Meraki Flutes featured in MMR Magazine! August 03 2022

Click on the link below! 


Introducing Meraki Flutes « MMR Magazine – Musical Merchandise Review

Lums Pond Flute Day and Birthday Celebration! June 16 2022

Flute Pro Shop is celebrating our 12th Birthday at Lums Pond State Park Campground on July 10th
A safe way to gather outdoors & indulge in all things flute! 

Memorial Day Flute Sales at Flute Pro Shop! May 27 2022

Email to schedule your COA! 
All Meraki Series 11 Flutes on Sale!

Practice Peace Ukraine - May 1st April 04 2022


Flute Pro Shop’s Practice Peace Ukraine was a success because of you, the many flutists out there who practiced for hours to make possible three gifts to charities that directly help Ukrainian victims of Putin’s war.
Many have asked that we repeat the project.
And so, we have. PRACTICE PEACE UKRAINE-MAY 1 is an opportunity to again use the power of music to heal those of us who feel so helpless about the terror and death in Ukraine as well as the victims of this war.
(A flute player lullabies the ruins).
We ask that each of you plays this lovely work at noon in whatever time zone you are, on May 1.
Why May 1? Labor Day, on May 1, was traditionally a holiday to celebrate the spring in Ukraine, before becoming a day for workers during the 19th century. Either way you look at it, we can help Ukraine both grieve and look forward to a future.
For PRACTICE PEACE UKRAINE-MAY 1, the first 10 people to order the music will enjoy a 100% discount, with a small shipping charge.
For all others, the music will be discounted 50%.  Code ~ PracticePeace
 FPS asks that you photograph yourself with the music, or send a video of your playing. We will work to get the performances and photos to Ukraine. 
In addition, FPS will donate $5.00 to a certified Ukraine charity for each photo/video received.
 Poulenc’s one-page solo is beautifully simple. All flutists can perform it. Taking a repeat before the last 2 measures allows for dynamic contrasts and varied phrasing.
 Not a flute player? No problem! This work can translate to any musical instrument.
 Questions can be sent to We will answer them as soon as possible. Music will be shipped the day it is ordered.
Practice Peace begins with us all.

Many thanks to Hal Leonard for their support with this project. 

Practice Peace Ukraine February 26 2022

As we watch with horror the unprovoked attack by Russia on the people of Ukraine, the desire is to do something to assist the heroic people defending their homeland is overwhelming.
Practice Peace provides an opportunity to bring much needed aid to Ukraine.
Here is how it works. Practice your instrument, any day or time, and dedicate your practice to peace in Ukraine.
Let us know how long you performed your dedicated practice on the Event Page
Then choose one of the three charities listed below, each of whom are directly assisting the people of Ukraine. If you prefer to send a private message as opposed to on the community page please send an email to to indicate your practice time and charity of choice.
Flute Pro Shop will donate $10.00 for each 30 minutes of practice to the charity of your choice.
This opportunity will last one week, until Sunday March 6.
If you have friends who are also devastated at the horrific loss of life and potential loss of freedom please invite them to join in.
All instruments are welcome, including voice.
God Bless Ukraine.
CARE International: Non-governmental organization raising $4 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukranians including but not limited to : food, water, hygiene products, medical aid.
Voices of Children Charitable Foundation: Ukrainian organization aiming to provide psychological and psychosocial support to children affected by war within the country.
International Medical Corps: Global nonprofit providing emergency and primary medical services, child protection, mental health and psychosocial support to people living in areas affected by the Russian invasion.

24 Melodious Warm Ups | Spark musical joy by adding this NEW warm up book to your routine! March 24 2021

Spark musical joy by adding fun to your daily warm-ups! This delightful collection of well-known tunes and excerpts combines 12 melodic tone studies with 12 articulation exercises to start your practice sessions with favorites from Debussy, Fauré, and more. This warm-up resource by Joan Sparks and Daniel Dorff originally appeared as monthly online installments, and returns now as an expanded book by popular demand. · Each tone study provides a familiar theme in all 12 transpositions covering the instrument’s full range, keeping you limber (mentally and physically!) while playing familiar melodies outside your comfort zone. Written-out transpositions allow you to work on any number of variants each day. · Each articulation study is drawn from actual flute repertoire, presenting technique-building exercises for skills that are eventually required of every flutist. · Choose any long-tone study from Part I, and any articulation exercise from Part II, to refresh your warm-up routine daily, weekly, or at any pace you wish. With 12 of each to pair up, 24 MELODIOUS WARM-UPS provides over 100 combinations. · Offering great flexibility for designing your own practice routine, it is a perfect resource for students, hobbyists, and professionals at every level, either with a teacher’s supervision, or for self-guided work.


