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NATIVE AMERICAN FLUTE FORUM
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Spirit of a Flute Maker: A Conversation with Scott Loomis
By John Sarantos
 
Originally Published in "Voice of the Wind", April 1999
 
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  Spirit of a Flute Maker: A Conversation with Scott Loomis
  Page #5 of 7

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     John: I remember my mother was telling me, "No matter what you choose to do in life, do it honestly and be the best you can."

     Scott: I'm glad you said that because that's what I've been trying to say. Doing your work honestly. Being honest to yourself and your customer.
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     John: Would you like to share some of your thoughts when you got together with Hawk and Geri LittleJohn and Ken Light this past summer at the National Flute Association in Phoenix?

     Scott: We sort of threw out there what about some sort of organization or guild for flute makers. I think those kinds of organizations are a good thing, and I would like to be a part of it. But I would hope that that organization wouldn't want to start demanding things from flute makers such as standardization, such as aesthetic boundaries, or whatever. But as an organization to legitimize, especially with retailers, this instrument, to exchange knowledge where retailers could come for information. I think that would be a good thing. It would help all of us as flute makers.
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     John: You just mentioned sharing of information which reminded me about your web site. You share a tremendous amount of information not just for flute makers but also flute players. For example, you have the detailed blueprints on how to make your plastic flute, and you also share a lot of tips for flute players.  You post other people's comments and ideas about the flute, and you also have links to other people who sell books and music. What's your philosophy about sharing on your web site?

     Scott: My wife Linda and I were both educators and once an educator always an educator. (laugh) It just seemed the natural, logical progression to make it more than just a store for my flutes. I feel that the more information and knowledge that the public has, the more they will become an educated buyer where they can determine what they want.
     I really want this instrument to grow, to help people with their self-expression because it is so easy to play. You can pick this flute up with somebody who has never played an instrument, that has all the anxieties of being tone deaf and can't do this or can't do that, and give them one of these flutes and in fifteen minutes have them start to bring their music out using three or four notes.
     What better way to spend your life than to produce things like that, that make those kinds of changes in a person's life. (laugh) When I go to shows and I see people pick these up and start playing them or I go to those workshops and see you guys start playing the flutes and I just giggle. I am having such a ball.  Talk about self-gratification.
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     John: There was a woman at the last Oregon Flute Circle meeting who had had a stroke. She used to play the transverse flute and she had hardly any movement at all in her bottom hand. She finally got all the holes covered and was able to lift one finger up and back down. And just the joy those two sounds brought to her was incredible to see.

     Scott: Wow.
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     John: She was just really glowing.

     Scott: Wow.
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     John: So the flute is not only a musical instrument but it is also a healing tool. It just seems to cover so many different levels of life.

     Scott: Did you read this? (Scott walks over to his shop door.)
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     John: No.

     Scott: This is another one of my inspirations.
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     John: (I walk over to read a letter posted on the back of the shop door.)
     (I walk back to my chair) The letter told about how Dennis Sizemore was in a hospital where a woman was dying. Dennis handed her husband his flute and showed the man how to play it. He played it for a few minutes. When he had finished, his wife had peacefully passed on.
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     John: Scott, I was wondering if you would like to share some of your feelings about your accident with the router.

     Scott: Whenever somebody comes to me and asks me can you show me how to make flutes, the first question that comes out of my mouth is, "How much do you need to play the flute? How much of that is part of your life?" And if they answer me that that is important; then I question them about why they want to make a flute. Because making a flute puts your hands in jeopardy. Working with any tool puts your hands in jeopardy. And I say if you are real serious about making a flute because you need that one personal expression of yourself, then I can show you how to do it. But if you are planning on making flutes for a living and playing flutes for a living, then reconsider and let me or someone else make the flutes for you.
     I had twenty-five years of experience working with woodworking tools as a professional cabinet maker, furniture maker, flute maker, and I never had an accident. And one day, one hesitant movement on my part took away my two fingers on the router. And if it can happen to me, a professional, it can certainly happen to you, the non-professional. So again, if flute playing is important to you, let someone else make the flutes for you.
     Making the flutes is more important to me than my playing. Even though the injury was devastating, absolutely devastating to me, it was less so because I wasn't serious about playing the flute.
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Copyright 1999 John Sarantos
Updated April 18, 1999 by LH
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