At this year’s NFA conference, I had the very cool opportunity to be part of a discussion panel about woodwind doubling. The panel was organized by Florida flutist and doubler Tereasa Payne, and moderated by my Delta State colleague Shelley Collins. The panel consisted of me, Tereasa, Hollywood studio great Jim Walker, and David Weiss, who is the ethnic flutes soloist for Broadway’s The Lion King. It was an honor to be included in a group of such stature!
We spoke to a surprisingly large and enthusiastic crowd. At one point Shelley asked for a show of hands by the doublers in the audience, and we were blown away by all the hands that shot up. The audience asked great questions, and many stayed afterward to talk some more. I was delighted to meet several of you personally who read this blog or who have communicated with me by email or on Twitter.
In advance of the panel, Tereasa had prepared some questions for the panelists to think over. I took some notes to organize my thoughts, and I’m providing them here in an edited version. This isn’t a transcript of the live panel, but it should give you an idea of what was talked about, and of my thoughts about some of those topics. Continue reading “NFA 2011: Woodwind doublers roundtable discussion”→
This year was my first time attending the National Flute Association‘s annual convention, held this year in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I’ve been to conferences of all the other major woodwind organizations in the US (IDRS, ICA, NASA), and here are some things that I think the NFA did exceptionally well:
Organization and planning. From what I could tell, nearly everything ran smoothly and according to plan.
Engaging younger players. There were a number of competitions and masterclasses for high school and college students, and a Saturday “Youth Day” for flutists aged 8-13.
Engaging non-professional flutists. My sense is that the NFA has a stronger amateur contingent than the other organizations, and that they are working to ensure its future.
Appealing to broad musical interests. In my opinion, the NFA is doing a better job than anyone, including NASA, of integrating jazz into their convention in a serious way, and is integrating historical instruments at least as well as the IDRS. Ethnic flutes also got some good representation. Thursday night’s big feature concert was Baroque flute, and Friday’s was world music. Saturday’s concert was more standard concerto fare, but with a strong jazz representation. Kudos to the NFA for acknowledging that there is life beyond conservatory repertoire lists, and to its members for seeming to genuinely embrace and enjoy the varied offerings.
I recently renewed a few memberships in some of the woodwind-related professional organizations. I like to stay current with as many of these as I can, because I enjoy receiving their publications and attending their conferences whenever possible. Most offer some other benefits like score and book lending libraries, eligibility for a group instrument insurance plan, member directories, and exclusive website content.
Membership is especially useful for woodwind folks in academia—students and professors alike—who are hoping to build their vitae. There are opportunities to publish articles, interviews, reviews, and such in the organizations’ publications, and to perform, present lectures and demonstrations, and participate in competitions and masterclasses at the conferences. Students can usually join the organizations and attend the conferences at significant discounts.