things we like to do in Cascadia Flute Circle is to explore different
ways of expanding
the Native American Flute Circle experience over and above the usual
duets you find at a Flute Circle by playing Flute Circle games. People have been using music in games for
centuries. Many composers have even used
games to inspire them in their compositions.
For example, we know that Mozart used dice at times to augment
creative energy in his composition of musical scores.
Also, the American Composer John Cage is
known to have used the I Ching, an
ancient Chinese oracle, to map out his compositions.
Mozart, who had a love of mathematics, is
also said to have used the Fibonacci Sequence,
of numbers used by mathematicians, architects, linguists, musicians,
others, in the composition of his music.
For more information on the Fibonacci Sequence,
see: http://techcenter.davidson.k12.nc.us/group2/music.htm. In more recent times, people have been known
to use Fibonacci squares, numbers, and/or letters, to determine what
next in a composition. Here is an
example of this method, introduced by Doug Holly, via John Gatliff, at
Tree: http://www.flutetree.com/playing/fibonacci.html. In the grand spirit of play, here are some
games that could be included in any Flute Circle.
is the most social of all the Arts, next to dance.
Flute Circle games are a fun and communal way
to learn new techniques and skills, and help to promote group bonding
shared positive and harmonious group experiences. Another
benefit of Flute Circle
games is that each person is
afforded the opportunity to explore their own musical potential in a
spontaneous, non-threatening, and nonjudgmental way.
Flute Circle games are also a great way to
get to know your flute(s) and explore its quirks and its full range of
There are NO mistakes—only
new embellishments! There is also no
right or wrong way to play anything—let your imagination and intuition
to play at least one
game each time your Flute
meets, or as many as your group feels like playing at a time. Few activities simultaneously engage the
intellect, the emotions, and the kinesthetic.
In other words, when we play music, we think, feel and act all at the same time. It is a
well-known fact that imagination and
intuition are two very important aspects of creativity.
Flute Circle games are a fun and ingenious
way to get in touch with our imagination and intuition, thereby
creativity. While playing music we
develop listening skills and improve memory skills, together with
increased confidence, creativity, and adaptability. All of these games
you and your group further explore the
Flute in all of its myriad aspects, and in doing so, engage everyone’s
imagination. Flute Circle games also help
you to change your perspective and look at everything around you with
eyes. In addition, these games make each
fresh, new and exciting, and help to ease the anxiety of self-conscious
encouraging them to take risks in a safe and playful environment. Flute Circle games also have the added
benefit of teaching useful information and hands-on skills that can be
immediately incorporated into anyone’s Flute playing, thereby expanding
Flute playing repertoire and knowledge base.
Finally, playing Flute
Circle games fosters relaxed,
open-minded attitudes toward music, which ultimately inspires greater
confidence in creative self-expression. Remember
that every Flute has something to tell you, something to teach you, a
tell, and a song to sing. Playing Flute Circle
a great way to learn to play from your heart, with no editing or
build improvisation skills. These are by
no means the only games there are, and they can be varied in many
ways—be creative! You’re only as limited
as your imagination!
and Native Flute
things we like to do is to combine poetry with the Native American
Flute. Frequently, our members bring poems
written to Flute Circles to share. We
have even had entire Flute Circles centered around mixing poetry and music. You can have a “Themed Flute Circle”
where you ask everyone to bring a poem that they either have written,
has heart and meaning for them. With
poetry, there is something for everyone:
There is humorous poetry, mystical poetry, romantic poetry, etc. A good poetry anthology is a great source for
many varieties of poetry in one handy volume.
There are many different ways to present a poem along with the
American Flute. For example:
poem and then playing the flute with the recorded words in the
You can also just “think” the poem silently
to yourself as you play, or you might wish to provide the rest of the Flute Circle
members with copies of your poem to read as you play;
You can also read one
line of your poem, then play your
interpretation of each successively-spoken line on the flute; and
can have another person recite the poem while you play
the Native Flute.
detailed information and ideas, see the Article entitled, “Working with
Poetry, and Storytelling, on the Articles page at www.cascadiaflutecircle.org.
