The Flute Harvest program features a wide range of topics taught through lecture / demonstration, facilitated group playing, multi-media presentations, individual practice time, partner and small group experiences, peer-to-peer coaching, and community performance/sharing.
In addition to individual sessions (described below), Flute Harvest include a number of core elements that enhance the program throughout the week:
We have a professional quality, high-definition video and audio recording capability on-site, available to all participants. You can record a song in a beautiful setting (solo, duet, or small group), and then receive it on a USB flash drive, ready for sharing.
You can post the video on-line, use it as a gift, or dedicate it to a particular event or person. Videos make great birthday and anniversary greetings, wedding presents, or sentiments for a commemorative service.
As an option (for an additional charge), we have the ability to combine live footage of your playing with your still photographs and/or existing video, use green-screen techniques, add custom titles, and provide extensive audio mixing and editing.
Individual Playing Exercises (IPEx)
One of our main goals is to provide participants with practical tools to improve their playing technique and musicality. We have found that one of the best approaches is to provide a series of exercises for each participant throughout the week that:
- Are specifically designed for that participant’s current skills and needs.
- Quickly develop or enhance a core musical skill after a modest amount of practice during the workshop
- Provide a building block that can be used in many areas of musicality.
Towards these goals, we have developed a unique program of Individual Playing Exercises (IPEx). Each exercise carefully designed to provide a substantial, measurable benefit. Each afternoon, we suggest a specific IPEx to each participant to “woodshed” (practice) for 30 or 45 minutes. We then re-convene as a group for music-making using those new skills.
Some examples of IPEx topics:
Rhythm Walking. Walk the grounds of the retreat center wearing a headphone that provides a steady beat. Adjust the tempo to your walking pace. Then begin to breath and vocalize to the beat. Then advance to playing phrases on your flute to this while you are walking.
Rationale: We have found that this exercise has a dramatic effect on participants’ abilities to “play over rhythm” and stay in synch with an external beat.
Blues. Learn to follow a blues chord progression. The participant is provided a specific long-playing backing track that has a basic, 12-bar blues three-chord progression in the key of their flute. They first listen, then jam along with the backing track.
Rationale: When a flute player with an intermediate level of playing experience practices this exercise over the period of 30 minutes, we have found that they develop an intrinsic feel for the standard blues form. They recognize the cycle of the chord progression, and they “know” exactly what notes best match the chords without studying charts or music theory.
Play the Mic. A participant sits with a small sound system that includes a studio microphone, digital effects, and closed-cell headphones. The system also allows you to record and play back songs and phrases.
Rationale: This environment has proven incredibly valuable to participants in a number of areas: how to using the microphone, hearing clearly how others hear your flute playing, how to control the amount of digital effects to suit your taste, how you can control sound of the flute with frequency equalization, and demonstrating a valuable technology set-up.
We have developed dozens of specific IPEx topics that we believe substantially improve their level of playing skill and musicality. Each IPEx is straightforward to practice, and we are on hand throughout the woodshedding period to coach and assist.
Here are detailed descriptions of some of the facilitated sessions throughout the week:
The Healing Flute (Kalani)
Did you know you can use flute play as an effective therapeutic tool for your own self-care? Playing the flute is an enjoyable way to de-stress, reduce worry, oxygenate your blood, revitalize your body, and get better rest. You will learn specific and effective techniques you can put to practice right away.
Breath And Sound (Clint)
This session takes players to (or back to) the very basics of playing wind instruments: How breath pressure affects the sound of the instrument and how the player controls the tuning of the instrument.
The Scale Song (Clint)
This session also introduces players to a very simple technique for improvising melodies. The Scale Song technique, developed by Doc Green Silverhawk, bridges the gap between playing the basic scale and free improvisation. This is a great technique if you are a novice who is looking for a bit more structure than “just play any melody” or you would like to learn a technique for your own classes or lessons that you offer.
Poetry and the Native American Flute (Vera)
The Native American flute and poetry are a natural and powerful combination. This session explores that combination, exploring the use of the flute in setting an emotional background on which words and stories can be presented. You will learn basic approaches to this combination that you can use in performance settings as well as memorial and devotional services.
Plays Well with Others (Kalani)
The NA Flute has all sorts of interesting musical friends. Discover how to integrate flute play with other popular instruments without the need to read music or know music theory. You’ll learn how to use instruments such as the tongue drum, HAPI drum, kalimba, shruti box and others that can compliment and enhance your flute experiences.
Playing Nine Emotions (Vera and Clint)
We use the ancient music practice of playing the nine core emotions to inspire our music. This technique of Hindustani music dates back 1,800 years, and allows us to explore new music techniques, ornaments, effects, and scales in the service of developing a flute song based on an emotion. We tie the emotions to NorthWest Coast imagery, listen to recordings that evoke each emotion, and analyze the particular elements of music that lend themselves to this technique. And, of course, we play the emotions!
Song Forms (Clint)
How do a group of musicians improvise music “in the moment”? From the outside, it might look like magic … but there are some very simple song forms that allow us to create great improvised pieces without written music or rehearsal. We look at song forms for flute duets and trios, as well as ensembles of mixed instruments including percussion and texture sounds.
Journeys with Melodies (Clint)
Giving structure to our melodies helps us tell a story and take listeners on an emotional journey. We begin this session with basic one-breath phrases and learn to build them into complete song forms such as A-B-A, A-A-B-A, and Verse-Chorus structures.
Ornamentation and Vibrato (Clint)
Ornaments on melodies are like spices on food. In this session you will learn the key ornaments for Native American style songs as well as Celtic, Jazz, and Classical styles. You will also learn the basic techniques of developing and controlling vibrato through historical recordings and physical exercises that connect you directly with this core flute technique.
After the workshop demonstrations, you participate in an extended breakout session where you get to practice each ornament and then incorporate it into a song.
Exotic Tunings (Clint)
Playing melodies evoke different cultures – Western classical, Middle Eastern, Asian – is amazingly easy on Native flutes. With a slight change in the order that we pick up our fingers, a world of melodies opens up. In this gentle introduction to new scales, we add one note to the basic scale to access the “bugle scale” and learn a new song in that scale. We then look at a menu of 14 possible alternate scales on the Native American flute.
Flute Harvest combines players with varying levels of experience to provide learning and teaching opportunities to all participants. Beginners are able to learn and work at their own pace, while more advanced players have the freedom to meet new challenges.
Tell us about your personal and professional goals. We are happy to accommodate special requests for learning styles, the need for specific types of experiences, and pedagogical and performance goals.
See the SCHEDULE page for an example of daily topics.