When I first began designing flutes I made it a priority to offer the instruments at a price that would make it affordable for the average person and provide the experience of creating music to as many people as possible.
To minimize the cost of making the instruments, I chose to keep the profile of the flute body completely round. The challenge was how to provide a seal on a rounded surface. It is essential to have the connection between the fetish and the flute airtight. My solution was to create a gasket between the two wood surfaces that was thick enough to provide the air passage needed to direct the airflow to the fipple. My previous experience as a leather craftsman led me to begin using a waterproof leather material to create a gasket for the seal.
Unfortunately there were challenges in this design. Hot summer temperatures affected the seal adhesive and the plates would slip. Of course we replaced the seal plates but it prompted me to make the change to a flat top flute body, which we are still using today.
The overall redesign included creating our signature wedge shaped mouthpiece. After much experimentation, I found that this shape was ideal for providing an ergonomic seal between the flute and the lips. It is comfortable, keeps the sides of the lips from leaking moisture and easily adapts to all embouchures.
|Leather Plate Design||Flat Top Design||Wedge Shaped Mouthpiece|
When I started crafting my flutes, I focused solely on the creative process. It brought me a tremendous amount of satisfaction. It never occurred to me there might be other rewards. I started receiving phone calls, letters, and emails. Each one had a story to tell; a unique experience to share.
I heard how playing the flute and creating music enhanced people’s lives. I heard stories from caregivers, how playing their flute eased their patient’s discomforts. Other therapeutic stories, involving people with asthma or C.O.P.D., war veterans who found comfort in playing their flute. Teenagers suffering from self-esteem issues were suddenly finding confidence. I heard from those incarcerated, who found joy at having a new way to express their feelings.
The list is much longer than this but my point is: The gift of music is invaluable and I encourage all of you whom have benefited from it to be proactive in spreading the gift. Whether it be teaching at afterschool programs, volunteering to play at hospitals and hospice facilities or as simple as playing for our friends and families, share this gift! It all makes a difference and brings much needed light into people’s daily lives.