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Silke Becker



Silke Becker was born in Landau in the Palatinate in 2002 and was taught the flute by Katharina Schröter in the preparatory class for studies at the Stuttgart Music School; she received piano lessons there from Verena Börsch. Since the winter semester 2022/23 Silke Becker studies flute at the University of Music Karlsruhe in the class of Prof. Pirmin Grehl and since the summer semester 2023 additionally piano in the class of Prof. Roberto Domingos. In addition to several prizes, for example at the Karel Kunc Competition and the Achterkerke Music Prize, she has won several first federal prizes with both instruments at the Jugend Musiziert competition. She is also a permanent member of the Rhineland-Palatinate Youth Orchestra and the Baden-Württemberg State Youth Baroque Orchestra with the baroque flute. In addition, she received valuable impulses through master classes with renowned professors as well as performances as a soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra Baden-Baden and the Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Mannheim. Silke has been playing the flute left-handed since the age of 17 and also receives harpsichord and traverso lessons as part of her studies.

Photo credits: Alexander Englert


interview with Linksgespielt

September 29, 2021

Do you see yourself as right- or left-handed?

Very simply: I'm left-handed.

Did you learn your instrument "left-handed" from the start?

No. At least not the modern flute, which is what I'm referring to below. However, I did learn the traverso left-handed from the start later on...

When did you retrain to left-handed playing and why?

As a retrained left-hander, I only discovered my left-handedness a few years ago, after which I started writing with my left hand. I wasn't at all interested in relearning the flute back then. I just couldn't imagine why I should do that. However, that changed abruptly in 2018 when I happened to see and try out a left-hand flute at a flute exhibition as part of the international competition of the German Flute Society in Wetzlar. I will never forget that moment: It was so incredibly wonderful to have the flute on the correct side for me and, above all, on my left ear, so that I spent almost the whole day with this flute and could still feel it days later. That's why I bought myself a student instrument shortly afterwards, which started it all...

Please tell us more about your approach and the re-learning process.

In the beginning, I only picked up the left-hand flute from time to time because it was simply good for me and a lot of fun. I still wasn't thinking about "switching over completely" as my successes and other great projects motivated me to continue with my right-handed flute as usual. Gradually, however, I began to realize what it really meant for me to be able to play on the proper side as a left-hander. Of course, my fingers didn't do everything straight away, as they suddenly had to take on completely new tasks, but apart from that, I noticed many improvements in my posture, sound and playing feel. Suddenly I also understood what someone means when they talk about "being one with the instrument or the music". Others also confirmed to me that I had a completely different charisma and expressiveness with the lefty flute.

After a year of more or less playing both right and left-handed, I had reached the point where I realized how wrong it felt for me to play the right-handed flute, how tense it made me, how much it stressed me out and, above all, how liberating the thought of only playing left-handed was.

As a result, I canceled all my upcoming projects and took the time to switch to the left flute in peace. Suddenly I didn't care how quickly I would make progress, whether I would ever be as good technically as I was on the right or what others would think about it. In the summer of 2019, I simply realized that this was the only way for me to go if I really wanted to make music.


I can't really say how exactly I went about relearning. Of course I started with easier pieces, etudes etc., but in the end I made such rapid progress that I was able to play my first projects on the left-handed flute after just a few months. I still struggled with some fingerings for a long time and knew that I could have played them faster on the right side, but that too was over at some point. I now feel so comfortable and at home on the left-hand flute that I often don't even realize what a special path I've taken and I'm always amazed myself when I remember it.

What were the biggest challenges for you in retraining?

In the end, I don't think retraining (apart from finding an instrument) was such a big challenge for me. Of course I had to get used to it and relearn certain things or practise more, but I was surprised myself at how quick and easy it was once I had made the decision and taken the first step. I also did the relearning for specific reasons and these "improvements" were motivating right from the start, even if, for example, my fingers didn't want to run yet or I almost got sore muscles because the posture was unfamiliar - although much more natural... 


Were you able to discuss this with other left-handed players or re-learners?

Yes, actually. I think that's something that's very important and shouldn't be underestimated. Especially because there are still so few of us, in my experience it's very good to talk about your story with someone who really understands you. But just reading various reports of experiences is always very encouraging.

Do you still play right-handed today? In what context?

Apart from the piano: no, not really. I probably pick up a flute like this about as often as a right-handed person would normally pick up a left-handed flute. At most to try something out...

How did you come by your instrument?

I am so grateful that the flute maker Bernd Mehnert built me a left-handed flute. It's not only a custom-made instrument, but also the first left-handed Mehnert flute ever, and I'm very happy with it.


Were there any negative reactions or reservations?

Fortunately, I can answer this question in the negative. Of course you encounter very different reactions, but in most cases I experience interest, curiosity and open-minded people.

What strange experiences have you had with your playing style?

There are quite a few situations. Ultimately, however, it can always be quite funny when someone realizes that I play on the left. It triggers very different reactions and often not at first glance...
I remember the following incident in particular: I once sent in a video for a competition (with piano accompaniment), after which one of the organizers told me how long he had been busy flipping the video because he thought it was the wrong way round. However, he then had to painfully realize from the now mirror-inverted writing on the piano that the hours of effort had been in vain...


Do you see advantages in playing 'the other way around'?

You can always find arguments for anything if you search for them. What I find particularly great is that contact with the piano accompaniment is so much easier with a left-hand flute when you're standing in the hollow of the grand piano. I also enjoy duets even more when both flutists are playing in opposite directions. On the other hand, to be honest, it doesn't really matter. For me, it's right to play to the left and I hope that at some point it will no longer be called "the other way round" but will be completely normal.

Silke Becker in German radio reports:


»Mut zum Umlernen – Wie machen Linkshänder Musik?« – BRKlassik

»Linkshänder – Kaum erforschte Laune der Natur« – Alina Metz, SWR 2023

»Linksgespielt – Wenn die rechte Hand nicht mehr zur Verfügung steht« – Blanka Weber, Deutschlandfunk 2023

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