Flutes at the Barns July 2022 - Happiness in the Sunshine! Updated 8th July 2022
It's been a brilliant week away in the Peak District, in our own little flute-world! Firstly, the scene was set by the backdrop of beautiful countryside, peaceful nights, birdsong and the sheep calling to each other. There was plenty of time for a leg-stretch and to enjoy the surroundings - for instance, tea and cake on the terrace - but the musical agenda all took place inside; we packed in so much! Three participant concerts, individual lessons and accompanist rehearsals, masterclasses, chamber music, flute choir rehearsals, a listening workshop, tutor concert and numerous warm-up sessions focussed on technique... that lot certainly got everyone's playing into tip-top condition! By Thursday, the progress was evident, as the course culminated in performances from everyone - individually and together - and a huge congratulations to each performer; the concert featured music by Bach, Handel, Faure, Donjon, Reinecke, Donizetti, Ian Clarke, Florence Price, Delibes... and Bohemian Rhapsody for flute choir too! Lots of laughs, and delicious dinners and snacks aplenty (chocolate mints seemed to be the favourite treat this week!), it was sad to say goodbye after such a friendly and musical time together.
Flutes at the Barns - A First Class Week! Updated 11th June 2022
What a wonderful time we've just enjoyed, a really special week for the first ever Special Edition FATB residential course! We've been waiting for this one for a few years now, so it was terrific to finally get to enjoy the activities you'd expect from a brilliant flute course, all tailored - in this instance - to just six participants, our smallest ever course! This allowed for increased teaching and rehearsal time, longer performance opportunities and so much more! A huge congratulations to those who took part, who unquestionably rose to their own challenges, resulting in an impressive course list of core solo repertoire for flute, wonderful chamber pieces and fabulous flute choir works!
This was our first visit to Cliff House, stunningly perched overlooking the Monsal Trail - sightings of herons, cranes, hares (and more) were common as we stretched their legs between playing activities; we were also lucky enough to have sunny breaktimes on the patio as well as an audience of interested cattle for the pre-dinner concerts each night! There was good cheer throughout, and we had to stop making each other laugh to play our flutes (!), then focussing the majority of our time on targeted techniques to underpin the art of performance, an intensive workshop on creative practising and lots of tutored rehearsals. The masterclasses and performances were the focal points, culminating in two concerts on the final day, the first given by the tutors, Zoë and Rachael, and the second filled with the participant solos, chamber music and whole ensemble pieces that had been developed throughout the week. Music, music, music - what a thrill! All in all, it provided an excellent excuse to raise a glass to a very special week on Thursday night!
The 60th FATB Residential Course! Updated 16th May 2022
Way back in 2003, we had no idea what the future held for us all and for Flutes at the Barns - we certainly never imagined we'd be celebrating our 60th residential course in 2022, nevertheless here we are! (You can read the whole history of FATB by visiting Our Story.) Happy 'birthday' to us! (NB Please note that Zoë has not been running these courses for 60 years!)
Last week was spent at the wonderful Lapwing Barns venue, a quiet retreat (except for the birdsong!) overlooking Derbyshire countryside. It was a fantastic week from start to finish, beginning with an excellent dinnner and celebration cake - courtesy of chef David - and ending with lots of fun and celebrations on the final evening... and with HEAPS of music packed in between! The flute players on the course were a mixture of participants who had attended before and three who were first-timers to FATB, and all eight rose to the various musical challenges on the way, taking part in warm-ups, a rhythm workshop, masterclasses, chamber music, conducted rehearsals, individual lessons, accompanied sessions and even up to three further performances each - a huge congratulations to everyone who took part, for your company and your wonderful playing!
We're Back! Updated 2nd April 2022
When departing Cruck'd Barn at the end of the residential Flutes at the Barns course of October 2019, of course no-one knew it would take so long for the next FATB to take place... but now we're back! The last week of March was spent at Lapwing Barns with a wonderful group of eight flute-playing participants, enjoying a safe and musical experience! We arrived in bright sunshine, experienced mist and snow, but continued to laugh (and eat) through it all, when we weren't busily engaged in all those lessons, masterclasses, rehearsals and concerts! There was just a short warm-up and rehearsal on the first evening after chef David's dinner; we then started in earnest on Tuesday morning, packing in a workshop on melody-playing as well as culminating in the first participant concert that day. Wednesday added the first of the masterclasses into the mix, and everyone had had their individual sessions with FATB Tutors Zoë (flute) and Mark (piano) by then. The FATB Tutors kicked off the performing on the Thursday, and then it was everyone else's turn - after a few more rehearsals of course - and what a triumphant success it was to hear everyone playing together in flute choir as well as all those wonderful solos! There were huge congratulations and thanks to all in the evening celebrations, as we toasted FATB March 2022!
Happy New Year! Updated 1st January 2022
Happy New Year to flute players everywhere! It is FATB tradition to open booking for new events on 1st January, and 2022 is no different, as we welcome applications for the array of online workshops that will run throughout January and into February! If you're new to FATB Online, the week of 10th January will allow you to catch up with classes from the FATB Online archives; if you're a seasoned FATBer, then you can join your favourite classes again! We'll start the year with thorough practice sessions on fingers and sound, a chance to consider all-things-rhythm and a revisit to some famous W F Bach for the duet play-along. There will be new workshops too, including a class with a focus on ear-training, a masterclass on unaccompanied repertoire and a piano-accompanied play-along workshop of a famous Faure favourite! The jewel in the crown of FATB Online this term will be the five linked, weekly classes on J S Bach's stunning Sonata in B minor BWV 1030 - we can't wait for this one!
For more information, click here.
