About Me

I am an innovative, curious flutist, teacher and ensemble director, interested in new sounds, and new ideas. I am dedicated to helping students of all ages become confident in their own musicality. It’s important to me as a teacher and artist to understand that performing is something we do with our entire being: in order to create moving, confident performances, we need to be confident in our own bodies, including being able to move comfortably, and in our musical understanding. This site is meant to provide resources for ensemble directors wanting to use improvisation and reflection in rehearsals to develop skills and musical understanding.

Picture of Kathy Weidenfeller

Growing up I dreamed of being an artist, musician and writer. All at once. The flute won out when it was time to choose, and after finishing my degree at Hartt, I set off to Finland ‘for a year’ to continue my studies at the Sibelius Academy. Moving to a different culture has allowed me to discover parts of my identity that I believe would have been difficult to access had I stayed in my home country. It has also given me the opportunity to work with musicians I would not have had access to, and created opportunities I would not have had. My other arts still follow along with me, and continue to inform my work as a flutist, teacher, and ensemble director. I often incorporate visual and written artwork in performances as a flutist, as well as with my ensembles.

As a teacher, my curiosity helps me to discover how to approach the learning situation in a way that works best for each individual student. Working without written music – improvising – has become an important part of that approach both with my private students, as well as the ensembles I work with. Using non-written exercises with my individual students develops listening skills, musical (including theoretical) understanding, and confidence along with technical instrumental skills. In an ensemble setting, it also helps to build a sense of community, enabling the individual members to draw not only on me, but also on each other for support and knowledge.

Personally facing the challenges of being an adult learner, and being surprised at how poorly I handled those challenges lead me to become interested in how to create a supportive space for flutists returning to a musical practice after a break in studies. With the experience I had using improvisation and extended techniques, I started to look for ways to adapt exercises I used with my younger students for adults. I began The Helsinki Flute Orchestra to develop these ideas – as a place for musical growth and friendship. The members of the ensemble are all returning to their musical practice after a break in their studies. Their enthusiasm, and desire to grow as flutists and musicians is inspiring. I know I’ve grown at least as much as the members of my ensemble during our rehearsals and performances.