Music, Fitness and Travelling

In Fitness, Flute, Travel, Uncategorized by AngelaLeave a Comment

As you may know, I am a proud member of the 129th Army National Guard Band.  What this means is that I am in the Army, but it’s a part time job for me.  I “drill” with my unit one weekend every month and for two weeks in the summer.  Right now is that two-week time period, called Annual Training, or AT, for short.  Our AT this year is a tour of the state of Tennessee.  We’re playing concerts, doing parades, recruiting, etc. and having a good time of it.

Our schedule is such that we are on the road almost every single day for more than two weeks.  We get to a place, play the gig, stay at a hotel and leave the next day, save three cities where we are staying for more than one night.  This rigorous schedule poses its challenges and also its opportunities when it comes to fitness and how to take care of yourself to play your instrument to the best of your ability.  To meet the demands of this schedule, it takes more than good health, you have to know how to take care of yourself, and through the next few days, I hope to have a couple of blog posts about the different stretches, workout routines and exercises that can be done to not only counterbalance the effects of being confined to a hotel, but confined to the road/bus/car for long times.

A few things that have come up as I’ve been playing:
After riding in a bus for several hours, your whole body is going to be somewhat stiff.  Couple that with then having to go sit in a chair for a few hours and play a concert and you’ve got a possible injury coming your way.
A few stretches to be done when you get off the bus:
Dynamic: calf stretches, high-knees, leg swings
Static: Psoas stretch, Calf Stretch, Hamstring Stretch, Quad Stretch
Upper body stretches: SCM stretch, doorway stretch, lat stretch
Dynamic upper body: arm circles, neck circles
Stay tuned for more descriptions and exercises.
In the meantime, you can find our schedule on our Facebook page!!/group.php?gid=50386808169&v=app_2344061033&ref=search
Friday: Friday Night Lights Concert, Dickson, TN 7:00 PM
Saturday: Harpeth Hills church of Christ concert 6:30 PM, Nashville TN
Sunday June 27: Dogwood Park – 7:00 PM concert in Cookeville, TN
Tuesday June 29: Concert Crossville First Baptist Church
Thursday July 1: Public Performances on Market St. Square, Knoxville
Friday and Saturday July 2-3: Various performances in Gatlinburg, TN
Sunday July 4: Midnight Parade in Gatlinburg!  Concert at Gatlinburg Aquarium 7:00 PM

Trip to Nicholls

In Fitness, Flute, Travel by AngelaLeave a Comment

Roberta & Guga Cavalcanti
See?  Foam rolling can be fun…
These students were such great sports.  We had a lot of fun learning and trying together.  As I stated in an earlier blog post, I got invited to Nicholls University to do a presentation on Workouts for Musicians.  We went through some basic anatomy and physiology and then we all did some dynamic integration and body mapping followed by some dynamic warmups, static stretching, lower body activation work and we went through some exercises that are helpful to musicians to make them stronger.
I had some brave students as you can see.  Foam rolling can feel good afterwards, but not only can it be awkward but it sure can be painful!  These students were definitely up for the challenge.
Roberta & Guga Cavalcanti
Roberta & Guga Cavalcanti
We also tried to learn how to squat and do a deep squat hold.  These kids are college age and it was remarkable how inflexible some of us are, even at a young age.  It just goes to show that you’re not to young or too old to exercise and learn how to stretch properly.
Roberta & Guga Cavalcanti
When you do these things on a regular basis, your body is stronger and when your body is strong, YOU are strong.  You can hold your instrument for a long time without getting tired, you can breathe more deeply, you have a better awareness of your body and certain muscles don’t get underused while other muscles get overused.
Musicians, please, don’t neglect your first instrument!
I’m here to help. 🙂

