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Are You Ready to Push the Reset Button?

In Fitness, media/podcast/interviews, Motivation and Success, Resources, Workshops by AngelaLeave a Comment

Yesterday on our podcast, Jen and I talked about some exciting things we have coming up! My exciting thing is the Covid Comeback Challenge!

You can secure your spot here, or hit that Contact Me button and tell me what instrument you play. Let’s do this!

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    Live,Instrument Specific Online Workouts!

    In Uncategorized by AngelaLeave a Comment

    You may not be performing on stage at the moment but practicing can still wear tear on your body. I’m here to help! In 1.5 hours I’ll will walk you through an instrument specific workout that will keep you strong, healthy and injury free throughout your career as a musician.

    What you’ll learn:

    • Proper form
    • Workout order
    • How to mobilize, stretch and activate
    • What specific exercises you need to do for each instrument to help you avoid injury, increase strength and endurance and correct muscle imbalances.

    Each workout is designed specifically for YOUR instrument and includes:

    • Mobility
    • Specific strength exercises
    • Basics of form and strength training technique
    • Progressions and Regressions
    • Options for if you have equipment, access to a gym or no equipment at all
    • a downloadable PDF of the workout
    • The recording of the workout so you can watch it at your leisure.
    • Live Q&A

    I will be hosting my Live Workout series most Tuesdays and Thursday at 10 AM CST with bonus “Essential Excercises” workouts on Sundays at 5:00 PM. If you can’t attend the session, not a problem! I will send you a recording following the workout to cover everything you need to know about the strength training you need!

    Essential Exercises Workouts:
    In these workouts we will go through my book and cover the basics of form and the bare bones exercises you need to be doing in any workout as a musician. These will be based off my book “The Musician’s Essential Exercises” – we will be going through the book, explaining and doing the exercises and also going through and doing the workouts in the back so you can feel competent going forward with any workout you do, knowing what is appropriate for you.

    These workout are separate from the instrument specific workouts.

    You do not need the book but it is helpful. These workouts are not included in the Buy 5 deal, but 1 workout IS included if you buy all as a package.

    Upcoming Live Workshops

    • Oboe – Thursday, Sept. 24
    • Essential Exersises (Q&A) Sunday Sept 27th 5:00 PM CST
    • Flute – Thursday Oct. 1
    • Timpani – Tuesday Oct. 6
    • Harp – Thursday Oct. 8
    • Keyboard – Tuesday Oct. 13
    • Bassoon – Thursday Oct 15
    • Audio Engineer – Tuesday Oct 20
    • Horn – Thursday Oct 22
    • Violin/Viola – Tuesday, Oct 27
    • Conductor – Thursday Oct. 29
    • Trombone – Tuesday Nov. 3
    • Trumpet – Thursday Nov. 5
    • Guitar – Tuesday Nov 10
    • Cello – Thursday Nov 12
    • Essential Exercises (Q&A) – Sunday Nov. 15 5:00 PM CST
    • Organ – Tuesday Nov 17
    • Bass – Thursday Nov 19
    • Tuba – Tuesday Nov 24
    • Percussion- Tuesday Dec 1
    • Clarinet -Thursday Dec 3
    • Saxophone – Thursday Dec 10


    All instrument specific workouts are on sale for $49 until 2 days before, then they go up to the full price of $79.

    For a limited time only, buy 5 & get 1 FREE! Enter coupon code BUNDLEDEAL at checkout!

    All video access: You can get access to all 20 instrument specific workouts plus 1 Essential Exercises video for the discounted rate of $1200, which is 5 free classes and a savings of $400! That’s all 20 classes (both live AND recorded) and 20 instrument specific workout PDFs, plus the Essential Exercises class of your choice. Enter coupon code “ALL” at checkout. And don’t forget, there is the option to pay in installments, so you can space things out as you need to without waiting on the content.


    Why 1.5 hours?

    This gives us the optimal amount of time without being rushed to be able to not just do a workout, but explain the how and why and lead you through it all.

    Will we be working out the entire time?
    Doing? Yes. Working out like you would normally do in a gym? No!

    Do I need any equipment?
    These are structured with little to no equipment, but I will definitely show you options if you do have equipment!  Foam roller, lacrosse ball, exercise bands, dumbbells are all things I may use.

    What if I can’t make the workout time?
    All the workouts will be recorded so you can watch and re-watch anytime you want.

