SAD NEWS TO SHARE: Just learned of the passing of Dr. Thomas Michael Houston (February 22, 1941 - December 23, 2014), of Nacogdoches, TX. More information here: Obits at Dignity-Memorial. I remember him as a dedicated teacher, and always enjoyed communicating with him about his latest projects. There's a Guest Book at that link for adding personal notes.
As a service, we maintain a page for Masterclasses - Worldwide! We expand these postings on a regular basis, as information is received along with permission to list it.
(Please be aware - we can't guarantee anything posted at a linked site as a result of this free public service! Do let us know if you find something, um.... well, "surprising" is one way to say it! We promise to do our best to include only reputable, reliable information and links, however there still seem to be some pirate computer programs becoming active again these days which literally capture or kidnap requests to visit websites and side-track them to sites of their own [usually - of, well, "surprising" content and images...]... Should this happen to you - *please* let both The Flute Network AND the originally desired site link know about your experience, along with any info you can glean about where you were taken! We will call in whatever authorities may be needed or useful and generally speaking do our part in helping to stamp out this unfortunate kind of piracy. Thanks!)
July 23, 2011. We're excited beyond words here about this new development! The first shipment of Robert Bigio's new book has arrived and is now available through Little Wizard Enterprises - This absolutely GORGEOUS book is a wealth of well researched historical information, and the pictures are truly amazing - an amazing work, and an absolute "keeper" all around.
January 26, 2011. We've moved our notice and thoughts about Albert to his own dedicated page - but I couldn't make myself delete these pictures from our front page, here, just yet... Please see the other wonderful pictures and stories that have been contributed from Trevor Wye and which are also all found at the link provided at the end of this line - The Flute Network is honored to get to share it all with you here: Albert Cooper Obituary, January 28, 2011.
September 10, 2010. With all the noise and unrest rattling around the world in recent days and hours, much of it coming as almost a crescendo towards tomorrows anniversary of horrendous events in NYC - moments of genuine peace and centeredness seem especially challenging to find. In case it helps, we've maintained two of the Greetings sections we ran during previous times of such stress - allow me to share the links to them again for you here:
August 8, 2010 We're delighted share this bit of news with you today! Check out "Pearls From The Master - Marcel Moyse" - a joint effort between Jerry and Jennifer Cluf, and all now freely available online -- you can find out more about that here: Pearls From the Master - Marcel Moyse
August 1, 2010. It's AUGUST already! Can't speak for anybody but me, but time sure seems to be flying by entirely too fast these days... For increasing numbers of people, a return to school schedules will be arriving within weeks now... for others of us, today marks something of a "half way mark" for the summer-time plans we started out with when the season began (so - get on with it - if you haven't already!!! - [yes, speaking to myself there, as much as to anybody else - LOL!]). For many folks the calander is the least of the challenges they are facing and/or actively contending with... to all who can use them, we're continuing to send good wishes and supportive thoughts - especially to all who are struggling, perservering, enduring, and/or generally making their way through tough times this summer... no matter what the particulars may be. A little extra kindness goes a long way - and these days, perhaps more than ever, it's worth remembering that even small kindnesses can be potentially more important for those we send them to than any of us can begin to know. (Who hasn't had the experience, at some point in their life, of their day being turned around for the better in literally a split-second - perhaps by virtue only of being on the receiving end of a gentle smile and the warmth of direct eye contact, and all in only a milli-second from a passing stranger? It's not just a literary cliche that I'm describing here; give it a try - remembering that the gift of even a small kindness like that, which doesn't cost a thing beyond the thought and willingness to play nicely with others, can sometimes bring unexpectedly rich returns right back to us in almost nearly the same instant!)
We're continuing to update listings here at The Flute Network website too, as we go along! We have made plans to attend the National Flute Association Convention in Anaheim later this month - if we get to cross paths while there, DO please say HI! Would love to see you!!! In the meantime, safe travels - and hoping the rest of your summer brings LOTS of fodder for great moments and even better memories!
