Participatory Events

Many events at the convention are designed for attendees to participate, so don’t forget to bring your flute(s) and play along! Be part of an ensemble, participate in exercises, or get moving with early-morning yoga. Browse this list to learn more about participatory events in Orlando.

Flute Choirs (Sign-Up Required)

Whistle While You Work Flute Orchestra
Performance Thursday, 9:15 – 10 a.m.

All flutists are invited to perform in the Opening Flute Orchestra. Conducted by Wendy Kumer, the orchestra will open the convention with a program to delight the audience and performers alike.

All flutists registered for convention are welcome to join in the fun, but must commit to two rehearsals, a warm-up and the concert itself, which immediately follows the Annual Meeting. Visit the Whistle While You Work Flute Orchestra page to learn more.

THROW DOWN of the LOW DOWN Low Flutes Ensemble
Performance Friday during the Gala Concert beginning 8 p.m.

All low flutists are invited to perform in the Throw Down of the Low Down (record-setting low flutes ensemble) at the 2018 NFA Convention in Orlando. Low flutes include flutes of all shapes and sizes that speak lower than a concert flute, including alto flutes, bass flutes, contr’alto flutes, contrabass flutes, sub contrabass flutes and double contrabass flutes. Conducted by Paige Dashner Long, the ensemble will premiere a new piece composed specifically for this event, Greg Lutz’s “The Terrible Tubes Take Over the Town.” All low flutists registered for the convention are welcome to join in on the fun, but must commit to two rehearsals and a warm up. Visit the THROW DOWN of the LOW DOWN Low Flutes Ensemble page to learn more.

Adult Amateur Flute Choir
Performance Sunday, 11 a.m.

All flute family instruments are invited to perform in the Adult Amateur Flute Choir. Participants must be registered for convention, should be able to play at least a grade 3 level (late high school, early college - Bach sonatas or Mozart concertos, for example), and must commit to 3 rehearsals, a warm-up and the performance.

Space is limited to 35 adult flutists. Applicants will be accepted on a first come first served basis. Visit the Adult Amateur Flute Choir page to learn more.


More Flute Choirs and Reading Sessions

Flute Choir Reading Session Thursday
Thursday, 10:15 – 11:15 a.m.

Led by Sharyn Byer. Bring flutes of all sizes and a stand to start off the convention by making music with new friends!

Annual Low Flutes Sight-Reading Session
Thursday, 1:15 – 2:15 p.m.  

It's all about the bass...and alto, and contra! Directed by Chris Potter, this unique event brings together low flutes players to play music written only for altos, basses, contrabasses and lower instruments. Any and all low flutes players of any ability level are invited to enjoy the warm and rich color of this sight-reading session ensemble.

Flute Choir Reading Session Friday
Friday, 3 – 4 p.m.  

Join Angeleita Floyd for a diverse program of fun flute works! Bring your flute family member of choice and a stand and be ready to discover some gems.

Flute Choir Reading Session Saturday
Saturday, 1 – 2 p.m.  

Sandra Saathoff and guests offer a reading session devoted to soloists and ensembles! Bring your instrument and a stand and get ready for an exciting opportunity to play with others.

Closing Dedications
Sunday, 4 – 6 p.m.  

Bring your instrument and join your peers in playing our Bach "Air" in dedication to all NFA members! 


A Sampling of Styles: Baroque, Electroacoustic,
Jazz, and World

The Art of Variation and Improvisation in the North Indian Classical Music
Thursday, 1:30 – 3 p.m.  

Henri Tournier walks class participants through building a prelude Alap by the Indian oral tradition of imitation, exploring a rhythmic cycle (Tala), singing a small composition (Bandish), and improvising through teamwork. Bring your flute or just observe!

Break It Down!
Friday, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Learn about all things electroacoustic: how to best approach this exciting genre, even if you've never dared to try it out! Fear not, and learn about equipment, strategies to not only prepare and perform successfully but also managing ever-changing technologies. Performers will not only share their knowledge but also great stories!

11th Annual Jazz Flute Big Band Reading Session
Friday, 12:30 – 2 p.m.  

Ali Ryerson leads the 11th annual Jazz Flute Big Band Reading Session for jazz flute enthusiasts. Open to both experienced and aspiring jazz flutists, everyone is welcome. BYO flutes and stands to play great jazz arrangements from the NFA Jazz Flute Big Band repertoire, including newly commissioned pieces! Enjoy ample opportunity for jazz improvisation with an outstanding rhythm section.

Music as Speech
Friday, 1 – 1:50 p.m.  

Catherine Bull examines the rhetorical nature of Baroque music, showing the ways in which dynamics, articulation, and ornamentation work together to create a style of performance originally intended to resemble speech rather than song.