    Will you see me?
    Only if you want me to! You have the option to show your screen or not, totally up to you. If I can see you, I have the opportunity to see you in real time, giving you feedback on how you’re performing the exercise and answering your questions.

    What happens after I make my payment?
    You’ll be sent an email with the Zoom registration details, Make sure you click on that to register for the class! When you’ve done that, you’ll get the Zoom class link.

    What if I have more questions?
    Great! Let’s set up a time to talk! Email me at

    Lets Do This!

    Strength Is a Solution for Hypermobility

    In Corrective Exercise, Fitness, Resources by AngelaLeave a Comment

    No warm up…I hadn’t done on in forever and I’m 37 in this video

    Hypermobility: something I’ve struggled with in one way or another over the years. (How many 37 yo you know can flip a back bend with no warmup?) What is it? An excessive range of motion in the joints. While most people trainers deal with have the opposite of this problem (hypomobility: lack of mobility) the hypermobile person I feel like needs just as much, if not more attention.

    Example: during an Overhead DB Press, I literally watched as both my shoulder popped out of socket, and back in, with no pain. Freaked me out big time. Stability exercises for the shoulder/rotator cuff could have prevented that.

    Solutions for hypermobility as it relates to core (to include pelvis and shoulder joints).

    Hypermobile persons can have muscle compensations just like any other person (myself: hip imbalance) so be careful when stretching. Strength is SO important to keeping a person stable! One of my favorite exercises? Planks and all the variations. For this one: put your hands directly underneath the shoulders, pull the scapula towards the hips, tuck the pelvis and squeeze glutes and abs. Try to do the touches without moving the hips.

    What are your experiences with being hypermobile? Lately I’ve been training a lot of people with it, and females tend to be more hypermobile than men, so it’s no surprise my last 3 clients with this are all female.

    Interested in working together? Let’s get you strong!

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    Being A Military Musician Interview with Flute 360 Podcast

    In Entrepreneurship, Flute, media/podcast/interviews by AngelaLeave a Comment

    Recently I had the honor of being interviewed by Dr. Heidi Kay Begay about my experiences as a military musician.

    You can listen to it here:

    In today’s episode, Heidi talks with Sergeant Angela McCuiston about her time being a Military Flutist in the U.S. Army Reserve Band. She goes into detail about the audition process, her experience with basic training, and advises those who are considering this career path. This series runs through the entire month of May 2020 and we hope that it is beneficial for you and, or your students.

    Episode 114 – Main Points:

    • 0:25 – Contact: J&K Productions & Flute 360 for consultation work!
    • 1:54 – Welcome & Introduction!
    • 2:27 – Angela is remodeling her home studio!
    • 4:08 – Air Filters & Light Bulbs
    • 5:04 – Please share with the listeners who you are and your musical background!
    • 5:10 – Angela’s Background
    • 5:19 – Tennessee Tech University – Music School
    • 5:27 – Boone, North Carolina, USA
    • 6:01 – Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Destin, Florida, USA
    • 6:11 – 129th Band in Nashville (Guard) to the 313th Army Band, Huntsville, AL (Reserves)
    • 6:30 – Destin, FL & Panama City, FL
    • 6:44 – Panama City Pops Orchestra
    • 7:11 – Matthew Morrison from Glee
    • 7:21 – Looney Tunes
    • 7:32 – Question: What inspired you to enlist as a U.S. Army Band flutist?
    • 7:38 – Angela’s Answer
    • 7:49 – Air Force Bands
    • 8:33 – Angela’s Audition Experience
    • 10:09 – “I am an entrepreneur at heart, so the Reserves fit well for me!” – Angela
    • 10:44 – Heidi Comments
    • 11:37 – “You need to go to that next event, and performance super prepared. You never know who will be there, listening to you, and possibly giving you an opportunity that will blow your mind!” – Heidi
    • 12:05 – Sofia, Bulgaria – Listen to Flute 360’s Series 23 (E109-112) and Series 21 (E98-100)!
    • 13:00 – Angela talks about the traditional audition process through the Army Bands.
    • 13:50 – General’s March, Stars & Stripes Forever (piccolo)
    • 14:02 – Quickly Prepared Music: 24-hour notice
    • 15:05 – Question: When did you talk with an Army Recruiter?
    • 15:16 – Angela’s Answer
    • 15:31 – Army Band Liaison
    • 18:08 – Army’s MEPS
    • 18:47 – Candy: M&M’s
    • 20:20 – Heidi asks a question – listen here!
    • 20:40 – Angela’s Answer
    • 21:15 – Angela’s family background is in the military, too!
    • 22:00 – Heidi Comments
    • 23:28 – “I can either dread [basic training] or look forward to this; I chose the latter!” – Angela
    • 23:44 – Question: Please share with the listeners your experience with basic training.
    • 23:50 – Angela’s Answer
    • 24:30 – Exercises: Push-Ups
    • 25:10 – Angela continues her answer.
    • 25:40 – Sport: Fencing
    • 28:18 – Topic: Mind Over Matter
    • 28:52 – “When I left basic training, I learned that I am capable of way more than I ever thought I was!” – Angela
    • 29:10 – Angela’s Books
    • 29:30 – Question: Can you talk about AIT, please?
    • 29:42 – Angela’s Answer
    • 30:07 – OJT: On the Job Training
    • 32:17 – Question: What does your schedule entail as a part-time military flutist in the U.S. Army Reserve Band?
    • 32:24 – Angela’s Answer
    • 35:10 – Mardi Gras in New Orleans, LA
    • 35:40 – Question: What have been your top three memorable experiences as a U.S. Army Band flutist?
    • 35:50 – Angela’s Answer
    • 36:46 – Washington & Alaska
    • 38:03 – Question: What advice would you give to someone interested in this career path?
    • 38:08 – Angela’s Answer
    • 39:53 – Episode 113: Interview with Allison Wollam
    • 43:30 – PICKS!
    • 45:38 – Angela’s Last Comments
    • 48:15 – Bronze Sponsor: J&K Productions




