Grotto Music Finale

I just completed my 5th and final night, playing flute outdoors for 3 hours, at the Grotto. Compared to the 19 degree temps from a few weeks ago, tonight’s 34 degrees were downright balmy – sort of. ūüôā

I loved the whole experience, especially¬†hobnobbing with so many folks and educating them on the ways of the alto flute. Several children got to “help” me play by mashing keys but I found out that “gently!!” is a relative term.

For posterity’s sake, I want to record the fun highlights from tonight. A grown man (with special needs) played with his yoyo inches from my face. A young girl picked her nose inches from my face (a few weeks ago, a child sneezed all over my open song book). The top prize tonight¬†goes to the young boy who grabbed the flute I was not playing at the time¬†and just slobbered all over the mouth piece. The poor mom and grandma were mortified. I just smiled and realized I would need to use my special Slobber Be Gone spray at home. (Not quite sure what that would be? A shot of whiskey for me, a shot of whiskey for my flute. Silent night, all is sterile and bright!)

Good Day

Yesterday, I got a bit of sunburn on my face. In Oregon!!! In October!!! The weather here has been glorious. Sure wish it could always be like that. I can live just fine without rain.

I also played music at one of the Children’s Hospitals and had great interactions with the staff. One¬†PT knew that I was playing an alto flute. A nurse asked if I was a professional player. The facilities man said my playing was very soothing. I have to chuckle at the undeserved last 2 comments because I was “jamming” – essentially playing glorified scales while watching the happenings around me.

One thing I am proud of is that I can play through anything – patients doing PT exercises right in front of me, facilities people moving equipment up close, children screaming and crying down the hallway (ok, that’s a bit tough but I figure I can help them the most with soothing music) and loud noises such as alarms or espresso machines (from the hospital lobby snack bar).

BUT – I finally met my match!! A very cute, bald from chemo, sweet little boy was completely mesmerized with my flute. He walked up and stuck his finger in the end of the flute while I was playing. He then proceeded to mash keys and pry the flute out of my hand and attempt to play it. There is something about these kids that I just hand over my $2,000 flute and think nothing of it. I finally blew air through the mouthpiece and let him mash keys. And throughout this whole time, neither of us said a word. I’m not even sure he spoke English – or spoke at all. But it was as if we had had a meaningful, heartfelt conversation.

Ahhh – I always receive so much more than what I give at the hospital.

Alto flute with curved head piece.

Alto flute with curved head piece.


Alto flute with, what I believe to be, saxophone keys

Alto flute with, what I believe to be, saxophone keys


Today, I played music¬†at the children’s hospital where I am on the floor – unit, technically speaking –¬†with the sick kids. I love when I am tuning up and some bystanders say they like the sound. Easy audience! I hadn’t even played anything yet; so sweet. The ad-lib numbers on the alto flute and therapy harp went well. Had some boo boos and one really bad song on¬†the concert flute¬†along the way.¬† Oh well. The most interesting thing¬†was struggling to get notes out of my alto flute because I was sliding off of it from sweating. Wheeeee.

Some of the kids I play for are literally fighting for their lives because of cancer. I couldn’t believe, while driving home and listening to the radio, that a blurb came on about “how to survive a bad haircut”. Survive? Seriously??

Once home, I opened a letter from our sponsored child in Guatemala.

Ahhh. Fabulous day.

(If I could get paid to crochet and play therapeutic music, that would be the ultimate!!)

Reverie Therapy Harp. LOVE it!!!

Reverie Therapy Harp. LOVE it!!!

Hardware galore - and a wooden imposter!

Hardware galore – and a wooden imposter!



Since last October, I have been playing flute music in the lobby of one of the children’s hospitals in town. It has certainly been a great experience so far, and I look forward to continuing there.

Today, though, I got to play on the unit with the children at the “other” hospital. I LOVED it. A few people told me, in passing, that the music was soothing. A staff member told me that 2 patients down the hall wanted their doors open so they could hear me. YAY! (I marvel at that¬†because I was¬†told repeatedly, before arriving, that I should play very quietly).¬†My dream job would be to get paid to play therapeutic music to folks who need it. And I think we all need it!

The best moment today was when a young boy (a patient) came by on a scooter¬†and asked me about my alto flute. I told him it was really heavy and just handed it over for him to hold. He told me it was not heavy and that it looked like a walking cane (because of the curved head piece). ūüôā

I can’t wait till I get to play again!!!




Finally Fluting Again!

Other than popping into PCC’s chamber ensemble 2 weeks ago, I have not played any instruments since last October. Hoo boy – going through withdrawal for sure!

I’m getting repertoire together to play at the children’s hospital. If¬†one can get the commercial aspects out of one’s mind, many Disney songs are quite lovely from a melodic perspective. I’ve developed a whole new appreciation for “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”.

Figuring out melodies/harmonies in 2 different keys

Figuring out melodies/harmonies in 2 different keys


Flutetastic work of art. Love those keys!

Flutetastic work of art. Love those keys!



Baptism by Fire

After a year of waiting, administrative details¬†and some challenging life events, I *finally* got to play music at a local children’s hospital. It was FUN! It was crazy! Here are the details.

I pulled off, barely, in 3 or 4¬†days what I should have done over 3 months; namely, practice with my heavier alto flute everyday in measured doses, find backing tracks, figure out slowly how to write harmony and transpose music for an instrument that is in G etc. But noooo, I worked on this like a maniac for 3 or 4 days solid because I didn’t know what I was getting into until I had jumped off the proverbial cliff.

After arriving at the hospital lobby, I had the choice of a comfy chair, that looked like a propped up blood cell, or a bar stool. I plopped down in the nucleus of the blood cell and started setting up the ueber scary, brand new technology Рa bluetooth wireless speaker synched up with my iPhone and a playlist that I was counting on.

Bluetooth didn’t work – used a cord. Playlist shuffled itself (eek). I hadn’t worked on the music enough (double eek). And I’ve performed in a wide variety of places but never with a blender or espresso machine running in the background (hospital lobby snack bar). ūüôā ¬†And a sweet man was talking to me,¬†for a short while,¬†and God Blessing me every sentence while I was playing the flute¬†and¬†wrestling with techno/musical ad lib challenges. (But he made my day!!)¬†And my fingers were so clamped onto the flute, because of nerves and the weight of the flute, that I had to manually pry them off so I could mess with my iPhone – mid song!

I put on my best actor/interpreter face, and despite turning into a marshmallow moosh mess on the inside, I had FUN and pulled it¬†off¬†well enough to pass the virtual interview. I will practice MUCH more, especially with the lighter flute, and be better prepared for next time; at which point, I get to play on the hospital floor for the sick kiddos. CAN’T WAIT!!!!

The closest I’ll ever get to having my name “up in lights”