Audition Travel Lessons Learned

In Flute, Motivation and Success, Travel by AngelaLeave a Comment

As you know, when it comes to taking auditions, only take the ones you really want or that are close by because they can be expensive.  How expensive?  Well, let me tell you…
This past Wednesday I flew up to Boston for a second round audition with the Air Force Band of Liberty.  It was a challenge from the start.  I barely got on the last possible flight out of Atlanta, which was overbooked and barely made it.  Why was it a problem?  Well, my mother in law works for the Airline and was able to get me a standby ticket for considerably less money.  This has worked wonderfully for me in the past with no problem, but this time, apparently Boston is tough to get in and out of, so I have learned a lesson.
I made it to the hotel and had a really good audition.  Unfortunately, I did not win the job, but as always, the audition reinforced in me what I need to do to improve my auditioning and preparation skills.  Always good experience.  I was scheduled to fly out the next day: Friday AM.  Turns out that ALL of Fridays flights were overbooked.  So, I decided to stay until Saturday, at least I get an extra day to explore Boston right?
Original expenses:
Airport parking + gas
Airline ticket
Mass transit fare
Additional expenses incurred:
extra hotel night stay
additional meals
additional mass transit fare
Shuttle service to airport
So I have a great day exploring Boston: seeing Paul Revere’s House, exploring Little Italy (and eating gelato!), seeing the harbor, eating dinner at Legal Seafood, seeing all the historic sights of downtown Boston and Harvard, Quincy Market, etc.

It was a tiring day.  I prepared to go to bed, knowing I’d have to get up in about 4 hours to get to my 6:45 AM flight.  I call the airlines to make sure…
Bad news.
All flights for Saturday are now overbooked due to weather cancellations in Atlanta on Friday.
So, now, instead of flying out Friday, instead of flying out Saturday, I’m here another day, flying out Sunday…HOPEFULLY!  Thank goodness for a family friend who lives in the area and is sweet enough to drive out here (Lexington is kind of inaccessible) pick me up and let me stay at her house.  Things wouldn’t be a problem except that I have no way to get out of here: the bus doesn’t run on Saturdays here so I can’t get to the train station to even go back to Boston.
There is no guarantee I’ll catch a flight tomorrow and the extra sad news?  I had a concert to play with Sinfonia Gulf Coast tonight, that I had to cancel.  So not only am I spending extra money here that I had not intended to spend, now I’m not MAKING extra money.
There are worse places and times to be stranded but let this be a lesson to anyone wanting to take auditions:
1) take only the auditions you really want
2) OVER prepare for them
3) bring extra money, snacks and changes of clothes, just in case
Total tally?
Extra days parking at airport
2 extra nights at hotel
Extra meals
Extra fare for mass transport
+ original airfare, meals, transportation

Flute Events in Panama City

In Uncategorized by AngelaLeave a Comment

Great things have been happening in my life lately.  For the last two years I’ve been working part time at Vitamin Shoppe and I’m happy to say that since God has blessed me with a lot more musical opportunities this year, this coming week will be my last week there.  Besides personal training, music will finally be my only source of income!
Panama City flute Camp
Another goal that I have been striving for for the last three years is also coming to fruition next week: The Panama City Mini Flute Camp!  This will (hopefully) not be the last of these, as I hope to do at least one every fall and spring.  This first camp will be held Saturday morning at Arnold High School in PCB from 9AM – 12 PM and is open to all flutists in the area of any age.  For three hours we will talk about things that matter to YOU!  It’ll be like a giant extended private group lesson.  We’ll talk about tone quality, embochure, tonguing and articuation, breathing and breath control, nerves and how to cope with performance anxiety and we’ll even do a little dynamic integration – helping us all become more aware of ourselves.  As a teacher, I am continuously surprised at how few of my students have any clue about what they’re doing: they cannot separate their lips from their jaw or their fingers from their air, etc.  We’ll go over ways to be conscious of your whole self!  We’ll end with roughly an hour or so masterclass where anyone who wants to play something in front of the group and get pointers is welcome to do so; and we can all learn!
Cost is $5 a piece.  Come on, a 3 hour group lesson for $5?  I dare you to beat that anywhere!  This is a fantastic opportunity for you if you want lessons and can’t afford them.