    Episode 114 – Resources Mentioned:

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    Lighten Up! A Study Of Lightweight Professional Model Flutes For Injury Prevention

    In Flute, Pedagogy and Teaching, Resources by AngelaLeave a Comment

    According to a 2011 study[1], 95% of skilled flute players suffered some form of performance-related musculoskeletal disorder.  While many injuries are a result of overuse and muscle imbalances, playing a heavy flute can contribute to additional problems. For many flutists, a lightweight flute can help mitigate these imbalances, lessening the chance of injury severity.   Throughout the past 11 months, Francesca Leo and Angela McCuiston worked with Flute Specialists, Inc. and the Flute Center of New York to test 42 different flutes and headjoints across 14 different brands to compare the differences in weight versus sound quality.

    In general, the average weight of all flutes tested was 18.09oz (1.13lb).  The weight comparison between material demonstrated that the silver flutes were the lightest (average of 17.47oz), followed by gold (18.39oz), Platinum-Clad (18.3oz), Gold-Silver Fusion (18.9oz), and wooden flutes being the heaviest (19.84oz).  The lightest flute was the Used Powell Silver Flute 1975 model with no add-on features (14.49oz).  Because there was a drastic difference in weight from other silver models, we can conclude that the addition of extra keys changes the weight significantly.  The lightest gold flute was the Muramatsu 9k Standard Wall Flute (16.72oz), the lightest Platinum-Clad flute was the Burkart Elite 5/95 (18.19oz) and the lightest Gold-Silver Fusion flute was the Powell 14k Aurumite (18.24oz). 

    A lot of the weight differences came from the thickness of the metal and the weight of the mechanisms. The split E options weighed more than those without or those that have the “donut” or “high E facilitator” (a small circular ring inserted into the left hand G tone hole that helps stabilize the third octave E.)  If you are set on a heavier flute model or material, you can decrease weight by requesting a model without a C# trill key or a Split E mechanism or changing to a lighter headjoint. There is also a drastic difference in weight between B foot and C foot models and if you don’t need a B footjoint, switching to a C foot can help significantly.

    The results of this study highlighted a few common misconceptions:

    ·       The karat of gold used in different flute models does not always add more weight.   

    ·       Wooden flutes are not always lighter options, and the weight depends on the brand and the density of wood.  Grenadilla wood is more dense on average than Boxwood, Cocobolo, or Mopani.  

    ·       Gold-Silver fusion models are not always lighter than gold flutes. 

     Both participants noted the difference in projection between the heavy wall and lightweight models, but there was not a drastic difference in sound overall. Adding a gold riser or lip plate to a lightweight silver flute broadened the depth of the sound and added resistance.  According to the participants, the difference in sound quality between lightweight and heavy wall flutes was not drastic enough to deter the consideration of lightweight flutes.  Since each flute responds differently depending on the player, we encourage all flutists to test a wide variety of flutes.  

