My Favorite Gear

Every musician has a list of gear that they love more than anything. Today, I will be sharing with you my personal favorites when it comes to instruments and accessories. I do want to first make a disclaimer that I am not pressuring you to go buy any of these products. I am not in any way being paid to write about these products. This is just what I love to use for my are more than welcome to try these products, but there is no need if you choose not to.
I decided to structure this post by gear for specific instruments and general gear.
Music Stand. I have the cheapest music stand out there from Guitar Center. I do not need anything more than that. It works fine and I use the better stands when I am playing at school.
Tuner, Metronome, & Audio Recorder. I grouped these into one group because I have them all on one app on my iPhone. The app is called Musicians Kit. It is a free app and I really like it. If you do not have a smartphone, or if you don’t want to download an app, there are physical tuners, metronomes, and recorders that you can buy.
Crochet Hook. I got this idea from Bret Pimentel’s blog ( He said he uses a small crochet hook for when a spring on one of his woodwinds gets out of alignment.
Case Cover. I have a case cover by Protec that I love. I really like the fact that it has one big pocket for your flute and a small pocket for your accessories and/or piccolo.
Flute Stand. I recently purchased a flute stand by Hercules called the Travlite Flute Stand. If you can’t tell by the name, it is good for travel since it folds up and fits in the foot joint (even C-foots).
Reeds. I use Vandoren strength 3 reeds for clarinet. Reeds are definitely a necessity, but not all reeds work for all players, so it is worth it to try out a few different reeds.
Cork Grease. This is self-explanatory. You need cork grease to keep the corks on the clarinet from drying out.
Neck Strap. I have two by Rico, one padded, one not. I like the one without the padding better because it doesn’t grab at my neck as bad. It is worth looking for a better neck strap than the one that comes with the saxophone because they are not the best quality.
Dollar Bill. I like to keep a dollar bill in my saxophone case because it is good for cleaning sticky pads. I only use it for saxophone, because flute and clarinet pads are too sensitive.
I hope you liked reading about my favorite gear! I hope you found it helpful and maybe got some ideas about what gear to purchase for yourself.
Thanks for reading!

Musical Instrument Mondays!-A Plastic Saxophone?

For the second installment in my Musical Instrument Mondays, as you can guess by the title, I am featuring a plastic saxophone that was made by the company Grafton. Here is a picture of the beautiful instrument:

Here is a link to where you can read about the famous plastic sax:
Thanks for reading, I hope you are enjoying finding out about a few odd ball instruments. I will be writing two more posts about cute and interesting instruments, specifically those that I saw at the Musical Instrument Museum on a recent trip to Arizona.
It’s always fun in the practice rooms!

Comparing Different Flutes for Beginners

For today’s blog, I wanted to do something a little different than my previous posts. It is a product review, but also a product comparison, and I will be comparing a few different flute models for beginners. I have a low-end off brand flute, a middle of the road flute, and an intermediate quality beginner’s flute.
If you are not sure if flute is for you, but you would like to give it a try without breaking the bank, a cheap model from a site like Amazon could be worth looking into. I own a cheap off brand flute called a conductor flute. That particular model costs around $100. It works nicely and is definitely a good option for anyone who is fairly new to the flute. I did enjoy playing it for awhile, and it got me through about nine months of playing. It is not the best quality, but it is one of those things where you get what you pay for. There are other cheap brands besides conductor and they all should play fine. Make sure to read reviews before buying online.
My Rating: 3/5
I do not own a middle of the road beginner flute. These flutes cost around $400-600. The one I played was an old Bundy by Selmer which I borrowed from my high school music teacher. It was the first flute I ever played, and it got me through three months of playing. I do think that Bundy is a good brand. The clarinet I play was made by Bundy. I can write a post about clarinet if you are interested, comment below. Other reliable brands of this quality include Yamaha, Jupiter, Gemeinhardt, and others.
My Rating: 3.5/5
Before I go into this section, I want to get one thing straight. The flute I am reviewing is a beginner flute, but it plays and sounds like an intermediate model for the beginner level price. It is a little more expensive than a beginner flute it is listed at around $900. That is a little more than a beginner, but certainly less than an intermediate model. What flute is it? I currently play a Trevor James 10x. It is the company’s beginning model flute and it is very good quality. I say it is intermediate quality because that is the opinion of a woman I know who has a doctorate degree in flute. I would only recommend this flute to someone who has been playing flute for a while, but is looking for a nice step-up model for a lower price.
My Rating: 4.5/5
I didn’t give any of the flutes mentioned here a perfect score of 5/5 because they are beginner instruments and while they are good for beginners, they are designed for beginner playing and not for advanced or professional playing.
So that is my post on the various options available to beginning flutists. I hope you enjoyed reading, and maybe found it helpful if you or someone you know will be starting to learn the flute soon.
Thanks for reading!

What’s on my iPad: in my Music Folder

So for this blog post, I wanted to show you guys the apps that I have in my music folder on my iPad. My music folder looks different from what some people would have because I have more music creation apps whereas other people might have more music listening apps. Be fore getting into the post. So here are some apps that you will find in the music folder of my iPad.
GARAGE BAND ($4.99-free on devices purchased after 10/01/13) I don’t really use this app that much. I mostly just mess around with it. You can create and record music on piano, guitar, bass, and drums as well as record audio.

