I had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Megan Lanz this week. Megan is a flutist based in Las Vegas, Nevada; she and I met over Twitter, where so many good connections are made. Megan and several friends have recently organized themselves in a group called Whole Musician and have just wrapped up hosting their first flute retreat. We chatted about their goals for the retreat, what makes it different from other masterclasses, and their future plans.
Some of the members of Whole Musician have known each other for a while and others have only recently been acquainted. While at the most recent Canadian flute convention, the future Whole Musician faculty — Meg Griffith, Megan Lanz, Christopher Lee, Rik Noyce, and Niall O’Riordan — quickly realized that they shared the same philosophy in regards to a holistic type of flute pedagogy.
Their first class was held in Big Bear, CA earlier this month. They wanted to avoid a “cookie cutter” type of experience. In addition to traditional instruction in flute, such as masterclasses, recitals, and orchestral excerpts, they also incorporated classes such as yoga, fitness, personal training, Feldenkrais, mindfulness, life coaching, and effective learning. These classes vary depending on the goals of the participant. Therefore, each retreat takes a slightly different shape and is entirely flexible. Participants indicate areas they would like to work on when they submit their applications, and the faculty customizes classes to ensure the participants’ challenges are addressed.
The faculty as well as the participants found the recent event to be quite a bonding experience. They feel that including classes which address musicians’ issues slightly differently cuts down on unhealthy competition. It is the hope of the faculty that attending this retreat will help flutists rediscover the reason they started playing flute in the first place.
Future plans for Whole Musician include an August retreat in London on the heels of the British Flute Society convention. Three of their faculty members — Niall, Meg, and Chris — will be teaching this time. For future workshops, they hope to be able to accommodate all musicians, not just flutists. They feel that their offerings address challenges common to all musicians, regardless of specialization. They have recently been named finalists in the National Flute Association‘s Arts Venture competition, which recognizes new thinking and viable, innovative ideas; winners will be announced at the upcoming NFA convention in Chicago in early August.
If you’re interested in a summer flute experience that goes beyond the traditional, this might be what you’re looking for. For more information about Whole Musician and their retreats, check out their website at www.wholemusician.net.