June 1, 2010. If ever there was a totally clear cut lesson on the astoundingly long (and uncontrollably expanding) chain of consequences that are set in motion by virtue of a "simple" choice or decision, it's going on right now in the Gulf of Mexico. To say that's a graphic example of a fundamental principle of life is to understate the point...!
One of the take-away's is something we all know: our biggest job today is to make good choices so that we'll be happy with where we find ourselves tomorrow. But there's even more to it than that, because "making choices" alone is not enough (it's a beginning, but it's not enough)... the choices have to be followed up with actions taken or made. We gotta "Do the Do!"
Making good/wise choices IS an undeniably important first step - it's the action that comes from them that counts; and whether or not we "feel like it" is really beside the point! (Nike has the trademark on the slogan which really is the secret to all success: "Just Do It"! Yes - easier said than done, sometimes, but this is something that does seem to get at least a little easier with practice.... i.e., so what if it's raining/hot/cold/to bright outside/takes too long/goes too fast/or is otherwise just plain ugly: "Just Do It".) Why? Because everything depends on it... even things you might not readily already know about down the line. Really. Musicians and artists know this perhaps better than anybody - skip practice today and you'll have to do more to make up for it tomorrow. Skip it too much and not only do you not get any better your skills actually back-slide. Choices have consequences - the actions (or not) do too.
For some of us, for any number of reasons, today is not-so-good... the particulars vary, and the underlying reasons may be far removed from our control, but the condition is familiar to us all. Whatever the circumstance, whatever the particulars, whatever the size of the task at hand, there IS power in the actions you take today (or don't). Here's to a better tomorrow. For us all. Because - we really are all in this together. (But I bet you already knew that!)
We're continuing to update the Current Listings and of course the Masterclass Listings and the Lost and Stolen Instruments List. No news yet on returning to print. Thanks for continuing to stop by and for your notes and interest! Even now - with all that's going on in so many fronts - we really are all still in this together! 'Till next time - all best wishes, more later - Jan
Update - March 3, 2010. It's now fully and officially official - Little Wizard Enterprises and Flute Network are officially registered as an entity with the City of West Linn, and the State of Oregon. We've just received a shipment of a few more wonderful books from England (see Little Wizard's Current Inventory) - and even though I honestly don't have a clue as to what's just around the corner for us all, everything necessary is in place to run with all options the moment it seems clear to do so! (We're technically and officially "set" to go in just about any direction that seems called for, in whatever format, in whatever medium that might prove most useful and in line with our core mission -- And THAT, I find, is incredibly exciting!)
Again I must take the opportunity to send out my deepest heartfelt THANKS for the ongoing contacts, notes, updates, and especially your interest! It's an honor to serve in whatever capacity we might, in spite of the many, um... "uncertainties" (LOL!) in the world these days -- all I know is that it's still true, no matter where this ride takes us all (collectively speaking): we really are still all in this together!
Update - January 8, 2010. Yes - absolutely - the adventure continues! As everybody knows, though, sometimes the pace of life and directions we're lead in are full of surprises and unexpected re-directions - and even with the most careful planning and "crystal ball gazing" (for any insights, clues, or hints about what might be waiting for us just around that next corner), the end lesson is: all we can really do, ultimately, is choose to keep a positive attitude and recommit to a willingness to take on whatever it is that turns out to be! And with careful reflection, I can tell you that in terms of The Flute Network, that's exactly where we are just now!