    Notes on Hand Size and Injury

    Angela: “During the play-testing of these flutes, I was suffering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which caused numbness, tingling, muscle spasms and shooting electrical pains down my right arm. For this reason, I was in the unique position of finding myself NEEDING a lightweight flute.

    I have large hands and ergonomically found several flutes challenging to play. I found the Haynes custom models very easy to play, but something about the position of the thumb key made my left hand start to cramp.  On the Powell Aurumite flute, the placement of the G# key prevented me from playing the flute at all: my third finger sat comfortably on the G# key and I could not get my hands to fit on the keys as they should. This could have been a specific serial number issue as I did not have the issue on any other Powell flutes. Overall notes for the grenadilla headjoints were that they felt easier on the wrists, I did not tend to grip the keys as much.

    Regarding TOS symptoms, It’s interesting to note that even though both of the Burkarts were the same weight, the 10k felt lighter than the 9k.  While I was experiencing more severe TOS symptoms, I could play the 10k longer with no increase in symptoms. Also the Powell solid grenadilla flute seemed lighter weight, which helped as I was able to play it during a particularly heavy playing schedule and at a particularly painful point in my diagnosis.”

    Francesca: “I have also been managing performance-related tendinitis in my shoulder and forearm for the past several years, and I really noticed a difference between different brands and models of flutes and how they felt physically.  I found that I was able to manipulate a good sound on all of the flutes that we play-tested, but the flutes that felt and sounded the best and most comfortable for me personally were the Muramatsu, Brannen and Haynes flutes.  I have very small hands, and the Brannen flute mechanism was among the easiest to navigate because of this factor.  With gold flutes, I felt that the most comfortable playing on the 9k Gold Standard Wall Muramatsu.  This gold model did not aggravate my performance-related injury even when I played on it for a significant amount of time.  I later discovered that this model was actually the lightest gold flute out of all of the gold models that we weighed.

    Personally ,I experienced challenges playing the wooden flute models because the tubing size felt a bit larger than silver and gold models, and having small hands it was difficult to reach the keys comfortably.  The grenadilla wood, whether it was a grenadilla flute or just the headjoint, also added a noticeable amount of weight.”

     If you should find yourself needing to find a lighter flute to perform in a variety of settings, consider the following:

    1.     Consider adding a denser metal headjoint (platinum, gold, fusion) to a lightweight body.  You can also find lighter headjoints with a denser metal riser or lip plate.  You may consider trying an Arista 14K Rose Gold gold headjoint (3.07oz) on a lightweight silver flute.

    2.     Consider removing the split E mechanism and add the E Facilitator instead.  Also try removing the C# trill key or consider switching to a C footjoint if you find yourself seldom using the low B footjoint. 

    3.     Look into lightweight pinless mechanism options.  Wm. S. Haynes Co. specifically provides this option on their custom flute models.

    4.     Compare the thickness in tubing between different models and look for softer silvers (925) as opposed to 950 or 997 silver.  You may consider trying a Muramatsu GX, a Brannen 725, a Miyazawa 602 or a Sankyo 901 as lightweight silver options.

    This study was intended to be as comprehensive as possible, but due to the plethora of options and variations on each model this is not an exhaustive list. We encourage you to utilize the results of this study as a guide to compare general weight differences between brands and models.

    Flute Weight Database:

    Project Sponsors:

    Special offer from the Flute Center: Use code “LightenUp” for $50 off any order over $500, plus free shipping on your next flute trial! (Discount code may be applied to purchases of flutes or accessories, limit one use per customer.)

    Special offer from Flute Specialists, Inc.: Mention “flute weight” and receive free shipping on your trial PLUS a cash back offer when you purchase

    [1] Ackermann BJ, Kenny DT, Fortune J. Incidence of injury and attitudes to injury management in skilled flute players. Work. 2011;40(3):255‐259. doi:10.3233/WOR-2011-1227

    By: Francesca Leo and Angela McCuiston

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    Exercises for Flutists

    In Corrective Exercise, Fitness, Flute, Special Thanks by AngelaLeave a Comment

    Recently I was asked to write an article for Flutist Quarterly, the quarterly publication of the National Flute Association. There are a LOT of beneficial exercises for flutists, but I picked 2 stretches and 2 strengthening exercises I felt were the most beneficial, with no equipment, for the general population of flute players. These may be more difficult for some, too easy for others, nonethess, they have their place in a DAILY workout routine for all flutists to keep you mobile and strong, so you can continue playing pain free.

