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Flute/Seating in an orchestra

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Question
A new woodwind tutor has just joined in my county, who is an actual flute player. At the youth orchestra(where I currently play first flute)she was watching us to check we were playing correctly when she came over and told me to put my flute behind the 2nd flutes head, so he is sitting slightly in front of me. Last year, I had just been told to hold it out at 90, so there was a small gap between flutes. Should I position myself based on what I have originally been told, or what I have recently been told?

Answer
Wow, Jasmine.
I hope that you are comfortable playing your flute at either angle.  In a group situation, it's almost like politics, trying to figure out where to point that flute.  Since I cannot see what's going on there, I can't really give an adequate assessment.  I personally like the 90 degree angle, and so does my embouchure.  But depending on who is in charge of your youth orchestra, you have to go with the flow.  Try your best to cooperate with whomever is in charge.  If the whole section cooperates, all should go well.

This I know from experience.  If a trumpet player is in charge, pity the trumpet section.  If a drummer is in charge, pity the drum section.  In your case, if a flute person is in charge, the flute section will be under the most intense scrutiny of the entire group.  But they will end up being the most excellent flute section ever!

With this in mind, when you go to concerts and listen to various groups, you can almost always tell what instrument the director plays best.

I wish I could be more helpful.  The one thing for sure, however, is this.  Don't whack the next person in the head or arm when they are also trying to play!

Here's wishing you great success, Jasmine!  May you play beautifully, at every angle.

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Denise J. Sipe

Expertise

These are the topics I CAN answer... How to play, from beginner to professional. Tips and tricks, breathing, auxilliary fingering techniques Tone Quality Listening--Developing your ears Technique --Bringing the notes up and off of the page, and making them "your own music". Playing solo, small groups, bands, orchestras Digitally reproduced, vs live accompaniment Accompanying vocalists, dancers, other instrumentals.

Experience

Soloist, small groups, large marching bands, symphony orchestras, stage bands and orchestras, theater, church music, jazz, classical, folk music

Organizations
I'm independent. But professionals have often hired me to play in their groups. Giving back to the community where I played in the High School Band, I am a former member of Williamsport, MD Community Band, a current member of New Horizons Band in Hagerstown, MD, and Bass Flute Player for the TOOT UNCOMMON FLUTES flute choir of Williamsport, MD. I often perform solo as "Toot Uncommon" and had a web-based business where I sold flutes of all sizes, shapes, and colors. The show is uncommon. The locations are often uncommon. And the variety of musical instruments is definitely uncommon! I am a member of NFA, the National Flute Association.

Publications
I didn't write for any publications. I leave that up to the more elite musicians.

Education/Credentials
This should have been my career. I am an engineer,and a trained professional clown. But my music is my passion. Flute is my favorite, though I also play many woodwinds and some brass. I am currently playing percussion in a volunteer concert band, and have drum corps experience, where I often played marching bass drum. I am totally self-taught. But I have often played in groups made up mostly of professionals. All in all I am still the area's best-kept secret.

Awards and Honors
Biggest honor of my career was playing an emotional piece, and looking out over the audience. Two big, tough construction workers had tears rolling down their cheeks.

Past/Present Clients
I've been teaching beginning and intermediate flute/piccolo students of all ages in MD and PA since the early 1970s.

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