Mini-Duets and Solos
teaching game that we have often played in the past utilizes
cards.” A 3x5 card with a different
embellishment printed on each card is passed out to everyone in the Flute Circle. We then go around the Flute Circle
over all of the embellishments, so that everyone is familiar with each
one. The first person will go up to
the mic and play
a short 2 minute solo, using their embellishment in their piece. The second person will then join the first
person in a mini-duet for about 2 minutes, adding their embellishment
mix. The first person will then sit
down, while the second person does their 2 minute solo, using their
embellishment. The third person will
then join the second person in a mini-duet for about 2 minutes, adding
embellishment. The second person then
sits down while the third person plays their short solo.
And so it goes around the Circle until
everyone has had a chance to play both a short duet and solo using
the benefit of giving everyone a chance to learn new embellishments,
short solo, and a short duet—all using new embellishments.
In this way, no one feels put on the spot,
and everyone gets to learn and practice a variety of
good game for becoming more adept at working with rhythm, both with the
Flute and with percussion. It also helps
people to learn to coordinate their Flute playing with percussion. We always have a “world percussion box”
present at each Flute
as percussion plays a big part in our Flute Circles.
When playing this game, everyone grabs a
rattle, bells, or other percussion instrument, and all begin to play
in a certain rhythm. The Flute player at
the mic then has to play something that coordinates with that rhythm. You can rotate the Flute players and change
the rhythm with each new Flute player, or keep the rhythm constant for
successive Flute player.
variation on this theme is to have one or more people in the Circle
rhythm, which the Flute player must then match in their improvisation
Flute. An easy way to come up with new
rhythms is to think of a song in your head while you clap the rhythm of
first line of that song.
is very much like how many of us learned to “Play the Trees.” However, instead of using the landscape of
nature, try using the objects in the room where you are meeting as your
music.” (Alternatively, if you are
meeting outside, then by all means use the trees).
A high object (or tree) would be a high note;
an object (or tree) of medium height would be a middle note; and an
tree) that was low to the ground would represent a low note. Additionally, items of furniture and objects
in the room (or rivers and clouds, etc., if outdoors), with round
shapes can be
expressed with bends or slides, or any other embellishment you can
think of to
describe a shape. Any environment can suddenly become your musical
score. Use your imagination and let your
guide you. There are an endless variety
of ways the same room can be played by different people.
musical variation of charades, the group divides into teams of two
and each team privately decides on the subject of their charade. You can play moods, insects, animals, shapes,
textures; quotes, fortune cookie messages, etc.
Play with images: What would sweet honey
dreaming sound like? The tickle of trickling
Wild Mountain Thyme? Your first
The Cloud People's faces? A
persistent trickster itch? You can use proverbs, the names
popular songs, etc. If it could talk or
sing, what would it say and how would it sound? When playing,
the personality you are trying to
convey. One person in the team plays the
Flute, while the other person gives the clues (as in regular charades)
the message. The rest of the Flute Circle
to guess the subject of the charade being played. The
team that correctly guesses the message
then takes their turn at charades.
be Continued . . .
the first person in the Circle starts with their musical rendition of
phrase: “It was a dark and stormy night.
. .” on the Flute. The next person
continues the story. Be creative with
sound effects like creaking doors, howling winds, etc. Consider the
mood and tone
of the story in your choice of embellishments, pacing, rhythm, and
dynamics. Each successive person adds to
the story, until all have had a chance to play.
It’s always interesting to see how the story is finished at the
& Sound Effects
bring teachings, healing, humour,
wonder, delight, and community into our lives. Any
story will do. Some good sources are: Fairy
nursery rhymes; myths; fables; riddles; affirmations; mantras, poetry
inspirational daily meditations; Sufi stories, as well as other
teaching stories; prayers; etc. A particularly good book for
is The Book of Qualities, by J. Ruth Gendler.
In our Flute Circle, we frequently
choose Native American stories and legends to read aloud and play the
effects on the Native Flute. This
is not so much about making “music” as it is playing sound effects to
story depth and texture, and to help the story come alive.
There are many ways to add drama with sound
effects to a story: Let your notes
creep, squeak, bounce, gallop; be silly,
play with gusto, majesty and grace.
Also, remember to play with dynamics (i.e., loudness and
softness). Experiment with the nuances of: Loud, crashing, very quiet, or fading
away. Often, you will want to convey a
concept or particular sentence in the story that stands out. Just follow your intuition and ask the
question: If that phrase or concept had
a voice, what would it sound like, what would it say?
