Dr. Cate is a flute performer, scholar and teacher based in the Chicago area. She is an artist/scholar for Azumi flutes and appears around the US and internationally at music conferences, clinics and conventions. She is passionate about helping kids play the flute well and helping school music directors understand how to teach the flute more effectively to their students.

Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Cate has a DMA and MM from the Manhattan School of Music and a BM from the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts (later the University of the Arts). She’s been in the Chicago area for more than twenty-five years, where she has a large and successful private studio, has been teaching private lessons in public schools and taught at several colleges as an adjunct professor of flute. Currently, she is Adjunct Professor of Flute at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL. These days, you can find her on Zoom giving lessons, presenting workshops and leading online ensembles.

14 thoughts on “About”

  1. Sherry Vakharia said:

    I love your exercises. How can I purchase them?


  2. Kimberly Forbragd said:

    Hello Dr. Cate:

    I am an “older” adult returning to the flute after a 40+ year hiatus. I’m strictly an amateur. My hope is to polish up my skills so that I can play respectably in my church’s music ministry.

    So I bought an early 1970’s Gemeinhardt M3S off eBay. All silver headjoint and body, B-foot, open hole. It was in really good shape but I did have it re-padded and adjusted. I don’t have much $$$ into it. I really like it and I suppose it was a good flute in its day.

    I’ve been taking private lessons for about 5 months now, and I’m researching a newer flute with of course a modern scale. I’ll be buying this one from a proper flute vendor. The Azumi AZ3 is my current favorite.

    In the USA it comes with the Z-Cut Headjoint. I am wondering if the S-Cut Headjoint would fit on the USA AZ3 body? The S-Cut seems to be a European item with the Britannia silver versus the USA Sterling. So maybe they are different tube dimensions.

    Having said the above, would there be any benefit to having both head joints in my amateur use? The descriptions of each headjoint make each sound very appealing for different purposes.

    Thank you for having such an informational website. I am hopeful you can give me some advice since you are familiar with the Azumi brand.




    • Hello Kimberly,

      I have never heard of the S-cut Altus headjoint. How interesting! My dealings are primarily with KHS-America, so I had no idea they had different cuts for different markets. I would assume it would fit any Azumi body. Here in the States, we have the Classic cut, Z-cut and V-cut. If you get an S-cut and it doesn’t exactly fit, a qualified repair person can size it for you.

      I think a lot of people find the headjoint cut they prefer and stick with that rather than changing it up. That way, you learn how your headjoint responds and you don’t have to keep relearning how to play on your headjoint. For the record, my Altus 1607 has a Limited headjoint with a gold riser and a Classic cut. I have a strong preference for the Classic cut over the Z-cut and V-cut.

      Hope that helps,
      Dr. Cate


      • Kimberly Forbragd said:

        Thank you Dr. Cate 🌝

        I think the S-Cut is also called the Classic Cut. What is it about the Classic that makes you prefer that over the Z-Cut and V-Cut?

        I played the Azumi AZ3 at the recent Florida Flute Convention. Prior to playing it, I was keen on the Yamaha 600 series — which was brilliant but a bit more than I wanted to spend as a hobbyist. The Azumi pleasantly surprised me.

        I have a lot more research to do before I make a choice. And I will also have my treacher help me along the way.


      • Kimberly, the Classic Cut requires precise placement of the airstream to get the maximum response. It is pretty neutral in that it allows the artist to shape and color the sound without imposing a particular aesthetic on the player. It’s definitely a pro style headjoint. If I remember from trying them, the V-cut is the most forgiving, giving maximum response for players who are in the process of developing their embouchure control and the Z-cut is somewhere between the Classic and the V-cut.


  3. Charlie Morgan said:

    Can’t find a ‘subscribe’ option. Love the info would like to subscribe.


    • On the left side of the screen scroll down and you will see a bullet point that says “Follow blog via email”. There is a little button there that says “Follow”. You’ll get an email notice about any new posts on the blog. Thanks for reading!


  4. Charlie Morgan said:

    As an amateur jazz player (though studied classical flute with the great Ann Kahn a while back), I have to switch back and forth between tenor sax and flute, and while tone in jazz is very important (but not as critical as in classical music), I wonder if sticking with the middle key F# fingering so it’s consistent on both instruments might be a worthy compromise. Anyone have thoughts on that.?


    • Hi Charlie, I understand your point. Ultimately you have to decide how important using the third key F# is to you. You have to weigh ease of fingering (for you) vs. the very clear difference in tone color and pitch you sacrifice by using the middle key F# fingering on flute. The pitch of middle key fingering is noticeably flatter and the color is somewhat duller as well. That’s why the flute specialists reserve that fingering for the E-F# trill only. Another thing to consider in your decision is that many flutists play more than one type of flute, i.e., baroque flute or pre-Boehm 8-10 key flutes. The fingering systems of the different instruments are significantly different from each other, and yet the players often switch between instruments daily in their practicing and even on the same gig. What is one small fingering difference between instruments that is contextual to a specific horn? Surely what you gain in tone color and intonation is worth the small extra effort to use the flute fingering for F#. It’s up to you.


      • You are right of course. Learning the complex improvisations of jazz makes me want to seek any shortcut— but this not one I will seek. (But I do love hearing how that middle finger in the third octave of the flute helps the intonation on the high F#. That may be a trade off worth using.


      • I love the middle finger F# in the third octave! At this point, I use it much more than the standard fingering. There are some combinations with the high Bb, where there is no other option than fourth finger F#, but otherwise, middle finger is the way to go up top.


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