Flute circle

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Participants playing Native American flutes at a flute circle

A flute circle is an organization of musicians which focuses on the Native American flute. Flute circles typically meet periodically to engage in educational and recreational activities surrounding the instrument. Most flute circles offer instruction on the Native American flute, especially for flutists who are new to the instrument. Many flute circles have a facilitator with experience in group music facilitation and humanistic music education to structure the activities and the music-making.[1]

This use of the Native American flute in community music is notably different from traditional uses of the instrument for courtship, hunting, or ceremony.[2] This new use of the instrument has not been without controversy, and flute circles are generally advised to use the instrument in a respectful manner because of these considerations.[3]

Flute circle participants may span a wide range of experience and training in music — from professionals to novice flutists or enthusiasts of the Native American flute.[4] Many flute circles focus on raising the level of musicality of the participants across a range of levels of musical experience using basic song forms, music improvisation, and techniques of experiential music education. These techniques include duet and ensemble improvisation forms that include drones, ostinato patterns, and call and response forms.[5]:21–25 Facilitation forms include traveling ensembles, showcasing, segmenting, and general conducted improvisations — techniques that are shared with other community music structures such as drum circles.[6][7]

While some flute circles focus on aspects of indigenous cultures and indigenous peoples of the Americas, they do not typically relate to a single culture or tribe.[8]

Flute circles can also organize events for participants to play at events, festivals, school presentations, or in service settings such as senior centers, elder facilities, and group homes. Flute circles have also engaged in their own concerts, produced music albums, and broadcast live music performances.[9]

Community music[edit]

Flute circles are one type of community music gathering. Other types include drum circles, community choirs, facilitated dance, and community orchestras. However, Mary Jane Jones argues in her thesis that flute circles have particular attributes not found in other types of community music gatherings:

If the goal of flute players is to express themselves through a Native American-based musical means, it could be argued that they should be able to do that just as effectively through drumming or dancing. The answer may lie with the fact that, as a wind instrument, the flute uses not just the hands, but also the breath. Singing is the ultimate form of personal musical expression. The sound is formed from within the body and the words from within the mind. For people who feel that their voices are inadequate or are hindered from singing traditional Native songs because of their inability to speak their ancestral language, using the breath to produce sound through a simple cylinder may serve as a satisfying substitute. The flute can give them a voice.[1]:57


Several national organizations have formed to provide support to local flute circles:

  • WFSWorld Flute Society (U.S.A.)
  • FTF — FluteTree Foundation (U.S.A.) (formerly RNAFF, Renaissance of the North American Flute Foundation)
  • JIFCA — Japan Indian Flute Circle Association (日本インディアンフルートサークル協会) (Japan)

A roster of registered flute circles is maintained by WFS[4] and FTF.[10]


As of March 13, 2016, the roster of flute circles in this article listed 189 organizations in 9 countries, including flute circles in 44 States of the United States and 5 Provinces of Canada.


The chart below depicts the historical number of flute circles registered with the WFS (shown in darker blue) and its predecessor organization, the International Native American Flute Association ("INAFA") (shown in lighter blue).

The data for years prior to 2016 were gathered on March 13, 2016 from historical WFS and INAFA web pages provided by the Wayback Machine. The data for 2016 and 2017 were gathered from the live WFS web site on March 4, 2016 and January 3, 2017, respectively.

The data point for each year was taken on the first date in the year that the respective web site was updated. Data for the years 2012–2014 represents the shift in organizations from INAFA to WFS. The data roughly agrees with the Jones thesis, which reported 115 flute circles on the INAFA roster in 2010.[1]:53

However, rosters of flute circles maintained by WFS and INAFA only represent flute circles that are registered with those organizations; it is not known how many flute circles exist worldwide.[1]:53

Two contemporary Native American flutes

List of flute circles[edit]

This list of flute circles, sorted alphabetically by location (country, then state or province). Only the name and location are provided in this list, along with a link. The link may be (in order of preference) to a Wikilink, a web address, a link to social media, or reference(s) to one or more web sites that maintain rosters of information about specific flute circles.[4][10][11]

Please note that inclusion in this list does not represent any endorsement or certification of the organization that is listed. You may click through the link or visit the referenced roster(s) to see details for that organization:




British Columbia[edit]



  • Québec City Flute Circle[4] (Québec City)


  • Saskatoon Flute Circle[11] (Saskatoon)



The Netherlands and Belgium[edit]

New Zealand[edit]


  • Andean Native American Flute Circle[11] (Cusco)

United Kingdom[edit]

  • Walkingthunder Native American Flute Circle[11] (West Midlands — Coventry)
  • North Kent Native American Flute Circle[11] (Welling — Kent)

United States[edit]


  • Alaska Flute Circle[4][11] (Anchorage)


  • Voyager Flute Circle (Tucson)
  • Tucson Flute Circle (Tucson)
  • Payson Flute Circle (Payson)
  • CherryCows Flute Circle[4][11] (Tucson)
  • Quartzsite Flute Circle[4][11] (Quartzsite)
  • Green Valley Flute Circle[4][11] (Green Valley)
  • Central Arizona Flute Circle[11] (Cottonwood)
  • Tucson Five Star Flute and Drum Circle[4] (Tucson)
  • Yuma County Flute Circle[4] (Yuma)
  • Arizona Flute Circle[4] (Phoenix)
  • Tucson Presidio Flute Circle[4] (Tucson)
  • Tucson Kokopelli Native American Flute Circle[4] (Tucson)
  • Raa-ca-coons[11] (Apache Junction)
  • Montezuma Castle Flute Circle[11] (Camp Verde)
  • Yavapai Flute Circle[11] (Prescott)
  • Forest Sounds Flute Circle[11] (Sun City)
  • Desert Whispers Flute Circle of Tucson[11] (Tucson)




