Announcing IF2019

Dear Flutists,

As an avid summer music class participant over the years,

(among the most noteworthy: Julius Baker/Brewster New York AND Hidden Valley,  Ca., “The Flute Farm” with Harvey Sollberger–a whole week of contemporary flute solo literature and extended technique, Bob Willoughby,  New Hampshire.)

I relish the chance  to immerse in a topic with other interested musicians and to spend focused time listening to music and trying out new ideas.

Now as a teacher, I seek to share all the influences and experiences as a performer in orchestra and chamber music, in the same  kind of intensive environment.

“20 Essential Skills” is  a  concept I am creating  which seeks to break down some of the elements of musicality into measurable, improvable components — to an absurd degree!

Skills like…play a high E beautiful and in tune  in ANY dynamic — or vibrate 16th notes at quarter note equals 100!

In addition, I am currently captivated by the idea of Flute Circle  — working on skills, repertoire, “in the round”  In fact, I’ll be adding a few trick–meta-ensemble skills  I learned from master ROCK MUSICIANS at my most recent music camp experiences.

I’m avidly interested in health and fitness, especially where it can directly benefit my performing life, and these topics, too, I will put into the mix this summer.

I mean – once I hear that sitting can be as bad for our health as smoking!–I can’t very well have people sitting around passively at my class,  can I?

…so… be prepared to play, breathe, clap, stand and MOVE as we explore ways to test and refine various skills and develop good physiological habits for playing.” 

I hope you will be able to join us this summer!



The 3 Audition Archetypes

By Aralee Dorough

Read about the advantages and disadvantages of 3 audition mindsets or “archetypes.” Do you recognize yourself?

Strengthen all 3 at The Informed Flutist 2017! SCHEDULE

The Thinker 

The Thinker spends a great deal of time on research—the context of the flute part, the composer’s place in history and the traditions surrounding each piece. He or she makes a point of comparing different recordings, and can talk at length about their differences. The Thinker is inclined to apply the same forethought to all aspects of audition preparation, and thus can be an unbeatable player who is literally prepared for anything!

But Thinkers sometimes have a tendency to overthink. They have so many facts and caveats stored up that they have trouble deciding which are most important.  They  place undo importance on markings in the part—dynamics, metronome markings, or left-over pencil markings from someone else’s performance—rather than following their own musical sense. When it comes to playing at peak where it really counts, all the Thinker’s knowledge may not even come across!

The Athlete 

The Athlete is intent on getting results from the instrument. This flute jock eats arpeggios for breakfast, loves drilling technical passages and revels in the sheer resonance of the flute’s different registers. With great practice technique and a high level of accuracy, the Athlete is equipped to perform consistently  in round after round.

But being over-focused on the flute can create the possibility for musical gaffes, like playing too loudly for the situation or failing to delineate harmonically significant moments, which can indicate a lack of sensitivity and depth. These subtle mistakes pile up in later rounds or on the job, causing the player to be perceived as inflexible or just plain boring!

The Troubadour

The Troubadour plays from the heart, and gets to the essence of the music. When inspired, the Troubadour is on fire, winning everyone’s heart by sheer emotive beauty. The listener stops critiquing the separate elements of the performance and just enjoys as the music jumps off the page.  Troubadors sometimes surpass their own expectations. They often focus their very best at the audition because the pressure of the moment makes them respond with creativity and passion!

But if it’s just not his or her day, things can really go South quickly. Sloppy playing, silly, careless errors or rushing give the impression of a performance only half baked and rattle the player’s concentration, leading to half-hearted playing. Something unexpected, like being asked to sight-read or play an unlikely excerpt, can derail a Troubadour’s promising start into a disappointing outcome. “Too bad! What a pity!” says the committee, “that player started off so well.”

2017 is our 3rd Annual!

I’m excited to be launching our 3rd The Informed Flutist camp — and as they say, better late than never!

I have chosen a repertoire list that I hope will be both fun and useful! Many of the selections (Salome, Daphnis, Afternoon of a Faun) are especially fun to work on with piano reduction. I’ve also added the crazy “Hairdresser’s Scene” excerpt from Der Rosenkavalier. Never seen it? Well, better start working on it NOW. It’s an excerpt more likely to show on rep lists for Opera Auditions, and it’s really a duet for 2 flutes. We will also be focusing on a few of my favorite orchestra duos.

New this year: Leela will work provide some extra work on Baroque repertoire and traverso, for anyone who requests it during our usual Mock Audition Time.

On “sabbatical” from IF this summer is Sergio (he’ll be in Canada, eh). He’ll join us next year, and in the meantime we want to congratulate him on joining the faculty of the Longy School of Music.

That’s all the NEWS for now. Please think about signing up! Deadline April 17, the day after Easter!

Tell your friends!

Best wishes,

Aralee Dorough

Who is the Informed Flutist?

When it comes to orchestral repertoire, most of what I know comes from my lessons with Robert Willoughby during my formative years at the Oberlin Conservatory. He taught me the importance of studying the score and considering as Willoughby, Leelamany details as possible about the harmony, rhythm, orchestration and context.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Leela Breithaupt at a birthday party for Mr. Willoughby in New Hampshire. We discovered we had much in common IN ADDITION to our admiration for our teacher and our experiences as students at Oberlin and Peabody, respectively (we both have kids, have an interest in holistic wellness, we like fine food–even better–have husbands who are great cooks–just to name just a few)

We began a habit of meeting up in Boston to drive up to visit Robert Willoughby in New Hampshire and spend a weekend talking with him about music and food–over dinner at some of Portsmouth’s wonderful restaurants! (We have done this twice–both times it was cold and snowy–see photos at riWilloughby and meght)

Last year Leela visited me in Houston to teach some Baroque Flute for Modern Flutists workshops for my students at UH and Leone Buyse’s studio at Rice. Her classes were wonderful! When it was time to start creating this orchestral repertoire camp I knew it would be great to have her partner with me.

Leela came up with the title “The Informed Flutist” and I think you can guess by now who inspired it. If anyone can claim that title, it is our esteemed teacher–in fact, that phrase could be used to summarize the goal of his teaching.
Leela and I are looking forward to sharing some of our experiences as Willoughby students– and continuing to be better informed, ourselves–this summer

–Aralee Dorough

Welcome to the Informed Flutist

Preparations have begun for the very first ever Informed Flutist masterclass this summer. Along with co-faculty Leela Breithaupt and Sergio Pallotelli, I will be looking forward to welcoming 15 to 20 accomplished flutists to my “home” at the University of Houston and Texas Music Festival this June.

I’ll be stealing a few days away fromcrosslegged the Houston Symphony, which maintains a busy concert schedule in summer as well as during the regular season, to focus on some of my favorite repertoire, to share some tips, tricks and stories from my own experiences as well as to learn some new things from my colleagues and from the participants!

In this laboratory-setting, I hope to quantify some of the elements which go into playing successful orchestra auditions.One thing I know, already, though–it all comes back to making music. We know “music making” when we hear it, but how does one get there?

Over the years as a principal flutist with the Houston Symphony, I have had the opportunity to participate in the hiring and development of many of my colleagues–flutists, oboists, clarinetists and bassoonists–by serving on audition committees. One thing I’ve always wanted to share with students is the PERSPECTIVE of listening as a committee member–and that is exactly what we have planned for our class this summer.

This mock-audition feature will give participants a little extra audition experience, but I also hope it will help crystalize some of the unique challenges of presenting one’s music making in an audition setting.

–Aralee Dorough