It has been a year since this blog was launched. The blog is the realization of a long held desire to be of service in the world of school music education with regards to flute pedagogy. Why is being able to do this so important to me personally? It has a lot to do with my own start and journey as a flutist.
I decided I wanted to play the flute when I was four! That seems as amazing to me now as it probably sounds to you. I was taken to a summer band concert where I introduced to one of the flute players, the daughter of acquaintances of my parents. I was so impressed with that shiny flute and piccolo, I decided I had to do it too. In the third grade, I got my chance to start on flute. I never even considered another instrument as an option. I remember I was told to smile to make an embouchure.
My family moved every year or two or three because of my dad’s work. We lived all over central and southern New Jersey from the shore to the Delaware River and places in between. Every school had a different situation with regards to instrumental music. In fourth and fifth grade, my school had no instrumental music, but had a closet full of band instruments. I took lessons briefly with a college student who was a music ed major at a local state school. In sixth grade, I did get band lessons. In 7th and 8th grade there was a tiny instrumental program with a teacher coming in once a week to work with maybe 10 kids. In high school, my band teachers played trumpet, tuba and clarinet. And I had lessons for maybe a year in junior high with a woodwind doubler. There was also the community orchestra my dad found for me where I played once a week in junior high and my first year of high school.
I’m still amazed I got into a college music school at all, given my spotty musical training. I did practice a lot all through high school, and participated in the area and regional band festivals. However, I learned in the first few weeks of college that a lot of the information I had been given by my well-intentioned band teachers was just plain incorrect.
- smiling embouchure (somehow by sheer luck avoided the “kiss and roll”)
- tighter higher, looser lower
- fingerings – 1st finger on middle D and Eb, using right hand little finger, middle finger F#
- I knew nothing about phrasing, good breathing habits, correct articulation…..
With the help of great teachers, a lot of determination, and many years of hard work, I overcame these deficits and become the flutist I am today. You can hear me on SoundCloud or YouTube. As a private instructor and college professor, I have also spent many years observing band directors in their jobs and have come to appreciate what an enormous task it is to be a music director, pedagogue with all the instruments and program administrator all rolled into one. You have a huge job! My hat is off to all of you wonderfully successful school music directors out there. I admire your commitment and the passion you bring to your work. I share your passion and desire to see the students succeed.
Thank you for your readership! I’m honored that so many of you have found this blog helpful. Please subscribe, share with your colleagues and come back regularly for more flute tips. Feel free to comment and ask questions. What would you like to know about flute pedagogy? Maybe the answer to your question will be the next flute tip. Find me on Facebook or email me your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about clinics and workshops click here.