The Flute Network began some 25 years ago to help with a specific need... people were getting hurt and taken advantage of because there was no ready and economic means of communication among flutists and flute teachers beyond a limited local circle at the time (other than the Musicians Union paper and a quarterly journal - both of which required membership status which wasn't always easy to get, and a monthly magazine which necessarily had a long time between press deadlines and publication/distribution). Coming forward to today - while we certainly enjoy continued loyalty and we represent a very respectably sized and dedicated subscriber list, clearly today that same basic need can be met in many more ways! For instance, there's the whole internet-thing and rapidly expanding cell phone capability which in many cases can tap into all that -- and along with all that, there's the continuing evolution of a whole host of similar systems which made possible such things as Twitter, Facebook, instant messaging, blogging, and any number of other near miraculous developments that are set to be released even in the coming months of this year. (...What a world!!)
Even so - we are extremely well aware here of the unique place that printed/mailed publications continue to have in the grand scheme of things, and the value of such even in this ever evoloving "brave new world"... I continue to hear from folks (and in significant numbers at that) about how much they value receiving something they want personally addressed to them in the mail on a regular basis (i.e., they don't HAVE to turn on a computer, download and print it all on their home machines - even as others reinforce how much they like the option to do so! We've always worked to honor both camps!) My deal with the Universe remains the same: as long as The Flute Network (1) remains useful to people in some way, and (2) can pay it's bills (as in, has sufficient advertiser support to cover costs of production and mailing, and/or the maintance of the website), I'll be honored to continue to volunteer the service that makes it possible. While keeping those in the "mail it to me only" camp remain close to my heart, it may be that - in this "brave new world" - The Flute Network might continue to serve in an online only format - with even more room for Jerry's reviews, discoveries, and recommendations showcased in the "FN Recommends", etc. etc. etc. - even given the wonderful range of flute related sites and blogs already online, the options are nearly endless! The point is - our mission continues: The Flute Network exists only to be of service! We will CERTAINLY be keeping up with the Stolen Instrument Listings, the Masterclass offerings, and so on -- and please know we'd LOVE to hear from you about any ideas or thoughts about things you'd like to see here! In the meantime, in the next several months I hope to explore all of this (and in the broadest sense) more directly and will post more updates as that process moves along.
In the meantime - all options remain open! Our non-profit mailing permit was renewed last fall and we're good to go for a return to hard copy mailings at almost a moments notice; the wonderful company who helps by insuring our mailing list continues to meet all the ever changing USPS requirements AND our marvelous printer have both indicated their unparalleled support and ready willingness to continue working with us (the degree to which I appreciate the enthusiastic support of both of these companies is without measure - it means more than the world!); and we maintain all rights privileges as The Flute Network as we collectively navigate whatever the future brings -- Our mission to be of service remains at the heart of all Flute Network and Little Wizard Enterprises does -- and just what form that is going to take in 2010, well - as I've always said - I guess we'll be figuring that all out together! (Cool!)
PO Box 38
West Linn, OR 97068
P.S. -- You may be relieved to know that NO COOKIES have been placed in your computer as a result of visiting this website! It is our hope that you will find something useful to you here, and that you will feel comfortable coming back often (our content changes with every print issue published...).
P.S. I'm still pretty new at this Webwizard stuff- so if you encounter anything we need to correct or adjust, please let me know! Your input and feedback will be most welcome!
UPDATE - January 10, 2009 - Although we'd not expected it, a "flute call in the sky" has gone out and our help is needed once again to help shed light on a very new aspect of USPS mail deliveries. As part of the Intelligent Mail Barcode scanning process, the very last scan a mailpiece gets is considered to be the "Exit Scan" by the USPS and is regarded by them as THE date of final delivery. However - we've been alerted that sometimes (how often - nobody knows...yet...) there is indeed a lag of sometimes a matter of a few days between that "Exit Scan" and actual receipt and it's precisely that piece of the puzzle we're curious about (we and many others!) There's probably nobody better to ask for help in this than our wonderful Flute Network subscribers - hence - that "flute call in the sky" (kinda like that call to Batman in those early comics) that was shared and described in our January issue, alerting folks to be on the lookout for their next issue (i.e., the February issue that went to press today). On each issue, in a box highlighted in the address panel, a unique six digit code will be printed -- we've asked folks to note the date of receipt in that box as well, and at their earliest convenience, to let Jan Pritchard know both those pieces of info: (1) date of actual receipt, and (2) that unique six digit code. At some point later this coming Spring, Jan will get togther with the fine folks at GrayHair Software and compare the data collected by them as to the exit scans (which are matched to that same unique six digit code) and the dates reported to Jan as being those of actual receipt. At this point, nobody really knows what we're going to find - so the adventure really truly does continue! As always - your help is very much appreciated! More on these things as the info evolves.
