FLUTE Member Of The Week
June 12 to 18, 2000

I was quite thrilled when I received the email from Larry. So....

My big mission in the flute world is to educate people how their instruments work. I studied Musical Instrument Repair at Renton Vocational Technical Institute with Lars Kirmser. Combining my repair background and my current vocation, teaching, I lead a workshop titled, “Is it my Flute, or is it me?” The workshop has people look at their flutes from a mechanical perspective. Participants are lead through a visual inspection looking at pads, key to key adjustments, and lost motion. We then work through the play testing patterns used by many repair technicians. The visual inspection and play testing patterns gives a player the skills to assess if their instrument is in good playing condition or if it has been in for repairs were the repairs done correctly.

One of my goals is to continue to play the flute until I’m an old lady. Towards this goal I studied about six months with Karen DeWig, an Alexander Instructor and flute teacher. Karen changed my world. I no longer smash my flute into my face and am now playing with a relaxed embouchure. Before I was controlling the air with my throat and I’m still working on not using my throat and using my lips. The whole point of working with Karen has been to play with “tone” and not with tension. I think studying yoga has also really been beneficial.

Currently I play with the Lower Columbia Symphonic Band in Longview, Washington. Gary Nyberg, the director continues to challenge and motivate me as a musician. The flute trio I play in with Gretchen Scholl and Brian Lowe is currently on sabbatical (read we’re all just too busy at the moment.) We’ve enjoyed playing trios by Warren Barker, Carl Riley, Laszlo Zempleni, Sandra Howard, and Katherine Hoover.

I started flute in the fifth grade. I had been thinking about this decision for most of fourth grade and decided to play flute because most of the cheerleaders in my small school played flute. (I was shallow.) In sixth grade I was allowed to play in the Jr. High school band. I got in trouble because I tried to go to sixth grade band AND Jr. High band. You can’t blame a girl for trying. Dennis Creek and Harvey Redmond were both influential in my musical development.

My parents bought me an open holed flute as a graduation present as senior. I received it three short weeks before solo and ensemble contest. I couldn’t wait to show Mr. Redmond my new flute. As he was admiring it he slyly slipped out, “When my wife got her first open holed flute she just threw the plugs in the garbage.” That was all it took, I threw those suckers in the garbage. I had a nerve wracking three weeks and did ok at the contest.

The Pacific Northwest has a spring music festival called Music in May. I had the opportunity to play in the orchestra my senior year. While the conductor was working the strings a photographer came in and took all the wind players out into a courtyard area. He said he was taking photos for a new youth magazine that was going to be published by the Instrumentalist. We went back to rehearsal and I thought no more about it. Three years later when I was in college, a picture of me found itself on the cover of the Instrumentalist. Just this year, I saw this same photo on a bulletin board in a band room at the school I teach at.

Sharon Floyd

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