Purchase your copy here : 24 Melodious Warm-Ups

12 Days of Christmas at Flute Pro Shop! December 5th - 16th! December 05 2020

DAY 8!
Day 9! 
Day 10! 
Day 11! 
DAY 12!!!

Wind-D-Fender at Flute Pro Shop July 27 2020


Win-D-Fender allows flutists to play in windy environments for the first time in history!

Includes luxurious velvet bag that can be attached to your flute case.




~Shields lip plate, reducing negative effects of ambient winds on flute tone
~Creates personal monitor by reflecting sound back to player’s ears
~Essential for marching band or any outdoor performance
~Lightweight and comfortable
~Installs quickly and securely with centering guide feature
~Vented design enhances projection and eliminates condensation and blow back
~Rotate outward under normal conditions or inward for most win


    "Considered a possible solution to minimize the forward explosion of droplets by flute players. The Wind-D-Fender is an attachment to the tone hole originally designed to block obstructive wind gusts during marching band flute solos in outdoor competitions. This product could minimize droplets as a reverse effect to its original purpose."

    The Flutist's Life by Erv Monroe of Muramatsu America Flutes with Trudy Kane and Joan Sparks. May 13 2020

    What does one do when asked to participate in a project with beloved colleagues and business partners during a Pandemic? 
    You leap at the opportunity!
    When the call came in to provide the narration for the Muramatsu America project to narrate Erv Monroe’s hilarious and all-too true
    “A Flutists’ Life” the answer was yes!!

    Kristen and I set the stage, thinking of these great instruments, and Trudy Kane who was performing the flute part.  Filmed in front of the fireplace in my living room, my 14K Muramatsu was on one flute stand, and the Muramatsu that Murray Panitz bought back in the 1970’s was on the other. The backdrop is dedicated to Trudy: a rendition of “The Flight of the Valkyrie”!
    Please visit our collection of beautiful Muramatsu Flutes at the link below. 

    Earth Day. Aprill 22, 2020. April 22 2020

    APRIL 22, 2020
    Earth Day. An interesting day during this COVID-19 quarantine.  Think of it, though. Haven’t you noticed how clean the air is, how delicious the breeze smells, the quiet, the numerous calls of birds? In a very curious way, our lockdown is benefiting the earth, and let us celebrate that!
    COVID-19 is also an opportunity to slow down and consider how effective we were when we could just jump in a car and go wherever we wanted.  Did we savor moments, friendships, practice time?  Did we have time to simply sit and think creatively?
    Well we sure do have that time now!
    At Flute Pro Shop we are using the time to reconsider products, services, and protocols.
    We have been a fan of E-Cloth for at least a year.  I use the product around the house almost exclusively.  One day, after ordering for my own personal use, yet another call came in regarding cleaning and sanitizing the flute in a safe way.
    It was an “ah-ha” moment.  Putting both the product and the need together was right there.
    You see, E-Cloth is densely woven so that you can eliminate 99.9% of all bacteria and viruses from surfaces using only water! How perfect for musical instruments!  We began using E-cloth glass cloths at flute events. They cleaned the flutes immediately into a bright shine. This is especially good news for wooden piccolos and headjoints, for which alcohol is damaging.
    Cleaning other surfaces, that we do not ordinarily think of, became quickly necessary with COVID. The E-Cloth general-purpose cloth can safely clean the outside of your case and case cover.  The E Cloth glass cleaner and polishing cloth is perfect for the outside of your flute.  A little spritz of water on the cloth and you can whisk away any germs that might linger.
    That brings us to the next product we have fallen in love with. The Spit Sponge.  The Spit Sponge is dual purpose: the top side of the pad dryer is ultra-absorbent and is for the pads themselves.  The other side of the dryer-and this is super exciting-cleans the tone hole!  For all of us multi-tasking fans, this is a dream come true.
    It dawned on us that conscientious flutists would want all these items in one easy to manage place that is portable.  An instrument cleaning kit was born!  The contents are: E-Cloth glass cleaner and general-purpose cloth, hand sanitizer (proceeds benefit Veteran Dogs) Spit Sponge (2 in a pack), 2-oz spray bottle for water, alcohol prep pads, just because, all in a convenient kit.  You can find all of these items either singly or in the flute cleaning kit pictured below at where 10% of all online purchases will go directly to the Red Cross for the Covid-19 Medical relief program.
    From all of us to all of you, stay safe, stay clean, stay well and keep practicing!


