Chandler music teacher wins flute competition SanTan Sun News

Chandler music teacher wins flute competition

Chandler music teacher wins flute competition
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SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Hundreds of people vied for to be the best in the National Flute Association’s Piccolo Orchestral Audition Masterclass Competition this summer, but it was Abby Simpson Puckett who took the prize.

The Missouri native, who moved to Chandler three years ago when she was getting her masters in music degree from Arizona State University, won in a stiff competition that was built around the theme of “Transforming Artistry.”

The competition climaxed with a presentation by Puckett and the two semifinalists at the National Flute Association’s convention, which celebrated “the skill and beauty found in high-level performance, honor the legacy of artistry passed to us from our teachers,” a spokeswoman said.

Puckett has been perfecting her artistry for more than a decade after starting her lessons in the flute at age 12.

Within a year, she was invited to begin private studies at Southeast Missouri State University, where she developed her skill to a point where she competed in local and state competitions.

As a freshman at Belmont University School of Music, Puckett earned the principal position of the school’s wind ensemble and a eventually the same for its symphony university.

Today, Puckett teaches private lessons and offers audition preparation at Music Maker Workshops at 32nd Street and Chandler Boulevard in Ahwatukee. She plays with the Symphony of the Southwest Orchestra and also is a substitute player in the Phoenix Symphony.

“Technically, I’m a freelance musician and teacher, so I spend a lot of my time at Music Makers teaching,” said Puckett, who plays the flute, oboe and piano and teaches the flute, piccolo and piano.

She was drawn to the flute as a child because “it kind of mimics the human voice in a way — it’s capable of portraying emotion with its melodic capabilities.”

Music Makers reached out to her almost as soon as she had settled in Chandler with her husband.

And she’s found “there’s no shortage of music students” — including those who want to learn the flute.

She has a relatively straightforward attitude toward what makes a good music teacher.

“Just being energetic and kind and straightforward about your expectations as a teacher are helpful for attracting students who really care about music and want to do their best as opposed to somebody who’s just maybe trying it out for a hobby for a month and then is going to move onto the next cool thing,” Puckett explained.

The challenge, she said is “just attracting the music students that fit with your personality as a teacher.”

On her website, she elaborates on the importance of music lessons.

“Music lessons aren’t just for ‘smart’ people who already understand music, or ‘rich’ people who can afford lessons,” she states. “Music lessons are for everyone because music is for everyone.”

As for the oft-repeated suggestion that music lessons make people smarter,” Puckett says that while they won’t lead to higher grades in match, they “teach skills that support other academic skills, such as reading, math, history.

“But music teaches skills beyond academic support,” she adds. “Music teaches students about creativity, discipline, responsibility, time-management, goal-setting and communication. Music gives students the opportunity to express themselves in a way that is unique and melodic, and that can go beyond the expression of words.

“Music provides all students with opportunities for learning, growth and exploration that other activities cannot — and on top of it all, music is fun!”

As for the competition, Puckett was grateful just to be there.

“It’s really an incredible honor just to play, but it’s also kind of nerve wracking,” she said, explaining that she thought of all the people who had applied and didn’t make the cut to appear on the stage live and play in the final round for a live audience.

“When you’re a musician, you don’t want other people who might’ve applied who are listening in the audience thinking ‘Wow, that’s the person who made it to the final round.’ But I was able to take a step back from that.”

Information: mmwaz.com or abigailmsimpson@gmail.com

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