Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Native Rhythms Festival

A week ago today was the start of the flute festivities!  It was one of the best long weekends ever! 

The Native Rhythms Festival began on Friday, the 13th,  but the two day school was on the 11th & 12th.  Clint Goss and Vera Sharnov ran the two sessions and are engaging as teachers!  Everyone was involved in funny warm-up exercises, which took any anxiety and melted it away!

During the classes, we learned techniques for varying your playing,  correct breathing, the anatomy and history of Native American style flutes, and focused on melody and harmony and rhythm.  We played as a group, as well as solo, duets, and trios. And we incorporated rhythm (drums and shakers) into our playing.  I loved stepping out of my comfort zone to play! 

The classes included newbies to experienced players and I greatly appreciated advice offered to me by some of the more experienced players. The camaraderie among all of the students was awesome!  We ran into one another all weekend!

The Festival itself was a Friday to Sunday event.  There were many vendors featuring Native American items,  lots of flute and drum makers, food vendors,  and more! All day and evening,  each day, featured flute musicians on stage.  Seating was on a big grassy area and although hot, a breeze helped make it tolerable.  The performers were super talented and entertaining.   Ed Winddancer told stories of the Native American culture while drummers drummed and dancers performed. So fantastic!

Workshops were offered on Saturday and Sunday and I took five!  Excellent instructors who are, in their own right, very talented. One workshop was on percussion and I borrowed a djembe from Nelson Rios and drummed along with everyone else.  It was exciting to make such rhythmic music!  Loved it!  Jonny Lipford taught us about managing volume and the technique of vibrato.  Painted Raven (a flute & guitar duo) taught us about how to play with accompanying guitar or other instruments.  And more and more great stuff!!  Overall, I learned so much!

Mostly I played my A flute, but pulled my F# out for one class!  And I am beyond excited about an E minor I bought from Sea Symphony during the Festival. It's a deep and soft voice!   A beautiful instrument!

Michael and I both volunteered and that was fun too!