Heather and Jamie

The Patience of a Stonecutter

Written by Heather Woodhouse

Flute players are a dime a dozen, but Hillsdale’s flute instructor, Jaimie Wagner, has a knack for making students feel special.

In one of our first lessons, Jaimie shared a W.A. Mathieu quote with me: “You cannot achieve speed by speedy practice. The only way to get fast is to be deep, wide awake, and slow. When you habitually zip through your music, your ears are crystallizing in sloppiness. Pray for the patience of a stonecutter. Pray to understand that speed is one of those things you have to give up – like love – before it comes flying to you through the back window.”

This philosophy of patience has transformed more than my practice routine. I often make ambitious plans for the future, but Jaimie reminds me that I should focus on being the best flute player I can be today.

In high school, I always felt a need to impress my private instructors. Now I recognize my foolishness. To improve as an artist, I must be honest with myself and honest with my instructor. Fortunately, it’s easy to be honest with Jaimie. She is one of the warmest souls I have met. When the rest of college life seems to be dissolving into chaos, it is a relief to spend an hour a week with Jaimie concentrating on flute tone, technique, and repertoire. She is an excellent listener and mentor, but also maintains a necessary sense of authority.

I’ve needed a new flute for the longest time and haven’t been able to travel to Detroit, so about two weeks ago, Jaimie talked Flute Specialists, Inc. into visiting Hillsdale. I was initially overwhelmed by the amount of flutes and head joints to try, but Jaimie spent a solid three hours helping me choose which flute to purchase. I never would have been able to make a decision without her guidance! Overall, if there’s anyone patient, deep, and wide awake, it’s Jaimie Wagner. Also, her children and cockapoo, Ollie, are most adorable.

Heather Woodhouse, ’18, is a music and English major from Eagle River, Alaska. When she’s not writing fictional short stories, Heather can be found in Howard Music Hall rocking out on jazz flute or playing didgeridoo in flute ensemble. On breaks she beats her two older brothers at Super Smash Bros’ Brawl, Resistance, and Table Tennis. She greatly admires Ray Bradbury, Oscar Wilde, Ian Anderson, and is a friend of Krispy Kreme.