UPDATE - September 10, 2008 - The fact that there even is a September/October 2008 issue means that we've found some powerful friends - and an awful lot of things went really right! To begin with, if it weren't for the support of the fantastic advertisers, there would not be a Flute Network at all (please - when you get a chance - take every opportunity to let them know you saw their ads and appreciate their participation, OK?) On top of that though, a HUGE Thanks go to GrayHair Software and the wonderful folks there - plus the extra efforts of the fantastic folks at Colour Concepts Incorporated (and especially the folks in Mailing Services there), every issue of Flute Network going out now is carrying it's own Intelligent Mail Barcode -- This is a special "4 Stage" barcode that acts sort of like a license plate on a car... it registers addresses only - not the people at the addresses, that's important to know. Now, why this is a cool thing is that the USPS has scanners in the mail processing machinery, all along the route that each mail piece travels through the mail system, and when one of them "see" a Flute Network with an IMB on it, it makes a note about it and informs the folks at GrayHair Software that it did - and also precisely when it did. This special barcode is going to be required on ALL mail sent like ours beginning in May of 2009, so it is something we would have had to do - only we've been blessed with a sort of "head start". What's going to happen is, we're going to see if the changes in processing that the USPS put in place this past summer really are helping.... or not.... and if there's any place in particular where things are bottling up, etc. So again - Flute Network subscribers are continuing to help in a material, substantial, way - and again, I thank you most sincerely!
Update - May 21, 2008. The Postal Regulatory Commission, having been charged by Congress to compile a report to them about the Universal Postal Service and the Postal Monopoly, set up a special docket where the public, postal participants and those who would provide testiminoy (this time called Statements) on those big issues - PI2008-3. As a part of filling this charge, the three Commissioners of the PRC set up on-site visits to postal units around the country, and three formal field Hearings where formal statements were provided and questions could be asked (in real time) - I (as part of Flute Network) was invited to provide a statement in person at the very first of them - their field hearing in Flagstaff, AZ on May 21, 2008. The invitation to appear at this field hearing was a surprise and came on very short notice - and there were a number of significant challenges that had to be figured out just even getting to Flagstaff at that date and time - but as with so many things that are part of Flute Network history, all worked out surprising well. It was a real honor to get to participate so directly, and to meet and share ideas with so many amazing folks also involved in these questions.
At the Flagstaff hearing, there would be 8 of us to offer statements and take questions from the three Commissioners. Because we only had 5 minutes each to speak, I (and a few others) provided additional documents for their consideration -- in my case, I provided two Statements -- my written statement is much longer and contains much more of the story and background information than I could possibly have gotten in under the 5 minute limit -- and the shorter oral statement, which is much shorter and is - basically - an enhanced "highlight reel" and pure "advertisement" for the longer written one...
Now, I am DEEPLY and sincerely grateful that the PRC accepted as my "Oral Statement" as an independent offering to the docket, and they labeled it as such - because - well, to put it bluntly: while in Flagstaff (I was to learn), I was not very good about speaking as s - l - o - w - l - y as I should have, and as directly into the microphone as I should have, so that a good clear transcript could be made by the reporter who was there literally transcribing on the fly all that was said, and by who, in each hearing... (Bless her heart, I think she caught just about every third word so my part in the official transcript of the whole hearing came out pretty disjointed and on the whole, rather incoherent... that's a mistake I will never make again! (i.e., lesson learned!)) Still - I recommend the whole transcript for those so inclined, as well as those from the other two field hearings - lots of unique insights shared in there from a variety of perspectives. On the whole, I think the whole field hearing effort on the part of the Commissioners was most excellent and I look forward to reading the final report to come - that's expected sometime in December 2008.
