August 2006 Convention
Pittsburgh, PA

Flute Lovers’ Luncheon

August 11, 2006

The Flute Lovers’ Luncheon is sponsored by the Amateur Resources Committee. Brenda Trautman, who has chaired this committee for the past five years, has done an outstanding job of developing programs for amateur players. Jeanne Baxtresser was the speaker, and as always, deeply inspiring. Baxtresser’s mother was a concert pianist and her father a passionate amateur pianist. All six children played instruments. She told us that her mother gave them discipline and her father taught them fun.

Brenda Trautman

Brenda Trautman

Her mother set up practicing and family concerts as a serious affair, but her father was into high drama and sounded like a sportscaster when he’d yell “Bravo!” Her siblings would pile into the living room not to watch and listen to their sister or brother play, but to watch their father.

Baxtresser said she has always taught amateurs, as did her teacher Julius Baker. Amateur students’ needs, she noted, are the same as those of professionals—to improve. The enemy of the amateur is time, therefore it is critical that their time in the practice room is positive and not frustrating. Play simple melodies like “Danny Boy,” she suggested, not Dutilleax melodies. “If you do sincere work, you have the right to be on stage,” she said. “Perfection belongs in the practice room, but you have to embrace your humanity on stage. It’s an adventure. If you want guarantees, don’t go on stage.”

—Helen Spielman