August 2018 Convention
Orlando, FL

Life in Balance: Parenthood and the Professional Flutist

Panelists for this session were moderator Jennifer Parker-Harley, Beth Chandler, Valerie Coleman, Erinn Frechette, and Alison Brown Sincoff. The session began with each flutist introducing herself and giving a brief overview of her children’s ages. Session attendees were given a handout with an outline of the discussion and contact information for the panelists.

The first topic was “sharing the news about pregnancy or adoption.” Each panelist discussed the joys and challenges of sharing pregnancy news with employers, students, and colleagues. They also talked about the amount of maternity leave each received and difficulties that arose with symphony schedules and leave time.

In addressing the next topic—“physical and emotional issues related to pregnancy and child-rearing”—each panelist, with her diverse experiences, gave the audience insights into the challenges of pregnancy and early parenthood that are not often discussed in relation to professional musicians. Other topics included daily balancing of family and career responsibilities, practicing, prioritizing, and scheduling.


This was a wonderfully informative, eye-opening panel discussion. As a parent and professional flutist, I found it refreshing and inspiring to hear about other flutists’ similar struggles and challenges—and their advice for meeting those challenges. I sincerely hope that future conventions will have parenthood panel discussions to continue the dialogue about parenting in the professional music world.

—Whitney O’Neill