    Provocative Pairings at Flute Pro Shop. March 13 2020

    Provocative Pairings!
    Provocative [adj.] serving or tending to provoke, excite, or stimulate; stimulating conversation or exciting controversy. 
    Pairing [v.] the matching up of two objects as for comparison or competition.
    Provocative Pairings [fps] The matching up of headjoints with flutes for comparison tending to excite the imagination, provoke curiosity, or provide a stimulating new sound and mode of expression.
    That's right folks!  There are limitless fascinating combinations of flutes and headjoints in the inventory of Flute Pro Shop!
    New videos will be available in early April that will demonstrate the transformational and thrilling difference a change of headjoint alone can provide the flutist.
    We will also demonstrate how an older flute can be brought to life with a new, modern headjoint.
    Join us on YouTube for Provocative Pairings and bring your flute playing to an entirely new level.

    Self Care at Flute Pro Shop! December 13 2019

    We are introducing our new Self Care section at

    FMC Flutes Available at Flute Pro Shop! February 25 2019


    It was a very friendly and polite email from Japan.  The gentleman requested that I consider adding FMC flutes to the FPS inventory.  We frequently receive emails like this, so I was skeptical.  With so many options in manufacturers, why bring another one in? 

    When I auditioned the first FMC flute, I was astonished.  You get a bit jaded with trying new flutes, especially when attributes are overstated.  From the first note I knew these were special flutes, unlike anything we had in the inventory.

    I will be writing quite a bit about FMC, and will provide history, manufacturing techniques and more.  But for now, here is what Alexandra Conway, flutist in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, has to say about them:

    How did you learn of FMC flutes?

    I was searching for a new flute with a completely open mind. I tried anything I could get my hands on, probably over 100 flutes, from a wide variety of makers, in an attempt to find MY flute. I had some great advice not to look at any of the specifications of the instruments before trying them and I did my best not to even try to guess while playing the instrument what it might be and only to focus on the sound and the feel of the instrument. I was lucky that a flute shop in my area had a couple FMCs. I was immediately drawn to the sound and the feel of the instrument. Although I could find very few details about the flute at the time, I was hooked and have never looked back. 

    What qualities of sound do you find in FMC flutes that are unavailable in other flutes?

    In the interest of full disclosure, it has been quite a few years since I have really tried other instruments so I'm not totally sure what some of the newest flutes have to offer. What I love most about my FMC is the resonance in the sound. Most flutes have "dead zones" where you have to really work to get that ring in the sound. The masterful construction of the FMC has eliminated that for me and I find the instrument to be incredibly even throughout the range. Despite the abundant resonance, FMC's produce what I would call a compact sound with lots of core and in-tune harmonics.

    How is the scale of the FMC flute?

    The scale is pretty much impeccable. It's not quite like any other flutes that I have tried. Problem notes for many flutes (C#, Eb et cetera) are not a problem for the FMC.

    What are the challenges you face in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and how does the FMC flute assist you with them?

    In Winnipeg, we play a wide variety and vast amount of repertoire and experience some of the most extreme weather conditions in North America. My FMC allows me to be flexible enough to play such a vast repertoire and the construction is so stable and reliable that I don't have to worry the crazy weather will send it out of adjustment. 

    You play in many other ensembles.  Is the FMC flute flexible enough to go from orchestral playing, to chamber music, and on to solo works?

    In a word, yes. I can produce any sound I want on this instrument. It has the range of colors and dynamics to accommodate any style of playing. At this point, it's hard to imagine playing something else. 

    Thank you, Alex!  I am sure there will be many more fans of these wonderful flutes!

    Email: to set up your very own trial~

    NEW MINIATURES! January 04 2019

    There was a difficult point in my life during which the only music that made sense to me were the Brahms German Waltzes, Op. 39. At that time, I was doing a great deal of freelance orchestral playing, and I would listen to these little gems endlessly as I drove up and down the Mid-Atlantic. I considered I-95 my middle name.