Summer 2021 - Goodbyes and Hellos! Updated 18th July 2021
It's now the end of a busy term of online events with Flutes at the Barns, and it's been wonderful to welcome participants from all over the UK to a range of classes. Weekly masterclasses have kept a focus on performing, whether trying out repertoire choices chosen by the participants or broadening the musical choices to meet the themes of Taffanel and Gaubert, Baroque Music or Story and Musical Description. The repertoire classes have been special too, taking some of the world's best flute music through linked workshops on every detail, large and small - Syrinx by Debussy, Fitzwilliam Sonata in B-flat major by Handel and the Arpeggione Sonata by Schubert have been under the spotlight this term, rounded off particularly beautifully in the case of the latter, as each participant contributed to a performance of the work in total in one of the final masterclasses of the term. Whilst much real-life playing has still been a bit tricky to now, the chance to play along with FATB Online course tutor Zoë Booth has continued to prove popular - what a wide range of music we've included, including opportunities for alto flute and piccolo too! There were also classes for live playing along for practice purposes too - the Proficient Practice workshops - most recently focussing on breathing; we've also covered French music, Interpretation, Trills and so much more!
As we say goodbye to the weekly schedule of eight classes a week, it's time to welcome the future of FATB Online and FATB in-person once again! Throughout August 2021, look out for several day events to be held in St Albans, to include all the things we've been missing, such as playing with the piano, performing live to one another and rehearsing and playing together (the supportive and friendly atmosphere will be retained of course)! To ensure everyone's safety, we're taking a belt-and-braces approach to COVID security - by being strict on adopting all guidelines, we can then relax and enjoy the music-making. There will also be some online one-off events, for those who can't join us in person - details of those are not yet released, but look out for three-session days where we 'learn-a-piece-in-a-day' through description, demonstration, playing along and more! We can't reveal any more just yet, just the names of the first composers on our list... JS Bach, Donjon and Telemann!
A Year of FATB Online! Updated 17th April 2021
Amazingly, as we approach a new term of FATB Online classes starting, we find it's now been a whole year of workshops, well over 350 of them! A huge thanks to everyone taking part (who have kept us at HQ here too busy to update this news page much); we've loved hearing your performances in the masterclasses and Take the Stage, unearthing so much rich detail to help learn the pieces in the linked repertoire classes, discussing a whole host of flute-related topics - from nerves to jazz - and, of course, playing along with you in the live play-along workshops!
Coming up this term you can look forward to:
- Repertoire classes on Debussy's amazing work for solo flute, Syrinx; also Handel's beautiful three-movement 'Fitzwilliam' Sonata in B-flat major
- Ideas for Interpretation - inspiring classes on putting more of yourself into your playing
- Proficient Practice - Trills; this is a play-along class focussed on development of skills, but with the added fun of being accompanied
- Catch-up classes: the first topics to be repeated are 'Sound and Silence IV' and 'Mastering Ornamentation' so catch them whilst you can!
- Masterclasses, some with themes, some without - play, receive helpful feedback, try things out, support others doing the same!
- Play-alongs: new classes from popular tried-and-tested names - Gariboldi, W F Bach, Jensen and Musical Curiosities II!
If you want to take read more about these (or any other) FATB Online classes or book your place(s) while there is still time, please click here.
Catch-Up with FATB Online in Catch-Up Week Updated 18th October 2020
A return to Online classes and linked workshops with FATB since 28th September has seen performances galore in masterclasses on Telemann Fantasias and playing from memory as well as a range of free-choice pieces; the play-along classes - with a focus on pure fun - have included Schultze, Haydn, Beethoven and Loeillet to date, including a duet for alto flutes! We're also well into the course of linked classes on Poulenc's Sonata at present (ending next week)!
The one-off 45 minute classes range in topic from week to week, and The Singing Flute, Dances in 3-time and King Frederick the Great have been the subjects since September so far. Once in a while, however, we like to have a catch-up week to repeat some of the most popular workshops for those who missed out previously and Catch-Up Week is coming up again for the week of 26th September! This provides one further opportunity to take part in each of:
- Know the Score (sightreading and more!) on Wednesday 28th October 3.15 pm - “Brilliant workshop! Ten excellent points to remember and I'm going to pay particular attention to.” “Thank you for coming at this subject from all angles.”
- Playing in Colour (technique and uses of timbre changes) on Wednesday 28th October 6.30 pm - “This class was delightful. I liked that you offered practical guidance on how to touch the magic of expression in music. Lots to think about.”
- The Singing Flute (tone and melodic interpretation) on Saturday 31st October 10.00 am - “Brilliant - a really helpful reminder of what flute playing is all about and how best to achieve it! And the words of explanation that you use are just so meaningful.”
If you want to take read more about these (or any other) FATB Online classes or book your place(s) while there is still time, please click here.
FATB Online Is Back! Updated 21st September 2020
An exciting new programme of FATB Online classes is beginning the week of 28th September - and booking is now open! We're so excited to tell you about what's coming, which will include:
- further terrific play-alongs in a range of musical styles, including one for those alto-flute lovers next month and some very curious pieces in November...
- weekly friendly and supportive masterclasses for no more than four players, some with themes such as Telemann Fantasias, playing by heart, double-tonguing and more
- in-depth linked classes (a week apart) on the world's best flute repertoire - Poulenc and Mozart are up next
- changing weekly 45-minute classes on technique, style, interpretation, history or anything flute-y; we're kicking off with The Singing Flute, Dances in 3-time and King Frederick the Great and his Flute!
Classes are expertly presented by FATB Tutor Zoë Booth, with heaps of clear explanation, demonstrations, on-screen music and linked resources; after every workshop there is time for any questions and/or to connect with others. Places are limited to no more than five participants per workshop (and no more than four in the masterclasses and play-alongs) so don't delay and book now! You can read all about these classes, how to take part and more by clicking here.
