Elizabeth Pickens - Private Flute Instructor

Elizabeth Pickens has taught as a private flute instructor for over 24 years. She played flute at the Kennedy Center for Jean Pierre Rampal at age eleven.  She further studied at the center as an orchestra apprentice.  She studied flute under Carol Kniebush Noe at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. She has played in masterclasses with Goran Marcussen, Mary Karen Clardy, and Alexa Still. Active in the local flute community, she served as secretary for the Arizona Flute Society for five years and gives flute clinics in local schools. She plays principal flute with Phoenix College community orchestra, with whom she has played for the last ten years. Her philosophy is to motivate students with positive reinforcement and lots of nurturing support. She believes that lessons should be engaging because, after all, playing flute is FUN! 

Elizabeth Pickens' Personal biography

I am a dreamy romantic poetic flutist. I love the beauty of this long slender silver instrument. When I was told I could choose an instrument, I wanted flute or harp. Flute probably won out due to practicality but was nonetheless mystical, beautiful, and enchanting.

I remember the joy of first opening the case and being surprised it was in three gleaming pieces. I remember how hard I tried to get a sound out at first, and couldn’t! In fact, I was the last one in my class to produce a sound. However, other beginnings were more auspicious.  My first year playing, my private flute teacher invited me to play Happy Birthday at a Jean Pierre Rampal concert celebrating the great flutist’s birthday at the Kennedy Center with a bunch of other area young flutists.  At the end of the same year, I noticed that one of our all county chorus pieces had a flute part and I volunteered myself and Jane, another flutist, to play Feed My Lambs. The ensuing concert was recorded onto an album. So, I had my Kennedy Center debut and first album out my first year of playing!

I continued my studies and in junior high there were over 20 flutes in my band.  I was disappointed to be put in a chair in the second row. So, I challenged the last chair of the first row and won. The next year, I got third chair and challenged the second chair so I could play in orchestra. (I never challenged the first chair as I knew my band director would probably never concede the chair). By high school, I was first chair in all county orchestra and received apprenticeships to Arlington and National symphonies. After years of auditioning, I made Regionals. I learned that perseverance and hard work paid off and that you sometimes get smarter about things as time goes on.  For example, I realized after initial auditions that you cannot “cram” scale study and when I spent a year focusing on getting my scales down, I nailed the audition.

 I feel about flute the way I feel about other passions like writing, reading, ballet, yoga, meditation and walking in nature. Playing it brings you closer to your own soul or higher self and helps you express it!