People have been playing flutes for over 40,000 years. The original primitive constructions of bone or wood have developed along with their human counterparts so that instruments in the flute category can now be found in musics around the globe. Flute, therefore, provides an apt lens through which to study different approaches to music pedagogy and performance, including how music is tied to community, culture, ritual, social justice, and globalization in local and international contexts. The “Music, Memory” project uses flutes to examine music as an interpersonal actor, as well as a historical and political one.
The primary tactic of the project has been to meet with flutists and craftspeople to study the techniques of playing their instruments, to learn songs and their associated folklore and histories, to discover the basics of constructing the flutes, and to listen to people’s personal stories in relation to their experiences of music. In addition, media tools like this website, creative nonfiction writing, and recital-presentations are important to share stories, observations, songs, and images accumulated over the course of the project with a broader audience.