Panama City Flute Studio
This is something I am really excited about starting.  After having a conversation with my college student, about how she feels isolated and so alone in PC with no other flutists to compete against or even listen to, it has occured to me that PC flutists live in bubbles!  Each school is kind of like their own bubble with the various orchestras/community bands in the areas being a separate bubble.  There really isn’t a lot of communication or fraternization between any of the flutists around town and I think that has got to change.
So, very soon, I will be starting the Panama City Flute Studio.  It will probably be an hour or so group lesson held at a central place and any flutist who is serious about their instrument is welcome.  Age does not matter here!   We’ll have a group lesson, we’ll play for and with each other and even have discussions about flute things that are important to us.   Flutists, realize that you are not alone in your school or band.  There are others in this area better than you and you are better than some others.  When we get to know each other and play in front of each other, a standard is set, friendly competition ensues and we all strive to be just a little bit better.  And it’s fun!  We’ll even do a bit of flute choir reading and maybe play around town.  You know what, there’s no telling where this thing might go: we might give recitals, give competitions, we could even hold our own flute day and invite flutists from all over the country to come visit!
Flutists of Panama City, this is YOUR town and YOUR instrument: let’s raise the expectations to a higher standard!  Again, if you want private lessons, but maybe can’t afford them, this group lesson would be a great opportunity for you, and I will offer anyone who joins a reduced rate.
So, if you’re serious about learning, if you love your instrument but don’t have an outlet, here are two great opportunities for you.  Contact me ASAP: I’d love to hear your ideas, what’s important to you, what you want/need and when and where you think the flute studio should be held.

Great convention!!!

In Uncategorized by AngelaLeave a Comment

At the end of January I was priveledged to be able to give a presentation/workshop at the Florida Flute Fair in Orlando, FL.  I had a great turnout and LOTS of interest in what I was doing.  As was stated to me, no one else is talking about what I’m doing and because of that, I will soon be traveling to St. Petersburg, FL to give a workshop/lecture to lots of musicians there about just that very thing.
If you are interested in having me come to your area and teach your musicians about workouts for musicians, please contact me and I will be in touch with you shortly.
I’m on a mission to help musicians everywhere live healthier, more productive lives so they can make better music!

Practice Room Warmups?

In Fitness, Flute, Uncategorized by AngelaLeave a Comment

As musicians (whether you be a flutist or not), we tend to be rather meticulous about our instruments and how we approach our practice time: warming up the smaller muscles of our embochures, warming up our fingers with scales, even warming up our ears with long tones or our minds with imagery and planning the session out.  But how much attention do we give to the rest of our bodies?
Very little, so I’m discovering.
Warming up your body is as important, if not MORE important than warming up our instruments, but it’s something we all to easily neglect.   When you practice, especially for long amounts of time, you are holding your body in a somewhat rigid, unnatural posture, that, unless corrected, can actually lead to various muscular imbalances.  For flutists, holding a flute up in front of you and turning your head to the side can create all kinds of problems, problems I have rarely seen addressed.  Your traps and rhomboids can get stretched and weak and your pecs are in a constant state of tension…what to do?
Let me propose some warmups to help you have a better practice session and a better more well-responding, healthier body.
Arm Circles

You probably did these as a kid in gym class and guess what?  They still work!  Stand up with your hands out to the side like a “T”.  Rotate your arms forward in little circles moving to big circles.  When you get into really big circles, you will feel a nice stretch in your chest.  Pay attention to that.  Stop and do reverse circles, being careful not to swing to hard.  A gentle stretch is good – a hard stretch is not.
Wall Slides
Stand up against a wall with your arms raised and hands at a 90 degree angle, almost like you’re surrendering to the police.  Retract and depress your shoulder blades (roll your shoulders back and down and bring your blades down) and then, leading the movement with your elbows, push against the wall and bring your arms down, still keeping your hands raised.
Do this 10-12 times.
Those are just a couple of exercises, but hopefully, they will help you be a more productive player with less pain.  Pay attention to how your shoulders feel, how your body feels and notice the areas that are moving.  Creating that muscle awareness will help you not to injure yourself as you practice.
And take breaks!  You are not a hero for playing for 4 hours without a break.

Going to the Florida Flute Fair

In Fitness, Flute, Travel by AngelaLeave a Comment

This coming weekend I’m super excited to be giving my first convention presentation at the Florida Flute Fair.  Saturday morning, 9 AM at the Altamonte Springs Hilton, I will be giving the presentation “From the Weight Room to the Practice Room: Workouts to Prevent Pain”.  I’m going to be addressing the various muscular imbalances that flutists tend to acquire, and the exercises that will correct those imbalances.  I’m also going to be addressing various recovery techniques like foam rolling, dynamic warmups and stretching and everyone who comes will be getting a free sample beginner and intermediate workout to take home!