The "New Term" with FATB Online Updated 5th September 2020
After 200 or so workshops, 26 weeks and 52 different classes - from technique workshops to play-alongs, classes with a focus on repertoire to performance masterclasses, and including two online Flute Days - FATB Online is going Offline on September 5th, for 3 weeks...
...but we'll be back from the week of 28th September, with a "new term" of exciting and varied online flute classes to enjoy! To find out about these first, do sign up to the FATB newsletter (from the homepage), as places always go quickly!
For now, this is the perfect opportunity to say a huge thanks to everyone for their support of FATB in 2020, for your passionate interest in all-things-flute and your wonderful company - see you again soon!
Ooh La La with FATB Online Updated 25th July 2020
It's not an easy time for anyone right now, and we hope you are staying safe wherever you are. Flutes at the Barns would usually be running residential courses and day events, however the prospect of flute players making music together still remains a little while off yet... but we're making the most of virtual opportunties nonetheless, bringing our community of players together socially, providing chances to rehearse and perform live - in both the play-along and masterclass workshops - and also to develop skills in the amazing array of workshop classes!
Alongside the masterclasses and play-along Mozart, Martinu and Quantz right now, there's a particular focus on French music. Flute players may know of the importance of Paul Taffanel, The French Flute School and development of the instrument, technique and repertoire associated with The Paris Conservatoire at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century; over a three week course, several classes of players have been developing their knowledge of this period, centred around learning the beautiful Fantaisie by Faure. Lots of tips to understand and develop skills playing this music abound, and there's even a French Flute School masterclass where the Faure Fantaisie will get performed alongside other associated works by Massanet, Cohen, Enesco, Ibert, Perilhou and not forgettting Faure's 'Morceau de Concours' too - good luck to all!
To keep up to date with a changing weekly timetable please visit the FATB Online web-page.
FATB Online goes Bach-ing Mad for Bach! Updated 13th July 2020
We've had a wonderful few weeks with a mixture of play-along, performance and inspiring workshop classes, but there's been a definite leaning towards J S Bach, which culminated in fantastic masterclasses on Saturday! Four classes of participants have been studying Bach's beautiful E minor Sonata - including lots of background and related information - over linked, weekly classes, some of them also practising along or taking part in the play-along class of W F Bach's Duet in Eb major during the first week of the course too! After enjoying all the details, appreciating Bach's skills and knowing a lot more about the whole work, those who enjoy a practical perspective took a movement each to perform the whole sonata - with tips and feedback from FATB Tutor Zoë Booth of course - in two masterclasses last Saturday! A huge congratulations to all the performers, who did themselves - and Johann Sebastian - proud!
During these strange times it has been amazing to see the flute players involved with FATB Online remaining so focussed on their music-making and development of skills, they'll be truly emerging with enhanced capabilities as we all thirst to get back to normal life when the time is right!
Thrilling Live Play-Along Sessions with FATB Online! Updated 7th June 2020
When FATB Online began, you could listen or you could perform, but we couldn't play music together.... that all changed a few weeks ago when the play-along classes first began! The participants have all had their own copies of the music at home to play from (sent upon booking, but visible on the website well before that) and we keep hearing how the online classes themselves (55 minutes) fly by as musicians across the UK - and further afield - rehearse live with FATB Tutor Zoë Booth playing the other duet part! Those taking part have had to have their microphones muted, so they can each hear themselves AND the other part, which is why these classes have had such a "real" feel to them! There have been lots of extra tips gleaned from watching the screen; as well as playing, Zoë has been guiding the class-goers through the ensemble of the piece as well as providing lots of style and creative ideas. By the time everyone has got to the final play-through there's been a feeling of knowing how it all works really well, so it's been an absolute thrill to give live performances in full! It's all about fun, no-pressure music-making, as no-one but those in the participants' households have heard the final result... however, we did receive feedback that family clapping has broken out on occasion!
Beethoven Duo in G, music from Mozart's "The Magic Flute", the 'Scherzo' from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Mendelssohn are just some of the great pieces that have been covered so far; Telemann, Quantz, Gluck and Haydn too, and there are still more Mozart melodies coming up as well as delicious duets by W F Bach and Devienne! As well as sounding amazing, the Mendelssohn required a high standard of page-turning; the delightful Haydn 'Serenade' was a thrill to develop into a colourful performance at a gentle pace; there's just been nothing to dislike about the excellent writing from the masters Beethoven and Mozart! FATB Online hopes to welcome you to your own play-along workshop soon!
Online Flute Days with FATB Updated 25th May 2020
Flutes at the Barns should be in Croatia right now, having enjoyed several UK events and eagerly anticipating another in July - it seems the world had other ideas for us all in 2020. FATBers (as participants affectionately call themselves) are nothing if not creative and adaptable however - what more what you expect from musicians - so we've all made the switch to online life. Most recently, this includes the Online Flute Day of Sunday 24th May, the second event of this type. The time just flew! We've distilled the best aspects of the real-life flute day into the three sessions of the Online Flute Day, which are spread out across the Sunday. Participants started by warming up their skills in a live play-along session, which also included meeting (or reuniting with) each other in the virtual world! The middle session of the day was the masterclass, a way to keep up the performance skills (for those who wanted to), albeit from the relaxed environment of one's own home; we had beautiful Poulenc, Gaubert and even folk music this time, leading to a wide range of tips which were happily tried out in this supportive workshop. Finally, the play-along final session of the day was great fun, including the contrasts of jazzy music in swing rhythm alongside a lively Telemann piece! A huge thanks to the friendly group of musicians who took part, and congratulations on your performances on the FATB Online Flute Day!
