Archive | Work

How to fall head-over-heels in love with musicology (+ why it took me a while)

Have you ever considered… Why you play your classical music the way that you do? (And who decides these ‘style rules’ anyway?) Why one type of playing is valued over another in the music conservatory (by the way, who decides what is ‘proper’?) Why there are so many recordings of musicians performing the same pieces […]

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Afraid of your musical burnout? 6 minutes of comforting advice

Recently a letter appeared in my email from a flautist I’ll call ‘Victor’. — Dear Jessica,  I studied flute in the school and this year I will graduate from the Romanian music university from Bucharest. I am not graduating from the university in flute performance, but in pedagogy. Currently I do not feel any passion […]

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Everything I know about receiving support (artistic, or otherwise)

  On the 2nd of January, 2017 I decided that my New Year was due a restart. I was in bed with Salmonella food poisoning –there was no way I was going to start the year like that. I’ve aligned my celebrations with the Chinese calendar instead. Happy New Year of the Rooster to you–and […]

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What I Do as a Flautist When World Events Seem Overwhelming

It’s a tumultuous world energy right now. News events are happening that have brought me tears and a deep frustration because I just don’t know what to do about it.  I can feel small in that sense. I have learned that I have to check-in with myself in order to keep it all in perspective. I do this […]

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“My teacher refused to teach me”. A chat with flautist Ruth Ballantyne about rising above the naysayers (+ her new flute book, too)

Surely you’ve heard about the nightmare piano teacher? She’s the one who’d hit your knuckles with a ruler if you played a wrong note at the keyboard. Shudder. While it can’t be said that ruthless teaching practices are limited to purely musical subjects, I’ve heard far too many of my flute students relate their own horror […]

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The Top Digital Tools That Have Helped Me Build a Global Flute Career

Podcast: How Digital Tools Have Built The Career of A Flute E-Diva Are you interested in offering online teaching as a musician? Listen to some tips in my latest interview with Phil Byrne of Positively Sparking, a weekly web-marketing and digital-life podcast. In this episode we chat about the digital tools that have helped me build […]

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Teaching Improvisation? 9 Steps To Get Your Students Improvising (Pronto)

This step-by-step guide is designed to help you introduce basic improvisation in your lessons and offers a structured framework that can be easily modified for pupils of all levels.  (This was originally written for and published on the Trinity College London Music Support Blog in Nov. 2015 here) There is often a core belief amongst students […]

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What I Tell Myself When I Don’t Feel Like Practicing

There’s tons of advice written for how to ‘make the most’ of your practice sessions, but how about getting motivated to pull out your instrument in the first place? Here I share 25+ years of what has worked for me a flautist (and what hasn’t) — Back in the 1990’s when I was an teenager […]

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The Letter I’d Write to my Teenage-Self About Being a Musician, 20 Years Later

Hello, my whimsical, hopeful, fresh-faced girl. Since I have your attention for a moment, let me whisper in your ear 10 truths that will be your own only after you leave all those music degree programmes. Keep them near. 1) Your flute teacher –at every stage– matters. Really matters. This person will be like a […]

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