I’m still ironing out details, but my hope is to be able to utilize a local gym to give introductory private training sessions or form lessons.   Feel free to contact me in advance if you’d like to have a private session in Orlando!

Need something to kick your own butt in 10 minutes?

In Fitness, Flute, Uncategorized by AngelaLeave a Comment

Cardio can be really boring.  I mean, really, who wants to spend the better part of an hour on a machine staring at a screen?  Even if you’re on a bike outside, or walking or running, if the scenery isn’t great, it’s easy to get bored.  And if you’re like me and you like to try new things, well, meet my new thing…
bodyweight circuits.

These are in no way new to the world.  Heck, I did them at Basic Training for the Army and didn’t realize it.  We would go outside and set ourselves up in stations: jumping jacks, mountain climbers, skiiers, full situps, crunches, pushups, diamond pushups, squats, military presses, and anything else the drill sergeants could think of.
Well, bodyweight circuits make a great substitute for cardio, and a good sub for HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training.  If you don’t know what that is, basically, you run all out for a brief period of time, recover, repeat, puke. :)   HIIT has been proven time and time again to be a better cardio choice than steady state cardio for upping caloric expenditure, especially, post exercise calorie burn, meaning your body will be burning calories at a higher rate for hours later.  What’s not to like about it?
You can do it in about 5 feet of space, with no equipment, anywhere and anytime you want and in 10 minutes you’ll be sufficiently huffing and puffing and dripping, if you really give it your all.  What’s not to like?
It’s really hard!
Here’s the Crazy 8 Bodyweight Circuit I did twice this week by Craig Ballyntine.  You can see the original here:
In fact, he has a ton of bodyweight videos on his Turbulence Training website here:
So here was my circuit today:

  1. 60 Jumping Jacks: Done as fast as possible, but make sure you do full jumping jacks.
  2. 15-20 Spiderman Pushups: I’m just doing normal pushups until they become too easy. Typically it is a breeze for me to do 40+ pushups, but it is much tougher when you do these with zero rest in between jumping jacks.
  3. Walking Lunges: I take 20 steps total. This is the easiest part of the workout in my opinion.
  4. Spiderman Climb: I do a total of 20 of these (10 per side) I really feel these in my abs and obliques.
  5. Wall Squat: Do for 45-60 seconds. This hurts! Don’t rest your hands upon your legs, since it makes it easier.
  6. Planks: Do for 60 seconds. Tough after doing all these other exercises without rest.
  7. 5 Burpees: Make sure and do a full pushup at the bottom and explode as high as pssible at the top into a jump. I’m still kind of uncoordinated with these…probably because I’m “smoked” at this point!
  8. High Knees: Done as fast as possible. Do 50 total. I just count when my right leg hits the ground for 25. It is hard to count both legs for 50 since you are going fast. You will be dying about 1/2 way through.

Notes: Each exercise is done back-to-back with zero rest in between. You will want to rest, but immediately hit the next exercise. After this 8 exercise circuit is done, rest exactly 60 seconds. I usually run over to the microwave and set the timer. Those 60 seconds will feel like 15-20 seconds. Do this circuit 1 more time. Don’t add in the 3rd one until you are ready.
I Felt Like a Chain-Smoker After My 2nd Circuit!
I simply was not in good enough shape to complete the 3rd circuit my first 2 times doing this routine. I was breathing hard and my body was zapped. My skin was hot to the touch. These are all great signs of a great interval workout, but I just couldn’t push myself to do this circuit a 3rd time. Again…I have pride when it comes to being fit. I can max out a treadmill for 60 seconds followed by 30 seconds of walking and continue this pace for 15-20 minutes. This is after lifting heavy weights. That being said, these body weight circuits are a humbling deal.

Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Virtual Fitness Trainer

In Fitness by AngelaLeave a Comment

Unbelievably, I just found a great post about virtual fitness trainers.  This is what I consider myself to be able to do: someone can hire me over the internet to write out a fitness plan for them and we keep in contact by photos and email.  Need more information?  How about the Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Virtual Fitness Trainer?  Courtesy of Men’s Health, here you go:
Have you ever heard of the term “virtual fitness coach”? Just like a personal trainer in the gym who will closely monitor your workout sessions, this type of coach will serve as your personal coach. The only difference is that you will not have a face-to-face interaction? it will all be done through consultations and communications online.