FATB Online - Play, Perform, Engage Updated 17th May 2020
First of all we hope that everyone is safe and well in these strange times. We've now enjoyed the first eight weeks of FATB Online, featuring over sixty classes. A wide range of musical topics have been covered and and we've welcomed participants from all over; meeting virtually means that distance is no barrier to getting involved of course. If you've not kept up with the range of opportunities for adult flute players that FATB Online is offering, it could be worth signing up for the mailing list from the homepage (or emailing email@example.com) for weekly updates. Here's what is currently in the calendar:
- Classes with a particular focus (45 minutes): the topic changes each week: this week there's just one place left for "Free Your Playing" (Monday 18th May 6.30 pm); booking for "The French Flute School" has just opened for the week of 25th May. With time for Q & A at the end, FATB tutor Zoë Booth employs descriptions, demonstrations and resources to inspire the very next practice session.
- Weekly Masterclasses (60 minutes): a chance to perform despite social distancing, pick up tips and repertoire ideas and connect with other players in a supportive atmosphere.
- Play-along workshops (55 minutes): it's still possible to rehearse and make music live! We're working through the greatest flute duet repertoire - so far we’ve enjoyed Beethoven's Duo in G, Mozart’s "Magic Flute" and Quantz; this week we're excited to get into the Telemann Canon Sonatas! Check the website to book up for the amazing duet of Mendelssohn's Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as repertoire by Haydn, Gluck and more delicious Mozart (you can view the music before booking).
- Repertoire workshops (45 mins x 1/2/3/4, held a week apart): the linked-classes allows in-depth discussion of a work, whether it’s already in your repertoire, you’re planning to learn in pace with the class or if it’s just for musical appreciation. Debussy’s Syrinx (over 2 weeks) is next, with Bach E minor Sonata (over 4 weeks) the next on the list.
Join a class (no more than four for any workshop) to connnect with others whilst indulging your love of music. Click here to read more and book your place.
FATB In Your Home - Musical Connections Updated 18th April 2020
First of all we hope that everyone is safe and well in these strange times. For just over three weeks now, FATB Online has been bringing musical connections and inspiration into the homes of flute players everywhere with live online masterclasses and workshops on breathing, solo repertoire, making the most out of practising and - this week - developing tone. Support and reception for the new project has been amazing and 100% positive, reflecting the "keep calm and carry on" attitude, that of looking for what we can achieve in these restrictive circumstances. If you want to take part click here to read about the exciting classes coming up (Fingers, Fingers, Fingers; Performance Skills; Flute Teacher Forum; Mastering Ornamentation; more Masterclasses)... and it could be a good idea to get onto the mailing list to be tipped off as soon as booking opens each week.
FATB Online Has Begun! Updated 28th March 2020
Flutes at the Barns Online has begun! Huge thanks goes out to those who have taken part in yesterday's and today's workshops on breathing ("And Breathe...") and for their positive contributions and feedback! It's amazing how being online still feels so like a class, with explanations, questions and comments, musical demonstrations and heaps of ideas (and free resources) to take away in use in further practice! Here at FATB we're already looking forward to the participants joining us for next week's classes, a choice from the last chance to catch "And Breathe...", the new topic "Music for One" (on solo repertoire) or taking part in an online masterclass - the last few places now available. Enjoy your playing, take care and click here to find out more.
FATB Online and Live In Your Home! Updated 22nd March 2020
It's strange and tough times for us all as we're told to stay apart from one another during this outbreak of Covid-19. Whilst this time at home leaves us with plenty of practice-time on our hands, at FATB we're well aware that the sudden emptying of our diaries and lack of personal contact with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues is unsettling. We're really keen to offer the FATB community the opportunity for musical experiences and social interaction that can be enjoyed despite social distancing; with that in mind, today sees the launch of online FATB workshops, a page with free online activities and articles to inspire your playing as well as the the chance to book for one-to-one lessons with FATB tutor Zoë Booth. Enjoy your playing, take care and click here to find out more.
Setting the Tone - February Flute Day with FATB Updated 2nd February 2020
Just a week since the last Flutes at the Barns Flute Day, here we were again with another amazing event for adult flute players! This Sunday the day remained on the same topic, Focus on Tone, although - with different players and music - it was entirely unique and wonderful. Huge thanks must go to the participants who travelled from far and wide to reinvent their sounds, covering the basic elements right up to advanced ideas for the practice developing colour, expression and communication. Flute choir was glorious, the pieces chosen to put all the workshop techniques to the test right away, whether playing flute, piccolo or alto. Individual performances by the players - and tutors - were enjoyed by all, giving everyone further chance to show their friendly support for one another. It's been great to start FATB's year so positively with such an important topic for flautists everywhere! When's the next one then? Click here to find out!
January FATB Flute Day 'Focus on Tone' Updated 26th January 2020
How we love our FATB Flute Days! We're on a high here at Flutes at the Barns HQ, after a brilliant Sunday with the theme of "Focus on Tone" at Trestle Arts Base - what a fantastic start to the year! After solidifying the basic principles of tone development, the day packed in specialised workshops, delicious flute choir and supportive masterclasses, pulling out ever-inspiring and advanced ideas for expressive sound and communication. There was time for friendship and laughter too, as flute players met from London, Hertfordshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Birmingham, Staffordshire and Cumbria. A huge thanks to all the amazing participants and expert tutors Zoe and Mark - we're doing it all again next Sunday (2nd February), bring it on!
