Description of Sessions at Flute Haven

This page provides descriptions of most sessions at Flute Haven.


Opening Session — Leadership Program

Sunday Evening

After the evening meal, we gather for the opening of the leadership program. We first introduce ourselves musically and engage in some focused music-making. Then we talk about intentions and directions, discuss (and demonstrate) to our approach to musicality and music facilitation, and give an overview of the activities of the week ahead.

The musical focus of the session is on the basic elements of music: melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, and silence ... and how to incorporate them into your music and into facilitation. We also have a video on the basics of the flute building exercise for the next day.


Flute Building

Monday Morning

In this session, you will experience and learn a straightforward way to get a group of people with no prior flute-building experience to build a flute. The video presentation from the prior evening is put into practice in this session where you are guided through making your own “reference flute”. These flutes will be used by all participants throughout the week.

You will then put these new skills to use when you assist the participants on Tuesday afternoon in building their own reference flutes.


Prototype Flute Circle

AKA: Yearly Meeting of the Valley Forge Flute Circle
Monday Morning

In this session, we hold a flute circle. (We call it the "Yearly Meeting of the Valley Forge Flute Circle"). This session provides an example of openings, closings, activities, flow, song structures, and facilitation techniques. This forms the basis for discussions and sessions that follow on each of these aspect of music facilitation.

Just as in a real flute circle, we accommodate participants at different levels of experience in music and flute playing. We provide a safe environment and develop techniques that maximize playing and minimize facilitator intervention.


Facilitation Forms

Monday Morning / Afternoon

The goal of facilitating a group of flute players in a flute circle or classroom setting is for each person to participate and feel successful, regardless of their level of musical experience. In this session, you will learn the basic music-making forms that have developed in the tradition of humanistic music education — especially those forms that we have found are most successful with groups of flute players. We demonstrate (and participants try their hand at leading) travelling duets and trios, showcasing, double-circle rhythm jams, ensembles, and whole-group conducting.


Conducting Skills

Monday Afternoon

Conducted improvisations are a key element in group facilitation. Lynn Miller and Ron Kravitz are masters of this facilitation form.

You will learn the basic cues and signals to give clear and precise signals to the group and get ample time to practice them during this session. With these skills, you can create music in the moment with groups of all degrees of musical experience.

Intro to Recording and Looping

Monday Afternoon

This session provides an introduction to the recording kiosk. These units let you experience using a high-quality recording microphone and controlling various effects (echo, reverb, etc.) that can be added to your sound. You can also call up over 680 background tracks on an iPad and play over them, or use many applications on the iPad that dynamically create background music for you to play over. You can also record your playing very easily (one button on the recording kiosk) onto a flash drive that we provide as part of the workshop. These recordings can be used later for your own CD. You can also collaborate with others to make and record music — the recording kiosk can accommodate one or two flutes (or other instruments) with optional keyboard and/or guitar inputs.

This session introduces the basics of the recording kiosk by demonstrating a recording session. Participants are then free to collaborate throughout the week to record their own music (the recording kiosk is available round-the-clock for use).

We also look at the basics of live looping for both performances and recording.


Harmonic Accompaniment

Monday Evening

The world abounds with cool instruments that make great harmonic accompaniments for the Native American flute. In this session, you will learn how to identify the key of flute that “works” with any given instrument, how to facilitate a group bringing their flutes in tune with a harmonic accompaniment instrument, and provides facilitation and playing practice on a wide range of those instruments.

Note: This session will also be offered by Lynn Miller as an elective later in the week. You are free to go to both session, or choose another elective for the second offering.



Tuesday Morning

Even before a session opening, warming up physically, engaging the breath and voice, and warming up on our instruments are key elements to good music making and learning.

You will learn basic warmup exercises in this session, including the use of stretching, movement, rhythm, background music, vocalizing, body percussion, and (of course) flute playing.


Openings and Closings

Tuesday Morning

Openings and closing are very important components to facilitated events — setting the stage for the workshop or flute circle and bringing closure.

In this session, you will learn some basic techniques for openings and closings and then get to practice those skills with the group.


Facilitation Practice and Conducting Practice

Tuesday Morning

These sessions provide a structured environment for you to practice facilitation and conducting skills. You will lead the group in openings, music activities, and closings, and we will work through issues as they arise.


Flutes in Nature

Tuesday Afternoon

How do we integrate natural environments into flute playing and facilitation? Ron and Clint lead a short walk out onto the grounds of the retreat center and into the woods on the Schuylkill River. You are free to go as far as you wish (even if it's only onto the porch of the retreat center), and play in Nature.

Return when you wish for the next session …


Facilitated Jamming

Tuesday Afternoon

This lightly-facilitated session provides opportunities for participants to jam with each other and the staff, with the full array of instruments available on-site.