    As time has gone on, I have grown to understand that quite often a simple work, played well, is the only answer.

    And so, when Louis deLise agreed to the New Miniatures project, I could answer this need in the flute repertoire. Inspired by so many of Flute Pro Shop’s customers who have come back to the flute after 20-30 years away from the instrument, I asked Louis to write these pieces to be playable, sophisticated, and with some of the jazz, pop, and rock idioms at which he is so skilled.   These are true gems: perfect forms, beautifully crafted, each with a beginning, middle and end. When playing these, you have the sense you are telling a story. This is in part because the titles are a verbal description of the musical implications. “Early January”, for instance, starts with the holiday hangover, then moves into energy and ends with the spirit of, “let’s make this the best year ever!”

    Anne Sullivan, harpist extraordinaire, adds her own creative phrasing and exquisite timing to this three-way project. She has ensured that the harpist can approach each piece with confidence, while maintaining the fresh harmonic language and rhythmic subtleties that are so much a part of Louis’ compositional technique.

    The project encompasses 12 miniatures which are released once a month. The score, parts, and recording will be released on the 11th; available until the 22nd. Then, poof, they will go away. Every three months, a volume of 3 printed score and flute part will be available for purchase, published by ALRY. By the end of the year, there will be 4 volumes of miniatures, and a CD compilation will be released. Anne Sullivan and Joan Sparks will provide performance guides.

    These are our combined 2019 gifts to you! Enjoy them, perform them, make them yours!!


    A FREE download of "Early January" will be released on
    January 11th at the link below . 

    NFA "Salone del Astor" World Premiere | Sunday 2:15 PM Regency T August 11 2018

    The thought just popped out of my mouth.  Literally.  Kristen and I were at Louis Anthony deLise’s studio, listening to “Red Lotus” (flute/string quartet) and out it came. “I’d like to commission you to compose a piece for me.”

    Almost a year later, here we are, on the eve of the premiere of the piece. 

    One of the elements I admire about Louis’s music is the incredible contemporary nature of it.  “Salone del Astor”, for flute and vibraphone.  Louis has a background in writing and producing music for recordings and broadcasting as well as concert pieces for instrumentalists and singers.  Knowing this, my request was to fuse these idioms with classical forms, to create something very new.

    Louis does not write easy music. “Salone” is no exception.  Practicing it alone revealed lots of technical challenges because the patterns of notes and intervals were very different. Soon, however, the notes fit nicely under my fingers.  The rhythms, shifting meters, cross accents, and syncopation were challenging to be sure, but given the organic nature of the work, all made sense with practice.

    The first read-through with Harvey Price on vibraphone revealed the challenge of ensemble. 

    It took several rehearsals for us to find a degree of comfort to be able to not hold onto every eighth note!

    A great test was when Harvey and I played “Salone” in its entirety for Linda Henderson, Harvey’s wife.  Front to back, whatever happens, happens and we recover and go on.  This was real pressure.  Linda is a fabulous musician, pianist, and has the best ears in the biz.  We nailed it almost entirely!   

    One word about Harvey: he is accurate.  I can depend on him to be where he has to be, when he has to be there.  Period.  Rehearsals have been business like, high energy, and some of the most productive I have experienced.  No fuss, no muss, get the job done. 

    Now on to the premiere.  Lessons learned, notes in fingers, rhythms indelibly ingrained.

    Let’s see how it goes!!!


    PS I have the perfect dress, shoes, and accessories.  In case you were worried.

    National Flute Association Convention | World Premiere | Salone del Astor | Louis Anthony DeLise | August 01 2018

    Joan Sparks of Flute Pro Shop will premiere Salone del Astor at the National Flute Association convention at 2:15 pm on August 12th 2018. Commissioned by Ms. Sparks, Louis Anthony deLise composed Salone for flute and vibraphone. Vibraphonist for the premiere will be Professor Harvey Price of the University of Delaware. 
    The composer writes, “In Salone del Astor I bring together several disparate musical and personal ideas I have been toying with for several years. These include the intersection of my work in popular music and life as a composer of concert music; the exploration of my European ancestry; the preoccupation I have with music for dancing and singing; and only recently, a survey of compositions by Astor Piazzolla…For me, music is most often the impetus for dance or for song. In my musical world, music never just is: it has function in addition to purpose. It is natural (almost to the point of expectation) that I would create movements that are abstractions of dances.”

