Take a Note from OU’s Principal Flautist

Flute in hand, junior, Alyssa Primeau can be seen around campus, bustling in and out of Varner Hall to her own beat.

Primeau, who has hopes of pursuing a career as a music educator, is in her third year at Oakland and is double-majoring in instrumental music education and flute performance.

Primeau found inspiration through her older sister, who played the flute in high school.

“She was the one who kind of got me started on it, and having really good teachers along the way is what influenced me to want to teach students and other people,” Primeau said.

Since attending Athens high school in Troy, she has found large audiences intimidating.

The student flautist uses a variety of techniques to overcome her fears, such as randomly performing in front of others in her practice room and using calming techniques that her professors taught her.

Although she wants to begin teaching general education for elementary students, Primeau would later like to teach at a university.

Primeau will be playing “Carmen Fantasy” by French flautist, Francois Borne, with Oakland’s Symphony Orchestra this semester.  

“I started playing it my senior year in high school and I have kind of been learning it on and off since then,” Primeau said. “It’s definitely my favorite flute piece to play and it’s probably the hardest.”

Primeau said she chose Oakland University’s music program because of its location and the potential opportunities it had for her future.

Primeau thinks the program has several great faculty members. Professors such as Greg Cunningham, Joseph and Victoria Shively and Sharon Sparrow have made a large impact on her studies.

“Alyssa is a model student who continues to excel in her studies as a music major at Oakland,” said Cunningham, Professor of Music and Instrumental Program Coordinator. 

According to him, Primeau has served as the principal flautist of the Oakland University Wind Symphony for the past two years and has been a member of the Oakland Symphony, a regional orchestra comprised of area professionals.

“I look forward to collaborating with her on this concert and am excited about her future here at Oakland and beyond,” Cunningham added.

According to Primeau, learning the music is not the most challenging aspect of performing.

“I definitely think playing with musicality and expression is probably the hardest thing that someone can conquer as a performer,” Primeau said. “Anyone can learn how to play the notes and how to play the rhythms.”

Primeau has made many memories at OU that she hopes to take with her as she pursues a career.

“At Oakland, I recently saw the Julliard String Quartet perform last semester and that was probably the most inspiring performance I’ve seen,” Primeau said.

One thing is clear when speaking with Primeau: She has diverse interests. On top of playing flute in high school, she worked with students with autism and said she may also be interested in working in special education someday.

But for now, she’ll stick with her instrument.