Grand Valley State University Flute Studio

GVSU flute students are an integral component of the warmth and friendly atmosphere of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance, are treated to close student-teacher and peer relationships, small classes, and an abundance of individual attention all within the walls of the inspiring and beautiful Haas Center for the Performing Arts at Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus. Studying at GVSU gives flute students an average of three to four hours a week with Dr. Walsh. Read below for what you can expect when you join the GVSU Flute Studio!


flute lessons


All Flute majors and minors receive lessons with Dr. Walsh on a weekly basis. The focus of the lessons will be on etudes and repertoire with special attention to practice techniques and what to focus on physically and musically to improve flute playing and musicianship.  At the end of every term, the student will perform a jury that combines technique requirements from technique class and repertoire from lessons for the GVSU faculty.

flute studio class photo

Studio Class

In addition to weekly private lessons, all flute students attend an hour of studio class. This is the time to polish performance skills, receive feedback, and improve pedagogy and communication skills. Additionally, masterclasses and lectures will be presented on a variety of required areas of knowledge as pertains to the flute, teaching, and music in general.

flute tech class photo

Technique Class

Technique Class is an hour-long weekly boot camp style performing class which covers an array of technical exercises. Through serious study of this technical material, studio members not only see success in achieving technical proficiency with their current repertoire but increased success in learning the most difficult repertoire for the instrument. This class has a circular curriculum including exercises from Taffanel-Gaubert, Andersen, Reichert, Trevor Wye, a variety of extended range scales and arpeggios patterns, and intonation work with the Tuning CD and group drone exercises. This group class serves as a model for daily personal practice of fundamentals.

abigail walsh with two flute students

Freshman Mentoring

Each freshman works with an upperclassman one hour weekly on improving flute skills. In turn, upperclassmen continue to develop their teaching skills. Students rotate partners so everyone in the studio develops invested, personal relationships that contribute to the warm and friendly atmosphere of the studio. These relationships are important for the transition from high school to college as freshmen receive support on processes and institutional knowledge vital to being a successful member of the music program.

chamber ensemble

Chamber Music

Flute students will be assigned to a small chamber flute group (duo, trio or quartet) and receive several coachings by Dr. Walsh through the semester. Flute chamber groups perform in studio class, during recital hour, at the Great Lakes Flute Festival, and in the community at least once a semester.

additional performance opps

Additional Performance Opportunities

There are many fantastic performance opportunities at GVSU. All music majors are placed in one of GVSU’s three major ensembles by a professionally simulated blind audition each year. Flutists also can participate in chamber music of mixed instrumentation, collaborative piano class, and GVSU’s nationally renowned New Music Ensemble. In addition to performing for studio class, students will sign-up for guest artist/ensemble masterclasses throughout the year, and students can compete in the GVSU concerto competition. Half and full hour recitals are open for students to schedule with Dr. Walsh.

Flute students develop performance, pedagogical, entrepreneurial, and administrative skills by participating in flute events hosted at GVSU including the Great Lakes Flute Festival, All-State Flute Clinic, flute studio recitals, performing for their music major peers in recital hour on Friday afternoons, and numerous school and community outreach events throughout the year.

To learn more about the performing opportunities at GVSU visit:

About Dr. Abigail Walsh

abigail Walsh

“My passion for performance is matched only by my love of teaching. Every individual is unique, and I adapt my teaching style to each student so they can succeed in playing the flute and being a fine musician. My pedagogical approach to teaching flute emphasizes physical awareness to eliminate tension and fatigue and create a polished performance. My teaching philosophy is clear and concise: I aim to inspire students to master great control of their instrument. By mastering breathing and finger technique, perfecting air-stream control, paying attention to details in a phrase, and developing sound production the student learns to sing through their flute, learn pieces quickly, and perform with ease and artistry.”

- Abigail Walsh

A versatile and passionate performer and educator, Dr. Abigail Walsh performs with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, teaches at the Flute by the Sea Masterclass in Matunuck RI and performs with pianist Dr. Pei-I Wang in Music Wall Duo. She serves as Vice President of the West Michigan Flute Association.

Prior to her current position at GVSU, Abigail served as a full-time Applied Music Specialist at the University of Illinois Springfield where she taught flute, coached chamber music ensembles, and taught music general education courses. She has been an adjunct flute faculty member at Illinois College, the Hartt School, the Hartt School Community Division and the Ethel Walker School, as well as the flute teaching assistant at the University of Iowa. She is the former Principal Flutist of Hartford Opera Theater, the Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra and the Oskaloosa Symphony and has performed with the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, as well as the Peoria, Millikin -Decatur, West Michigan, and Dubuque Symphony Orchestras. She has been the flute faculty artist at the Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival, Hartt High School Intensive Instrumental Workshop, the UIS Flute Festival, and the Western Illinois University's Summer Music Institute.

A joyful and dedicated teacher and performer, Abigail gives master classes at universities, colleges and high schools and performs solo and chamber recitals regularly. She has performed at several National Flute Association conventions, the Florida, Wisconsin, Mid-Atlantic, Chicago, Iowa, and FNMC Flute Festivals and has been a featured soloist with the Cedar Rapids, Decatur and Taylorville Municipal Bands as well as with various groups at the Engelbach-Hart Music Festival, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra's Around the Town Chamber Music Festival, Illinois College, University of Iowa, the Hartt School, and the University of Illinois Springfield. As an ambassador of new music, she is a member and performer in the Flute New Music Consortium. With Music Wall Duo partner, Pei-I Wang, Abigail performed 10 new works for flute and piano virtually and on tour with the Composers Alliance of San Antonio during the 2021-2022 calendar year.

First prize winner of the CanAmerican Flute Symposium Solo Artist Competition and the Valencia Awards Music Competition in 2021, Abigail has also been a prizewinner or finalist in the NFA Piccolo Artist Competition, the Washington Society Young Artist Competition, the University of Iowa's Concerto Competition, and the Emeritus Recording Competition.

Abigail holds Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the Hartt School, where she studied with Janet Arms and John Wion. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Iowa while studying with Tamara Thweatt, Robert Dick, and Tadeu Coelho. Other primary teachers include Betty Bang Mather, Trevor Wye, and Margaret Linnan Kegel.

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Page last modified November 11, 2022