Applications Open Once More Updated 13th January 2020
Flutes at the Barns is now open for applications once again! Thanks for bearing with us during our digital difficulties, and apologies for the inconvenience; we are delighted to welcome your bookings once again! Please click here to open the application form and get your chance to grab your spot on one of our brilliant Flute Days in February and May or any of the forthcoming residential courses with availability!
A Technical Problem with Applications Updated 11th January 2020
Flutes at the Barns is sorry to tell you that - owing to technical circumstances beyond our control - we've just discovered that any applications made between Saturday 4th and Saturday 11th January 2020 have not reached us; this also applies to messages submitted via the website. We DO want to hear from you, so if you believe you submitted your application during this period, please email the course administrator on firstname.lastname@example.org, explaining which flute event you are hoping to attend; it would also help if you could let us know when you sent in your application.
Apologies for the technical glitch, we are working to get this fixed as quickly as possible.
Happy New Year! Updated 1st January 2020
Festive wishes to you as we move from the excitement and over-eating of Christmas into the forward-looking and reflective change from one year to the next - welcome to 2020! The new year is always a busy time for Flutes at the Barns, and this year is no exception as, from January 1st, we proudly release details for and invite applications to four new events across 2020-21; there are also still places available on two further events this February and March!
- February 2nd 2020 - Flute Day, Focus on Tone (please note the January Flute Day on this theme is now fully booked)
- March/April 2020 - Flute Course, Derbyshire, UK *ONE PLACE NEWLY AVAILABLE!*
- May 2020 - Flute Day, Fantastic Fingers *NEW COURSE, NOW OPEN FOR BOOKING* (please note that other residential courses for 2020 are fully booked)
- April 2021 - Flute Course *NEW COURSE, NOW OPEN FOR BOOKING*
- June 2021 - Flute Course *NEW COURSE, NOW OPEN FOR BOOKING* - Special Edition
- July 2021 - Flute Course *NEW COURSE, NOW OPEN FOR BOOKING*
Places can go quickly, so don't miss out! In particular, check out the new Special Edition course for next June, which will be FATB's most exclusive course yet; limited to just six participants, and in a fabulous new venue too! 2020 already promises much, with two trips to Croatia planned, three return visits to favourite venues in the beautiful Peak District and our continued programme of amazing themed Flute Days in St Albans - whether this year or next, we look forward to welcoming you to Flutes at the Barns!
Aiming High - News of the Latest FATB Flute Day Updated 4th November 2019
On Sunday 3rd November Flutes at the Barns held its latest Flute Day at their artistic "home" of Trestle Arts Base in St Albans. These days are always special, owing, not only to the wonderful musicians attending, but also to the individual themes of each day which set them apart... and Aiming High was no exception! The focus of this day was rather unusual for FATB in its specificity to players working towards diploma qualifications and/or at that level, including a number of FATBers who are also instrumental teachers themselves. The day hit the ground running, beginning with warm-ups that pushed the standards, flute choir at a high musical level (featuring piccolos and altos too) and moving onto solo performances given by all, followed by masterclass coaching from tutor Zoe. A huge thanks to Mark, accompanist extraordinaire, and particularly to all those who attended and offered such focus, creativity, commitment and friendly support to one another throughout a busy and buzzy FATB Flute Day.
The next Flute Days - in January and February - are for adult players of any ability level, and the theme is Focus on Tone.
October 2019 Residential Course - News from Cruck'd Barn Updated 27th October 2019
Flutes at the Barns has just returned from a wonderful week away at FATB favourite Cruck'd Barn in the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District! After a delicious dinner on Monday evening, participants settled into the first workshop and flute choir before a peaceful night in their individual accommodation, all good preparation for the busy days to follow! The packed musical timetable of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday included breaks for tea, coffee, chat and edible temptations, all of which helped the energy levels sustain through individual lessons and rehearsals, satisfying ensemble playing, masterclasses, workshops and concerts. With encouragement from one another and the course tutors, participants chose whether to perform individually, and the Thursday concert was the culmination of the weeks' musical achievements, bringing together solo playing and all the flute choir repertoire from the course - this time, this ranged from Telemann to Joplin, including some stylish Saint-Saens too! After a friendly and happy celebration and toast to the course on Thursday evening it was, sadly, all over... but with many returning participants, everyone has hopefully gone away with lots of ideas for their playing going forward and in preparation for their next FATB! A huge thanks to everyone who took part, as well as the excellent staff and tutors!
Booking Now - Themed Flute Days in November, January and February! Updated 3rd September 2019
FATB is delighted to open booking for the newest events recently added to the website, three wonderful Flute Days, to be held in November 2019 and the first part of 2020! Click here to read more.
In November, the theme is Aiming High, and this Flute Day is specifically targeted for those players of at least grade eight and above; those currently working towards diploma examinations may also be particularly interested to attend as we delve into performance, interpretation and technique matters related to advanced playing. The Flute Day in January - or, alternatively, catch this a week later in February - is dedicated to tone development and is for players at all levels as we continue to seek surer sonority across the instrument, a wider range of expressive colours, enhance projection and embellish sound stylishly.
Flutes at the Barns Flute Days are held in the beautiful Trestle Arts Base, St Albans, a former church now converted for use by those in the arts. Our excellent, regular accompanists - Mark and Rachael - are on hand to accompany those who choose to perform in the masterclasses for personalised tips and the days adress their theme through group warm-ups, workshops and flute choir repertoire, as well as through the individual repertoire selected by those who attend (maximum ten). Lunch is provided and St Albans is easily accessible as well as a lovely place to stay, whether to sightsee, catch up with flute friends outside of the FATB Day itself, or to attend (limited availability) an individual lesson with tutor Zoe Booth the following day.
