[media-credit name=”Amanda Lewark” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]When the Weber State University Flute Studio had its spring recital on Wednesday, director Cindy Henderson started it off by saying, “I love my job.”
Henderson is an adjunct music professor, specializing in teaching the flute at WSU where she has been teaching since 1988. Before the flutists began their performances, she took a moment to speak to the audience.
“These girls have had a very stressful semester,” she said, adding that she was incredibly impressed with the work of her all-female ensemble. “Not only have the students in the Flute Studio had to focus on their performances this semester, they’ve had to find the time to balance their academic studies as well.”
The WSU Flute Studio is made up of eight students of which only two are flute performance majors. The other six students have majors that cover a wide range of fields from psychology and nursing to business.
Chelsea Clark, a nursing major, has played the flute for nine years. In addition to playing at WSU, she is a member of the Utah National Guard. Being a member of the Utah National Guard has also given her the opportunity to play flute as part of the 23rd Army Band. Clark said that playing both at WSU and for the army band has helped with her skills because they are training for each other, but when it comes to nursing, it is a different story.
“It is hard finding balance between the two because they are so different,” Clark said. “But I love caring for people, and I’m excited to do it.”
According to McKenzi Fuller, a nursing major and Flute Studio member who is also pursuing a minor in flute performance, playing an instrument at a college level can be demanding, but it becomes more difficult with a major that is equally time consuming.
“Music and nursing are both very demanding, but they’re both so rewarding,” Fuller said.
Flute students, like all music students, have several demands on their time. Music majors and minors are required to practice a specific number of hours each day. Fuller said that she practices anywhere from six to eight hours a day. Because of this, she said it’s hard to have a social life.
“My social life is my husband and my flutes, and that’s it,” said Stephanie Strait, a flute major and ensemble member.
The Flute Studio has a recital every semester, but it also has many other opportunities to perform. It also plays at convocations, and many of the students are members of the WSU wind ensemble, symphonic band and orchestra.
According to Henderson, a passion for their instrument is what leads many of the students to dedicate the time to the flute even if it is not their declared major.
Ulia Hatch has taken lessons from Henderson since before coming to WSU. She said that what she loves about music and performing is how they make her feel.
“When you get really into the music, you can just sway and feel like no one is watching you,” Hatch said. “Just playing, it’s just a good feeling.”
Having an instructor who is passionate about helping her students is also key to having successful students, Hatch said. Although Henderson has demands on her time as well, she has plenty of time for her flute students on campus.
“She has her own private studio of 40 students,” Strait said, “and she still makes enough time for us to feel like we get enough attention. She’s a great teacher, and we really appreciate her.”
Henderson has a certain philosophy when it comes to teaching.
“I believe that talent can be developed,” Henderson said. “I try to provide inspiration and encouragement and opportunity, and if someone believes in them, it’s amazing how much they can accomplish.”