Shopping on Amazon for Flutists

Amazon has become a haven for online shopping. You can purchase anything on there, from a new computer to a pair of socks. That also means that you can purchase music related items from Amazon.

Since you can find just about anything on Amazon, you have to be smart about what you do buy. There are some scams on there as well as some subpar products. In this post, we are going to talk about how to avoid those scams and stick to the good stuff.

Hannah B Flute | Shopping on Amazon for Flutists

I have personally used Amazon to purchase a lot of music stuff, everything from sheet music to instruments themselves. So I have quite a bit of experience when it comes to using Amazon to further my music goals.

So here’s how to use Amazon for flutists.

DISCLAIMER: This post includes affiliate links. To read my full disclosure policy, click here.

Fulfillment by Amazon.

The first thing you need to know about is Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). This program lets individual sellers buy products that Amazon then sells for them.

That means these products qualify for free two day shipping (with Prime), and Amazon handles all questions and complaints for these orders, too. You don’t have to deal with a shady seller who wants to con you out of your money.

When you go to a listing, you can see the different options for pricing.

For example: New (1) for $25.99.

Then you can see the different prices you can pay for the item you want. To tell if something is sold by an independent seller but managed and shipped by Amazon, look for the Fulfillment By Amazon sign.

Hannah B Flute | Fulfillment By Amazon

Another benefit of the FBA program is that you get to work with Amazon’s customer service team if there are any issues. A lot of companies lack in the area of customer service, so returns and exchanges can be a hassle. But Amazon has great customer service, and you get all the benefits of it.

Verify Any Instrument Purchases.

The only reputable flute brand that allows Amazon to sell their flutes that I know of is Pearl Flutes. Pearl has Amazon listed as an authorized dealer on the Pearl website.

That is not the case with other brands. Some, such as Gemeinhardt, specify that Amazon is NOT an authorized dealer. Others, such as Yamaha and Jupiter do not specify either way.

Before you purchase an instrument that is hundreds if not thousands of dollars, verify that it is a legit sale. Amazon is a good company, but they are not authorized to sell certain flute brands. If you find a listing for Gemeinhardt, that listing will not be up to the quality standards set by the flute company.

If you want to purchase a flute online but Amazon is not an authorized dealer, try and stick to other websites. Flute World and Flute Center of New York (FCNY) sell almost any brand of flute, completely online.

You can buy these other flutes from Amazon, but be aware that the purchase may not go as smoothly as it would with another website that is an authorized dealer of your chosen flute.

Get Sheet Music, Fast.

If you don’t have a huge music store close by, you will probably have to go to the internet to get the music you need. You can get some stuff from local music stores, but online give you more options.

Amazon has a ton of sheet music for flute, both for the Kindle and shipped to you. You can order with Prime and get sheet music in two days. It’s pretty amazing. Other online music stores usually have longer shipping times. If you’re in a pinch, Amazon is a good resource.

Now, you won’t find as much or as many editions as you would on a site like Flute World, but Amazon does have the basics. I have had to order from other websites when looking for a specific edition, but I tend to go with Amazon when I can.

You can’t really beat free shipping.

Save Those Gift Cards.

Everyone uses Amazon. And everyone gives Amazon gift cards. It’s a great go to gift. If you are looking at purchasing something more expensive on Amazon (like a verified flute), save those gift cards.

Over a few years, I managed to save a little over $200 in Amazon and Visa gift cards, which knocked down the price of my Pearl piccolo quite considerably.

I had wanted to use those gift cards earlier, but I am so glad I saved them for the special occasion. Having those gift cards took away some of the “heat” from splurging on a new instrument for myself.

Whether you want to save for a new instrument or for a nicer music stand, gift cards are an easy way to set aside money and not be tempted to spend them elsewhere.

So…

Have you made a musical purchase from Amazon before? What was your experience? Leave your thoughts in a comment below!

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Reflecting and Planning

As we bring 2017 to a close, there is a lot to look back on. I know a lot happened to me this year, from graduating with my bachelors in music to changing the name of this very blog. I have some reflecting and planning to do.

Hannah B Flute | Reflecting & Planning

This past year brought with it many changes. I moved back home from college, worked a part time job before finding one full time, and I became more serious about sharing my music with the world.

