Nicole Mendyka: September Featured Flutist

The Flute Studio at Oklahoma State University is excited to announce our Featured Flutist for September 2017: Nicole Mendyka! Every month, we will be highlighting a studio member with interviews, articles, and pictures. We hope you enjoy getting to know our talented and diverse studio!

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Sophomore Music Education Major

Where are you from and what brought you to OSU? I'm from Denton, Texas, and my lesson teacher from high school had suggested auditioning here. Her professor when she was studying at Bowling Green University actually taught at OSU, and she had heard wonderful things about the staff and thought Dr. Broffitt would be a great fit for me.  

When and why did you start playing the flute? I started playing the flute in sixth grade. I think I feel in love with the sound of the flute. When I was younger we had a CD with Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf on it. Now I think I resent always having to sound like a bird. 

What are some of your hobbies and interests? I am currently a officer for NAfME and a junior leadership member for the Global Pedagogy Initiative.

Who are your favorite composers and recordings? Definitely Maurice Ravel, Daphnis et Chloe has to be in my top five orchestral works, and the Los Angles Philharmonic has a wonderful recording of it. Also, Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi, and my favorite recording of that is done by the Berlin Philharmonic. I also hold a soft spot for Beethoven's Piano Sonata no. 8 in C Minor, the second movement, and I really like Yundi Li recording of that. Fun fact- This sonata sounds very similar to Billy Joel's This Night.

Who are your music mentors and what have you learned from them? I believe I have mentioned all three of my main music mentors in previous questions. My lesson teacher from Denton, Laura Pillman. She has taught me to never lower my standards, how to preserve even when it seems impossible, and to always believe in myself. Then my high school band director, Amy Woody. I've learned from her how to build relationships with your students, create a music program where its okay to fail as long as you try again, and to always strive to leave things better then when you found it. My most recent music mentor has been Dr. Broffitt. While I still have a lot to learn, I think the most valuable thing she has taught me so far is to always be your best self and not worry about how you compare to others, because at the end of the day the only thing that matters is how you view yourself.

Where are your favorite places to eat? If you are in Stillwater you have to go to Red Rock Bakery, Nagoya, and Aspen. I consider coffee a very important "meal" of the day

What is the most valuable lesson that music has taught you? Probably that is okay to fail. While it may not be the desired outcome it is bound to happen. Your failures do not define you, but what you do after does. 

What stands out as your favorite musical memory? I have two very distinct musical memories that are very similar. They both involve not myself performing, but my teachers. The first was my high school band director was playing in a local professional Wind Ensemble, and this was the first time I went to go see her in Dallas. I just remember being stunned by the artistry every musician possessed, and beaming with pride because one of my teachers was on that stage. The same thing happened again this past spring. Dr. Broffitt was playing the flute solo from Daphnis et Chloe, with her orchestra in Arkansas. At the time I was also working on the solo and understood not only technical challenges, but also the artistic ones. However when's he played it, it was one of the most effortless and soul healing moments you can imagine. Again I was so stunned I couldn't even believe I was so lucky to study with her. Now I may be a little bias for both of these performances, but I believe they were both truly inspiring. 

What are your favorite things about the Flute Studio and the School of Visual + Performing Arts? I think the thing I love most about the School of Visual and Performing Arts are some of the incredible staff members. They want to help you and see you succeed, but they are not going to hold your hand through the process. Overall they are my favorite part about being a music major. 

What is your guilty pleasure? Whataburger, all day, everyday. 

Do you have any tips or advice for younger flutists? MDon't be afraid to work hard and put yourself out there. You'll regret not taking the shot versus missing it.

What are five fun facts about you?
1. I use to live in Wallingford, Connecticut, and that's why I say bolth instead of both. 
2. I have two older brothers, but I consider myself an only child. 
3. I love TedTalks.
4. I was born with an extra tooth, so I had to have it removed in sixth grade which made playing flute very difficult. 
5. My Chick-fil-A order is a number 3 with a lemonade and Chick-fil-A sauce because I am basic.

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