I feel the practice of music the same way that poet Adrienne Rich described her writing practice. As in, “a fierce, destabilizing force, a wave pulling you out further than you thought you wanted to be. You have to change your life.”
Studying – really, surrendering yourself to a process – is like that. I’ve been fortunate (aside from a Masters degree in Flute Performance) to have learned from teachers such as Keith Underwood, Tara Helen O’Connor, Erv Monroe, Janet See, Sarah Jackson, Zart Doubourian-Eby, Kirana teachers of Hindustani music, Barbara Conable, Marilyn Shotola and Rebecca Steele. I have absorbed just as much from brilliant musical collaborators from all over the world. My own artistic practice, which you can read about here, is expansive and evolving, with multiple flutes, genres, histories and media.
At this point my teaching practice is selective. I teach masterclasses when I travel, and private lessons where I live. I like teaching students who are awake to new sounds, new concepts, and to keeping our many traditions bearing fruit. I only work with students who are fully engaged, and willing to stay energized in a culture that often works against them.
Studying means creative combinations of flute-circuit-training and informed imagination. Great physical technique creates a house for the musical spirits to live in. While good teaching breaks it all down to manageable pieces, good studenting is a complex attention to the struggles and joy. There are no shortcuts to playing music – but where there are, I will always share…
Here is the root of the matter. What kind of artist do you want to be? And what will you add to the table?