Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Flute quest

Last Sunday was an exciting musical day for our family.

We spent the day at Flute Quest, a gathering of musicians, students, and vendors of the Native American flute.

My wife LeAnne has been learning to play this wonderful instrument for several months, and was very excited about getting more advanced instruction. She attended a workshop by Bill Hoshal, a talented musician and composer.

During the workshop, LeAnne mentioned that she was having difficulty getting her flute to sound right with my guitar. Bill knew just what she was talking about, and walked us over to the vendor area and introduced us to Brent Haines of Woodsounds. Brent specializes in high quality flutes from rare woods, and his flutes are preferred by many professional flute players.

Later that afternoon I attended a workshop on home recording basics with Bill Hoshal and Vince Chafin. They covered the basics of audio interfaces and digital audio workstations using an M-Audio 410 and Cakewalk Sonar as examples. Even though I am a guitar player not a flute player, I still found the information very useful. I'm fairly confident that I could set up a home recording system for under $1000.

While I was in the recording workshop, LeAnne was literally trying every flute at the dozen or so vendors. She ended up buying one of the first flutes she looked at, an F# flute from WoodSounds. She has been playing it every day since and is extremely happy after playing it. Giddy is more like it.

Overall Flute Quest was a great experience. The flute player community are a helpful and welcoming group of people.

One of the challenges I am trying to work through is how to compose sheet music that I work up on guitar into notation for the NAF, an instrument I do not play myself.

One resource that has been very helpful is Flute Tree. They have an online tool for converting a simple text notation into Nakai tablature, along with fingering charts. The sheets generate and print just fine in Internet Explorer, but I have yet to find a way to save the sheets to PDF cleanly.

Our goal is to continue composing, and in a few years have enough songs worked up to record a CD of guitar and flute music. If we ever get there, CDBaby appears to be a great way to publish it. The terms for musicians seem quite reasonable.

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