Attend a Summer Masterclass

With the end of the school year approaching, it’s a great time to consider attending a summer masterclass, camp or college campus preview day. Here’s why.

Strengthen Fundamentals

Daily scale and arpeggio practice strengthens fundamentals. The class might expose you to new ways to play these fundamentals, or you could try your own hand at composing exercises built on scales and arpeggios to develop musical phrasing and add fun in practice.

Explore New Repertoire

For school competitions, repertoire study is often limited to selections chosen for the auditions. If you need to audition for the class, choose new repertoire to add variety and expand musical knowledge. Having new teachers often opens your world to new music as well.

Learn Piccolo, Alto or Bass

Summer’s a great time to begin learning the other members of the flute family— the piccolo, alto or bass flute—perhaps in a flute choir setting. All the fingerings are the same, but the piccolo sounds an octave higher, the alto flute sounds a fourth lower, and the bass flute sounds an octave lower. Embouchure varies with each instrument.

Expand Your Technique

Developing technique during the summer pays off in higher audition placements and improved results in competition. Add vibrato, double, triple or flutter tonguing or work to master the low and high registers for immediate technical improvement.

Experiment With Routine

Add a new element to your practice such as daily sight reading, playing by ear, transposition of a familiar melody or duets with new friends.

Add Improvisation

Many classes offer beginning lessons in improvisation—jazz, popular or folk styles—and this could be the secret to landing that solo in next year’s halftime show! Summer masterclasses build confidence in performance and create connections that last a lifetime, so have fun searching for a summer musical adventure!

About the Author

Mary Karen Clardy, professor of flute at the University of North Texas in Denton, appears as a soloist, chamber artist and teacher throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia and South America. A renowned author, she has published more than 10 books from European American Music, Leduc, Schott and Universal Edition. Her students are consistent prizewinners in international competitions and occupy prominent orchestral and faculty positions throughout the world. Visit

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