Visit our References page at www.cascadiaflutecircle.org,
links to sites with stories from many different Native Tribes and
are many different presentation styles
with which to experiment when working with the flute and
Here are a few suggestions:
You can narrate, play a little, resume
the story, switching back and forth between narration
and playing, until you have finished the story;
several people to work with, and each person can choose a part or a
to read while you play; or
Again, if you are working with more
than one person who plays the flute, each person can choose a different
character to play, while you each take turns narrating.
with combining different keys of flute
for different parts of, or characters in the story. Utilizing
flute keys enables one to convey different emotions, moods, and themes,
making the story infinitely more interesting.
the above examples and mix and match, adding and deleting what works
group. You can also add percussion and even vocal sound effects,
those present who don’t play the flute can also participate. As always, the possibilities are only limited
by your creative imagination! For more
detailed information, see the Article entitled, “Working with Prose,
and Storytelling”on our Articles page at www.cascadiaflutecircle.org.
about blending--two hearts sharing a conversation—a co-creation between
people. Duets are one of the fastest
ways to learn new techniques and improvisational skills, and help you
of a rut. Some examples of some fun
games to play with duets are to:
a Flute “conversation” where one person is a dog, and one person is a
Flute conversation might be with two pine trees standing alongside a
another Flute conversation might be a hawk chasing a rabbit, or,
a mischief of ravens heckling a hawk;
detailed explanation of additional Duets, and a more in-depth
each of the above examples, see the “Duets” Article on the Articles
page at www.cascadiaflutecircle.org.
the Notes, Please
game where someone plays a short piece, and the next person must use
three notes of the person before them to continue their turn. Each successive person may play something
completely different musically, rhythmically, etc., but must
use the last three notes of the person before them.
Continue around the Circle with each person
using the last three notes of the person before them, until all have
chance to play.
have a Beginning, a Middle, and an End. Sometimes the Beginning and the End sound
similar, with the Middle part sounding different yet connected to the
and the End. Often, among musicians, music
is referred to in a kind of shorthand, with the melody being designated
“A”, and the chorus as Part “B.” In this
way, when musicians want to quickly give the sequence of the song, they
say it is “ABA”
or “AABBAA.” This lets everyone know the
order to play and how many times to repeat each part.
Choose two or three people to take turns
playing each part: The Beginning (A),
Middle (B), or End (A), and try to have everything blend and flow
someone in the group suggests a theme, like “snow” or “desert” or
or “sunrise.” The Flute player has to
give his or her interpretation of that theme.
Everyone can have a chance to either play the same theme, or
group choose a different one. Alternatively,
each Flute player can choose a theme and play it, while the rest of the
guess what they are playing.
will share their dreams with the group.
In this game, someone shares a dream, and then plays their
interpretation of it on the Flute. Or
you can go around the Circle and each person can play their
interpretation of the dream.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do this: Each person projects their own meaning and
creates their own interpretation of the dream.
Each person begins their turn by saying:
“In my version of the dream. .
.” and then plays their interpretation of the dream.
on a Theme
to come up with variations on a musical theme is an important skill to
develop. This game gives everyone a
chance to experiment with different techniques.
One person starts by playing a short musical phrase or idea on
the Flute. The next person in the Circle
then plays a
variation of the first person’s theme by changing it in some way. Some variations might include:
Changing some of the notes; playing faster or
slower; adding something unexpected; adding or changing embellishments;
the mood by playing it louder or softer; and/or using a higher or lower
in the same key. Continue around the
circle until each person has a chance to play their variation on the
That Tune with a Twist
creative way to work with playing intervals.
An interval is the relative tonal distance between two notes. Take your favourite song (make sure that it
is a minor pentatonic song, rather than a major diatonic song) and play
intervals on the Native American Flute.
Don’t worry that the notes don’t exactly match.
You can look at piano music written with a major
diatonic scale and follow the notes, even if you don’t read music. Just look at the relative distance between
the notes on the score and approximate them on the Native Flute. Or you can simply play the song in your head
and finger the notes on the minor pentatonic Flute as if you were
song on a major diatonic Flute. The song
will sound completely different in minor pentatonic; however, the
will remain roughly the same. Make it
your own! The Flute Circle then has to guess
you are playing. We have a member who
loves to play “Kumbaya” on the Native Flute by playing the intervals of
major diatonic song on the minor pentatonic Flute.