Coming Soon - Flute Days in November and Early 2020! Updated 11th August 2019
Not long to go until FATB HQ releases details (and opens booking) for the next themed Flute Days in adults, to be held in St Albans in November and early 2020! Keep checking back here for more information, or - for a first look - make sure you're on the mailing list so that you can receive the newsletter with the latest updates as well as other Flutes at the Barns news and information.
Good Luck In Your Music Exam Updated 19th June 2019
Several Flutes at the Barns attendees have bravely entered for their music exams this term - here are FATB HQ we take our hat off to you and wish you all the best with your final preparations and for the exam itself! We know exams aren't for everyone and they can be nerve-wracking experiences; they are also a great chance to get independent feedback and push yourself to the next level, so go for it!
July Flutes at the Barns at The Mermaid Inn Updated 14th July 2019
What a terrific week of FATB we've just had in the beautiful Peak District! As you see these photos scroll through you can notice what a wonderful week it was of packed music-making (and all those successes in the individual playing and performing!), amazing views and sheep - what you can't see from the pictures is the warm, supportive atmosphere and all the delicious cooking which we enjoyed, so take our word for it! A huge thanks to accompanist Rachael, our chef David and those supportive guests of the participants who joined us, but the biggest thanks must go - of course - to the committed and inspiring participants who took part and offered up so much achievement in their playing and musicianship. The finale concert was particularly impressive, containing solos, chamber music and triumphant flute choir all together before our final night of celebration and fun to round off a friendly week!
A Wonderful Week at Lapwing Barns Updated 9th June 2019
The amazing venue of Lapwing Barns was only "discovered" by FATB flute players in 2017, but it has become a firm favourite very quickly, with last week's course no exception! Lapwing is very much a retreat from the world, with unspoilt views over the changing weather patterns (!) and a beautiful garden enjoyed by the birds and filled with birdsong, tea and friendly chat in our breaks... that is, when the flute playing stops for a brief moment!
It was such a special course last week, with inspiring performances and achievements from each of the eight participants. Flute choir was a real highlight, taking three very different pieces to a very high standard in a short space of time - the finale was a very fitting and explosive "William Tell Overture"! Chamber music gave everyone the chance to mix and discover a different way to play and listen, and there was ample time for working on solos with course tutor Zoe and accompanist Mark, towards the three performances and masterclasses; this all culminated in a brilliant concert (wonderful repertoire choices too!) on the final day, cheered on by fellow participants. Throughout the workshops and warm-ups there was great focus and improvement, whether taking on points about breathing, tone, fingers, articulation, support, projection, performance, interpretation or dynamics! Throughout, the attendees were taken care of in their luxury accommodation, with David - the private chef - providing excellent meals and enviable desserts! A huge thanks to the course tutors (for their tuition as well as their Thursday morning recital!), to chef David, photographer Dave and Georgia from All Flutes Plus for all their commitment and dedication; the biggest thanks goes to the FATB participants themselves, who brought so much to the course, gave even more and made Flutes at the Barns June 2019 a musical triumph!
April 2019 - The 55th Course Updated 12th April 2019
Well, what an amazing week that was! Flutes at the Barns has just returned from the sunshine of the Peak District and our wonderful week of music-making at The Crewe and Harpur. It was a really special course of musical successes in performance, inspiring ensemble playing together and great friendships forged over late nights, delicious treats and a busy schedule of rehearsals and practice! A huge thanks to everyone who took part, to the staff, - including musical tutors (Zoe and Rachael) and private chef, David - to the partners who also joined us for the last day of concerts and evening entertainment and, finally, to Beethoven and all the other brilliant composers featured throughout the week!
A Delicious Day of Low Flutes Updated 31st March 2019
FATB Flute Days are always special, but there is a something extra again about a day getting together the people who adore their alto and bass flutes! We've had a wonderful Sunday of indulging in the low sonorities of the low flutes, mostly alto flutes - including one player making their first start on one - but also including the added richness of two bass flutes. As well as group warm-ups specifically targeting the techniques (and peculiarities) of the largest members of the flute family, the musicians each played beautifully in the masterclass (accompanied by tutor Mark on the piano), sharing repertoire ideas and also providing a chance to receive personalised tips from FATB tutor Zoe. Near the end of the day, the FATB tutors gave a short, exclusive recital before everybody joined in together for one last performance of the Low Flute Choir pieces they'd been rehearsing throughout the day; what a delicious ensemble it was, covering music from the Renaissance right through to the James Bond theme "Skyfall" and others... we all very much hope "We'll Meet Again!" for another smashing day of Low Flutes soon! A huge thanks to our artistic venue of Trestle Arts Base, to the tutors and FATB staff and - especially - to the brave and inspiring musicians who shared their Sunday so warmly - we're always sorry to go home, but it was a satisfying and music-filled day focussed on low sounds... and it ended on a real high!
A Week of Flute, Fun and Sun on the February/March Course Updated 2nd March 2019
Flutes at the Barns has just returned from a wonderful week of music-making with a very special group of flute-players - you can see a few photos right here! Over a busy few days, the quiet retreat of Dale House near Buxton was transformed into a musical haven, as the atmosphere was filled with chamber music, flute choir and solo pieces, as well as some intensive group warm-ups and workshops. Across three concerts and two masterclasses, the participating musicians bravely performed and achieved new advances and experiences in their playing; in return, regular FATB tutors Zoe (flute) and Mark (piano) gave an inspiring tutor concert as well as spending time coaching group activities and individually. FATB wants to say a huge thanks to the musicians who took part, as well as the hard-working and energetic team of tutors and staff; together they all contributed to a week of music, satisfaction, inspiration, friendship, relaxation and delicious treats (for which we thank David, our amazing chef)! Uniquely: it was the first FATB visit to the beautiful Dale House - in the warm sunshine; FATB was also delighted to welcome regular friends All Flutes Plus to the course, with Georgia overseeing their tempting wares for the first time; there was a birthday to enjoy in addition to all the usual carousel of activities. It was sad to go home, but February/March 2019 will be certainly be remembered as a special FATB course!
