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Performs On:

Classic RH - Rose Silver Alloy

Website:

terriflute.com

Artist Bio

Terri Sánchez


Terri Sánchez is currently the Senior Lecturer in Flute at the University of Texas at Arlington. Legendary flutist Paula Robison writes, “Sánchez has a beautiful presence as a player, and her sparkling clear sound spins out and fills the air with poetry.” After Sánchez premiered his new work for flute and piano, Archetypes, composer George Chave wrote, “her ability to pull the audience in and take them along for the ride is a true joy. Terri is a musician’s musician.” She performs often with her husband, pianist Gabriel Sánchez, and is also a member of the Tessitura Trio (with her husband and flutist Shauna Thompson) and the Flutaria! trio (with flutists Shauna Thompson and Julee Walker).

Sánchez is a top prize winner in many national flute competitions, including 1st Prize, National Flute Association Orchestral Audition Competition, 2nd Prize, NFA Young Artist Competition (along with “Best Performance of Newly Commissioned Work”), 1st Prize, San Diego Flute Guild Artist Gold Competition, 2nd Prize, Myrna W. Brown Artist Competition, 2nd Prize, Upper Midwest Flute Society Young Artist Competition and Finalist, Walfrid Kujala Piccolo Competition.  She also performed with both the SMU Meadows and UNT Symphony Orchestras as a winner of both university concerto competitions. 

Dr. Sánchez has given pedagogy presentations that revolve around a positive, creative approach to flute performance at NFA Conventions, the Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair, the San Diego Flute Guild Festival, and many universities. In the spirit of collaboration, she founded Metroplex Flutes, a DFW based group of professional flutists dedicated to inspiring, entertaining and educating audiences. She is also on the faculty of Dallas Metroplex Floot Fire each summer, a week-long summer masterclass for beginner through college flutists.

Since joining the faculty at UTA, she has performed the Malcolm Arnold Concerto for Flute and Strings with the UTA Symphony Orchestra and also founded the Maverick Flute Choir, which was recently invited to perform at the 2015 NFA Convention in Washington D.C.  Each year, she hosts UTA Flute Weekend and other events, inviting well known flutists to teach and perform, both as a service to the flute community and also an opportunity for audiences to experience the wonderful things happening in the UTA Flute Studio and Music Department.

Sánchez received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Flute Performance, with a secondary emphasis in Music Education, from the University of North Texas, where she worked as a Teaching Fellow and Flute Choir conductor.  She earned her Master’s degree at Southern Methodist University and her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Her past flute instructors include Leticia Ledesma, Helen Blackburn, Jean Larson-Garver, Alexa Still, Kara Kirkendoll Welch, Deborah Baron, Terri Sundberg and Elizabeth McNutt.  Dr. Sanchez is especially grateful to her two mentors, Claire Johnson and Gabriel Sánchez.

Artist Interview

Terri Sánchez

We had the opportunity to ask Terri a few questions. Check out her thoughts on essential qualities for musical excellence, her unique teaching style, as well as advice for upcoming flutists.

 

1. What is the most valuable lesson that the flute has taught you?

Maybe a better question is what hasn’t flute taught me! Practicing, performing and teaching flute continuously wakes me up to new ways of looking at life. Studying music gives me a powerful context in which to explore learning and motivation styles, the entire spectrum of human emotion and, my absolute favorite, possibility. My life inside and outside the practice room feels completely related and all that I learn in one brings me more understanding in the other.     

    
2. What qualities do you think are most essential to musical excellence?

Assuming that a musician has their fundamentals in place, two of the most important elements of musical excellence to me are transparency and connection. I feel that transparency includes a kind of clear minded, openhearted simplicity. In the practice room or the concert hall, if a musician is bogged down by mental to-do lists or pressure to prove something, beauty and momentum can be easily lost. Connection can mean a deep understanding of a composer’s musical language, a love and appreciation for the harmonies in a piece, a commitment to bringing the characters in the music to life or any performance elements that help hand the music to the audience on a silver platter.


3. What do you think is the most important thing for you to emphasize in your teaching and in your own playing?

For both my students and me, I think the most important concept we can explore every day is possibility. In order to spark the motivation, find the tools and do the work necessary to accomplish great performances, we must begin with the end in mind!  In a recent masterclass, I heard Ian Clarke say to a student, “Part of our training is to train our imaginations to imagine what can be.” I love this statement and feel that it captures a commonly overlooked element of excellent practicing. No matter what the topic (vibrato, tonguing, tempo, tone colors, dynamics, you name it!), it’s only when we have something exciting and inspiring enough to work toward that we will truly be able to rise to the highest levels possible in our musicianship.      