    Nor'easter SALE at Flute Pro Shop March 02 2018


    Any item in the FPS inventory that contains the words North, East, Storm, Rain, Wind, will be drastically reduced!

    Northwind Cases
    Schunck: North Star Overture
    Eastman Cherry Wood music stands
    Schulamit Ran: East Wind
    David Stock: East Wind
    Storm Piccolos
    Gary Schocker: Rain and Shine
    Daniel Dorff: Cape May Breezes (close enough)
    April Whirlwind
    Katherine Hoover: Four Winds 
    Power Lungs (so you can create your own Bombogenesis)

    Each purchase will include a FREE Storm Bottle! Ours is even more accurate than AccuWeather!
    * Sadly, no products matched the name of the storm, or the scary term, “Bombogenesis”



    1936 February 04 2018

    Today, listening to the rain on the roof, in anticipation of the Super Bowl (fly Eagles, fly!) and still coughing and sneezing, I turn for inspiration to the story of “Ferdinand the Bull”.

    As my brother in law and I helped my mother go through a room filled with books many months ago, we came across this wonderful book.  This particular copy was worn, edges torn and brown, the black and white artwork faded.

    A classic in every way.

    I wondered about the author and the illustrator.  How profound this little tale is.  What inspired it?  Did they have the flu the week before they wrote and drew?

    Not exactly.

    The author, Munro Wilbur Leaf, lived from 1905 to 1976.  It is said he wrote the entire story in one hour using a yellow legal pad.  It was labeled subversive when it was published in 1936.  “Ferdinand” was seen as pacifist, banned in Spain, and burned in Nazi Germany.  Since then, it has been translated into 60 languages and has never been out of print.

    Leaf once said, "Early on in my writing career I realized that if one found some truths worth telling they should be told to the young in terms that were understandable to them."

    This should pertain to people of all ages.

    The illustrator of “Ferdinand” was Robert Lawson, a friend of Munro Leaf.  Lawson lived from 1892 to 1957 and was admired for the illustrations of children’s books that were central to his professional career.  He is the only person to win both the Newberry Award and the Caldecott Medal. During World War 1, he was a member of the American Camouflage Corps.  It is said that his WWI experiences had a profound effect on him, and he dedicated his life to illustrating and writing children’s stories which all had common themes of peace, understanding, and community.

    And so here we have Ferdinand. 

    Let’s think about 1936.  The Berlin Olympics and Jesse Owens.  Italy neutralizes the Ethiopian Army.  Nazi Germany re-occupies the Rhineland.  Italy annexes Ethiopia and Addis Ababa.  “Gone with the Wind” is published. The Spanish Civil war begins. In October of 1936, Joseph Stain’s Great Purge begins in the Soviet Union.  “Peter and the Wolf” premieres in Moscow.  In England, King Edward VIII abdicates the throne. This only skims the surface of the tumultuous year of 1936.

    Against this backdrop of international chaos, Ferdinand simply stops and smells the flowers.

    Small wonder this tale was considered subversive and pacifist.

    Contrary to the political structures, “The Story of Ferdinand” is alive and well today.  In 60 languages.  Read to millions of children.  Is a new movie.

    While struggling to take the time to fully recover from the flu, I realize that I should remember Ferdinand.  Sometimes just being yourself, in the face of so many conflicting influences is, well, enough. 

    More than enough.




    Flu Year Resolutions January 30 2018

    Lessons from the Flu of 2018

    It came on overnight.

     Wednesday was a productive, fun day.  K and I had packed for one of our favorite regional flute conferences: the Florida Flute Association Convention.  The last weekend of January.  What could be better for these Delawareans than Orlando?

    Thursday morning came.  And with it came the flu.  Full blown.  You know the symptoms, so I will not bore you with them.  It was the fever that made up our minds.  The process of cancelling flights, hotel room, flowers/balloons, and our exhibit took several hours.  And then, there was no choice but to give in to the flu and go to bed.

    Had K and I gone to Florida, I am convinced we would have ended up in the hospital.

    Feeling very proud that the right call had been made, I “took it easy” Friday.  Unhuh.  Saturday, everything was worse.  Texting my Dr., he said that the protocol this flu season was to call in a prescription for TamiFlu. 

    It was a miracle!  By Sunday I could think, breathe, stand up without being dizzy.  The shower didn’t hurt my skin!  Slight fatigue, but I was so much better.  I was back!

