This article was published in the April 2018 edition of the SEMFA newsletter.
Lindsey Goodman, a versatile soloist, chamber collaborator, orchestral musician, recording artist, teacher, and clinician, recently performed a chamber music concert for the Southeast Michigan Flute Association with her quartet, PANdemonium4 as SEMFA's spring guest artist! Having met her in the past, I am inspired by her impressive work ethic, time management skills, and experience performing and commissioning contemporary music. In light of the upcoming release of her new album, returning to heights unseen: New Music for the Flute, I wanted to interview her about this project, what motivates her and keeps her going through her very busy schedule, and advice she has for young and ambitious flutists like herself who enjoy doing a little bit of everything. Below is a transcription of my recent phone interview with Lindsey Goodman. If you wish to pre-order her newest solo album, please click here.
1) What first got you started in performing electroacoustic works, and what is your favorite electroacoustic piece you have performed to date?
LG: "I was a student at the Manhattan School of Music in New York (I was getting an orchestral performance degree), when Patti Monson, who was on faculty and very involved in the New Music Ensemble and New Music Program, gave a solo recital that included many electroacoustic works. It was the first time I had ever heard anything like that, and I was simply blown away. There she was onstage with microphones and foot pedals and computers and speakers, and it was so cool! The next week, I went to the library, and I checked out every recording of electroacoustic flute and every score for electroacoustic flute. It was a done deal for me! It's always been interesting to me that our lives are so involved with technology. I have a total iPhone addiction, am sending e-mails all the time, and there's always technology in my life. As 21st-century artists, we want to connect with the sort of lives we lead, so, if we don't incorporate technology in some way, then we're being dishonest about the sort of people we are. To do electroacoustic works makes sense to me because it's a way of incorporating something that's such a big factor in our lives into our art-making. It's hard to name my favorite piece, because my favorite piece is the piece I'm playing! I try to live in the moment when it comes to music-making. Tonight in orchestra rehearsal, my favorite piece will be Sibelius 5, and, when I am performing my solo electroacoustic shows, I'll get to play my favorite piece eight times in a row as I move through the program! When you're performing new music, you can't expect everyone to love every piece, but you can expect that audience members will find something to love in a concert of electroacoustic music. For that reason, you have to play all of the pieces like they're your favorite, because they will be somebody's!"
2) How do you find balance between juggling teaching duties, ensemble rehearsals, orchestra rehearsals, and working on your own solo projects? What advice do you have for ambitious young flutists such as yourself in regards to time management and prioritizing responsibilities?
LG: "I'm definitely the sort of person who thrives on being busy. It can be a blessing and a curse, but I accomplish much more and I'm much happier when I'm an object in motion. A rolling stone that gathers no moss - that's definitely me! I'm not the sort of person who could ever have a 9-5 job in the same place; it doesn't work for the type of person I am. Having teaching, orchestral playing, chamber concerts, solo projects, and everything else helps me to develop different aspects of myself so that I have more to offer as an artist. If I just taught, I would become a boring teacher very quickly, if I just played orchestral repertoire, I'd become a boring orchestral player very quickly, and if I just played solo electroacoustic music, I'd also become a boring soloist very quickly. Everything you put into yourself comes out in your art, so the balance is intrinsic to making sure that I'm fed as a human and as an artist. My advice to young flutists about this is to become BFFs with your calendar (Google calendar app and I are really tight). I'm a big believer in scheduling almost everything, which includes taking care of myself so that I can provide my best to everyone. I avoid skimping on sleep, diet, and exercise (most of the time!), or on time to feed myself with new ideas by reading books, listening to podcasts, going to movies, and traveling. The more experiences I have and the healthier I am (and as a small muscle athlete, the better in shape I am), the better I'll be able to communicate to my audiences. Even though it sometimes seems like you have practice 24 hours a day, as a young flutist you need to sleep, eat well, exercise, and nurture your important relationships to make sure that you have the resources available for your audience when it comes time to make that giant personal withdrawal of energy and emotion in performance."
3) You are about to release a solo CD titled returning to heights unseen: New Music for the Flute. Would you mind discussing what inspired this project and your process in creating it? Did you have to overcome any obstacles?
LG: "The album comes out May 11th, and I'm super excited because I love all of the pieces on the album and hope that flutists will find something they love that they will want to play! I hope that flutists of all musical backgrounds will find something that speaks to them about the world outside their practice studio on this album. I released my first solo album of all commissioned works, reach through the sky, in April 2016, and, about the time I was releasing it, I realized that, since I had started working on that project, I had already commissioned enough works to fill another disc. I wanted to record those pieces, too, so I immediately started the project for returning to heights unseen. The inspiration for the album is the composers, the music they wrote me, and how inspiring it is to be able to share that music with the widest possible audience, beyond just live performance. The process was great because I had a wonderful team. I partnered with PARMA Recordings for the release, distribution, and mastering, and I partnered with Tuff Sound Recording in Pittsburgh for the recording and editing. I couldn't have asked for better people to work with to make the album successful! As a recording artist, I'm exceedingly hands-on, wanting my hands in every editing, marketing, and design decision, just as I'm hands-on with interpretive decisions in the music. I was really grateful to have wonderful people to work with for recording, in addition to wonderful composers to collaborate with on all of these new pieces! The process was intense across 2 years, but, when I listen to the finished album, I still love all of the pieces and the finished product! In terms of overcoming obstacles, the recording industry has changed over the past few generations. Long-gone are the days where anyone could expect to make a fortune from making an album, and the new model is pay-to-play. This was my first time producing an album in which I had to sponsor the entire financing myself. When I signed the contract to make the album, I saw the price tag and wondered where that would ever come from! All I knew was that I believed in the pieces, and that I wanted them to be recorded to further these composers' visions. The biggest obstacle was funding, and I remain so grateful that, thanks to a crowdfunding campaign in the fall of 2017, I've never felt so supported as an artist. Over six weeks, 137 people lovingly crowdfunded the entire project, raising all of the money needed and more to make it possible. If anyone asks 'does anybody care about new music?', I say 'they absolutely do, and they want more of it'! The thing that felt like the biggest obstacle at the beginning of the project - getting it funded - turned out to be the best thing about the project, - knowing that people absolutely want to hear more of this kind of music!"
4) What is a piece of advice you would have liked to give yourself while you were a music student during your collegiate studies?
LG: "My best advice isn't my own! My teacher Robert Langevin gave me this piece of advice when I was an undergraduate. He told me to practice as much as I could while I was in school. Even though I thought I was so busy then, he knew that I would never have more time to practice than I did as a student because, if I was lucky enough to work professionally, I would always wish that I'd spent more time practicing during college. I tell this same thing to my students all the time, and they have the same dumbfounded look on their faces that I had when Robert told me! I had screwed up my face like 'are you kidding me? What are you talking about?', but, now I know that, of course, he was right. I'm constantly thanking "past Lindsey" for learning music so well as a student because "present Lindsey" doesn't have to spend time relearning and fixing mistakes. I only wish I had spent even more time practicing when I was a student! Students, it's never too late and never too often to work on your fundamentals: tone, articulation, technique, scales. Commit to that every day, because that will pay you back when you are a professional out there working. Practice, practice, practice!"
By: Francesca Leo