Has anyone ever asked you that question? Especially these days with a worldwide pandemic, I’ve often heard people ask, “What have you learned from this?” I recently asked someone this same question, to which this person replied, “Why do we always have to learn something? Why can’t we just let it happen and go on with our life?” How would you answer that question?
That’s right, the Pneumo Pro. Collinsdictionary.com defines pneumo- as “related to the lungs” or another definition is relating to the presence of air. Developed by Kathy Blocki, the Pneumo Pro is a wonderful device to help flute players produce a beautiful flute tone through improving their awareness of their breath and lip placement. Sometimes with younger students I just call it the “yellow spinner thing”. It helps flutists actually see where their air stream is going, how fast they are blowing, and how to pinpoint their air stream.
The four different colored wheels provide a visual of what happens when they change the embouchure and the air.
I grew up in a musical family where my mother was a piano, organ, and voice teacher and also the church choir director for over 50 years. Each Christmas, while growing up, the choir would prepare a special musical program to perform the Sunday before Christmas. This usually also consisted of a small chamber orchestra comprised of musicians from our local congregation. My mother would have me write out orchestral parts to enhance the special choir worship service commemorating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This was the beginning of my efforts to arrange hymns for small groups of random musicians.
My younger sister wanted to play a different instrument from her siblings and at age eight, began playing the cello. Just as soon as she could play a whole note, she was, naturally, added to the Christmas orchestra. Aside from our family singing time, this was the beginning of making music together.
September marks the beginning of symphony season, but not this year. Usually the Utah Valley Symphony would start rehearsing this month, but like many other symphonies all around the world, we are putting our season on hold or finding alternate ways to move forward in order to keep everyone safe. I’ll keep you posted as to when we actually start rehearsing and you can look forward to our upcoming concerts at the Covey Center once again.
I first substituted with the symphony while attending college. It was under the direction of Dr. Clyn Barrus at the time. I substituted for many years before a permanent position opened up. I auditioned and, under the direction of Dr. Bryce Rytting, was appointed principal flute in 2002.
“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!”
This is from the beloved Dr. Seuss book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! If you have this book, go get it off your shelf today and read it again. If you don’t own it, try your local library or search for it online. (Just to be clear, I am not being paid to endorse this book.)
It contains great advice for students or children preparing to step out into adult life for the first time as well as timely reminders for the rest of us who have been traveling that road a little longer or finding ourselves on an unexpected road.
Life is full of limitless opportunities for each of us, just waiting to be discovered. You never know what possibilities or adventures or challenges may or may not come your way. As the wise Dr. Seuss states, “Your mountain is waiting.” Whether that mountain is learning to play the flute, developing another talent, reading a book, enduring health challenges, finding peacefulness of self-reflection, exploring the joy of gardening, doing well in school, or practicing giving others the benefit of the doubt, approach it one step at a time “and remember that life’s a Great Balancing Act.”
What are you waiting for? Get going. “Today is your day.” Search for those great places! “And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)”