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NATIVE AMERICAN FLUTE FORUM
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Dennis Sizemore: Bio
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by Dennis Sizemore
 
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     If I were reading a web page and desired authentic and useful information, I would want to know about the people who are writing the page. I am Dennis Sizemore, and will be coordinating this educational offering for all of our thousands of friends in the world of Native American Flutes.

     My personal background is an interesting mix of experiences, education and training in both the Native American music traditions and the non-native. As a young child, I first learned how to play the flute from my Cherokee grandfather. He taught me much about the playing, making and history of traditional Cherokee flutes. Since I was seventeen, I have been traveling all over North America meeting traditional flute players and makers, and learning songs from people of hundreds of tribes.

     The performance and teaching of the flute has been my primary interest, with a great focus on how this beautiful and simple object can be a vehicle for sharing of such meaningful experiences. I now average around 200 concerts per year in every imaginable place: symphony halls with orchestras, schools and colleges, museums, pow-wows, community centers, jazz and art festivals, retirement homes, and hospices.

     Teaching, to me, is a sacred process, and I have been honored to have worked in private lessons, clinics, camps and workshops with well over 3000 incredible learners of many ages and backgrounds. I perform, compose and teach both traditional and non-traditional music, which means that I consider myself to be an artist with a unique voice, just as each flute is a unique voice in the wind.

     To date I have given concerts in 46 states, and throughout much of Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. My training also includes formal academic music work, with a Master's degree in music performance from Indiana University, as well as doctoral performance work at I.U., and performance studies with faculty of the Paris Conservatory. This part of my background contributed to my being a band director for 5 years, winning an international performance competition, and teaching performance and woodwind techniques courses at the college level. My performances and compositions have been on 14 albums, NPR, PBS, and hundreds of television and radio commercials. The Indianapolis area is currently my home, and is where I have my music studio and have directed children's performance ensembles for 10 years.

     I was asked once in the course of a radio interview to tell why I do what I do. Two experiences immediately came to mind. The first was when I watched a terrified adult woman play her first public performance on the flute, knowing that she had touched a level of expression, self-discovery and confidence that would forever change her life, with or without the flute. The second event occurred when a woman I didn't know asked, through a mutual acquaintance, if I would perform for her in her hospital room, a dying request. My 'audience' had heard me perform once in a concert, and wanted that sound to be around her, and her family, as she walked on. I can imagine no greater honor than being with her that night. The flute allows for creation of stillness and peace, refuge in the turmoil and struggle, voices for the voiceless, firm and gentle hands in the darkness, tender whispers from steel-cased hearts, shouts of joy and wildness, a sound-mirror of the heart's marrow.

 
 
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     Do you have questions about caring for or playing your Native American flute? We"d love to hear from you. Email: webmaster@loomisflute.com
 
 
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Copyright 1998 - 2010 by Linda Hugle
All rights reserved
 
Updated December 2009 - catNcap Enterprises