Time, Ties and Tempo at Trestle! Updated 17th February 2019
The Flute Day with Flutes at the Barns on 17th February lived up to its reputation, once again, as a fun, busy and worthwhile Sunday of flute-playing! Participants spent the day at Trestle Arts Base focussed on the theme of "Time, Ties and Tempo"... and so much more. The masterclass pieces - offered by the brave attendees - and flute choir repertoire flitted between centuries, each providing the chance to focus on one - or more - of the key issues of advanced rhythms, such as tuplets, runs or subdivision. Group warm-ups and rhythm exercises widened and solidified rhythmic and tempo ideas, giving everyone loads of "tricks of the trade" to take further in their own playing now that the day, sadly, is over. A big thanks, as always, go to the amazing course tutors - Zoe (flute) and Mark (piano accompanist) - and ESPECIALLY to the inspiring musicians who entered into the day with their beautiful music, enthusiasm - sometimes in the face of a challenge - and their friendly support for one another and all the performances.
Time Flies on a FATB Flute Day! Updated 28th January 2019
You know what they say about time flying when you're having fun - 27th January proved to be a brilliant Flutes-at-the-Barns way to spend a Sunday! Flute players took part in a busy-busy day of music-making,trying out satisfying - sometimes challenging and thought-provoking yet always fun - ideas related to the theme of "Time, Ties & Tempo". There were tips galore to take back to use in their practice, as well as lots of friendly support for all those who braved the masterclass (ably supported by brilliant accompanist Mark Smith). Flute choir repertoire was specially chosen to promote further engagement with advanced issues of pulse, subdivision and stress. What a packed - and inspiring - day! A huge thanks to the great, regular course tutors, Zoe and Mark, photographer Dave, and to the wonderful flute players who travelled from London, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Surrey, Birmingham, Worcestershire, Yorkshire and even Ireland to take part!
It was sad to go home... but luckily there are only three weeks to wait until we repeat this Flute Day again - why not join us next time?!
Join Us For The First FATB Events of 2019! Updated 12th January 2019
Here at Flutes at the Barns HQ exciting plans are being made for the first participant events of the year... and there is still the chance to join in! First, we have the Flute Day on Sunday 27th January, on the theme of Time, Ties & Tempo; expect all-things rhythmical (recommended grade six at least)! There is ONE FINAL PLACE newly available for this Flute Day, and the day is also being repeated on Sunday 17th February - come and join the friendly adult players and expert tutors! Furthermore, it is VERY RARE to be able to offer a vacancy this close to a residential course, however - on this occasion - there is one space looking to be filled on the first course this year - all others have been long-filled and the next available residential course place is not until April 2020! If you would like to take part, Flutes at the Barns February/March will be held from 25th February to 1st March in a beautiful new venue, Dale House, in the Peak District. Blow away those winter blues with a busy week of inspiring flute music!
Happy New Year! Updated 1st January 2019
As the new year prompts many of us to think ahead to our reinvigorated music-making, it is now customary here at Flutes at the Barns to bid the new year welcome by opening booking for tempting new courses and Flutes Days! Highlights of the new events added to the website today include:
- three UK Residential Courses, to be held in the first half of 2020
- a new Flute Day - for current players of low flutes, or those wishing to start - to be held in March 2019, in St Albans
Although there are still a few places for 2019 events (one residential place for the Feb/Mar course, and some Flute Day vacancies), those on the mailing list know that residential FATB courses (in particular), tend to book rather quickly, and most places are taken up shortly after booking opens. Even though we're looking ahead as far as 2020, please don't delay if you want to make sure that you get to reserve a place on the course of your choice. We've had a wonderful year of FATB in 2018, celebrating the 15th year, 50th residential course and with a terrific visit to Croatia as well as an inspiring array of UK courses and themed Flute Days - we can't wait to welcome you in 2019 and 2020! Happy New Year to flute players everywhere!
Playing with Freedom - An Inspiring Flute Day! Updated 19th November 2018
On Sunday 18th November participants enjoyed the latest Flute Day from Flutes at the Barns on the theme "Free Your Playing." What brave musicians they were, to embark on a musical day where they were mostly playing without a music stand! The results were inspiring however; "firsts" galore in performing solos by heart, learning by ear and improvising, all entered into happily with the gentle encouragement of FATB tutor Zoë Booth to push beyond comfort zones (and, at times, beyond the score!), resulting in instant enhanced self-expression and musical communication! With the backdrop of our new (climate-controlled) studio at Trestle, it was a friendly and musically varied day, learning a lot and with heaps of tips - and tunes - to take away too. Thanks to Mark to who accompanied the masterclasses (as well as in Zoë and Mark's mini-recital) and huge congratulations to everyone who took part!
Top Practice Tips... for FREE! Updated 16th October 2018
Don't forget - whenever you visit the Flutes at the Barns website - to check the latest FREE tips on better playing and practice from experienced FATB tutor Zoe Booth! You can access the page from the bottom of the homepage. This month there are lots of ideas on how to make your practice better, and recent tips have included tone, fingers, articulation, rhythm, vibrato, all sorts! Many include a page to download, print and use in your practice sessions too.