Unless you know what she is doing, it’s very
difficult to guess the song at first.
Sometimes it is only the rhythm or phrasing of the song that
favourite with Flute players is working with animal themes. In this game people in the Flute Circle
call out an animal to the
player at the mic. The player must then
a short piece that represents that animal’s “personality.”
When playing that animal, think in terms of
rhythm for each different animal’s gait and characteristic movements. A horse has a different rhythm than a dog; a
big cat has a completely different rhythm than a bird, etc. Some other ideas include:
A mischievous mouse, hopping frog, darting
squirrel, lumbering bear, or galloping horse.
Often animals do not make recognizable sounds in nature. Play their personality, by suggesting their
characteristics with rhythm and sound.
You need not mimic an animal’s voice in nature, merely
enough. These vignettes often become the
seeds of beautiful songs. Alternatively,
a person can choose an animal to play, and everyone in the Flute Circle
must guess which animal they
is a great
game for developing greater skills in percussion, rhythmic flute
coordination and speed. A Flute player
will challenge the percussionists in the group to start with a
rhythm using drums and rattles, and both the Flute player and the
percussionists will gradually increase the tempo, faster and faster. The Flute Player will try to keep in step
with the rhythm, and the percussionists will try to keep in step with
player. Who can keep up the best--the
Flute player or the percussionists?
Whoever can go the fastest, while still staying in sync and
falling out, wins that round.
elements of synesthesia, ingenuity, and imagination, this game
typical modes of perception. What would
a colour sound like? The colour “red”
and sounds very different than, say, “blue.”
Think in terms of the “personality” of the colour.
If it could talk or sing, what would it say? If
it had a voice, what would it sound
like? The people in the Flute Circle
to guess what colour you are playing.
use DVD’s and CDRoms, such as the National Parks Series; or the
mute the sound while taking turns playing Flutes to the visuals. Scott August also has a wonderful DVD,
entitled “Ancient Light: Music and
Mystery of the Southwest,” featuring his beautiful photography and
music. See, http://www.cedarmesa.com/ancientlight/index2.html. Any video or DVD can be used in this
game. Alternatively, if there is a TV in
the room, you can mute the sound and play your interpretation of the
to movies or commercials. Mute the sound
and take turns playing what you think
the soundtrack to the visuals should be.
Commercials are especially fun!
in the Fridge?
imaginative game that encourages spontaneity and fun.
A person chooses a common item, like catsup; pickles;
milk; orange juice; a type of fruit, like strawberries; a vegetable,
such as a
green pepper; or leftover spaghetti, etc., that would most likely be
found in a
refrigerator and then plays it. Like
“Name that Colour,” above, think in terms of the “personality” of the
item. If it had a voice, what would it
say; and if it had a sound, what would it sound like? The
rest of the people in the Flute
Circle then have
to guess what item is being played.
two players each decide who will play in the background and who will
the foreground. A good technique for
playing in the background is ostinato,
where a few notes are repeated over and over again.
The other person must improvise the
foreground over the repeating ostinato.
Both players can then switch.
Scramble gives everyone a fun and challenging way to practice their
and improvisation skills. The first
person in the Circle plays six notes in a brief phrase.
The next person in the Circle must play a
different phrase using the same six notes.
The phrases can also be varied by playing some notes longer or
accenting different notes, using different embellishments, or using a
rhythm. Continue around the Circle until
everyone has had a chance to play the six notes. It
is always astonishing to hear the variety
that can be achieved with six notes!
This helps us to open up to the endless possibilities of
on the Native American Flute.
game in which people are challenged to stretch their creativity and
improvisational skills is “Rolling the Dice.” The
first person in the Circle rolls a set of
dice and totals the numbers, and then must play something using the
number of notes indicated by the dice.
The second person in the Circle then rolls the dice and must
play the total
number of notes rolled on the dice, while trying to connect to the
started by the first person. Continue
around the Circle until everyone has had a chance to roll the dice and
one person silently chooses a person in the Flute Circle to describe by
them” on the Flute. When “playing” a
person, think in terms of their personality, age, mannerisms, voice,
etc., and incorporate this into your description, together with
rhythm, dynamics, key of flute, melody, etc.
