing and arranging might be the path for you.

Composers and arrangers either work for themselves or with a tv or film company. A film composer writes music for film and television, and is sometimes even a full time employee. Most composers do start off self employed.


There are dozens of other career paths for musicians that we haven’t even touched on. If you would like to see a part two in the future, leave a comment below!


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