I also have a lot of exciting things planned for 2018. One of my goals for the year is to write and publish a couple different ebooks. I also am working on a method book for older flute students.

Graduating from College

Getting my degree was probably my biggest accomplishment of the year. I got my bachelors of music in flute performance from a state university back in May. My college experience was not a normal one, but I am thankful for the experience I did have.

I got to experience commuting and living on campus. My last two years of college gave me the chance to learn a different form of music performance: marching band. I took an on campus job as an opinion writer. I, somehow, managed the writing side of my life with music side.

I even stayed close with one of my best friends since kindergarten. Even though we went to different colleges.

Moving Back Home

At the time of graduation, I did not have a job or any income. So I decided to move back home. I have been able to save money, and I could take a job without having to worry so much about money. I could consider other factors, such as the drive and the job itself.

It did take awhile before I found a job, but that’s okay. I was able to enjoy my last summer break of sorts. I did work part time for a couple of months still, but again, finances weren’t a huge stress.

Moving home has also allowed me to reconnect with family and friends in my hometown. I have stayed super close with my parents. I even joined a couple of community music groups.

Blogging More

Since being out of school, I have had more time for other things. In college, I tried to blog as much as I could, but classes took precedence. Now that I am not a student, my time outside of work is mine.

Yes, I have a day job. No, I am not ashamed. That day job allows me to spend my free time working on my music and this blog. I don’t have to stress about finding paying gigs or jobs. I can focus on what I like.

Maybe I will be able to make some money online one day. That is definitely something I want to work on in 2018. But the beauty of a day job is that I have more freedom to do what I want with this blog. I can grow it and work on products, but I don’t have to stress about paying the bills.

Changing the Blog Name

If you haven’t been here long, you may not know that this blog used to be known as Killer Harmony. I had the name for almost two years before changing it to Hannah B Flute. The decision was hard, but it was necessary for my growth as a blogger.

The old name no longer fit. I had niched down to writing about music and the flute. I needed a name that reflected that. Killer Harmony was too general and not very professional. Hannah B Flute fits the blog more.

Growing My Instagram

At the beginning of the year, I hardly used Instagram. I wasn’t a big photographer, and I didn’t think it would do anything for me. Boy, was I wrong. I started posting about my life as a young musician back in April, giving up on it as solely a personal social network.

Now, I have kept up with posting almost daily, sharing videos and behind the scenes photos of work for the blog and as a musician.

I even reached 200 followers, a big deal for me. Check out my 2017bestnine!

Hannah B Flute | 2017 Best Nine

Looking Ahead

As I already mentioned, I have a couple of ebooks in the works as well as a flute method book. I also want to work on composing and arranging, too. Over the past few months, I have realized that I want to show others that you don’t have to be a “typical” musician to be successful.

You don’t need to play in an orchestra to have a good career. Heck, you don’t even need to be a professional musician to be good at your instrument.

I want to bust all of those myths about what it means to be a musician.

So…

What are your biggest accomplishments of 2017? What are you looking forward to in 2018? Let me know in the comments!

Save the Internet

Unless you have been under a rock for the past week, you probably heard about the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality. Net neutrality is what makes the internet open and free.

Hannah B Flute | Save Net Neutrality

Even though the FCC’s decision is final, there is still hope. Multiple state attorneys general are suing the FCC, and we can even get Congress involved. But we have to act.

In today’s post, I am going to stem away from the normal music content. I’m going to write about how the whole issue of net neutrality affects us all, and how it affects this blog.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality was officially put into place by the FCC in 2015 under the Obama administration. The order barred internet service providers (ISPs) from charging more for certain websites or for a faster connection.

Basically, it required ISPs like Verizon and Comcast to treat Facebook and Twitter the same as email. To treat small blogs like this one the same as larger sites like Google.

It’s a pretty big deal. Without net neutrality, internet costs could skyrocket.

The Argument Against Net Neutrality

Some people argue that the government should not be regulating the internet. That taking away net neutrality would spur competition within the internet market.

The problem with that logic is that companies are money hungry. They know that the internet has become a vital part of many people’s lives. ISPs know that a lot of people will pay for internet, no matter the price.

If ending net neutrality is anything like giving tax cuts to the rich, it will not help the average person. I don’t want to get too political, but trickle down economics doesn’t work.

Deregulation doesn’t work.