Getting Started on Baroque Flute
Friday, 2 – 3:30 p.m.  

Enjoy your very first Baroque flute lesson in the company of your colleagues. Historical Flutes Committee members Barbara Hopkins, Leela Breithaupt and Nancy Schneeloch-Bingham will provide the flutes as well as the instruction.

8th Annual NFA Traditional Irish Music Session
Friday, 10:30 – 11:55 p.m.  

Andra Bohnet leads this informal and fun session for sharing tunes with friends both old and new. Bring any flute and share your dedication to music with others

A Fear-Free Approach to Improvisation for the Classically-Trained Flutist
Saturday, 3 – 4 p.m.  

Award-winning jazz flutist Jamie Baum specifically designs this workshop for the classically-trained flutist in order to demystify improvisation. Attendees will play easy and fun exercises to begin improvising immediately and also improve overall musicianship.

Learn to Play Irish Music on the Silver Flute
Saturday, 5 – 6 p.m.  

Philippe Barnes guides attendees through a series of techniques and ornamentation to make Boehm system flutes sound just like wooden flutes (almost!). Learn traditional and modern Celtic tunes along the way. Sheet music provided, but bring a stand.

Wind Instruments of the Andes Mountains
Saturday, 5 – 6 p.m.   

Virtuoso Andean wind instrumentalist Nathaniel Kuster (stage name Chichí Pérez) performs on the quena, siku, and quenacho, with guitarist and charango player, Jorge Segura. Their program features traditional works from Cochabamba, La Paz, and Santa Cruz in Bolivia; from Arequipa, in Peru; and from Cuenca, in Ecuador. Audience members also learn to play an Andean melody on their Boehm flutes during this session.

Learning to Improvise with Prince and Pentatonics
Sunday, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.  

Jazz and Latin flutist Bill McBirnie demystifies the process of improvisation—without being overly theoretical—using a simple melodic approach, based on pentatonic scales and the music of Prince! This clinic is designed for flutists at all levels.

Game of Flutes: Introduction to Improvisation
Sunday, 8 – 9 a.m.

Experience a high-energy, interactive introduction to and demonstration of musical improv games for flute students and performers. Participate (or spectate) in the thrill of spontaneous musical thought-generation as we explore the benefits of teaching and performing music as a language. With Erich Tucker.


Performance Health

Breath, Body, Flute: Techniques for a Free, Flexible, and Supported Sound
Thursday, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

In this interactive workshop, flutist Abigail Sperling and physical therapist Edie Sperling will detail the areas of the body used for support, the breathing frame and mechanism, and ideas for proper alignment while playing. Bring your flute and your questions.

Repertoire Yoga
Friday, 8 – 9 a.m.

Meg Griffith presents a workshop for all levels: See the phrase, feel the power, and support your creativity through the use of the body and mind. Instead of a full yoga flow, specific poses will be discussed that can be used as grounding forces just before an audition or recital, as new ways to explore phrasing and character, and to reawaken awareness of the connection between our physical and mental sides during performance. The timing of the breath, the support system of the body, and the mental focus that controls both will be explored through accessible poses meant to become visual aids in musicality and technical strength. Each pose is geared to all levels and features live music by Megan Lanz.

Performance Anxiety Toolkit
Friday, 8:30 – 10 a.m.

A trifecta for your arsenal, this session presents physical, thought, and technical/practical solutions to prepare and perform your best under pressure. With Susan Mayer, Kristen Gygi, and Nancy Stagnitta.

The Maturing Flutist
Friday, 3 – 4 p.m.  

The maturing flutist is defined as one who begins to feel the adverse effects of time: physically, emotionally, and mentally. Angela McCuiston, Stephen Mitchell, MD, and Susan Mayer present advice and activities to counteract this continued journey we all traverse.

Fit Flute: Strengthen Your Body
Saturday, 8 – 9 a.m.

Certified Personal Trainer Roya Farzaneh offers a series of resistance training exercises for musicians using bands and one's own body. Please come prepared to participate in the exercises with a mat or towel.

Stretches for Flutists
Saturday, 8 – 9 a.m.

A workshop demonstrating upper body stretches and exercises optimized for all flutists to not only help you get the best out of your performance but also keep you injury-free. Flutist/performer and yoga practitioner David Weiss shares the best basic upper body exercises that have helped him maintain and strengthen his playing. Inspiration of these start-to-finish stretches comes from yoga, martial arts, and other warm-ups, including stretches for the wrists from Japanese aikido. No mats required, but participation is encouraged!

Alexander Technique & Flute
Saturday, 10 – 11 a.m.

Playing with greater ease and freedom is a goal of almost every flutist. Certified Instructor and flutist Karen Sanders leads this workshop exploring key concepts of the Alexander Technique and how they go hand-in-hand with tension-free flute playing through this presentation's multiple group activities. Flutists will have the tools to move with ease, breath more naturally, and play more efficiently.

