Is there an empty space on the shelf where you keep your flute books? There are many wonderful flute books out there that could fill that space. Whether you want to discover more about the life of a great flutist or learn about the history of the flute and flute playing, discover how to deal with the physical challenges of playing or share the pleasure of a good flute story with a child, there’s a book out there for you.
Sir James Galway’s autobiography, The Man with the Golden Flute is a quick and enjoyable read and a great glimpse into the life of a modern musical giant. Sir James is funny and charming throughout. Told in Sir James’ colloquial style you can almost hear his Irish brogue as you read. Written in 2009 this is his second autobiography. His first, written in 1979, before his marriage to Lady Jeanne is out of print, but there are still plenty of used copies floating around.
Step back in time further to learn about the great performers and teachers who preceded Galway. Jean-Pierre Rampal’s autobiography Music, My Love documents a career that began in the late 1940’s. At that time much of the Baroque flute repertoire had fallen into obscurity and many English flute players hadn’t yet made the switch from wooden to silver flutes.
Want to go back in time further? There are some wonderful biographies available about the pioneers of the modern flute. Check out books about Marcel Moyse, Georges Barrère and Paul Taffanel.
History buffs will enjoy Johann Joachuim Quantz’s 18th century treatise On Playing the Flute. The author offers excellent insight into the style and performance practice of his time. Quantz was a flute player, composer and maker of flutes, yet his treatise is valued beyond the flute community for his descriptions of playing styles and execution of his day.
If you’re looking for a contemporary history, try The Flute by Ardal Powell. Mr. Powell covers the history of flute playing from the shepherds of the twelfth century through modern day virtuosos and school bands. This is a scholarly work, yet it’s easy to read and jam packed with information. This may not be your first choice to curl up with on a rainy day, but it’s a great reference book.
If you have a child in your life, sharing a story book is a wonderful way to connect. There are some delightful books featuring flutes and flute players. Midnight Farm by Carly Simon finds young Noah and Jules playing flute and oboe with all of the animated plants and animals on their Martha’s Vineyard farm. The story is funny and the illustrations are beautiful.
Your older child may enjoy following Jack and Annie to the time of Mozart in Moonlight on the Magic Flute. This is installment 41 in Mary Pope Osborne's popular series for grades 2-4.Sharing a story is a great way to connect with the littlest generation and share your love of the flute at the same time.
Learn more about some great flute books from the links below. Do you have a favorite flute book you would like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Click here to leave me a note.
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