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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 #6 of 7

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     John: I think you showed your commitment to make flutes, to be able to come back to the shop and make new flutes after you lost part of your two fingers. I think it shows how much it means to you to make flutes and how much enjoyment you feel by creating them. I imagine there must have been some hesitation about coming back to the shop after the accident.

     Scott: There was never any hesitation. When I came back from the hospital in San Francisco, I came immediately to the shop and walked through what I did. And my hands were in the correct place. It was just some sort of lack of concentration. I couldn't reenact it, because every time I reenacted it, my hands were out of the way. So I have no idea what happened. It was a wake-up call, because it was a blessing because I approach my work now not only totally involved in creating the flute in the right way, but also totally involved with saving my hands. (big laugh)
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     John: So you could make more flutes. (more laughter)

     Scott: So I could make more flutes in the right way. (even more laughter)
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     John: Are there any special goals you would like to accomplish in the future with the flute?

     Scott: I would like to spend more time working on the carved flutes, the artistic flutes. I don't have any interest in creating a new instrument because I like this instrument the way it is. I want to take this instrument as far as it can go within the limitation of keeping the integrity of the original thought. And by adding too much and changing too much then you loose the integrity of the original.
     I'm always, always working to better my flute. To better my consistency, my sound. I think any artist who is satisfied with his work, has finished his work and should move on to something else. Hopefully I won't be satisfied until I'm ready to die.
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     John: How many flutes have you made in your career?

     Scott: I've only made probably thirteen to fourteen hundred flutes. That's the other thing, you asked me what advice I would give to someone getting into this for a profession, make sure your spouse has a good job. (laughter) It's a struggle. I won't say that I am a business man and I probably could do a whole lot better financially if I had any business sense. But if you make a quality instrument as a single person shop like I am, you're limited to the amount that you can do. I can only make 200 to 250 flutes a year.  Some people are under the impression that Ken Light, Hawk LittleJohn and I make a lot of money. But just realize how few quality flutes one person can make in a year.
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     John: I know a few people who think that it only takes a couple of hours to knock out a flute.

     Scott: I spend a minimum of eight to twenty hours to make one flute.
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     John: I know that you not only work on the sound and the looks of the flute, but also on the quality--that the flute is going to last as opposed to someone who just throws them together, who doesn't know to treat the inside or outside of the flutes, or how to protect the fipple area.

     Scott: Right, I think that's what I brought from my cabinet and furniture making experience, is how to treat the wood so it can last and still project its own beauty. And I feel that the magic of this instrument is the wood coming alive again through the sound.
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     John: Scott, do you see any new trends with this instrument?

     Scott: I'm really impressed with and grateful for all those people who are taking this instrument out of the Native American genre of music and are experimenting with other forms of music with this instrument.


     So, I'm really excited about what Gary Stroutsos is doing with the flute, what Mark Holland is doing with the flute, and several others who are going outside the Native American genre and using jazz and using Latin music and using Asian sounds with this flute. And treating and recognizing the magic and the purity of this instrument and taking advantage of it with the music of their own culture. And that's what is exciting to me.
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Copyright 1999 John Sarantos
Updated April 18, 1999 by LH
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