Flute Building

Tuesday Afternoon

During this session, you will assist arriving participants in assembling their A-minor Northern Spirits reference flutes. All material and tools are provided.


Weeklong Program Opening Session

Tuesday Evening

After the evening meal, we gather for the opening of the weeklong program. All the staff and leaders will be on hand to introduce you to our approach to musicality, which is simply: Play Play Play! Most of the opening session involves facilitated playing, and we leave the administrivia until Wednesday AM.


Orientation and Technique: Melody, Hold Your Last Note

Wednesday Morning

After a musician warmup, we cover some of the details on the activities of the week ahead.

We then take players to (or back to) the very basics of playing wind instruments: How breath pressure affects the sound of the instrument and how the player controls the tuning of the instrument.

This session also introduces players to a very simple technique for improvising duets: Melody, Hold Your Last Note (MHYLN) involves alternating solos over a drone note (a long held tone).


Novice Workshop — The Basics and Beyond

Wednesday Morning

This session by Clint Goss is specifically to introduce Novice players to the instrument. Frank covers playing basics, how to maintain your flute, and touches on the wide range of resource available to players.

You are free to attend this session if you are a novice player, or if you wish to observe Frank's approach to introducing new players to the instrument.


Technique: Playing Over a Drone

Wednesday Afternoon

One of the easiest and most beautiful forms of harmony is playing a melody over a long, held drone sound. In these sessions led by Ron Volkman and Vera Shanov you will learn the basic techniques of playing solos over drone as well as a duet song form called “Melody, Hold Your Last Note”. Once two flute players know these basic song forms, you can perform duets with very little preparation (and certainly without sheet music!)

In addition to flutes, we use drone instruments from many world music cultures, including Australian didgeridoos and East Indian tambouras and shruti boxes.


Conducted Flute Choir

Wednesday Afternoon

How do you turn a room full of flute players into a cohesive choir? Ron Volkman crafts all the Flute Haven participants into creating in-the-moment music using basic conducting techniques and the primary elements of music: melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, and silence. All players participate in the choir, and you can even try your hand at conducting the entire group.


SpiritGrass Concert

Wednesday Evening at the Steel City Coffee House

Enjoy our special mix of bluegrass and ethnic instruments with Lynn, Eric, Clint, and RonK. The café setting at the Steel City Coffee House provides a variety of meals before and during the show.

Note that the cost of dinner this evening is not included in your registration fee.


Community Drumming

Ron Kravitz — Thursday Morning

Playing with rhythm instruments is a core skill for all flute players. Playing to a new rhythm is also a great way to get out of “playing in a rut”. We begin as a group by entraining to basic world rhythms in a community drumming session led by master percussionist Ron Kravitz. We then transition to the next session …


Technique: Playing With Rhythm

Clint Goss and Ron Kravitz — Thursday Morning

This session involves the basic techniques for playing flutes in duets and trios with percussion instruments.


Novice Workshop — Scale Song Practice Session

Thursday Morning

This practice session is specifically designed for players with less experience. We will focus specifically on the Scale Song technique.


Flute and Voice: Finding *Your* Key

Lynn Miller — Thursday Afternoon (offered twice)

The flute is a natural extension of your human voice. In this session, you will learn how to make that connection — to literally sing along with your flute. We then extend this to find the key of flute that is your key — the one that best matches your own vocal range.


Song Structure

Clint Goss — Thursday Afternoon Elective

Giving structure to our melodies helps us tell a story and take listeners on an emotional journey. We begin this session with basic one-breath phrases and learn to build them into complete song forms such as A-B-A, A-A-B-A, and Verse-Chorus structures.


Jam with Strings

Judy Robinson, Jon Norris, and Lynn Miller — Thursday Afternoon Elective

Lynn and EricJoin us for an exploration of simple string instruments such as dulcimers, monochords, tambouras, and one-string guitars. Find out how easy it is to accompany a flute, or play these instruments to accompany others.


Facilitated Ensembles

Ron Kravitz and Lynn Miller — Thursday Evening

This session introduces the basics techniques that trios and quartets use to make improvisational music. With the room set up for groups of three and four players, we explore rhythm as a foundation, melody and harmony to create arching structures, and textures to set tone and context and augment the sound.


Technique: Ornamentation and Vibrato

Friday Morning

Ornaments on melodies are like spices on food. In this session you will learn the key ornaments for Native American style songs as well as Celtic, Jazz, and Classical styles. You will also learn the basic techniques of developing and controlling vibrato through historical recordings and physical exercises that connect you directly with this core flute technique.

After the workshop demonstrations, you participate in an extended breakout session where you get to practice each ornament and then incorporate it into a song.


