Book ReviewsBook ReviewsDecember 2022FeaturedIssues

The Electric Flute

 THE ELECTRIC FLUTE is a book designed for musicians with little to no experience with electronic equipment and someone interested in using effects while improvising, arranging, and composing their own music.

If you are interested in playing flute with effects but aren’t sure where to start, this book is for you! The “electric flute” is a standard concert flute played through a microphone, often with effects such as delay, harmonization, looping, distortion, or flanger. Although the flute is a beautiful and versatile instrument in its own right, effects greatly expand the musical and timbral possibilities of the instrument. Whether you play classical, jazz, world, pop, rock, or any other genre, effects add a new dimension to your sound and deepen your musicality.

I grew up in a small town in Kentucky and began playing flute in August 1999. But after finishing my undergraduate degree in music education, I felt burned out. Although I had many great teachers, I didn’t feel I had fully developed my voice. Around this time, I visited my boyfriend (now my husband), and watched him play his electric guitar through effects with such joy and happiness. I wondered — is there a way to play flute with effects pedals?

Several weeks later, I had a microphone and it was time to test it out. I will never forget the first time I heard the sound of my flute through the amp, with the distortion and delay pedals turned on. Although I had a lot to learn (and still do), I instantly knew I had found my voice. At first, it felt like jumping off a cliff with no parachute... but that’s what musical freedom feels like. Since then, I’ve spent thousands of hours playing with effects, working to develop control over the effects, just like I do with the flute itself. 

I wanted to write the book that I wished I had when I started playing with effects. I hope playing with effects brings you some of the same joy it has brought me, and that this book helps you along the way! 

In this 120-page book, you will discover:

  • How to choose and use microphones with the flute.
  • The gear you need, sample setups, and how to hook it up.
  • What types of effects are out there, what they sound like, and how to use them with the flute.
  • Interviews with electric flutists about their setup and how they use effects in their music. Interviewees include Robert Dick, Michele Gori, Stefan Keller, Courtney King, Elsa Nilsson, David Weiss, Leszek Wisniowski, and Jose Valentino & Chris Shelton.
  • What to play — including exercises for effects and loopers, ideas for creating electric flute arrangements, an introduction to improvisation, and sheet music for five pieces.

You have the freedom to use the effects however you want — to reimagine existing music or to create your own. Enjoy the journey and have fun!

THE ELECTRIC FLUTE is available as a hard copy (international shipping available), or as a digital download (e-book PDF).

Get the book here:


Dr. Melissa Keeling is a flutist, composer, and educator based in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Currently, she serves as part-time faculty at Western Kentucky University (teaching courses in music theory and music education), leads masterclasses across the USA, and runs a private flute studio. She is passionate about contemporary music, including the use of electronics and improvisation. Melissa is a Trevor James Flutes Artist.

Contact Name: Melissa Keeling



Instagram: @_melissakeeling


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