The rest of the group has to guess which person is being
musically. Whoever guesses correctly
then chooses a person to play, and the game continues for as long as
another way to challenge everyone to actively listen, exercise
thoughtfully plan the percussive elements of music.
One person starts with a “heartbeat” on the
drum. As you go around the circle, each
person must add an incidental sound with percussion, as either one
on the Flute, or two people duet, and the heartbeat remains steady. The object of this game is to keep the
incidental percussion going around the circle multiple times. This game helps everyone, both percussionists
and Flute players, all work together with rhythm and improvisation.
game, have each person choose one of the elements (Earth, Air, Fire, or
to play. Go around the Circle and each
takes their turn at conveying one of the aspects of an element in all
myriad forms. Some examples are:
Ground; Dust; Mud;
Minerals; Rocks; Mountain; Sand;
Wind; Hurricane; Inspiration; Breath; Breeze; Storm;
Heat; Sun; Warmth;
Candle Flame; Hearth fire;
Fire; Star; and
Stream; Ocean; Steam;
Vapour; River; Crashing Surf;
Lake; Pond; Tears; Trickle;
the personality of each of the
elements. You can also play attributes
you feel go with each of these elements.
For example: Earth = Strength;
Air = Ideas; Fire = Passion; and Water = Emotions.
Use your creative imagination! This
game teaches us to expand our repertoire
in a new and innovative way.
Flutes & Rhythm
is a fun
way in which everyone can participate as a group and experiment with
dynamics. Divide the Flute Circle in half, with two
players at the mic, each leading half of the percussionists. The first Flute player plays with their half
of the percussion group for a few minutes, then
the Flute player and percussionists slowly begin to fade out. As the first group fades out, the second
Flute player and percussion group slowly fade in, picking up where the
group left off. This continues for
several rounds of one group fading out, while the next group fades in,
while keeping the tempo, tone, and mood established at the beginning.
requires at least 6 people with a Native American Flute, and a
“Conductor.” The six people form a line,
and each person chooses one different and specific note to play on the
Flute. The Conductor stands in front of
the line, and each time the Conductor points to a
that person plays their note. The
Conductor continues to point to different people as he “composes” a
the Flute players play their individual note, following the Conductor’s
cues. The Conductor can indicate that he
certain note played multiple times, or held longer, or played very
quickly. The Conductor, through creative
movements and gestures, must also indicate loudness/softness,
accents to be played by the Human Flute.
game, each person must play something on the Native Flute using the
of their name (first, middle, and last), which become the rhythm and
used in the song. For example: “Charlie Brown” has 3 syllables, with the
emphasis on “Brown.” “Pippi Longstocking”
has five syllables, with the emphasis on the third syllable. This would become the rhythm and
used for the improv being played by each person.
great game that helps people experiment with the nuances of emotional
expression on the Flute. Everyone in the
Circle chooses a partner. One person
begins playing the Flute, as if they are asking a question to their
partner. Then their partner responds as
if answering the question. Here is
where, using our creative imagination, we can really “feel” this
going on. Alternatively, one person can
be playing the Flute, while the other part of the conversation can be
verbally, for an entirely different effect.
This also has the benefit of including people who do not play
American Flute in the game.
one person goes up to the mic and begins playing the Flute. At some point, he or she randomly points to
another person, who has to come up to the mic and continue the song. The person at the mic continues playing until
the next person arrives at the mic, and then sits down.
This continues until all have been chosen and
have had a chance to add to the song.
able to recognize a certain person’s playing style immediately upon
first few notes they play. This game
challenges the Flute player to do something different—not easily
with their style of playing. You will
need some type of blindfold for this game.
To begin, one person in the Circle is blindfolded and sits
the Circle. After the person has been
blindfolded, another person goes to the mic and tries to make sounds,
notes, etc., on the Flute and disguise who they are.
The blindfolded person must guess who is
playing at the mic. If the blindfolded
person guesses correctly, the person at the mic must then be
the game continues. If the blindfolded
person guesses incorrectly, the game continues until there is a correct
is a fun
way to get everyone up and moving. To
begin, one person with a Flute goes up to the mic and begins to play. Everyone else remains standing and, while the
Flute is being played, must stay in constant motion.