    So many fun things can be accomplished while at home “sick”.   I had a wonderful time.  Cleaned out my bedroom closet (don’t you LOVE to throw things out??) did laundry, made a fun dinner, worked on music inventory, fulfilled orders.  Sunday was a productive day.  In touch with K all day, I pretty much ignored her pleas for me to take it easy.  I was convinced she had it worse than I did and carried on.  So many entreaties to slow down.  I should have listened.

    Monday.  Ah Monday.  Flu was right back at it.  Fever, chills, uncomfortable shower, intense fatigue, the list goes on.

    Tuesday.  Same.  I texted my sister that I was “thinking of taking it easy the rest of the week.”  The phone rang immediately.

    “Joan.  You have a long history of not taking care of yourself.  You MUST take the rest of the week off.  Promise me you will.”

    Well.  I flashed back on all the times I had soldiered on through illness.  What had been accomplished?  Was St. Peter going to give me extra credit for it all when I approached the pearly gates?

    So here it is Wednesday.  Slight improvement on all fronts.  Yes, the rest of the week will be quiet, truly quiet.

    For my entire life I have muscled through things.  That’s why I was a swimmer (still am).  When things got tough and painful, I just would put my head down and get to the wall no matter what.  You learn how to separate yourself from pain to do the job at hand.

    Same is true with the life of a musician.  The show HAD to go on regardless.  One memorable adventure was this exact week about 30 years ago.  It was my masters recital.  I had bronchitis.  I played with a fever.  You can hear the rasping breaths on the tape.  The audience had to be uncomfortable.  It took many years to rebound from the sense of not playing my best at that critical moment.  And I never remember that concert from the context of being sick.

    Cancelling this week’s activities was, well, liberating.  There simply was no choice for myself or other people I might infect.  When is the flu not contagious?  I don’t know. 

    I have made some “Flu Year” resolutions:

    1. Define for myself what self-care really is.  Do it.
    2. The show really does not have to go on. Nor do you.
    3. Paying attention to your body will speed up the healing process.
    4. Remember the serenity prayer:
      1. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
      2. The courage the change the things I can.
      3. And the wisdom to know the difference.

    May you all be well, treat yourself and your body with respect, and learn from mistakes!

    Flute Care in Extreme Weather! January 11 2018

    Flute Care in Extreme Weather!

    Here in Delaware, we are enjoying a few days of a January Thaw.  Welcome relief from two weeks of very cold weather.

    The winter months are especially difficult for our flutes because of the frigid temperatures and the very low humidity in our homes and work places.  Did you know that the average concert hall, with the lights up, has the same humidity level as Death Valley?  As the lights remain on, the temperature rises, so that high heat and low humidity wreak havoc on the pads. Conversely, in frigid temperatures, some of the glues used to hold corks, felts, and shims in place can become brittle and fail, which will put the flute out of regulation.  Keeping your instrument insulated from drastic temperature and humidity changes can significantly lessen emergency trips to the Flute Doctor.

    How to protect your flute from this devastation?  Invest in a good case cover and insulated "gig" bag to reduce the impact of dramatic atmospheric changes.  Think of it as the same kind of layering you would do for yourself in winter.  I recommend the Wiseman case as both case and cover because of the insulating properties it offers.  For those of you with French Cases, the Altieri case covers afford wonderful protection.  Fashion minded? Dome makes beautiful case covers and an elegant City Bag.  It easily converts to a back pack.  Your flute(s) and piccolo are stored in chutes, music is stored vertically in a separate space.  Elegant!

    For a more economical and practical gig bag, you really can't beat the Altieri Deluxe Double bag, which can be used as a back pack, or with a shoulder strap.  These bags are superbly insulated and will keep your precious flute and piccolo free from the stress of difficult weather conditions.

    Now we are going to talk about flute hygiene. The flute must go in its case at the end of the day.  Make sure you swab it out frequently during your practice sessions, at least every 45 minutes, which is the frequency of breaks you should take to protect yourself from injury.  Thoroughly swab it out before putting it away at the end of the day, cleaning up against the cork plate with your swab.  Flute Serviettes and the new Helix Wand are superior in this area.  As carefully as you clean your flute, don't worry if droplets remain in the headjoint.  They will help keep the humidity at the right place while the flute is inside the case.  If you are like me, and practice throughout the morning, and teach in the afternoon, keeping the flute out is a very practical way to go.

