Glenwood Springs High School senior Sofia Gamba has been playing the flute for six years. The 17-year-old plays in her high school band and Symphony in the Valley, and she has recently picked up the saxophone to play in her high school’s jazz band. Gamba talked with the Post Independent about why she loves the flute and how she sees music fitting in her future.
Post Independent: When did you start playing the flute, and how did you choose that instrument in particular?
Sofia Gamba: I started playing the flute in sixth grade. Before that, I played the piano and took lessons since I was 5, which gave me an appreciation for music. When I got to middle school, I was very excited to play in the band, but I had no experience playing anything except piano. My piano teacher at the time, Joy Stephen, recommended I try the flute.
PI: Now that you’ve been playing for a while, what do you love about the flute?
SG: In my opinion, the flute is like the icing on an extravagant cake. It is small and delicate, but it helps to provide flavor for an ensemble. The large brass instruments like the tuba are the necessary foundation for everything else, but the flute gives the music color.
PI: What are all the groups you play in, and what do you like about each?
SG: I play in the high school concert band and jazz band as well as in Symphony in the Valley. In concert band I play the flute and piccolo. I always look forward to rehearsal because, after a calculus test or a physics lab, I can go to band and recharge my batteries. It’s a time of necessary stress relief. This is my first year participating in jazz band. The flute is not traditionally a jazz instrument so, in order to fully participate, I picked up the saxophone. I’ve had to learn to adjust to a much larger instrument. I am fairly confident on the flute, but when I started on the sax, I was back to square one. Playing with Symphony in the Valley was just one of many opportunities that my band director, Tami Suby, has provided for me. I like being able to play with people of all ages as well as with different instruments. Before playing with the symphony, I had only ever played in a band, which usually consists of woodwind and brass instruments. However, in a symphony, there are different kinds of instruments like the strings. I also have the opportunity to play a variety of music with symphony that wouldn’t be played in band. One other group that I’m going to be playing with this year is the high school production of “Legally Blonde.” I’m going to be in the orchestra pit.
PI: What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever played, and why?
SG: Picking a favorite piece of music that I’ve played is akin to a mother picking a favorite child or me choosing a favorite flavor of ice cream. I can’t. I generally prefer upbeat, playful tunes but also enjoy slower, soulful pieces. I like music that keeps changing and stays interesting. It is also fun to play well-known tunes. In concert band, we’ve played music from film scores like “The Lord of the Rings,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Ratatouille.”
PI: Do you plan to study music in college, or to keep playing on the side?
SG: Being a music geek has opened up so many opportunities for me, and as I have grown as a musician, I have developed a deep love for playing music. However, I’m currently looking at studying engineering when I go to college. I’ve been accepted to Colorado School of Mines as well as South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. I’m thinking about studying either chemical or metallurgical engineering, but I still have some time to decide. I would like to minor in music if possible, but I will definitely keep playing. Wherever I go, I’ll keep my eyes open for any community groups that might need an extra flutist.
PI: What do you love about playing music in general?
SG: I love music because I understand it, and I can see my own improvements and advances. Concert band and jazz band are both high school classes, but they are very different than other courses. In other classes, I get excited after getting a test back that I did well on. That is how improvement is measured. In band, I know I’m improving because I can play a section of music that I was struggling with last week, or I can finally reach that high C note. I don’t need a teacher or a grade to see my improvements.
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