Spending her childhood forging her musical talents, Rebecca Andres eventually found herself playing for Cincinnati Broadway Across America’s "Wicked." In the 96 performances that followed, Andres further fine-tuned her flute skills.
Andres found her passion for music in the fourth grade. She comes from a family of musicians — many of her relatives play piano and her sister plays the violin. Andres tried to play the violin, too, but found that it wasn’t a good fit.
“It just wasn't the right thing for me and I wanted to quit, I wasn’t enjoying it,” Andres said. “And then when I got in band, we had a flute in the family and I thought, ‘My mom and dad won’t have to buy an instrument,’ and I was just like, ‘this,’ you know?”
Her interest stuck.
Andres played the flute throughout middle school and high school, but she never thought she’d pursue the instrument as her life-long career.
Her high school didn’t provide a lot of training in their music department. But, then she enrolled at Ohio State University (OSU). There, she found a space that fostered and encouraged her instrumental efforts.
“And then I didn't think I would be a musician but, in the end, I was,” she said. “I was going to have a different major but at the last minute, I was like ‘no’ I’m going into music education.”
Andres now plays the flute in the Dayton Philharmonic and Cincinnati Orchestras, and she’s done numerous shows for Cincinnati’s Broadway Across America.
There is a spot on Andres’ office wall reserved for people who have inspired and helped in her journey as a musician — a photo collage of them all adorns the wall.
“I’ve learned so much from each teacher that I’ve had,” she said.
John Pieron Paul, a teacher at OSU, takes on a small number of students to mentor each year and, one year, he chose Andres. Her college mentor helped teach her excellence and discipline, which is something Andres said she needed at the time.
“He put me on the straight and narrow path, he was extremely disciplined, he had an exercise for everything,” she said. “I have, hanging on my wall, exercises that I gave to students that he gave to me back in the day.”
Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter
One of the most rewarding experiences she’s had happened when she was almost finished with college.
Paul gave her the opportunity to take on a three-and-a-half week master class in Nice, France.
There, musicians from all over the world would practice five hours a day, everyday. She heard songs played on the flute in a way that she’d never heard before.
“That was eye opening,” she said.
Andres can’t pick just one performance as her all-time favorite. She has a top five, one which is when the Cincinnati Symphony performed a “Star Wars” concert.
“One thing I love so much is to be surrounded by the music,” she said. “I love it way better than being in the audience, and to sit in the middle of that I thought, ‘I'm so lucky. This is just great.’”
While immersing herself in the music, Andres has had the chance to play alongside a cast of renowned musicians. World-class cellist Yo-Yo Ma is just one of the many artists that Andres has performed with when he came to play with the Dayton Philharmonic.
“It's so inspiring to play with world-class artists,” Andres said. “It lifts you and you really want to do your very best for the people you’re working with.”
Playing the flute isn’t easy, and every flutist has a different way of playing the instrument. Andres said it’s good to have a variety of types of flute players in an orchestra.
“In the end, that's what makes the world go round in the orchestra I play in,” she said. “My section mate is kind of the opposite and that's good: we both have our strengths.”
Practice is key for Andres. She still practices the scales and long notes she played in college.
Andres also knows how to play the piccolo, which plays an octave higher than the flute, and the alto flute, which plays an octave lower.
Andres is now one of two flute teachers at Miami University. The second flutist is her colleague, Morrigan O’Brien Kane.
The Department of Music at Miami primarily focuses on music education, while other schools focus on performers and don’t pay enough attention to their music departments, Andres said.
“The kids who come out of here are really well prepared to do a good job, and I have ultimate respect for a lot of the professors here. They're really good at what they do,” Andres said.
Becoming a musician is challenging, and Andres wants to let those pursuing music as their career know that they need to keep their doors open. They need to be dedicated to what they do and promote themselves in the right way.
“You go into music because you love music,” she said.