    Let's talk about the cold and flu season and your relationship with your flute.  When you have recovered from whatever nasty bug you have picked up, take a few minutes to rinse your headjoint out with Listerine.  Avoid flavored or sweetened mouthwashes!!! You want good, plain old-fashioned Listerine, like my Granny used.  (Really) Rinse out the headjoint over a sink, run warm water through it, and then swab it out carefully.  Take a Q-tip, dip it in the Listerine, and very gently swab the Riser (the piece of metal that attaches the lip plate to the tube.)  Is your Riser 14 or 18 Karat Gold?  DO NOT use any pressure from the Q-tip on the riser.  The metal is very soft, and you don't want to alter its shape in any way.

    Another valuable addition to your flute maintenance program is a flute peg.  Not only will you avoid scratching or denting the flute by lying it down on a surface (reducing its value) pegging your flute is the best way to keep moisture away from the pads and at the same time keeping it available for you to pick it up on an as-needed basis.  Find a studio peg that has a weighted base and a solid peg, lined, like the Lyricraft pegs.  These pegs are decorative as well: they multi-task!  Hercules makes very sturdy pegs with heavy weight legs as the base.  Both companies make alto, base, and double/triple/quad stands.

    Maintenance by a qualified repair technician on a regular basis will ensure your flute will remain stable during weather events.  Make sure this person is your friend!  You want them to respond immediately if the unthinkable happens.  Here is a simple formula for maintenance: 1 hour or less daily practice, once a year maintenance will be fine. 2 hours a day=twice a year maintenance.  3 hours=3 times and so on until 4 hours.   This way you will avoid the last-minute disaster right before the big concert or audition.  Think of it this way: if you are under stress for an event, so is your flute.

    Just wait till Spring!  Lots of advice for that seasonal change will be forthcoming....

    Visit where all the items mentioned in this blog are for sale.  Enjoy a 10% discount at check out using the code: THAW.



    Sarah's Space November 29 2017

    In September, we all had the pleasure to meet and host the piccoloist from the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She gave a series of university classes, and was in residence at Flute Pro Shop, where she presented a day and a half of workshops and masterclasses. Sarah is one of the most well informed musicians I know. She had many recommendations to the staff of FPS. Pointing out that piccolo players (and more than likely flute players) WILL lose hearing in the right ear, she was adamant that all of us wear ear plugs when we play. FPS will soon have in stock the best non-prescription ear plugs available. Sarah also had many ideas regarding repertoire (now in our library) cork grease, cleaning swabs, piccolo manufacturers, and more. Our sale will reflect Sarah’s recommendations and favorites! Please shop Sarah’s Space November 29-30 and enjoy 10% off and a free silk piccolo swab! You will know your choices have been recommended by the best!
    The discount code to use as you checkout is PiccoloLove. Enjoy! 

    Joan Sparks | Tim Carey : Concert Series May 27th 2017 May 16 2017

    Click here to purchase tickets in advance!

    Saturday, May 27th | 7:00 PM 

    First and Central Presbyterian Church | 1101 N. Market St. Wilmington, DE 19801

    Featuring works by Bach, Gaubert, Debussy, Faure and Rachmaninoff

    Tickets in advance: $15.00

    Tickets at the door: $20.00

    Seniors and Students : $15.00

    SPARX -Flute & Harp Duo | COMMISSION CELEBRATION & WORLD PREMIERE by Daniel Dorff! September 16 2016


    SPARX Flute and Harp Duo
    October 15, 2016
    7:30 PM
    First and Central Presbyterian Church
    Rodney Square, Wilmington, Delaware
    Admission is $20.00/$10.00 for seniors and students.
    Available at the door.

    Flutist Joan Sparks and Harpist, Anne Sullivan, collectively known as SPARX, celebrate the process of commissioning new music in a program that will feature 3 SPARX commissions.  The composers are Charles Holdeman of Philadelphia, Lowell Liebermann of New York City, and Daniel Dorff also of Philadelphia.

    Each composer has found inspiration from historical composers and/or styles.  On October 15, Sparks and Sullivan will pair each new work with earlier music that relates to it.  The program will begin with Charles Holdeman’s Sonata Scintillante (2014).  Written for harp and flute/alto flute/piccolo in 4 movements, the style is Holdeman’s lyrical and whimsical expression. Debussy was a great inspiration to Mr. Holdeman, so the Duo will begin the program with music from this beloved composer.

