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Q&A with Yamaha Master Educator Cheryl Floyd

According to Yamaha Master Educator Cheryl Floyd, everyone is inherently musical. Find out why she has devoted her life to music education.

Cheryl Floyd is a retired Director of Bands at Hill Country Middle School in Austin, Texas and a flute instructor, music consultant and mentor at the Leander Independent School District.

She was one of the first females and the first middle school band director to be elected to the American Bandmasters Association. Floyd has served as co-principal flute with the Austin Symphonic Band since 1985. She is a Yamaha Master Educator.

Q. When did you know that you were going to make music the focus of your professional life?

A. Initially, I chose the flute as my instrument because of a program the Dallas Symphony had for elementary schools in the area. I was in love with the woodwind quintet and wanted very much to play the flute so that I could play the flute part in their arrangement of “Peter and the Wolf!” In high school, I was thrilled to realize that I could teach and make music as a career for the rest of my life. Prior to that, I wanted to be an astronaut!

Q. Other than music, what brings you inspiration?

A. Reading, yoga, walking on the treadmill, good friends.

Q. What book is on your nightstand right now?

A. “Bad Girls Throughout History” by Ann Shen and a daily devotional book. I also recently finished “Educated” by Tara Westover, which was so powerful!

Q. What is the most embarrassing moment of your life that you can share?Yamaha Master Educator Cheryl Floyd

A. There are a few. Once I wore one blue shoe and one black shoe for a concert. Another time while talking about intonation at Murchison Middle School, instead of saying “pitch,” I said the “b” word! The kids laughed so hard! And finally, I can’t believe I actually rented “The Blues Brothers” to show at a middle school band pizza party. Luckily, no one complained!

Q. What piece of music do you wish you had written and why?

A. Hard to say. I love “Candide Suite” by Leonard Bernstein. I love to listen to it, and I love to perform it as well!

Q. Why is music important to humanity?

A. Because it is! Mothers sing lullabies to their babies. Children sing nursery rhymes. Students learn important mathematical/ historical facts to music. Countries have national anthems. Every civilization has made music to celebrate good times and lift up those who have fallen on bad times.

Q. What is your favorite guilty pleasure food?

A. Sunday champagne brunch at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin with my hubby.

Q. Which person from history, dead or alive, would you want to have lunch with and what would you discuss?

A. My grandmother, Hazel Chisum. But she would want to fix the lunch, I’m certain! We would talk about when she and my grandfather first married, all the wonderful things that have happened in my life, and her great grandson, Weston Floyd. I just recently discovered that she played guitar!

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. People who say mean things, and people who park poorly!

Q. Why is it important to protect access to music education?

A. Everyone is inherently musical. It’s crucial to develop that talent in every person. There are so many studies that validate the importance of music education for every child. Music is a language I believe everyone should be comfortable with in their daily lives. 

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