Doctors are IN – Performance Health Check Ups in Orlando
Saturday, 10:15 – 11:45 a.m.

The Doctors are IN will feature Michael Weinstein, MD, a specialist in performance health medicine, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Treister, Dr. Corina Muller, and other doctors, including ENT specialist Dr. Stephen Mitchell and retired orthodontist and performing flutist Dr. Chip Shelton, who serve on the NFA Performance Health Advisory Board. These doctors will bring musicians of all ages and abilities together to learn about preventing and treating performance related injuries. They will share ideas, dispel a few myths and provide answers to participants' questions in the large group and later in small group break-out sessions.

The Flute: Music – Mind – Body – Movement – Muscle
Sunday, 11:30 a.m.– 12:30 p.m.  

Join somatic experts Amy Likar, Kelly Wilson, Angela McCuiston, and Alexis Del Palazzo for a panel on Alexander Technique, body mapping, personal training, physical therapy, massage therapy and Neurokinetic Therapy. Panelists present how they work with flutists and talk about the top problems they see in their practice and the solutions they advocate. Time allotted for Q&A.


Tips, Tricks, and Miscellaneous

Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.  

Doubler Vision - for doublers and more! Explore quick how-to exercises and strategies to hone those flute skills quickly and effectively, for all those juggling multiple instruments (and time demands!), with special focus on jazz! Bring your flute and join Jim Walker, David Weiss, Jamie Baum, Sarpay Ozcagatay, Mark Vinci, and Bryan Kennard.

Flute History with Trevor Wye
Thursday, 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

2011 NFA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Trevor Wye presents a hands-on survey of the flute and the instrument's development over time. Attendees arriving early will have the best opportunity to see these instruments up close.

Nuts and Bolts Workshop
Thursday, 2:45 – 3:45 p.m.
Master teacher Patricia Harper offers an interactive class covering everything from tone to vibrato with group exercises. Bring your flutes and your questions!

Flute History with Trevor Wye, Next Round
Thursday, 5 – 6:15 p.m.  

Trevor Wye continues a hands-on survey of the flute and the instrument's development. Arrive early for a seat up close and opportunity for best viewing.

Alexa’s Tips for Tone
Friday, 8:15 – 9:15 a.m.

Alexa Still starts the day off with a workshop of special interest to less-advanced flutists, focusing entirely on tone production. After presenting a concise outline of pedagogical practices, Alexa offers a fast-paced masterclass where several are invited to play for brief feedback, time permitting.

Discover Moyse with Trevor Wye!
Friday, 10:15 – 11:45 p.m.  

The Marcel Moyse Society presents Trevor Wye, 2011 NFA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, teaching with and from Marcel Moyse’s “Fifty Variations on the Allemande of Bach’s Sonata for Flute Alone.” Discover key insights, stories, and strategies to fully utilize this important book of studies.

Open Orchestral Masterclass with Randy Bowman
Friday, 2:30 – 4 p.m.

Cincinnati Symphony Principal Flutist Randy Bowman offers a masterclass on orchestra flute excerpts, a fantastic opportunity to get a jump start on the 2019 NFA Orchestral masterclass excerpts, ensemble placement auditions, or discover new insights on how to best prepare them. Open to participants, time permitting.

New and Amazing Ways with Scales
Saturday, 8 – 9 a.m.

This workshop presents innovative approaches to Taffanel and Gaubert's Daily Exercises. On a mission to eliminate boredom from practicing flute technique while bringing fun to all levels, Sophia Dufeutrelle, a composer herself, applies energizing ideas to transform your technique by making music. Come explore new ideas in technical work and have fun with scales in harmony for three voices - plus beatboxing. Don't forget to bring your flute!

Musical Mosaics
Saturday, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.  

In this interactive performance, James Brinkmann takes the audience through a creative experience of exploring how we as musicians are dedicated to human expression not only as performers but also as engaged listeners, individual creators, and as a flute community. Listeners create art mosaics in response to the music. Join us for a concert of music, art, expression, and community!

Pedagogical Solutions
Saturday, 2:45 – 4 p.m.  

Bring your flute to try pedagogical solutions for rhythm and embouchure: Elsa Nilsson offers an interactive session on creative ways to use your metronome to gain deeper comfort and freedom within rhythm, and Elyse Blatchford demonstrates how center embouchure players can better teach and troubleshoot for students with a teardrop lip and/or side embouchure.

Using Flute Physics for Tuning
Sunday, 9 – 10 a.m.

Bring your flute to explore the tuning of multiphonics as a pedagogical and expressive tool with Bonnie McAlvin.