4. Who or what has been your greatest influence?

Without a doubt, my greatest musical influence has been my husband, Gabriel Sánchez. He’s a brilliant pianist, a captivating musician and an inspirational teacher. Though performing with him in recitals is my favorite musical activity and he’s coached me before every competition I’ve ever entered, I’ve actually learned the most being his page turner. Following the score and sitting right beside him in rehearsals and performances while he’s collaborated with extraordinary flutists (Ian Clarke, Alexa Still, Jean Ferrandis, Gary Schocker, Paul Edmund Davies, Jacques Zoon and Demarre McGill, just to name a few!) and other musicians is an incredible privilege. Being his page turner has given me a unique perspective on collaboration, performance excellence and musicality that I feel is invaluable.     


5. What does a typical daily practice session look like for you?

I use the same acronym (WATER) that I give to my students to provide structure and flow to practice sessions. It’s easy to remember because you should drink water every day and also practice every day! Because I have so much teaching, writing, planning and other things to do, I often keep my flute on its peg right beside my computer and use this acronym as I alternate practicing with other work throughout my day.

“W” stands for warm-ups. While warming up, I often think of something Claire Johnson (my second greatest influence after my husband) taught me, “Flute playing is breathing in and blowing out without any obstacles.” Warming up is a wonderful opportunity to wake up my mind, heart and body so that there are little to no psychological, spiritual or physical obstacles in my way as I continue practicing. I often sit at the piano, play low octaves or various harmonies, sustaining them by holding down the pedal with my right foot, and then pick up my flute to play slow scales, other exercises I’ve designed, or simply improvise while the sound of the piano is still ringing in the air. This provides a sense of context not available with flute alone and helps me so much with heightened awareness of tone, intonation, breathing and more. 
  
“A” represents “anything that puts me in a good flute mood.” In order to spark inspiration and gain momentum, I might play Puccini arias, do a personal performance of a favorite piece (Taktakishvili, Gaubert and Enesco are good examples) or even do some really slow practice of a challenging technical passage to gain muscle memory in a relaxing way. 

“T” stands for technique. Though I have to admit I am not one to slave away at Taffanel and Gaubert exercises, I do feel it’s important for me to keep my fingers agile and my technique fluid. I often turn challenging passages in my current repertoire into technique practice by utilizing various practice games. I also enjoy practicing the “Basic Scales and Arpeggios” section of Walfrid Kujala’s Vade Mecum and absolutely love Lisa Garner Santa’s Flute/Theory Workout. It’s so fun to play scales, arpeggios and other exercises with the creative accompaniment in my headphones!

“E” stands for excerpts and etudes. This is where I might pull out my Baxtresser or Kujala orchestral excerpt books and/or etudes like Karg-Elert’s Thirty Caprices. When I first started working on these Karg-Elert studies during my Master’s degree, I definitely had a love/hate relationship with them. Now, I think they are fabulous musical brain teasers and are wonderful at keeping me on my toes. Caprice No. 30 is an amazing work for solo flute – I love how Karg-Elert incorporates elements of all of the other twenty-nine caprices in one epic theme and variation grand finale adventure! 

“R” stands for repertoire. When I have done a great warm-up, gotten myself in a wonderful flute mood, loosened up my tongue and fingers and my mind is sharp from working on excerpts and etudes, practicing and interpreting performance pieces feels more fluid, organic and enjoyable.  


6. How would you advise flutists to begin practicing for a big performance or competition? What advice can you give to those preparing as far as nerves/performance anxiety are concerned?

I could talk about these topics endlessly, but I will narrow my answer here to three main ideas: begin with the end in mind, use your hooks and do what it takes to stay inspired. Beginning with the end in mind involves imagining your ideal performance, visualizing everything about it (down to the way the spotlight will feel shining on you and the way your feet will feel in your performance shoes) and planning out your practice timeline in a way that starts with where you are now and charts a path that ends up at your ideal performance right on time. 

I use the word “hooks” to mean anything from the smallest detail to the biggest overall perspective that you can hook onto during a performance. Hooks could be special tone colors perfect for key moments, thinking of a particular part of the body to facilitate a resonant tone, creative techniques to provide huge contrast (i.e. this piano, minor section is like a dark, cloudy sky and this forte, major section is like the sun shining through), or story lines to guide your entire performance experience (I think of the first movement of the Liebermann Sonata for Flute and Piano in terms of a murder mystery plotline, worked out to the greatest detail). Using your hooks not only helps your mind access all the physical, mental and emotional resources at your disposal, but it keeps your mind on what’s important and allows less time to be affected by nervous symptoms!