Amp Up Your Personal Fitness Training with a Virtual Fitness Coach
First up, let us take a look at the role that a virtual fitness coach plays on your personal physical training so that you can have a head start with meeting your workout goals.
These days, a lot of people find it difficult to squeeze in some serious workout time to have serious workout sessions, what with all the things that they have to do at work at home. Let’s take a working mother as an example.
Rather than spending her time on personal fitness training sessions in the gym, she would rather work out at home so that she can watch over the kids while doing it. If she does it this way, there is a big possibility that she will not meet her weight loss goals because she does not have the benefit of having a personal trainer or instructor working beside her.
This is where a virtual coach for your workout sessions comes in. By hiring one, she can enjoy all the benefits of having a personal trainer in the gym ? while having the freedom to workout at home.

Enumerating the Top 5 Reasons Why It Pays to Hire a Virtual Fitness Coach

So what are the top 5 reasons why it pays to hire a coach for your workout sessions? Take a look at the following list:
1. A virtual fitness coach will help you evaluate your current level of being fit on the onset of the training program.
2. Once your initial strength level is determined, an instructor will be able to help you create a personalized fitness training program so that you can reach your weight loss goals.
3. This type of coach can double up as a morale booster, to give you the encouragement you need when you are lagging in your personal training program.
4. A virtual fitness coach is the best motivator for you to pursue your weight loss goals.

5. Unlike hiring a personal trainer in the gym, seeking the help of this type of a coach is usually more cost-effective.

From Nancy Georges – The Attitude of Excellence

In Fitness, Flute, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by AngelaLeave a Comment

The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...

Image via Wikipedia

I got this in my email box from IFBB Pro Nancy Georges and thought it was wonderful enough to share.  Whether your goal is fitness or musical excellence or anything else, this applies.


What does it mean to be excellent? How do you define it? For me, how I define excellence, is when I am personally lined up with my own values, goals and vision as an athlete and in all areas.  When I am doing whatever I can to achieve my goals and I am not slacking off “according to me” then I know that I am being excellent.

This is challenging to do, especially around the holidays when we are around more people who have their own ideas of what is good for you.  In addition to that there is an extreme slacker mentality during the holidays.

Now I am not against relaxing. And I have to admit, it is not always easy. I get recharged pretty quick, so taking off an entire week to lounge around the house and eat, really doesn’t work for me.  But, like I said, that is just me.
The trick with the holidays is to have a plan. If you plan on gaining 10 pounds, then go for it, but don’t put on 20. If you plan on staying in contest shape, then you are not going to be able to sit around drinking wine and eating cheese doodles all week with the gang.
Decide what you are going to do this holiday season. Write it out. Are you going to actually lean out, maintain, put on a few pounds, put on a lot of pounds? How many, how much. Are you going to improve weak body parts, get those glutes to sit up higher, build a little muscle? Write our your plan for the next 6 weeks.  Once you know what you are planning on doing, then you will know what needs to be done to get there.
Being excellent, has to do with listening to your own internal monitoring system.  Even when people around you are encouraging you to eat.   Maybe they are even badgering you to eat.  Now this goes both ways, just because you have decided to be excellent, don’t expect them to remove that tray of goodies, because you can’t control yourself.  They have the right to eat whatever they choose to, but it is their choice.  Here is your Thanksgiving and December plan.
1. Decide what you are going to do this holiday, in regard to your goals.  Push yourself in a way that works for you. If you don’t have a show in December, I certainly think that a Thanksgiving feast is warranted. But you know your body, and you know your mind.  Push yourself a bit, don’t be fooled by the “it’s just one bit” decide what you are going to look like on January 1st. Write out that plan.
2. Be willing to do what it takes to achieve that. Period! That is all, it is that simple.
Being excellent is a choice, don’t worry if others aren’t coming along, but don’t stop going just because they have taken a break.
Whatever your goals, whatever your vision, whatever your dream, do what it takes to have it.  You will feel so proud of yourself, and that is the ultimate feeling of satisfaction.
Gobble Gobble, it’s turkey time.