Celebrating 15 Years of Flutes at the Barns Updated 30th September 2018
October 2018 marks 15 years since Flutes at the Barns began - wow! If you want to read more about how it all started, the 53 (yes 53!) inspiring residential flute courses and16 happy Flute Days we've held since, you can do so on this website (just look for Our Story). You can also reminisce over the wonderful places we've visited both in the UK and overseas too. Central to FATB from the start have been the music, the successes and, not least, the numerous friendships which make FATB what it is here and now in 2018. A huge thanks to the amazing musicians who have all written their own chapter in this story over the years; wherever you are in the world, please join FATB in raising a glass - cheers!
Play Day September 2018 - A New Studio for A Packed Day of Playing Updated 16th September 2018
Thanks so much to the brilliant musicians who took part in the September Play Day, it was a busy day, bursting at the seams with flute ensemble pieces of different musical styles, instruments of all sizes, encouraging support in the warm-ups and workshops, and much friendly chat too! The players turned their hands to everything from baroque and classical through to film scores, getting a term's worth under their fingers in just one day. It was also the first Flute Day in our new, improved and climate-controlled studio (still at our creative home of Trestle Arts Base in St Albans) which was met with enthusiastic approval! We all left inspired, having put in a good day's playing and sad to say goodbye to one another...until the next one of course (which, as you asked, is in November!).
FATB September 2018 - Music, Friendship and Laughter in the Sun Updated 7th September 2018
Flutes at the Barns has just returned from the September Flutes at the Barns course, a wonderful week containing the essential FATB elements - inspiring music, warm companionship, moving performances, good food and much friendly chatter and laughing. The busy playing schedule was set against the peaceful setting of the beautiful Peak District, with musicians enjoying the chance, in their breaks, to enjoy the Derbyshire countryside as the glimpses of the late summer sun allowed. Individual lessons and rehearsals were enjoyed by all, and the participants took opportunities to perform in the masterclasses and concerts, culminating in a very special final concert on the last day where musically satisfying progress and accomplished musicianship were demonstrated. As well as friendly duos, trios and quartets, the whole group formed a flute choir which did a terrific job of developing their repertoire to a high level through focussed rehearsals. All in all, those relaxed evenings sharing a joke over amazing food (and an occasional glass of wine), were well earned. Sadly, that was the last FATB residential course of 2018, so everyone is already looking forward to the first visit back to the Peak District in February 2019... in the meantime, there are the Flute Days (in September, November, January and February) to keep up the inspiration!
Enjoying Playing All Day with FATB on September 16th Updated 19 August 2018
There are now four weeks to go until the next FATB Play Day in St Albans, and the final few vacancies are still remaining if you want to come and indulge in a wonderful day of music-making as a Flute Choir! Our new climate-controlled studio at Trestle Arts Base in St Albans is ready to welcome us; bring your flute, your friends and - if you want to - flutes of other sizes too. Everyone will get the chance to play a range of parts (sight-reading on the day, at your level), so there's no chance you get stuck on a boring part all day (unless you specifically ask for it!). There is a great wealth of musical styles on offer - without giving away too much, it can be revealed that music will include pieces from the Baroque, Classical, Twentieth Century and the world of film, some slow and expressive, some fast and exciting, something for everyone certainly! Our first Play Day in March was a busy and buzzy day, so come and join us! St Albans is easily served by public transport, parking is free, and lunch and all refreshments are taken care of, freeing up focus for a friendly day of fun and music.
FATB Returns from The Mermaid Inn, July 2018 Updated 13 July 2018
The "Team of July 2018" - including participants, tutors, chef David and guest Ian from All Flutes Plus - have just returned from a happy and successful week of Flutes at the Barns! The stunning views (and sunsets!) of The Peak District provided the inspiration for a week of rehearsals, lessons, classes, workshops and performances; the final concerts on Thursday were a fitting reflection of the participants musical achievements and their encouraging support of one another throughout the course. At the end of a good day's playing, the relaxed evenings included lots of cosy chats over delicious dinners, and a lot of laughter too. Thanks so much to everyone who took part, and congratulations to all the performers!
Tick Tock, Booking Opens on New Flute Events! Updated 7 July 2018
Booking has just opened on several new flute events, including three flute days in 2018-19, two additional UK Residential Courses for 2019 and two return visits to Istria, Croatia, both planned for 2020! Highlights of the new additions include; inspiring, themed Flute Days in November, January and February, to be held in our new climate-controlled studio in St Albans (places are still available in September for the Play Day too); with exclusively no more than ten places available on either, two new UK Residential Courses have been added into the calendar, including the first opportunity to try the wonderful new-to-FATB venue of Dale House in Feb/Mar, and a return to FATB favourite Cruck'd Barn in October 2019; following our happy and successful visits to Istria, Croatia, last month, there are now two return visits planned for the summer of 2020! To find out more click on the links, or navigate through the Forthcoming Events button, above.
Latest Plans, New Studio and Coming Soon Updated 1 July 2018
In between courses you may wonder what goes on at FATB HQ? Well, it's all about making exciting plans here - putting the finishing touches to the July course, making contact with the participants who will attend Cruck'd Barn in September and confirming bookings for the FATB Play Day, our second wonderful day dedicated to flute choir alone which will be held in September. On that subject, we're very pleased to reveal that the FATB Flute Days in St Albans will be using a new studio from September onwards; we're still going to enjoy the artistic environment of Trestle Arts Base, however we've upgraded to their newest studio, the reliably climate-controlled - and slightly more spacious - Drama Studio (which I'm vying to rename the Flute Studio!) which will remain warm in winter and cool even in these hot conditions! Finally, just a word to "watch this space" and make sure you are on the FATB mailing list, as exciting preparations for Flute Days, UK residential courses and even overseas visits will be released very soon.... the anticipation is building!