Monday, September 10, 2012


Flute Stories are coming in!  Please enjoy these glimpses into flutists and their relationships with their flutes. 

My flute is an absolute constant in my life. For the past 8 years, she has always been there for me- waiting patiently in her case. She doesn't care if I am angry or sad or frustrated and over the years I have learned how much more she had in her- she is capable of so much that I am able to be a lifelong learner. She is so meaningful to me that I named her (Delilah) after a few weeks from her birthplace of Brannen Brothers! She's also spoiled, never having been played without me first brushing my teeth immediately before. Am I crazy for it? Others may think so, but as long as I have Delilah I have a consistent place to escape to that has brought me the most emotional, difficult, and rewarding moments of my life.

N.K.P., Valdosta, GA

My Brannen, for whom I originally waited 9 months (talk a Papa in the waiting room) has been with me now for 29 years. Playing gigs with Sammy, Sinatra, Liza, Mel Torme, Ella, all the Motown acts, plays, recording dates and numerous other jobs!
  We've trekked the globe on tours, but have mostly been happiest playing duets with friends.
 My wife Lee Ann and I were so impressed with the flute (OK, I was) we named our first pup, a Rottweiler, "Mrs. Brannen"!
  But sadly, even though we had a great run it's time for me to find a new partner. The flute that is! Maybe someday you'll be writing about #559!

 R.P., Egg Harbor Township, NJ

 I play on a Yamaha 481H. It has a b foot, open holes, inline g, sterling silver head and body, and silver plated keys. To me it is a very nice flute and has been with me for a very long time. It has also gone to many places with me and was used in honor groups and many auditions. When I first got it, it felt much nicer than my previous flute. The better sound was already very obvious. It also felt much more comfortable. When I brought it home it was about two weeks before an audition. Everyone kept convincing me to use my old closed holed flute that was all silver plated. Unfortunately, I wanted to use my new flute. I brought it to my private teacher to make the final decision and to her it was very obvious that my new one was much better. She automatically said to use my new one on the audition. I am hoping to upgrade to a nicer flute especially with a C# trill key for college. But currently, this flute is doing well. But, if I do not upgrade I will at least get a new headjoint for it. This flute has been amazing and has served me well and I intend to keep it forever. Upgrading anything about the flute will change the feel forever and will never be the same. Currently, this flute has the perfect feel. Although there are better flutes out in existence, this flute will always be a good back up in any event.

 T.C., Valencia, CA

Congratulations to the three first responders to the "My Flute's Story" project!  The Erv Monroe "Special Fingerings" book has been sent out to you!  Here are the other stories that were submitted:

I’m a Haynes flute, basic model closed hole, no Gizmo no B foot .  I was born in Boston in 1932.  My memory fails me who bought me but I ended up being sold to a no-talent Jr, High Schooler named Jay who just learning to play.  Wow, did I take some abuse.  I can’t believe I sounded so bad.  Eventually Jay went from dreadful to mediocre and played me through Jr High, High School, University, and Grad School. I will say he did take good care of me and overhauled me when I needed new pads. He even made me a beautiful figured Mahogany case when the old Haynes case wore out. He was a better technician than a musician.  

Jay got married, had a daughter, .who had some talent.   He gave me to her in Jr. High School.  I was subsequently stolen from her locker in High School. I was devastated.   I was insured, but Nationwide Insurance dragged their feet and refused to pay untilI threatened with a suit.  Finally on the day the check finally arrived a call came in from the Fairfax County Police Dept.  They had recovered me.  A juvenile had tried to pawn me in Washington D.C.  The pawn shop owner, suspecting it unlikely that a young punk with hat on backwards was the true owner of a Haynes, He called Haynes who informed him I was stolen.  The pawnshop owner stalled the kid and called the cops.  No Jay didn’t keep the check.
Jay’s daughter went on to the University of Delaware, played me in the marching band and was selected as one of two from the State to play in the All American Band which played for Reagan’s inauguration. 
After college I went back to Jay.  After a long slack period he resumed playing at age 72.  He is now a member of the Mid-shore Community Band.  Last Fall he had the great honor of playing with the Baltimore Symphony as part of the Rusty Musicians program.  Although he now has a new Haynes from Joan Sparks, I still sound good, although I had to suffer the indignity of having a Powell headjoint thrust upon me.  The suffering was short lived however when Jay recut my headjoint and I now out did the Powell.  Serves him right!
It’s a little sad to think of being put away after all these years.  But on the other hand I think of the good times when I was really played hard and the pleasure and sense of accomplishment I gave my owner.
I’m hoping be put to good use by one of Jay’s Grandchildren.  It’s been a great ride and I look forward to many years of music making.  C you looking in tune.

T.L.  Baltimore, MD
I play on a solid silver Mateki 052 with a 14K gold Nagahara head.  I always swore I would not be a “headjoint shopper.”  “I don’t believe in that," I thought.  Life has a way of surprising us.
 I met my flute when I was 14 years old.  It came in the mail – one of several I had on trial in the difficult task of purchasing a new flute.  To complicate matters, I was living in New Mexico, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and only 14 years old, so mail was really the only option for me at the time.  Flutes came and went, and when I tried this one, sure, I thought it was great.  I thought all the flutes I was trying were great.  I was 14 – what did I know about buying a professional instrument?  Luckily I had an incredibly talented teacher and some very savvy musical parents who were very influential in my choice. 
It was only years later, that I realized what a gem of an instrument it really is.  (It has a C# trill and a D# roller!)  I auditioned for college on it, and grad school.  I won my first orchestral job as a professional on this flute.  I played on the original headjoint for years.  I was always one of those people who dreaded trying new instruments (still am!), because I am afraid of finding something I will like better than mine, but not have the means to purchase it.  So I content my self with what I have.  However, one day, at a small reunion of my graduate flute friends, we were up in our teacher’s studio playing for one another and our teacher, Marina Piccinini.  One of my good friends gave me her gold Nagahara headjoint and said, “Here, try this.”  No way, I said.  She pressed.  I caved and slid her headjoint onto my flute.  I played a little bit, and in a moment I have never forgotten, Marina tilted her head and raised her eyebrows as if to say, “Well, now listen to that.”  It was obvious to all that this was what I needed.  “Ok, so who is going to pay for it?” I wondered.  I went home sickened at the thought of having to buy a new headjoint – life would never be the same with that luscious sound in my ears.  A few months later, the same friend invited me to a Nagahara showcase.  I came away with that same 14k headjoint, and the title I thought I’d never own of “Headjoint Shopper!” 
The headjoint and I get along beautifully, and the flute has accepted it as an adopted member of our little family.  It truly is a perfect match.  Even still, I think a new flute is a great thing, but an old flute is like an old friend.  You just know what it will do, what it can do, and the beautiful things you can do together.  ~Anna Meyer, Philadelphia, PA

No comments:

Post a Comment