Friday, February 15, 2013

Native American Flute

I recently started playing a Native American Flute (NAF). Historically, NAFs are played by improvisation. I read music and have never improvised. I’m trying, but all my melodies sound very WASP-ish. I am white, after all . . .
There are flute circles made up of people who play the NAF, just like there are drum circles. I recently attended one and it was amazing! First, the setting was the Nature Center of a metropark, a beautiful log and stone structure. We met in the birding room, which has 3 sides of windows perched right on the Huron River; it’s outfitted with lodge-style furniture and a nice fireplace. The acoustics are great, too.
I was expecting everyone to show up and play their flute, like happens in a drum circle. I didn’t realize that NAFs become addictive after you obtain the first one. Everyone (but me) had at least 6 different flutes and some people had nearly 20! There are all kinds of them and once you learn to play them, it seems you want to make them.
The people were all so nice; the organizer, Karen, said that everyone who plays NAF is nice. One of the guys kind of took me under his wing; apparently, he had trouble overcoming his past traditional musical education when he started, so he had lots of tips for me. People showed up with drums, too, just to keep everyone in sync.
I’m excited to learn from these people!

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