    Lowell Liebermann is a prolific composer of international stature.  His Sonata for Flute and Harp, OP. 56 (1996) will be the second featured piece on the program.  The work is comprised of 4 movements that are continuous, and takes the listener through emotions ranging from rapture to serious contemplation.  Mr. Liebermann cites Gabriel Faure as a chief influence in his early works.  Thus the “Morceau de Concours” will open the second section.

    Ending the program will be the world premiere of Daniel Dorff’s Serenade for Flute and Harp (2016).  This work is in 5 movements and was influenced by the 14th century composer Solage and the style known as Ars Subtilior, the most famous source of which is the Chantilly Codex and has been described as 14th century Avant Garde.  Similar in inspiration to the Dorff Serenade are the Medieval Dances of Josef Lauber, two of which will round out the third and final section of the program.

    Joan Sparks will be joined in concert on March 11, 2017 by First and Central’s organist and music minister, David Schelat. Planned for that concert are works by Frank Martin, Lowell Liebermann, and Mark Haggerty.  On June 3, 2017, the British pianist Timothy “Philharmonic” Carey will join Ms Sparks for music by Gaubert, Debussy, and Bach.  All concerts start at 7:30. Admission is $20/$10 for seniors and students, and is available at the door. 



    “When I’m 64….” September 05 2016

    Which is today…

    How did that happen?

    I was probably 15 when the Beatles song with the above words came out.  At that point, 64 was so far in the future, I had absolutely no comprehension of what it would be. I was, however, frightened of the age and so chose not to think of it very much at all.

    And now, here I am.  It isn’t frightening to turn 64.  It is remarkable to be this age and still feel as strong and well as I did in my 20’s and 30’s.  I am grateful for this healthy body which has seen me through so much and continues to function very, very well.

    It is with gratitude I recall a very happy early childhood with two sisters and a brother to share in some high jinx adventures.  Things got complicated, as they do for many, in my early teens. At age 12 I began competitive swimming, and in one summer grew 4 inches and lost 20 pounds and learned that hard work resulted in success and self-confidence.  Yes, I was bullied in school, but that ended up ok because my flute became my dearest friend and confidant.  Hours of practicing daily helped make up the technical development missed due to a late start on the instrument.  Lessons earned in the pool translated beautifully to the practice of music.

    College was a big adventure.  Imagine this very sheltered 18-year-old, who was not invited to her High School senior prom, heading to a large campus where in her freshman year she never missed a weekend of dating….

    With that year under my belt, I focused on practicing and studying and was able to graduate with a good GPA.   During the summers I worked as a life guard and swim coach, and that is where I met my husband-to-be.  We worked with 80 kids 4 hours every morning, and that made for a great working relationship.  We were married the August after I graduated, and just last week celebrated 42 years of marriage. ( In the words of Uncle Mac, the first 41 years were the hardest!!)  Seriously, my husband has been a source of love, support, inspiration, and is always there.  We have two grown children who are happy and working at what they love. 

    A busy freelance career started after undergraduate school, and I had the great privilege to study the flute with the legendary Murray Panitz, the principal flutist of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  In many ways those lessons became the basis for my musical identity that has lasted all these years.

    Teaching has been a part of my life since the age of 17 when my teacher at that time said, “I can’t do anything with this one.  See what you can do.” She and I are in touch to this day!   My students have been a challenge, inspiration, and some have become my dearest friends.  They have won awards, gone on to be musicians, teachers, music therapists, educators and professionals in their own right. 

    My third child is my business, Flute Pro Shop.  For the last 7 years I have put all I have into this project.  I love this business: the look on flutists’ faces when they find the instrument of their dreams, the excitement of new music, the mental exercise of putting the right flute into someone’s hands, the pride of quality workmanship of our manufacturers, the creative outlet of marketing and sales.  I am joined in this enterprise by the remarkable Kristen Michelle, who matches my work ethic step-by-step, and whose artistic and creative genius is an inspiration always.  And boy does she have a great ear!

    If things go on as they seem to be going, I have a good 30 to 40 years left.  I am looking forward to continuing to grow FPS, performing concerts and commissioning new works, swimming in meets (am pretty good in my age group!) doing more volunteering, perhaps getting back on the pool deck as a coach, lots of laughing, friends, travel, and insights.

    If things don’t go that way, this has been a remarkable life and I am grateful for it all.