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Tag Archives | career

The easiest, simplest, happiest way to be a musician is this…

In her lesson recently, Jane said with an apologetic voice, “I’m so sorry, Jessica. I didn’t really get to practice much. My work has been manic lately. I think I only got 4 sessions in since I last saw you. Lately I am choosing to spend my free time in the evenings with my teenage kids, it’s really […]

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15 unexpected things that happened when I said “buh-bye” to my flute career

A letter landed in my inbox last week… Hi Dr. Quiñones, I am currently a graduate student in flute performance. I have always had a drive & joy about choosing this career path. It’s always felt relatively easy to connect with why I want to be a musician or an educator. Lately, though, I’ve felt […]

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Rough times happening? Oh look, there you are making gold out of it. Here’s 3 heartfelt observations about your playing to get you through the storm

As I’ve eased back into my teaching again after my maternity leave, you’ve caught me at a really nostalgic place. Now in my 20th year of giving flute lessons, I’ve been reminiscing about the hundreds and hundreds of students I’ve taught over these past two decades–it must be thousands of flute lessons that I’ve given […]

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Want to grow your teaching studio? 10 ways to attract your dream music students into your life

Recently an email arrived in my inbox from a British flute teacher:  Hi Jessica, after many years in the profession I have decided to focus on setting up my own studio. I have recently shared some pop covers which have been well received on social media. I would be very grateful to hear any tips […]

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When your flute playing falls apart (if there was one thing I could share with you this would be it)

In her recent lesson with me, Alice, a flautist in her late 40’s, with much frustration in her voice, complained I feel as if I am having to start all over again this week in my playing. It’s driving me insane! You see, recently we had slightly moved her embouchure so that she was able […]

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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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How to recharge your flute playing + creativity without spending a dime (I asked, you told)

This morning I was woken by a man driving through the streets yelling through a megaphone that he had brooms for sale. This was then followed by another man with another megaphone selling women’s pyjamas. Then the fruit and veg man arrived with his megaphone, and well, I wish you were here to see how […]

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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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“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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My up-close-and-personal conversation with flautist and interdisciplinary performer Zara Lawler

I’ll admit that I was skeptical (and intrigued) when I first read that New York city-based flautist, Zara Lawler combines dance, voice and text while she plays. But,  listen– that skepticism didn’t last long because after I watched her brilliant theatrics in action I was hooked. The fact that she quotes poetry by Rumi in the middle of her Andersen etudes (as one […]

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