Camphill Village

Friday Afternoon

After lunch at the retreat center, we will travel to Camphill Village in Kimberton Hills as a group and offer a concert in their beautiful performance space. The event is part of our “Music in Community Service” program, designed for the special group of people in residence at Camphill Village as well as being open to a public audience.

Flute Haven participants are encouraged to offer their musical creations, but there are no specific requirements. The closing of the concert features a “Conducted Flute Choir” with several conductors taking the baton to create in-the-moment music.


Keynote and Concert

Friday Evening

After dinner at the retreat center, the Weekend and Flutopedia Symposium events open with a two-hour evening event: a keynote presentation integrated with a concert. This weaves several elements to provide an introduction to the weekend program:

  • Your Brain on Flute — What we know today about the connection between flute playing and neurophysiology and how you can use this connection in clinical and music facilitation settings. This multi-media “TED-style” presentation traces the co-evolution of flutes and our brain from the time of Neanderthals through the emergence of the Native American style of flutes. It then looks at the implication for the present-day mind-music connection: how babies communicate musically, the impact of music on child development, the use of tempo and music genre in health and healing, and the physiological effects of flute playing.
  • Physiology demonstration using a real-time display of brain and heart metrics, in the context of bio-guided music therapy, by Dr. Eric Miller.
  • Poetry and Storytelling.
  • Music from the Conducted Flute Choir.
  • In-the-moment music from staff of Flute Haven.


Finding Your Flute

Brent Haines — Saturday Morning Elective

What do you look for in a flute? How do you tell a “good” (or “great”) flute from a “wall hanger”? Master flute maker Brent Haines shows you what to look and listen for in choosing your instrument, and lets you in on the secrets of making great instruments.


Breath & Mindfulness in Your Flute Practice

Lynn Saltiel — Saturday Morning Elective

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Breathing is a necessity of life that most people take for granted. Many of us develop poor breathing habits making it harder to cope with stressful situations. As you learn to be aware of your breathing and practice slowing down your breaths, your mind will quiet and your body will relax.

This workshop will provide an overview of the stress response and then will identify healthy breathing techniques, such as breath awareness, diaphragmatic breathing, and coherent breathing. Participants will be introduced to progressive relaxation tools that incorporate grounding of the body. Lastly, there will be an introduction to mindfulness-based practice and participants will have an opportunity to experience one example. Learning methods will include both didactic and experiential. Video and audio are included in this presentation. Participants are invited to bring their instruments and play some sounds at the onset and at the conclusion of the workshop to notice the difference in their musical experience and self-expression.


Technique: Playing Over Changes

Saturday Morning

Playing with guitars and pianos often involves following chord changes. In this session, you will learn an easy way to hear chord changes and know which notes on the flute "work" in each chord.

We cover two-chord "vamps" as well as the 12-bar blues cycle found in many world music traditions. Workshop demonstration is followed by small-group breakouts where everyone gets extended jam-time with a staff member on a guitar or a piano.


Bio-Guided Music Therapy

Eric Miller — Saturday Morning Elective

Music therapy is used in schools, cancer wards, hospitals, and other settings with people of all ages and with a variety of disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Biofeedback is a medical technique where you learn how to use your mind to make subtle changes in the body, such as relaxing certain muscles to reduce pain.

In Bio-Guided Music Therapy, Eric Miller teaches you how to use both music therapy and biofeedback in your own life and, if you are a healing professional, with clients in your practice. You explore music therapy interventions, including guided imagery to music, toning, mantra meditation, and drumming, and discover how a variety of musical sounds—strings, horns, synthesizers, Japanese kotos, Indian tabla drums, and Native American flutes—influence your physiological states and bodily functions.

You learn how to use music therapy and biofeedback to alleviate ailments such as stress, anxiety, hypertension, back pain, migraine symptoms, and attention deficit disorder. You also explore the connection between biofeedback and music therapy in the areas of meditation and peak performance.


The Joy of Ocarina

Judy Robinson — Saturday Morning Elective

The ocarina, a closed-end flute, has a power of voice that few people take seriously or know how to tap into. Learning to play the ocarina and learning to play it with others can be foster confidence and skills for playing other wind instruments.

Each participant in the workshop would receive a wooden (typically soprano or tenor pentatonic) 4 or 6 hole ocarina which looks much like a flute with a closed end. Not all ocarinas will be the same -- different woods, different sizes, and different shapes. Each participant will explore & report on the uniqueness of his/her ocarina (tonal quality, pitch, playability, shape) and compare with others in the room to learn that ocarinas are more than sweet potato style. The construct of the ocarina will be discussed, its history and significance as a wind instrument, different keys and sizes, and how to play it. Participants will learn to read simple song fingerings and harmonize with others by playing in groups.