EAR TRAINER LITE (Free) I use this app whenever I want to sharpen my ear at hearing intervals. Since I am a music major, I have to take aural skills so this app can be a great practice tool for outside class time.

FINALE SONGBOOK (Free) I love this app for storing digital copies of all of my sheet music. It was made to store files from Finale music, but I also will open PDF files of sheet music in there. This app is just for viewing-not creating or editing sheet music.

50-in-1 PIANO HD (Free) This is an electronic keyboard app where you can select different sounds from vibes to strings to synths, it is a fun app. I don’t use it all that much but it is nice to have.

iGRAND PIANO ($?-free with purchase of iRig Keys ($99.99)) this is a simple electronic piano app that I use with an external midi keyboard.

SAMPLETANK ($?-free with iRig Keys) this is like the iGrand Piano app, but you can also use other sounds besides piano. This app is also meant to be used with an external midi keyboard.

NOTE* The two apps I just talked about came with the iRig Keys (made specifically for use with iOS) which I bought at Guitar Center. I can do a review of the keyboard in another blog if you would like-comment below.
MAGIC PIANO (Free) This is a cute little app that is kind of like guitar hero, but you use your fingers on the screen to play the notes in all sorts of songs. I believe it costs money if you want to play pop songs (they are an in-app purchase).

SYMPHONY PRO ($9.99) I have been loving this app so much! It is a music composition app that functions just like Finale or Sibelius, but way cheaper. I just recently downloaded it, so I am still getting used to the program, but so far I really like it. I was able to do a project for my composition class on it. I really love the option to use an on-screen keyboard for note-entry.

So, those are my top music creation apps for iPad. I hope this gave you an idea of what is out there. I believe they are also available for iPhone/iPod Touch except for maybe Finale SongBook. I would like to know about other fun apps like these that are free/cheap, because I do use my iPad as my main computer. If you would like to know how I do that, let me know, and I can show you! Anyway, thanks for reading!

My (Not-So-Normal) High School Experience

Most parents know exactly where their kids will be going to high school as soon as the child is born or when they move to a new area. My parents were examples of these people. Especially since my mom grew up a block away from where we live now, she thought I would end up at the high school she attended… And that’s what I thought, too, until the eighth grade that is. I was at a big public school with probably 600 students, and for a while, I was content in that environment. But I was never like most of the girls there. I didn’t wear skinny jeans and ballet flats (uggs in colder weather), I LOVED wearing sweatpants. This and other parts of me made me an easy target for bullies. It got to the point where a boy thought it would be funny to almost lick my desk! I hated being there so much that I would get stress headaches and on the days where that didn’t happen, I would fake sick so I could leave early.
One day, in November of 2008, I got a postcard in the mail from a parochial school a few miles away. I thought it looked interesting and it got me thinking that there were other schools I could go to besides Big Random Public High. About six weeks later, two things happened. First, I took the High School Placement Test which was required for admission to any area parochial school. The second thing that happened was my mom read in article in the newspaper about a VERY small school (<80 people) that sounded like a possible fit for me. A couple weeks later, I visited  the school and it was amazing! I loved every minute of my shadow day. I applied and was soon accepted to my new dream school!
The first week of March I had decided that I had had enough of this big school and I wanted to transfer early since my high school was also a middle school. My parents contacted the school and they gave us the okay to enroll after spring break.
My first day was amazing. The middle school had only 9 other students, so I was able to fit in pretty easily. The decision to transfer early was the best decision I made because it finalized my decision to spend the next four years of my life there. I even got to have a couple of pieces of art shown in a school art show!
Freshman year was a breeze. My favorite class from that year would probably have to be a tie between Biology 1 & Spanish 2. I really enjoyed all of my classes. The small environment was perfect for me, and it felt like an actual community. We also got to know our teachers a little better due to calling them by their first names. And each subject was taught by only one or two people. That meant having the same math teacher all through high school.
Sophomore year rolled around, and to be honest, it was nothing special other than the fact that we started researching colleges… That was the year I was given the nickname Falafel. It wasn’t because I had some weird obsession with it, my history teacher just thought my last name looked like the word Falafel.
Junior year was interesting. The college search really started getting speed, we even had a field trip to visit a few area colleges. I also had the privilege of driving to school since I had finally turned 16. That was also the year where I got to write a play that my school put on in the spring.
Senior year, I had a pretty good schedule. I was part-time, so I got to take some college classes. I took those classes online, and I only had to be at school at 8:30 twice a week first semester, and I only had afternoon classes second semester (a teenager’s dream). Second semester was also when I started my first “real” job, which I still have as I am writing this. In May of 2013, I graduated as a member of a class of eight people, which was crazy, but it was nice having a ceremony that didn’t last three hours.
I still love my old high school, and I know that I would not have been happy at any other school, at least not AS happy. I really enjoyed my time there, and while I was sad when my time there came to an end, I knew that I could always come & visit.
Sorry for the lengthy post, but I thought it would possibly be interesting, and maybe helpful to someone who is considering attending a different kind of high school.