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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What a difference a flute makes…


Emily has played a flute for several of her fourteen years.  I remember visiting when she had been playing only a few months and I recognized the song she played—The Great Rock Candy Mountain.

A year ago she and Laura moved here, with instruments.  Emily was assimilated at once into the high school marching band, swept up even before school began.  When she came back from band camp a year ago she said her flute broke almost at once, but someone loaned her a flute. 

So began our regular treks to music stores, for this repair or that.  We went to the music store recommended by the high school band to have some spring replaced or key unbent, and picked up the flute on the way to an event.    “Try that out,” Aunt Janice suggested, pulling away from the curb.  It wasn’t even repaired!

We found a music store several towns south of us.   The staff could always repair whatever went wrong with the flute.  The last time we were there, before a concert before the end of the last school year, I asked into the price of a replacement student flute.  I flipped my calendar three months ahead and wrote “Buy Flute.”

My daughter purchased Emily’s old flute on EBay.  It was a well used student Armstrong flute when Emily got it.  She named it Luna, for Neil Armstrong’s trip to the moon.  Emily practiced often; the band has an extensive repertoire; the kids are expected to be proficient, from memory.  Frankly, I never thought Emily much of a flutist, but I admired her spunk. 

She and Laura and I went to the flute store last week, and laid Luna on the counter.  We could hear a student’s lesson from a room down the hall; we had the showroom to ourselves.  The man behind the counter brought out three used instruments, told Emily to run the scale then play one of her marching songs. She repeated on another flute, then played a note I’d never heard.  “Low C,” the man said.  Emily grinned.

The two of them eliminated one flute, then another. The man brought out another flute for Emily to try.  I waited in another corner of the store. The last flute sounded so rich and mellow I went back to watch her play.  Emily was beaming.  She can really play.  She even riffed a couple notes.  It was the one, a Gemeihardt.

As he was writing up the deal, the man reached into the case and brought out a two thousand dollar Gemeihardt.  “Try this while I ring you up.”  The sound was beautiful, and this from a grandma who is tone deaf.

The musician behind the counter took back the flute and played it for us.  He played it like a jazz instrument; the notes talked to each other.  He told Emily its pads made the difference.  Then Emily took Ginny, and a new bottle of valve oil, and we left.  


20 comments:

  1. Good for that talented and spunky kiddo learning the flute.

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  2. I cannot hear a flute without thinking of my friend Martha. Since I don't know one note from another I can only say I appreciate those that produce such beautiful music. Best wishes, Emily, with your music... maybe we'll hear it on the blog someday?

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  3. Ginny? From Harry Potter? That flute will be magic!
    Jane x

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  4. My Dad always said, the right tool for the right job.

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    1. So did my parents. Mom also said, it's not the original cost, it's the upkeep.

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  5. It sounds like she found the right instrument for her!

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  6. I agree with Alain's comment. I love the flute, great instrument.

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  7. My daughter, Heather, played the flute ( first seat) and I am hoping that her daughter will do the same. I think though hat after a year or two, if her daughter enjoys playing the instrument, that she get her a better one than the one she used. As you found out, the instrument matters.

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  8. I love listening to the flute, and I know how hard it is to play well, because I tried to learn. Something about my lips and a slight overbite meant it was more stressful than anything else and I quit. Yes, I quit. Good for Emily for sticking with it, and I hope the new flute can keep up with her talent!

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  9. What a wonderful post. It made me want to learn the flute, too.

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  10. Music is such a gift, such a good way to interact with others too.

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  11. I'm also tone deaf - isn't it great when such a small instrument can give others so much pleaure - I hope Emily becomes an accomplished Flutist (spelling?) ... :)

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  12. There's flutes and there's flutes and then there's the right flute. I'm glad Emily has the right flute at last. It will make a huge difference. As you already heard for yourself in the store.

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  13. I've always been very shy musically. I would like to play an instrument but I'm too embarrassed to even practice alone.

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  14. A music education is a gift that lasts a lifetime!

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  15. I so envy folks who can sing or play an instrument....I couldn't carry a tune if you gave me a bucket.

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  16. You had your own concert, and Emily will gain an experience that will last a lifetime.

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  17. Music in your life is for a lifetime..Thanks, Grandma, for including this in the education of your grandchildren..

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  18. Oh wow! How wonderful that Emily has this gift of music and how wonderful that you are helping to foster it. She'll have this blessing for the rest of her life.

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