The History of Flutopedia.com
This web site began on September 22, 2002, several years after I started playing Native American flutes. I had started collecting resources on playing and making flutes that begged to be shared, and the Web was the best way to share this information. The original site, FluteKey.com, was a simple list of resources, including sheet music, fingering diagrams, measurements of the Anasazi flutes from the Broken Flute Cave, samples of the sounds of flutes in various keys, an on-line version of the NAFlutomat tool to assist flute makers with construction measurements, and various sundry information.
Response was dramatic and traffic grew quickly. People were hungry for information! We continued to post topics over the years, largely in the realm of resources as opposed to actual flute instruction.
My wife, Vera Shanov, and I began leading workshops for Native American flute players in 2003. Teaching in a workshop setting was natural and fun, and these workshops grew into long weekend and full week Native Flute Schools that we lead in various places throughout each year. Rather than having people take notes (not fun during a workshop), we developed handouts, which grew in size and diversity over the years. When the paper became too much, we began emailing PDF files around.
The handouts worked well for people who had been to one of our workshops, but did not stand on their own. The question became … What's the best way to teach flute playing outside of the workshop or private lesson settings? We tried lots of modes … an on-line version of our workshops in the PalTalk environment, YouTube Native American flute Instruction Videos (see my Playing Native Flute over a Backing Track), designed an educational series of CDs (which became The Listening Book and The Darling Conversations), and transcribed the first three CDs of Mary Youngblood for a series of songbooks.
Each of these approaches to teaching Native American flute players had serious drawbacks of one kind or another. We wanted to provide information on a number of channels (text, audio, video, sheet music, images, etc) to a wide audience in a way that encouraged growth and development of the content, and none of the traditional product-oriented media suited that purpose.
During this time we built a recording studio, started a small record and music publishing company (Manifest Spirit), produced a dozen CDs, and began the Native Flute Tracks, a series of background tracks to support and enrich people's playing.
So, one evening while having dinner at a Chinese restaurant in mid-2009, we cooked up the Flutopedia concept:
A web site for finding resources and learning about the Native American flute that
reorganizes and updates the resources of FluteKey.com and
supports as much educational and enrichment material as possible.
And when we cracked open our fortune cookies, mine said: “Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one”. How perfect!
-- Clint Goss