  • Pike Peak Flute Circle (Colorado Springs)
  • Purple Mountain World Flute Circle[4][11] (Evergreen)
  • Southwestern Colorado Flute Circle[4] (Durango)
  • Native American Flute Players of Colorado[4] (Colorado Springs)
  • Grand Valley Flute Circle[11] (Grand Junction)
  • Northern Colorado Flute Circle[11] (Fort Collins)
  • Mile High Flute Circle[11] (Denver)
  • Rocky Mountain Flute Circle[11] (Kittredge)


  • Connecticut Native American Flute Circle (West Hartford)




  • Georgia Heron House Flute Circle / Healing Waters[4][11] (Atlanta)

Georgia Flute Circle of Atlanta


  • Boise Flute Circle[4] (Boise)




  • Fairfield Flute Circle[11] (Fairfield)
  • Two Rivers Flute Circle[4][11] (West Des Moines)
  • Rolling Hills Flute Circle[4] (Centerville)
  • Cedar Valley Flute Society[4] (Marion)


  • Prairie Wind Flute Circle[4][11] (Topeka)



  • Spirit Raven Flute Circle[11] (East Boothbay)


  • Maryland Flute Circle[4][11] (Timonium)
  • Chesapeake Shore Flute Circle[4][11] (Stevensville)
  • Windsongs Native American Flute Circle[4][11] (Havre de Grace / Bel Aire)



  • Chippewa Valley Flute Circle[4][11] (Sanford)
  • Paint Creek Flute Circle[11] (Rochester Hills)
  • Gitchee Gumee Flute Circle[4][11] (Marquette)
  • Mitigwake Giiwitaashkaa ("Forest Circle")[4] (Midland)
  • MagicWind Flute Circle[4] (Clinton)


  • Ten Thousand Lakes Flute Circle[4][11] (St. Paul)
  • Bemidji Area Native American Flute Circle[4]


  • Hattiesburg Native American Flute Circle[4] (Hattiesburg)




  • Ni-Shudo Flute Circle[4][11] (Omaha)


  • Desert Cloud Flute Circle[4][11] (Boulder City)

New Hampshire[edit]

New Jersey[edit]

  • Skylands Native American Flute Circle[4][11] (Hackettstown)
  • Open Flute Circle and Music Improvisation[4] (Jersey City)
  • Whispering Winds Flute Circle[4][11] (Monmouth Junction)

New Mexico[edit]

New York[edit]

North Carolina[edit]






Rhode Island[edit]

  • Rhode Island Flute Circle[11] (Cranston)

South Carolina[edit]






West Virginia[edit]

  • West Virginia Native American Flute Circle[11] (Elkins)


  • Healing Spirit Flute Circle (Milwaukee)
  • Central Wisconsin Flute Circle[4][4] (Stevens Point)
  • Clear Water Flute Circle[4][11] (Chippewa Falls)
  • Downtown Milwaukee Healing Spirit Flute Circle[4] (Oak Creek)
  • Madison Four Lakes Flute Circle[4][11] (Madison)
  • Mitakuye Oyasin Flute Circle[4] (Ashippun)
  • Kokopelli Flute Circle[4][4] (Metro Milwaukee)
  • Wequiock Falls Flute Circle[4] (Green Bay)
  • North East Wisconsin Flute Circle[4][11] (Baileys Harbor)
  • Wokini Flute Circle[11] (Ashippun / Waterloo)
  • Spirit Lake Flute Circle[11] (Baraboo)


  1. ^ a b c d Mary Jane Jones (August 2010). Revival and Community: The History and Practices of a Native American Flute Circle (M.A.). Kent State University, College of the Arts / School of Music.
  2. ^ Frances Densmore (1957). "Music of Acoma, Isleta, Cochiti, and Zuñi Pueblos". Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. 165.
  3. ^ Edward Wapp, Jr. (1984). "The American Indian Courting Flute: Revitalization and Change". Sharing a Heritage: American Indian Arts, Edited by Charlotte Heth and Michael Swarm. Contemporary American Indian Issues Series, Number 5. Los Angeles: American Indian Studies Center, UCLA: 49–60.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg World Flute Society (2016). "Flute Circles, Clubs, and Groups". WFS. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  5. ^ James Oshinsky (January 2008). Return to Child — Music for People's Guide to Improvising Music and Authentic Group Leadership (Second ed.).
  6. ^ Arthur Hull (1998). Drum Circle Spirit: Facilitating Human Potential Through Rhythm. White Cliffs Media. ISBN 0-941677-84-2.
  7. ^ Arthur Hull (2006). Drum Circle Facilitation. Village Music Circles. ISBN 0-9724307-1-7.
  8. ^ James H. Howard (1983). "Pan-Indianism in Native American Music and Dance". Ethnomusicology. 27 (1): 71–82. doi:10.2307/850883. JSTOR 850883.
  9. ^ Clint Goss (November 2015). "Thriving Flute Circles". Overtones!. 2015 (4): 9–11.
  10. ^ a b FluteTree Foundation (2016). "Flute Circles Directory". FTF. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct Odell Borg (2016). "Flute Circles in the USA / International Flute Circles". Retrieved 2016-03-12.