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Monica Williams: Workshops

Often Workshops are offered in Native American Flute and Drums. Below is a description of recent workshops. Inquire to have workshops presented at your school or home.

Learn to Play Native American Flute and drums from around the world with Phoenix Rising. The drum is the oldest instrument known to man, tribes around the globe sat around fires playing drums to accompany stories of their history, so it could be passed down for future generations. Recently a 60,000 year old diatonic flute made of bone was discovered, making the flute the oldest melodic instrument. It only makes sense that these two instruments should be played together. The class will include a performance by Phoenix Rising, demonstrating together on piano, concert flute, alto flute, pan flute, diza, Native American flute, bawu, Mexican gourd drum, Cajon, dumbec, and more.

Who can participate?
Any person over 12 years of age. No previous musical experienced needed. We would love to see beginners in this workshop! Students younger than 12 that have interest should contact us. We will decide on a case by case basis whether the class would be of benefit.

Do I need to have a Native American flute or drum?
No, part of the fee includes is a High Spirits Cedar flute in the key of a (retail value of $125). This is one of the best flute makers of Native American flute. This flute is yours after the workshop, to go home and continue your practice. Drums will be provided for use in class. You will get hands on experience creating many different rhythms on a variety of drums from around the globe. Some drums may be available for purchase after the class, please inquire if you are interested in this option.

Is the Native American flute hard to play?
This is one of the most common questions we receive. The Native American flute is much easier to play than the western flute. Sound is produced by blowing directly into a hole (like the recorder), and therefore there is not the struggles of producing a sound. A challenge for some students is covering the holes completely to produce the right notes. This is usually temporary, and we will show you techniques to master this.

I already play flute or drums; will this class be of any benefit to me?
Yes! For Western Flute players you will find many techniques that you can apply to both silver flute and Native American flute such as air support, articulations variations, covering holes, vibrato uses, different scales uses, how to improvise and even microphone placements and effect pedal uses. Drum players you will get hands on experience with drums from around the world, and will be able to add Native American flute to any drum circle you may already participate in.

Will I need to learn to read music in this workshop?
No! That is why this is a great class for anyone who has always wanted to learn an instrument, but never had the time or opportunity. The Native American Flute and drums we will use, did not write there music down. It was part of there oral tradition. All music was improvised or played from the heart- based upon the notes on the flute. You will be able to go home, and create your own melodies. Now you don’t have an excuse!

I am not good at improvising; will I be frustrated in this workshop?
Most students believe they cannot improvise. If you have never improvised then Native American Flute and Drums is the way to start. The Native American Flute is based upon the pentatonic scale (means 5 note scale). Because of this there is no wrong or sour not that you can play. That means all combinations of notes, in any order are correct. By adding different rhythms with drums, you will find great diversity in your playing. The flutes from High Sprit are 6 holed flutes, and we will explore a diatonic and chromatic scale, however the focus of our improvisations will all be pentatonic. You will sound good improvising, and develop a confidence that you can apply to any wind instrument.

Who is Phoenix Rising?
Phoenix Rising is comprised of Wendy Loomis, pianist/percussionist/composer and flutist Monica Williams. Both have studied western music at distinguished schools. To expand there color palette and reach new musical heights they added world instruments to their repertoire. Together they have recorded 2 CD’s ‘Ascension’ and ‘Whispers’, been nominated for best new age song of the year by the Hollywood Music Awards, and best Acoustic Album of the Year by the Los Angeles Music Awards. Their latest CD has been on the New Age Reporter Radio Charts for the last 5 months, after receiving national and international recognition on cable music programs and radio stations from around the world.

How do I enroll and pay?
This is a Phoenix Rising Production. You can enroll/pay online at or you can turn in payment directly to Monica Williams or Wendy Loomis. Enrollment is limited, so register in advance to secure your space.
(Jul 1, 2009)