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Five Questions for Emily Higgins

Emily Higgins has played the flute since she was 10. Her early love of movie musicals inspired her to pick up the woodwind instrument and pursue a musical career for the past 20 years. She attended the Hartt School at the University of Hartford, where she earned a bachelor’s of music in flute performance. Higgins collaborates with chamber music artists in addition to teaching. She will perform with the Union Symphony Orchestra on Sunday at The Batte Center at Wingate University.

Q. When did you first start playing the flute? I started when I was 10 years old and it was my first instrument. I remember when I was young, there was a cartoon version of “Peter and the Wolf,” and I really liked the bird that was the flute character. I also enjoyed movie musicals as a kid, like “The Sound of Music,” “West Side Story,” and “Fantasia.” Barry Garrison was my band teacher when I first started the flute in fifth grade, and Mark Thomas was my main private flute instructor through high school. For the first year, I didn’t like the flute at all. As I got better, I started to get opportunities to play with groups. I really enjoy the experience of making music with other people.

Q. Where do you perform? I play with the Union Symphony Orchestra out of Wingate University and with chamber music ensembles like the Quintessence Wind Quintet. I also play in the Alla Prima Flute and Harp Duo with harpist Kirsten Carrell Osborne. I also do weddings and events, where you have to play most of your pieces by memory.

Q. What’s one of your favorite performances? The concert I put together with Osborne about a year and a half ago. We played at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte. Chamber music is my favorite.

Q. What is your flute teaching experience? I currently have about 45 private students that I teach at my home and Music & Arts Center in the Arboretum. I started teaching private flute lessons when I was in ninth grade. I put up fliers around the area where I lived, and the next year got a job teaching in a small independent music school. It was in an old run-down retail space that was always under some kind of construction, but it worked!

Q. What is the best advice you can give to new flutists? Be persistent and patient. Realize you can be as good as you want, but it takes a lot of practice. Things don’t happen overnight and you must have faith that it’s going to get better.

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