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I was hooked! (By Seth Rosenthal)

by Valentina Jotovic on October 28, 2010

No, this isn't an admission of drug use, its a part of why I am a flutist.  And maybe, how to help a flute student start to love the playing too.

My father was a musician, and so naturally he played music in theman playing the flute house on our record player all the time.  I got to know the sounds of the New World Symphony, the Pastorale Symphony, La Mer and many other wonderful orchestra works.  When I picked the flute to play (because it was easy to carry) he started to buy records of Jean-Pierre Rampal. That golden gorgeous tone became a regular fixture in my head.

Then, I started taking lessons from my Junior High School teacher who was a flutist. He was a good teacher but I wasn't ready to start really practicing yet. I made Queens (NYC) All-boro band and orchestra,and they were fun, but in 9th grade two things happened.  First I was invited to play in the Queens College Orchestral Society, an adult amateur orchestra.  In spite of its being amateur, it was a very good group.  My father played in
the viola section and my flute teacher was principal flute (probably how I got in there).  That first concert playing
some of the works I had heard on the record player, but being in the middle of it, was the first "hook."


I loved it, I started to practice more, and then my father decided I needed a better teacher, and sent me to Harold Bennett, at the time the Principal Flutist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
He taught me how to practice, and despite some of his quirkiness I began to love it more and more, and appreciated both Harold and Jean-Pierre Rampal (who was really my flute idol) more and more.

Years later, I was working professionally in New York at a gala for the Lincoln Center Library, playing first flute in the orchestra.  And into the rehearsal walks Jean-Pierre Rampal.  He was to play a
concerto with the orchestra (no flute parts though)  and I got to meet him and talk to him a little.  I was in heaven!  Today I am only sorry I didn't tell him how much his recordings meant to me.
 
The lesson? I suppose not all of this applies to every student, but play music in the house, have your student listen to recordings of great flutists, send them to teachers who help them learn
to work and enjoy it, and encourage them to play with bands or orchestras where they can experience music all around them.

Seth Rosenthal, Flute Instructor

Topics: flute lessons

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