Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Jonathan Shannon

Committee Members

Emily Wilbourne

Judith Lochhead

Karen Henson

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education | Community-Based Learning | Disability and Equity in Education | Educational Methods | Ethnomusicology | Music Education | Musicology | Music Pedagogy | Music Performance | Music Practice | Performance Studies | Scholarship of Teaching and Learning | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sociology of Culture


Masterclass, Flute, Artistry, Apprenticeship, Embodiment, Music pedagogy


This work explores the flute masterclass as an aesthetic, ritualized, and historically reimagined cultural practice. Based on fieldwork that took place between 2017 and 2019 in the United States, in Italy, and on the social media platforms Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, I argue that the masterclass—an extension of the master/apprentice system that dominates learning in the classical music tradition—is characterized by embodied qualities of artistry and authority. These qualities are not inherent, but are perceived through subjective, social, familied, and affective bodies.

Chapter One outlines the main themes and the research design. Chapter Two is a case study that analyzes the concept of charismatic authority in relation to an established flutist, his former teacher, and the influence of the French School of flute playing. Chapter Three discusses the role of sociality in professionalization and the search for artistry in a ten-day masterclass. Chapter Four, a case study of masterclasses at the National Flute Association Annual Convention, explores how flutists perform identity within the “imagined flute community” through gestural excess and modes of conduct. Chapter Five investigates flute masterclasses on the social media platforms Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube and the impact of online media on artistry, authority, and embodiment. Keeping in mind Latour’s actor-network theory, the “post-internet,” and the centralized web, I consider the reshaping and disruptive effects of social media on the traditional flute masterclass. I conclude that in order to continue as a relevant site for aesthetic experience and meaning-making, the flute masterclass must fashion a disciplined authority that respects the identity and selfhood of the student performer.