Here are some of my favorite additions to any flutist’s bookshelf (psst, if you’re looking for a gift for a flutist in your life, your friend will love these for sure!):
Michel Debost’s The Simple Flute is a must-have. It’s easy to dip into – the entries are all alphabetical, and you can look up practical advice on anything from breathing to instrument care. Debost has such a witty and clear writing style – it’s no wonder this one is so popular.
The Perfect Wrong Note: Learning to Trust Your Musical Self is just essential. I’ve given away more copies than I can count, and so many friends have said they’ve found it positively cathartic to read. It’s got a perfect blend of strategies for healing our mindsets while making practicing into a process of discovery.
Sometimes the barriers face aren’t about technique, but rather our relationship to creativity itself. That’s where Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear comes in. She encourages us to approach our creative practices in a spirit of joyful curiosity and spiritual humility – a wonderful goal for all of us as musicians.
If you’re interested in flute history, Ardal Powell’s The Flute is a fantastic resource. It combines strong research with lots of pictures to help illustrate the many twists and turns of the instrument’s evolution over the centuries.
Technically, no one in Quintet: Five Journeys to Musical Fulfillment is a flutist, but don’t let that stop you! Seeing how these famous musicians reflect on their careers gives you a backstage look at how they find meaning in music beyond receiving accolades – a healthy perspective for all of us.
There are many paths available to you as a flutist. One of the things I like about Flute Stories: Inspirational Stories from the World’s Best Flute Players is how it profiles so many different people. The short vignettes give you a sense of how many ways there are to find fulfillment as a flutist. (Now, if only they’d do one with players of traditional music! In the meantime, we’ll have to enjoy the interviews on my friend Brad Hurley’s website.)