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A glimpse into the future of classical music as seen during Alexa Still's Summer Flute School

The Sensible Flutist: A glimpse into the future of classical music as seen during Alexa Still's Summer Flute School

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A glimpse into the future of classical music as seen during Alexa Still's Summer Flute School

I attended Alexa Still's Summer Flute School over the past weekend. I jumped on the opportunity while looking for other classes to attend when I was applying for the Ithaca Flute Institute.

While the Ithaca class I attended was comprised of serious students, the competition was fierce. I wanted that type of environment to reacclimate even though I don't entirely agree with it. That type of competition was the primary reason I ventured out into the real world. I didn't want to feel pressure to practice anymore. I wanted to practice because I love playing the flute. It took about 2 years, but that passion has returned with full force.

For me, Alexa's class was like coming home and I was completely taken with the concept of the masterclass. I teach all my students with the same kind of honest supportiveness. Alexa accepts performers for the Summer School on a first come, first serve basis with an application process intended to screen and select only those enthusiastic about the flute and a kind, supportive attitude. She does a fantastic job selecting the performers for such an intimate class setting.

Everything about the class was exactly as I expected it to be. We ate lunch and dinner with Alexa, and she was always around and always willing to answer questions after the class was done for the day. This type of class and how it was such a unique experience for me brings me to my point for this post - musicians that give their time to professionals and amateurs alike says so much about who they are personally and professionally. This is the way of the future. Musicians must be approachable and must engage their audience. Alexa embodied these two principles during the class, and setting a great example for all of us.

Alexa treated us all with respect, and provided insightful comments during each performers' session that could benefit the entire class. All of us came into the class knowing the ground rules. We all respected those rules, and as a result, there was some really great discussion about the flute all while being supportive of one another. I am interested in seeing if there are other flute masterclasses, or even masterclasses for other instruments, that approach learning in this way. To think of all the implications stemming from such a unique masterclass experience is exciting. I hope that I can make my own small contribution in passing along the knowledge and perspective I gained from attending a intense 2 day class.

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