Both statements can be found in the compiled Statements as part of Docket PI2008-3 at the PRC.gov website - or can be be found here too, in PDF format:
Update - January 1, 2008: Much to our surprise, there was indeed a Chapter Three, for 2008! Full details in the Greetings section of our January 2008 issue. (click here...to go there directly)... Again - our subscribers came through in stellar form - and in hindsight, we found that the compiled data reinforced the findings from our prior postal studies... and the interest on the part of the USPS and other major mailers has been both heartwarming and validating as well. Perhaps best of all, the USPS has indeed - as of this summer of 2008 - put into effect new rules for the handling of our class of mail, so our work together has now shown tangible outcomes - togther, we have indeed made a positive difference! THANK YOU so much to all of our Flute Network subscribers!! You have made a difference - again - and we couldn't be more proud of you!
Update - Aug. 20, 2007: On June 13, 2007, the Postal Regulatory Commission put out Notice calling for public comments and discussion related to Modern Service Standards and Performance Measurement for Market Dominant Products for the USPS.... and we were again honored to respond to a personal invitation to participate. Our biggest concern has to do with the notion of Standard Mail being "deferable" - and what that meant operationally for the handling and ultimate delivery of mail pieces like Flute Network - but more importantly, for companies and other entities for whom such delays can have very devistating consequences! You can read the PDF of what Flute Network filed on July 14th, 2007 here: Flute Network Comments, Docket PI2007-1.
UPDATE: May 30, 2007 - OK, here's the scoop: Wanting to find out what kind of difference there may be (if any) in the delivery of Flute Networks now that they're moving from "west to east" (out of San Bernardino, CA) instead of "east to west" (out of Waynesville, NC), we asked for your help in letting us know when you got your February and March 2007 issues, and the zip code where you received them. Again - Flute Network subscribers came through - thank you SO much!
All of this 2007 information is now compiled and charted - and we did learn some rather interesting things about USPS Standard Mail A (nonprofit, automated letter mail) that - as it turns out - others were very interested in as well! (Stick your head out of the sand and guess what: you get put on a committee!) To cut to the chase: in March 2007, I was invited to be a part of MTAC #114 - a workgroup comprised of USPS folks and other major players in the mailing industry - and the information we've been collecting together as The Flute Network is now actively being considered for what insights it might offer to our collective work. (Thank you again!)
Our report for this MTAC #114 is now ready to share. It is available here via PDF download, and is rather sizable (OK - it's just plain big. This version includes all the supportive materials such as copies of the Postal Forms, all the raw data and their maps, and other appendices.) A second PDF is also available here, which includes just the narrative.... At the moment, this is the only format we have for making these reports generally available - you will need to have a PDF reader (such as Adobe Reader, for example) in order for the file to open for you.... I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause. OK - here ya go:
OK - we'll keep you posted about further developments as they happen and as we learn of them! To all who have assisted us with this work, I can't thank you enough -- you've proven yet again just how special Flute Network subscribers are by your participation and all your support in this investigation.
FLUTE NETWORK TESTIMONY AND RELATED FILES with the POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION (formerly known as the Postal Rate Commission) UPDATE - February 26, 2007: the PRC has released their OPINION! ...AND... WHAT WE DID MATTERED!
are now fully available online! Click HERE - for how to find all that.
Here's where you can read more about that, and how they incorporated our concerns into their recommendations to the USPS!
UPDATE - February 26, 2007: the PRC has released their OPINION! ...AND... WHAT WE DID MATTERED!