When the Flute Player abruptly stops,
everyone must “freeze” in the position that they are in.
The length of time of the “freeze” is at the
discretion of the Flute player. When the
Flute player then begins to play again, everyone is once again free to
move. If you do not “freeze” in time, or
you move during a “freeze,” you must sit down, remain seated, and sit
rest of the game.
in a Name?
game, one person goes up to the mic with a Flute, and the group invents
title” and calls it out to the Flute player.
The person at the mic must then play a song that goes with that
title. An example might be:
“Weeping Willows,” or “Ancient Path.” Whatever the group comes up
with. Be sure to have some sort
of recording device handy, as you never know what beautiful melody may
that you may want to capture!
game in which everyone can participate at the same time.
One person plays a Flute at the mic, while
another directs the other participants.
The object is to make sounds simulating rain, while the Flute
plays an accompanying “Rain Song.” The
director listens to the Flute player for cues, and guides the rest of
by cycling between: Rubbing hands,
snapping fingers, tapping the back of the hand, slapping thighs, and
feet. Here is a link to a YouTube video
demonstrating this process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKDGCgXtETc
(please be aware that there is an added component not demonstrated in
video of tapping the back of the hand).
gives people practice in listening and then translating what they hear
Native Flute. Two people go up to the
mic; one person turns his back to his partner (the “Hidden Flute”), and
short melodic line, including embellishments.
The second person must echo on their Flute what they heard being
by the Hidden Flute. If they are
correct, they then get a turn at being the Hidden Flute, and a new
tries to echo their Hidden Flute. If
not, then both a new Hidden Flute and Flute player come up and begin
great game to help people learn to hear and duplicate rhythms, whether
percussion instruments or Flutes. One
person plays a pattern on a drum, or other percussive instrument. The second person repeats the pattern on
their percussion instrument, and then adds a pattern of their own of
length. This continues around the Circle,
until it becomes impossible to remember all of the rhythm patterns. As an alternative with a higher level of
complexity, this same game can be played by using Native American
rather than percussion instruments. When
using Native Flutes, not only are people having
remember the rhythms, but also the melodic lines being generated.
game patterned after an old-fashioned Spelling Bee.
The Flute players stand in a line, with one
person acting as the “Pronouncer.” The
Pronouncer plays a short rhythmic melody.
Each standing person in turn tries to repeat the melodic
pattern demonstrated for them by the Pronouncer. If
a player misses something, he must be
seated. If a player duplicates the
melodic rhythmic pattern correctly, he remains standing.
When everyone standing has had a chance to
play the rhythmic melody demonstrated by the Pronouncer, that round is
and the Pronouncer then gives the remaining standing Flute players
rhythmic melody. The person who remains
standing the longest is the winner.
can remember a teacher in grade school standing at the front of the
his or her hand to show the class whether the next note they will be
was high, low, or somewhere in between, thus directing the melody with
held horizontally (arm vertical, wrist bent, hand
horizontal). In this game, one person
stands at the mic with a familiar melody in mind. Making
no sound, he or she uses their hand held
horizontally in the air to slowly show the intervals of the melody they
mind as the Flute player plays each note as indicated.
The Flute player who
correctly plays the melody then gets to direct the next melody. If the Flute player guesses incorrectly, he
or she sits down, and a new Flute player takes their turn.
another great tonal memory game.
Everyone stands in a Circle and is assigned a note on their
Flute. Each person goes around the Circle
their assigned note. Everyone then mills
around and changes places in the Circle. One person plays a note (the “guessing
person”) and then must choose the other person in the Circle with that
note. If the guessing person is incorrect
choice, then all mill around and change places in the Circle again, and
game continues with a new “guessing person.”
If the guessing person is correct, the person in the Circle with
note chosen must sit down, and the guessing person is allowed to choose
again. The “guessing person” is allowed
to continue to choose as long as they make the correct choice of who in
Circle has the matching note they played.
