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  • Writer's pictureChristina Andrews

Flute Method Books

Through method books, Building Blocks of Flute Playing and Foundations of Flute Technique, Christina Andrews brings together decades of flute teaching, performance, and study. The technical and artistic principles distilled in these books represent years of work with internationally renowned flutists Alexander Murray (Royal Opera & London Symphony), Jacob Berg (St. Louis Symphony), Jean Berkenstock (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Mary Stolper (Music of the Baroque, DePaul University), and Leone Buyse (Boston Symphony). Also influential were Erv Monroe (Detroit Symphony), Jeanne Baxtresser (New York Philharmonic), and Julius Baker (New York Philharmonic) whose wisdom and artistry she enjoyed through numerous masterclasses.

Christina completed formal studies in flute performance and music education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis. She taught flute at numerous institutions in the Midwest, including Interlochen Center for the Arts, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Washington University, University of Chicago Lab Schools, Waldorf School of Chicago, and Moody Bible Institute. Many of her students have pursued professional careers as flutists.

Of particular influence in the development of these method books were the pedagogical works of Paul Taffanel and Philippe Gaubert, along with the concepts of tone and expression espoused in the French methods in general. The earliest and longest-lasting influences stemmed from the recordings and live performances of the legendary flutists Jean-Pierre Rampal and Maurice Sharp. Paying homage to her favorite flutist, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Christina authored two articles in The Flutist Quarterly in 2001:“Jean-Pierre Rampal: Looking Back A Year After His Death” (XXVI/4:42-46) and “Remembering Jean-Pierre: An Interview with Françoise Rampal” (XXVI/4:47-54).

After years of teaching, performing in orchestras and chamber ensembles, and working as a music booking agent, Christina now resides in Napa, California, pursuing a career in freelance writing.

Building Blocks of Flute Playing is a comprehensive beginning method that addresses all aspects of early flute playing: embouchure, posture, fingerings, breathing, articulation, tone, rhythm, vibrato, technique, music theory, and more. There is also a wide range of musical styles represented throughout, from basic early melodies to folk tunes to holiday favorites, rounds, duets, and sets of melodies from famous composers. Of particular influence in the development of Building Blocks are the pedagogical works of Paul Taffanel and Philippe Gaubert and the concepts of technique, tone, and expression espoused in the French methods generally.

Foundations of Flute Technique is for the intermediate flutist and intended to fill the gap many flute teachers find between beginning method books and the next level of etude and scale studies. While the flute repertoire is not lacking for etudes, most collections pose problems for younger students. Either the etudes are too long, too many technical issues are addressed in a single piece, articulations are overly complicated, or difficult key signatures and chromaticism result in reading problems. In addition, formidable breath phrasing often keeps younger students from meeting the technical demands of the piece. Foundations of Flute Technique seeks to eliminate these problems: articulations are simplified, etudes shortened (and in some cases transposed), and breath marks follow a regular pattern. Each etude addresses a specific technical challenge and care has been taken to choose melodically appealing pieces.



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