    For the first time ever, you can download the entire magazine FREE, even if you aren’t a member! Here is the Spring 2020 Download

    We also were able to expound on the article on FQ Plus, the online link. I go into much more detail, with pictures and videos and include a BONUS ROUTINE FOR TIGHT NECK MUSCLES.

    You can access that article here: FQ PLUS: Beneficial Exercises for Flutists

    Beneficial Exercises for Flutists 

    The chair of the Performance Health Care Committee recommends these exercises to help reduce playing-related pain. Read more about them in the spring 2020 issue of The Flutist Quarterly. In addition to those discussed in the article, a bonus exercise for neck and shoulder pain is included here.

    Chest Stretch

    Put your arm in a doorway with your elbow at 90 degrees. Squeeze your shoulder blade back and down toward your low back and twist your body away from the door. If you don’t feel much, try bringing your arm up higher. Hold for 30 seconds.

    Chest Stretch

    Wrist Stretch

    Facing a flat surface with straight elbows, turn your fingers toward your body and lower your arms until the tops of your hands are flat on the table, if possible. (Don’t force them; take them to maximum stretch and hold gently.) Touch your fingers and thumbs together; try to lift your knuckles off the table. This should not be possible. If you can do this, you are leaning too far forward or your elbows are bent. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, and hold 30 more seconds. Come out of the stretch gently.

    Wrist Stretch 1

    For a more intense stretch, turn your hands so that they are palms down on the table with fingers pointed toward your body. (Don’t force them flat if wrists are too tight; take them to maximum stretch and hold gently.)

    Wrist Stretch 2

    Upper Back and Shoulder Strengthener: Prone T Exercise

    Stand with your feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent. Push your hips backwards, keeping your spine neutral, so that you are leaning slightly forward. Raise your arms straight out to either side, with thumbs pointing to the ceiling and palms facing forward, keeping shoulders away from ears. Think about bringing the bottom of your shoulder blades together. Do 15 times.

    Upper Back Shoulder 1 DSC_9592
    Upper Back Shoulder 2 DSC_9595

    Core Strengthener: Deadbugs

    Lie on your back, with knees bent and feet flat. Pull your belly button toward your spine and mash your low back into the floor. Raise your arms overhead and drop them alternately behind your head as far back as possible without causing pain.Core Dead Bugs 1

    For additional strength building, lift both legs to a 90-degree angle and drop one heel at a time toward the ground.

    Core Dead Bugs 2

    BONUS: Tight Neck Muscles

    Flutists turn their heads to the left but also tilt them somewhat forward and down to the right. As a result, two muscles tend to get overused and cause problems: the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and the levator scapulae.

    The SCM attaches to the collarbone near the sternum and inserts on the skull just behind each ear, turning the head and also flexing it forward. The levator scapulae muscle attaches to the upper part of the shoulder blade on the inside and goes up the neck, where it inserts on the C1–C4 vertebrae of the neck. It helps shrug the shoulder upwards.

    With the advent of cell phones and other screens, the levator scapulae can become shortened while the SCM becomes tight on one side and weak on the other. This may cause headaches, pain in the back of the neck, or pain on the inside of the shoulder blade (the rhomboid muscle), and—combined with tight chest muscles—can cause the rhomboids to become weak and overstretched, causing pain. Relaxing the SCM and the levator scapulae and strengthening the rhomboids can be the trifecta to bring the upper body back into balance.

    Try these two back to back, in the order given here. If either of them doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.

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    Addressing Mental Health for Musicians Through Exercise

    In Fitness, Resources by AngelaLeave a Comment

    I was recently asked to be a contributer in the are of fitness to something called The Musician’s Wellness Starter Pack, which is a comprehensive approach to addressing all areas of musician’s health, but focusing mainly on mental health. As something that doesn’t get talked about enough, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

    I took a different approach to an article I had previously written titled: The Hidden Benefits of Exercise. Instead of posting the article here, I want to encourage you to read it on their site and also browse around and see all the great resources they have on the site!

    Here is a link to the article:

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    Podcast Interview with Corpsonore

    In Entrepreneurship, Fitness, Motivation and Success, Resources by AngelaLeave a Comment

    If you are not following these ladies you’re doing yourself a great disservice. They have a fantastic podcast and website on musician’s wellness from all aspects. I’ll include the podcast audio here, but do yourself a favor and check out the page for more goodies!

    Link to my episode on their page: Corposonore Podcast Interview with Notes and Recommended Reading

    I also wrote an article for them that you can read here: Debunking Weightlifting Myths for the Musician