When the guessing person chooses incorrectly, they must wait
others have had a chance to be the “guessing person” before they are
take another turn. The object of the
game is to correctly match all of the notes,
of the participants have had their notes matched and are seated, with
guessing person being the only person left standing.
is a fun
game that requires close observation, as we must do with our partner in
duet. Two players go up to the mic. The first player plays “Air Flute,” meaning
they are moving their fingers, but with no actual sound coming out of
Flute, while the second player plays aloud what the first player is
their Air Flute. This can continue until
all have had a chance to play both “Air Flute” and play aloud.
game, you will need a stopwatch and to divide the Flute Circle evenly into two
groups: Team A and Team B.
One person, acting as the “Officiant,” passes
out an embellishment card to each person on Team A, and then plays a
melodic phrase. This game is timed, and
clock begins when the first person in Team A begins to play,
and ends when the last person on the team correctly plays the melodic
including their embellishment, given by the Officiant.
Team A begins with the first person playing
the piece demonstrated by the Officiant, and inserts their
the piece. If incorrect, that person
must repeat the phrase, with their embellishment, until correct. Once they have successfully played the
correct melodic phrase and inserted their embellishment appropriately,
person in the team is then able to play the same melodic phrase, this
inserting the embellishment on their card.
This continues, until the last person in Team A has played the
phrase given by the Officiant correctly, including the embellishment on
card, and the clock is stopped. Team B
is then given the opportunity to beat Team A’s time, following the same
procedure with a different short melodic phrase given toTeam B by the
Officiant. The same embellishment cards
can be used for both Team A and Team B.
unique way to work with melodic variations, listening, and composition
skills. One person plays a short musical
phrase. The second person plays the same
phrase, but drops one note, substituting another note in its place. The first person must then play the same
piece played by the second person and drop one note, substituting
in its place. This continues back and
forth, each time dropping one note and substituting another note in its
place. It is interesting to see how the
melody changes after several rounds. As
an alternative, rather than having only two people going back and
game can be continued around the Circle, with each successive person
note and substituting another note in its place.
My Melodic Line?
another game that helps everyone to work with creative ways to convey
concepts and personalities by playing them on the Native American
Flute. If it had a voice, what would it say? What would it
For this game, you will need one Flute player
and a “Moderator” at the mic. The
Moderator whispers a job description, an animal, the name of a famous
famous place, etc., into the Flute player’s ear. The
Flute player then plays their
characterization of whatever was whispered to them by the Moderator on
Flute. The people in the Flute Circle
are allowed to ask any question, as long as it can be answered with a
a “No” answer. For example, they may ask
questions beginning with: “Are
you . . . ?,” such
“Are you an animal?” or “Are you
a famous person?” or “Are you a mineral?,” (e.g.,
vegetable, or mineral) etc. If the
person asks the question in an incorrect manner (i.e., without
question with “Are you. . . ?“), they must
sit out the
rest of the round. Each time a question
is correctly phrased by a person in the group and answered with either
or “No” answer by the Flute player, the Flute player plays another
“descriptive” piece as an additional clue.
Questioning continues in an attempt to narrow down the
until someone makes a correct guess. The
person who guesses correctly then takes a turn at What’s
My Melodic Line?
44. Birdsong Rising 45. Triple Play
In this game, one person starts out in the Circle by playing a “bird
song.” This works particularly well with the higher Flutes.
The next person continues on with their version of bird song, and so it
goes around the Circle until all have gotten a chance to play.
There is no need to actually mimic nature. Think of the bird’s
movements: Is it hopping, flying, foraging, etc.? Play the
bird’s personality and make up your own creative bird sounds!
Here is a fun
game for three or more Flute players, which is somewhat similar to a
round: Player #1 begins with a short phrase. Player #2
comes in after Player #1 has introduced his/her phrase, and repeats the
phrase with a few additions/changes. Player #3 comes in after
Player #2 has introduced his/her phrase changes. The “round”
keeps rotating, which each successive round introducing more refinement
and variations on the original theme.
We hope you enjoy this
selection of Flute Circle
Games. At the very least, it will help
you to experiment and develop some Flute Circle Games of your own. The possibilities are endless!
If you wish to share additional games and
ideas, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks to all of the members of
Cascadia Flute Circle who contributed to this Article by lending their
energy and enthusiasm to new ideas presented at our Flute Circles, and
willingness to be playful, laugh and share.
You guys rock! Happy
Copyright 2010, Stephanie Baldridge