While it isn’t officially summer yet, it certainly has felt like it the past few days! Schools are finishing up, the days are getting longer and warmer, and we are continuing to cautiously emerge out into the world! I know many people took the opportunity that the pandemic forced upon them while staying at home to hunker down and practice, while others (hi, it me) found the idea too daunting and tiring and playing went to the wayside. Regardless of what field you were in, I know we could all use a little refresh and reboot. This season is sure to be one of rebirth and growth for so many of us, and in that spirit, I wanted to give some suggestions for summer playing and expanding your repertoire, no matter your ability level.

If you’re a first year player (or have one at home) looking to expand your horizons beyond your band method book, “Forty Little Pieces (In Progressive Order for Beginning Flutists)” is my go-to suggestion. Just as the title suggests, these pieces start quite simple but still melodic and musically pleasing, and gradually expand to solos that could be played by perhaps a second-year student. Composers such as Beethoven and Bach keep the studies historically relevant, and players can work on techniques such as playing lyrically and articulation while gradually expanding their range.

High school students will love the newly-released Flute and Piccolo Excerpts for Wind Band, featuring the most popular pieces and composers in band literature. This is an exciting level up in the band world, so anyone with a serious band player in high school or college should definitely check this out.

If you’re looking to expand your horizons into the jazz realm, check out Jeff Coffin’s new collection 10 Improvisational Flute Etudes. As a 20+ year fan of the Dave Matthews Band, I jumped on grabbing this book as soon as it came out, even though my experience in jazz is embarrassingly little. This is a great book for any flute player who wants to learn more about jazz improvisation, jazz articulation, voice leading, and swing feel.