The Future of Blogs Like This One

The future of this little blog is bleak, especially if the end of net neutrality takes effect. I’m a solo blogger with a full time day job. I can’t afford to pay ISPs to make my site faster.

I may not even be able to run this blog anymore. It may not be worth it.

Other small bloggers would probably agree. It takes a lot of work to run a blog, and most bloggers don’t have the same capital as huge corporations. We can’t afford to be in the so-called fast lane.

Blogs and bloggers need net neutrality. Blog readers need net neutrality.

The only groups that benefit from the FCC’s decision are the extremely wealthy and the larger corporations. The people and companies that can afford to pay a premium for internet service.

What Can We Do?

You can start by signing this petition.

Share posts like this one. Share the posts that list what you can do. Let others know that there is still a (small) bit of hope.

You can contact your local representatives and tell them what you think.

Check out articles like this one to find an ISP that still believes in a free and open internet. Avoid the ones that don’t or face premiums.

So…

Have you participated in the fight to save net neutrality? Will you do something? Let me know in the comments!

Net neutrality is super important, especially for smaller websites like this one. In order to continue sharing my content with you all, I need to know that I can do that for free. I need to know that it is worth it.

Flute Practice: Quality Over Quantity

For most musicians, time is not on our side. We have to hustle with a day job, work tons of gigs, teach, or do a combination of things. That is why flute practice is so important. But, if you don’t have much time, you need to focus on quality over quantity.

Killer Harmony | Flute Practice: Quality over Quantity

In music school, the idea that I had to practice for hours a day was drilled into my head. If I wanted to be the best, I had to practice as much as I could. Now that I am out of school, that is just not possible for me.

I work full time in an field outside of music, and so I don’t have multiple hours a day to dedicate to practicing. I wish I did, but I don’t. Since graduating, I have learned to appreciate the time I do have to practice.

Here is why quality practice is so important and how you can make the most of the time you have.

Get up earlier.

One thing I have started doing lately is getting up a little earlier than normal. I set my alarm for thirty minutes before I *need* to get up, and I use those 30 minutes to practice.

I did this in school, so why can’t I do it when I’m out of school?

There are many benefits to practicing first thing.

The obvious benefit is that you get it out of the way. You don’t have to think about it all day. That’s especially nice if you work all day.

Another perk of practicing first thing is that I have the energy to do so. I know some people are super groggy first thing, but I am lucky that I am not. Since I am awake, I am able to use some of that energy to practice.

If I were to wait until I got home from work, I would be tired, and I would not have the motivation to practice.

Make a list.

It can be a mental list. I like to make a list of what I want to accomplish in any one practice session. Maybe my goal is as small as improving my harmonics. It might be as big as perfecting a section of a concerto.

A list can help streamline your practice and help you focus on what you need to work on. If you just pick up your flute without any goals or direction, you will just be wasting that time.

So make a list of a few small, achievable goals that you can work on for your next practice session.

Another great thing about listing out your goals is that you can look back at them. You can look back to see if you accomplished your goal or if you missed something.

Then you can reevaluate for your next practice session.

Take a break.

If you are not genuinely motivated to practice, you will not get anything done. I have found that unmotivated practice is a huge waste of time and energy. It accomplishes nothing.

While it can be tempting to practice whenever you have the time, it’s not always worth it. If your mind is elsewhere, put the flute down and come back later.

Mindless practice is exactly that: mindless. Walk away. Go watch a show. Read a book. Take a nap. Do whatever it is that is taking your attention away from the flute.

Part of practice is being able to discipline yourself, and that includes knowing when to take a break. You will improve, but not if you are practicing without wanting to.

Make the most of your time.

When you have limited resources, you learn to make the most of what you do have. That includes time. Unless you are in music school (not working), or you somehow managed to find a full time performing job, you will not have endless practice time.

You will have an outside job, or other classes, or other life responsibilities that you need to tackle. That, sadly, leaves less time for music.

But part of becoming a well rounded adult is learning to make the most of what is available to you. If you really prefer to practice for a longer period of time, utilize your days off. Get up earlier. Go to bed later.

Do what you need to do to practice how you need to, but remember that time is limited. So make the most of it.

How/When I practice.

As I stated above, I like to get up about 30 minutes earlier than I need to so that I can get clock in a half hour of well rested, motivated practice time. I start with harmonics and then long tone to warm up my lips.

