The 2020 pandemic required us to digitize our lives. We collectively discovered new ways to work, hold events, hang out with our friends, and learn. To our relief, social distancing did not fully prohibit us from connecting with each other or growing in our professions. Musicians creatively utilized online platforms for performances, workshops, flute lessons, and even entire flute festivals. Now after the health crisis, we still find many of those online systems helpful.
However, just because we can transfer our entire lives online, does not make it the most effective way to live. While online learning is a great tool, musicians may agree that screens can create a social and energetic interruption to our natural artistry. As a result of the pandemic, we found ourselves isolated and unable to connect in order to make music together to the fullest extent. For example, stitching multiple videos of musicians playing the same piece was a neat way to make music, but the subtleties of playing together were lost.
Now post-pandemic, it is imperative to attend live flute festivals again. Attending festivals gives us a unique experience to connect to and support others while reaping multiple benefits ourselves.
The Overall Experience
Why do rock concerts sell out so fast when there are countless music streaming apps, recordings, and videos to access music for free? The simple answer: We crave the firsthand experience. Attending a live performance allows us to participate in a group of people that share common interests in a lively atmosphere. The numerous social and physical benefits of this experience are frequently overlooked, such as filling the natural need to belong to a group and a decrease of stress hormones. We collectively participate by giving instant feedback when we react to the performance: applauding, making eye contact with each other, laughing, or congratulating performers. A flute festival 2023 might not have the same bright lights and screaming fans, but the experience can be just as exciting!
Support Live Musicians
Supporting fellow musicians by attending in-person events strengthens the future of our industry. While performing is a musician’s job, it can also hold much more meaning than just livelihood. Live music connects the player to the audience in a special way that just can’t quite be captured with even the best audio equipment. As hard as we try, the best audio equipment cannot replicate the subtle energy evoked through a musical instrument. The experience of being completely immersed in a live performance is incomparable due to various factors such as proximity to others, acoustics of the room, and vibrations in the air. Professional musicians require a live audience to participate in and contribute to their very human experience.
Boost Your Resume
Flute festivals offer countless opportunities to participate in their events. You can perform a solo or ensemble, play in a masterclass, compete in a competition, present a workshop, or participate in a panel discussion. These events can boost your resume nicely. Future employers love to see that you proactively sought out experiences beyond your traditional education. Not only does participating in festival events help on a resume, but the connections you gain there might lead you to even more opportunities. In turn, those opportunities could further enhance your resume.
Discover New Music
Flute festivals offer the chance to explore new music. Guest artists and composers love to share their latest pieces and often premiere their works at festivals. Composers enjoy seeing their works come to life and meeting the musicians that make it happen. The diversity of performances from different cultures and instrumentation at one event is remarkable. Their programs may just inspire you to expand your repertoire and program pieces that you’ve never heard before. It’s also fun to play pieces from composers that you met in person so that you have knowledge of the energy they put into their pieces. Furthermore, the exhibitors at festivals are a perfect resource for discovering new music since they work closely with publishers and the flute community.
Support Local Businesses
There are countless flute companies around the world that exist solely to serve the unique needs of flute players. Having many of them at one festival is an incredible (and super convenient) flute experience. When you visit an in-person festival, you get to support your favorite flute businesses and probably won’t have to pay for shipping. They love to meet you and support you by providing the highest quality flutes, music, and accessories.
Pro tip: If you know a company is attending a flute fest, let them know ahead of time what you are looking for so that they can pack it for you. The amount of music in this world is practically limitless, and they do have limited space for what they can load for festivals.
Learn From Flute Professionals
Guest artists at flute festivals are typically nationally and internationally known flute players. Imagine meeting, learning from, and taking selfies with our greatest modern day flutists! They offer several gems of career advice and frequently host group discussions. When they present workshops and masterclasses, you will hear various new pieces of wisdom to add to your “flute playing toolkit.” Learning from a lot of different flutists will help to shape you into a well-rounded musician.
As a flute player, you have something in common with everyone attending a flute festival: you all play the flute. Flute playing is a beautiful glue that connects people of different backgrounds, races, and identities while celebrating a common passion. Members of the flute community might become your friends, colleagues, and mentors. It’s a special experience to meet new people at festivals that you might not have met in your daily life. Furthermore, meeting others in real life is much more natural and connecting than meeting them online. Expanding your social and professional circle is vital to a successfully rewarding music career.
It is impossible to ignore the fact that an online flute event is easier and cheaper to attend. Access is fundamental to our society. However, the pandemic has taught us that attending in-person flute festivals is worth the extra effort. Sharing space and energy with people in our flute community helps to develop our connections, support system, and artistry.
5-22-23, Paula Mims