My third main idea, doing what it takes to stay inspired, has to do with the inevitable phases that every musician goes through while preparing for performances. There are always times of hope and optimism (when you first decide on repertoire, when you conquer a huge technical challenge or come up with a new approach that brings the music more to life), but there are also times of doubt and worry. In addition to using the plethora of tips, tricks and breathing exercises available out there to help musicians with performance anxiety, I often create a collage of inspiring images and ideas that help clear and focus my mind and spark inspiration right when I need it. In the moments before it was my turn to compete in the preliminary round of the National Flute Association Young Artist Competition in 2009, I was extremely nervous. By breathing deeply and looking at a sheet of paper where I had copied and pasted images of Paula Robison, Cecilia Bartoli and Kristen Chenoweth (all screenshots of my favorite moments in my favorite performances of theirs), I kindled a wonderful feeling inside that helped melt the nerves away and put a spring in my step as I headed down the hallway toward the audition room.      


7. What are your interests/hobbies outside of music?

Books, TV and movies! Years ago, I was driving 2 and 3 hours a day, teaching a ridiculous number of students at schools and locations all over the DFW Metroplex. I picked up the habit of listening to audiobooks during my drives and stumbled into one of my now favorite hobbies: self-help books!  I am fascinated by books on psychology, motivation, learning styles and anything that helps me understand more about how the human brain works. After our super long work days are over, I love watching TV with my husband (anything from old comedies like Frasier to intense dramas like Breaking Bad) to rest and rejuvenate. Going to the movies, for me, is an almost transcendent experience. Being transported to another world through the brightly lit screen in the darkened movie theater is really similar to the way I feel when I’m performing music.        


8. Do you have any projects/goals you are currently working on?

Definitely! I have some recording projects that are just in the beginning stages at the moment, but I’m very excited about them. One will be called “Concerto Night” and include major flute concertos (Ibert, Nielsen, Mozart and more) performed with piano instead of orchestra. I like this idea because so few flutists actually get to perform these pieces with orchestra and there is a need for more recordings with the piano reductions. Also, my husband is incredibly gifted at getting different colors out of the piano and his performances of the reductions often sound like there are multiple instruments involved!  I can’t wait to work on this project with him. Another recording will include the works of American-Dutch flutist, Ary van Leeuwen. I discovered his music by chance when going through a filing cabinet in my new office at the University of Texas at Arlington and was delighted to delve into his charming pieces that are so full of character.   

I also have a blog that I use as a creative outlet and a way to turn frustrating experiences I’ve had into (hopefully) inspirational tools for others to fast forward through similar issues. I know countless flutists that struggle with motivation and discipline and tend to blame themselves for having a lack of willpower and/or the “perfect answers” needed to make them a better musician. I feel that there are often a number of psychological blocks associated with practicing that, when addressed, can become not only less of a problem, but turn out to be the very keys to a more productive and motivated approach in the practice room. I have lots of plans for my blog (and other writing projects!) in the very near future and hope you will check it out by visiting www.terriflute.com and clicking on “The Art of Being a Flutist.”


9. How did you come to choose Miyazawa as your flute of choice?

Finding my Miyazawa Classic Rose Silver flute was such a meaningful experience for me. When I was younger, I unfortunately developed habits that involved a great amount of tension while practicing flute. These habits ultimately resulted in bouts of carpal tunnel syndrome and other physical problems. I had this major realization that if I was going to continue in my flute career, I had to make some dramatic changes and overhaul my entire approach to playing flute. I wanted to buy a flute that had an effortless touch and light weight while still providing enough resonance and projection to sing out to the back of a huge concert hall. I tried so many different brands and kept coming back to Miyazawa. Buying my Miyazawa was really motivating and the excellent key action allowed me to start fresh with an incredibly light touch and brand new flute playing habits. I love my Miyazawa!  


10. If you had one piece of advice to give an upcoming flutist, what would you tell them?

I would tell them, “don’t compare your behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” In today’s world full of social media, YouTube videos and instant gratification of all kinds, it’s getting harder to understand that being a musician is an ongoing journey filled with lots of down times, rejections and failures that are just as necessary as good times, awards and successes. If you are looking at a successful flutist’s bio on their website, listening to their polished recording or exciting live performance, remember that they have spent countless hours in the practice room and weathered many tough times to get there. Every musician has frustrations and times where they wonder if it’s all worth it. The key is to keep getting back up, dusting yourself off and finding the next great inspiration that will propel you toward your goals.   

Miyazawa’s Artist Profiles