Then I move to some technical exercises so that I can work my fingers and practice different articulations. After that, I play through Debussy’s Syrinx from memory. That helps me maintain the piece from memory, and I can practice my expressiveness.

Finally, I move into solo and ensemble music. Since I play in a flute choir, I usually like to work on the harder sections or pieces. I also like to work on a solo or two to build my repertoire list.

If I have the motivation later in the day, I practice some more, and I will usually pick up my piccolo. However, since I have already achieved thirty minutes of uninterrupted practice, I don’t feel bad if I don’t have the motivation to play later in the day.

That’s the nice thing about having an outside job. I can be more forgiving with myself when it comes to music. I don’t *have* to practice all the time. Music is something I can do on my own terms.

So…

How do you practice? Do you practice quality over quantity? Let me know in the comments!

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Gift Ideas for Musicians

With Halloween being over and the holidays coming up soon, I thought it would be fun to write a post about gift ideas for musicians. Whether you are a musician or you know a musician, this post is for you.

If you aren’t a musician, but you know one, it can be hard to think if gift ideas. If you are a musician, hopefully this post can give you some inspiration for your own wish list.

Killer Harmony | Gift Ideas for Musicians

Gift giving is one of the best things about this time of year, and I want to share my ideas for gifts that every musician needs. So without further ado, here are my top gift ideas for musicians.

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

Music Stand

And not the teeny tiny wire stands. As a musician starts to progress and work on more and more music, they need a better music stand. Those folding wire stands can barely hold anything before they collapse.

You don’t need the most expensive stand out there, but you need one that is durable and can hold your music.

I have and love this Gearlux music stand. It is super durable, but it is also easy to take with me to rehearsals or performances. The top part is vented, with holes, that make it a little lighter, but still a great stand.

So if you have an advancing musician in your life, a new music stand is a great gift!

Instrument Stand

This is different from a music stand, because it holds an instrument, rather than music. There are stands for almost any musical instrument.

Almost any musician, beginner or professional, can benefit from an instrument stand. Putting your flute, violin, or saxophone on a stand keeps it safe when you’re not playing it.

Setting your instrument on a table or chair is not safe. You never know if it could get knocked off or roll onto the ground. Some one could sit on it. It’s just not a good idea.

An instrument stand saves you from that issue. Good quality stands are built to keep your instrument on them and secure in their place. My favorite brand for instrument stands is Hercules. They are made super well and don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Pencils…lots of pencils.

When writing on sheet music, you never want to use pen. The music might be a rental, or you may want to change something later. That is why pencils are the way to go.

But pencils can get lost or left behind at rehearsals. So an abundance of pencils is necessary. You could get the simple wood ones or some cute ones with music notes on them.

Another great tool to go with pencils is a pencil guard or holder for a music stand. These things keep pencils out of the way of your music, but still close by for when you need them.

This one is a great way to keep your pencils secure, right by your side. Another great pencil holder that can also hold other accessories is this one.

Blank Notation Paper

Notation paper is perfect for budding composers, aspiring teachers, and anyone else who wants to write their own music. Notation paper is also great for music majors, because they often have assignments that require blank notation paper.

There are a few different styles, but I really like this Hal Leonard one. It can fit in a binder, which is great for students, and it is also not too bulky.

While there are countless music notation programs, there is something about putting pencil to paper. You aren’t bound to the limitations of a particular program, and you can write anywhere. No need to have room for a laptop or tablet.

Case/Cover/Gig Bag

Most instruments come with good cases already, but it can be fun to give someone a cuter or more stylish case or bag. For flutists as well as clarinet and oboe players, Fluterscooter is a great brand.

I do not have any of their bags yet, but I think they are so cool and pretty. They are more expensive than other brands, so you want to be careful before giving these bags as a gift, but they are worth it.

I think the black patent leather bag is so chic and professional, and it puts any other case cover to shame.

Another great brand for cases and bags is Protec. They make cases and case covers for almost every instrument. I have their flute case cover, and it has lasted over four years now. They are insulated, and they come with an awesome shoulder strap to make carrying your instrument easier.

So…

If you’re a musician, what’s on your wishlist this year? If you know a musician, do you think you’ll get them any of these items? Let me know in the comments below!