Flutopedia - an Encyclopedia for the Native American Flute

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Playing the Native American Flute

This page begins the largest section of Flutopedia, topics on playing the Native American flute. There are many techniques and tricks that the Native American flute community in particular and the larger community of musicians and music educators have developed.

Let the topics in this section be a guide to developing your own musicality. Try something out and see if it works, for you. If you find that you're inspired, dig deeper and work towards making it part of your musical repertoire. If it doesn't suite your style, then just click the Next Page button.

The Path …

A central theme in the Western approach to music education is a perscribed path for developing musicians. There is often program of graded musical exercises and challenges that take all students through a similar path.

In contrast, the approach to the Native American flute is far more personal. Just as each flute is unique, each flute player must find their own path, exploring what interests them, developing the area that is at the forefront today. This is an approach that seems to suit people with little or no formal musical training, or who may have been turned off by more formalized approaches to music.

This shift in the learning and growth process can be unsettling for people who grew up in a Western education system. People who are accustomed to having a clearly laid out path with milestones will find no such path on this instrument.

Here is a audio stream that I believe captures this philosophy beautifully. It is by the great music educator, W. A. Mathieu, from The Listening Book:

No One Can Tell You

W. A. Mathieu. Track A23 of The Listening Book and The Musical Life.


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