“The Art of the Native American Flute” by Carlos R. Nakai and James DeMars was my first book on Native American Flute and for this day it remains my favorite one. Carlos R. Nakai and James DeMars published a book with over 100 pages in a large page format. As far as I can see, it’s no longer in print, but if you happen to stumble upon one on booksales or on eBay, or on Amazon’s used books, it’s definitely worth buying.
The authors take us into a simple journey of history, craft and music basics.
“The Art of the Native American Flute” has been published by Canyon Records – it consists of few parts. Basically, it’s an introduction to Native American flute that is “Nakai centered”. The authors introduce the reader to simple history and information about Native flute, and they they jump right into explaining the basics of Nakai’s notation, a way Carlos Nakai developed to write music for Native American flute.
Teaching to Play Native American Flute
This first part is a large part of the book – basically, it explains everything you need to know about traditional music notation mixed with Nakai’s way of writing for NAF. After few pages of careful reading, you can actually learn how to read music notes. It was surely the case for me, this is the book that helped me learn how to read music notes for the very first time.
Learning because you want to and because you like to is the best motivation. I was never a fan of traditional music notation, but explaining it for the purpose of NAF was a great way for me to learn.
Of course, you will also learn the tablature and fingering, because this is what you really need to play the notes from the staff. Nakai, in his book, provides readers with tips and suggestions on playing techniques, as well. And there are some nice exercises to help you memorize tablature and staff notation, which is great way to learn.
One of the most important elements of this book is a collection of sheet notes for songs to be played on Native American flute. Most of these songs come from the album “Changes” by Carlos R. Nakai, but there are few extras, as well. And they’re fun to play. For this day, I play these songs for my own enjoyment.
And “Changes” are one of my favorite pure flute albums.
Finally, the last part of the book is an “index” and description of Carlos R. Nakai’s discography, so for those who need a book for bibliography on this subject, it’s perfect.
If you look for a book that will introduce you to Native American Flute and teach you everything you need to know to play this instrument, then The Art of the Native American Flute is a good choice.
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