Flute and Voice: Finding *Your* Key

Lynn Miller — Saturday Afternoon Elective

The flute is a natural extension of your human voice. In this session, you will learn how to make that connection — to literally sing along with your flute. We then extend this to find the key of flute that is your key — the one that best matches your own vocal range.


History & Evolution of Flutes in North America

Jon Norris — Saturday Afternoon Elective



Techniques for Live Performances

Clint Goss and Ron Volkman — Saturday Afternoon Elective

Live performances are a goal of many flute players, whether on stage, in a house of worship, or simply playing at a gathering of friends. This session demonstrates techniques for working with the microphone and using digital effects to enhance your sound. We demonstrate several gear setups for live performances that support everything from solo flute playing through a full band.


Vocal / Flute Groove Improvisation

Ron Kravitz and Ron Volkman — Saturday Afternoon Elective

Vocal Groove is an improvisation technique that is easy and fun for all participants, regardless of vocal experience. Based on a few basic ideas used in world music, a group of people can spontaneously set up a groove and create awesome music. This session explores the technique first on the voice, and then explores how we move it to our flutes.


The Physics Behind the Flute

Brent Haines — Saturday Afternoon Elective



Yes, You Can Read TAB!

Pat Smith — Saturday Afternoon Elective

Playing someone else's songs is easier when you are able to read TAB. You can share your songs with others using TAB. It is easy! It is fun! You can do it! All it takes is a little "gardening," also known as practice.

Our session will show you what TAB is, teach you how to read it, and experience playing simple songs with it. The workshop is hands-on so you get a guided experience playing from TAB. Carlos Nakai created TAB so written songs could be played on the flute. If we have time, you will also create a simple song, notate it in TAB, have someone else read and play it, and play it yourself.

Step away from reading finger diagrams to explore another facet of playing Native American flute.



Native Flutes and Music Therapy

Lynn Miller and Eric Miller — Saturday Afternoon Elective

The Native American flute is a powerful tool in music therapy settings. Learn how the Native flute is used in the hospital setting to promote relaxation, minimize pain and as a distraction when the patient is having a procedure. Studies show that music can lower blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate and change brain waves. Learn the music therapy indications and goals that are best suited to the instrument, and the use of tempo and tone in achieving those goals.


The Prospering Flute Circle

Jon Norris — Saturday Afternoon Elective



Poetry and Storytelling

Frank Henninger — Saturday Afternoon Elective — Presentation and Workshop

In this session we will explore together the beautiful harmony that can result from the combination of these two artistic expressions of human emotion. Participants will be encouraged to both read poetry aloud while being accompanied by others on Native American flute, and to be that accompaniment for others. You may bring your own poetry or other favorite poems, or enjoy those provided by Frank.


Alternate Scales

Clint Goss — Saturday Afternoon Elective

Going beyond the basic Pentatonic Minor scale opens a world of new melodies and gives you access to more harmonic possibilities.

In this gentle introduction to new scales, we add one note to the basic scale to access the “bugle scale” and learn a new song in that scale. We then look at a menu of 14 possible alternate scales on the Native American flute, and each person picks the scale that best suits their taste for musical adventure, learns to play that scale, and does a short improvisation.


Chaplin's Open Mic Jam Session

Saturday Evening

The Saturday evening jam sessions at Chaplin's have been a highlight for participants at previous editions of Flute Haven. The restaurant is open for dinner, and their stage provides a venue for performing and jamming either solo or with an array of backup instruments. Participants are backed up by staff members and experienced musicians. Even if you've never performed, this is a safe and supportive environment to stretch your musicality.

Note that the cost of dinner this evening is not included in your registration fee.


Poster Session

Sunday Morning

This is an opportunity for participants, presenters, and staff to mingle and discuss one-on-one. For more information, see details on the Flutopedia Symposium web site.


Player's Workshop

Sunday Morning

A general music workshops where we bring together all the techniques and experience from Flute Haven.


Closing and Graduation

Sunday Morning

This session concludes the Flute Haven and Flutopedia Symposium programs, with facilitated jamming, the traditional “Flute Choir”, and graduation certificates for all.

Note: Since check-out time is 10AM, please check out of your room prior to the start of this session.


Details of the Common Session


Practice Sessions

After a group session where a technique is learned, we break into smaller sessions where participants have the opportunity to go deep into the technique. This is your opportunity to try out your facilitation skills in a safe environment. All of these practice sessions have a staff member present — a person who you can rely on for as much assistance as you need.


Jam With …

An important part of Flute Haven is getting extensive practice jamming with other instruments. A key part is jamming with staff members during these daytime “Jam with …” sessions. Each of these sessions focuses on jamming with a particular instrument.


Afternoon Concerts

These solo concerts provide a chance to enjoy the musical talents of some of our staff members.