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The Virtuosic Flutist: Book Review

The Virtuosic Flutist is a new collection of studies keyed to the mechanics of playing the flute and the nuances of improving one's playing.  The exercises are intended to be a manual for any aspiring flutist looking to hone his or her techniques, or to consider adopting techniques through instruction.


Nina Assimakopoulos has done a fantastic job of compiling her top exercises, which include studies in Breathing, Intonation, Vibrato, Tone Color, and Grounding, as well as Repertoire Excerpts.  In the beginning of the book, Assimakopoulos clearly defines each category and gives a thorough description on what to look out for, a system of notation using triangles to point out  "focal points" for the areas being taught, and how to achieve the goals of learning those areas. There are illustrations of the various parts of our bodies such as the nasopharnyx and esophagus, that we often don't think about as being involved when we are playing.  By explaining in detail how vibrato is created, for example, we get a better understanding of how to play using it.


In Section II, the groundwork from Section I is put to use in exercises set forth on the staff, and the reader can dive in and put the advice to practice using the notated examples for breathing or intonation.  In Section III, Assimakopoulos includes excerpts of some favorite, well-known pieces to put into practice the knowledge gained from the beginning of the book.  Several of the piece excerpts are written out in various keys in order to fully implement Assimakopoulos’ suggested exercises in tone, grounding, and tone color.  Having these pieces such as Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun included, allows the flutist who knows the piece to concentrate on utilizing the new techniques, (assisted by the notation system explained in the beginning), and bringing new shadings to them and to then be able to transfer that skill elsewhere.


The Virtuosic Flutist is a complete manual for any flutist who wants to take his or her playing to the next level. Nina Assimakopoulos has designed a meticulous compilation of fabulous and helpful exercises, which will definitely make a difference and transform you into a Virtuosic Flutist.


The book can be purchased at Flute World, Flutistry Boston, Flute Pro Shop, and in hard copy and digitally at

Nina will be signing copies at NFA this summer!

--Viviana Guzman



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