William Worden

William Worden

Central Region
Shirley, Arkansas
[email protected]

Students of all grade levels are immediately captivated by his Indian Regalia and his use of Native American sign language while he tells ancient Native American legends and stories. He explains that his Indian name, "Dalala", is Cherokee for woodpecker. He then tells the legend of the woodpeckers' gift of the first flute to a warrior for saving her and her children from a bobcat. William was given the name Woodpecker because he hand makes the flutes. Even the most disruptive students are in awe as he plays the flute and they hear the haunting sounds for the first time. . He uses his collection of flutes to help explain that "big instruments play low notes, small instruments play high notes". He uses his "harmony" flute to help with their understanding of what harmony is. His use of visual/audio presentation stays with the students and reinforces their understanding and memorization of two difficult musical concepts. William has developed different programs to fit the needs of any school. For elementary school residencies he works with the music teacher and tells his stories to all the students. He also works with a core group of 10 students teaching them to play the flutes using the set of 25 PVC flutes that are included with all his programs. Music teachers observe his teaching and use his techniques in their own curriculum. With primary grade levels William teaches each class how to play the flute. These classes teach respect for self and others, self confidence and self expression. Students learn to compose their own songs and write them down so they can play them again and again. Students are also taught that they can use improvisation to express their own heart felt songs. William takes jr. high school students beyond composition and improvisation to a level of reading music notation, enabling them to play simple songs, like "Twinkle, Twinkel Little Star", "On Top Of Old Smokey". More complicated songs, "Friar Jacques", which some students can play as a round, and "Amazing Grace" are also taught. School Districts have used Williams' programs in all their elementary, primary and jr. high school levels to enhance their music departments. After Williams' initial presentation the next years music teachers receive students that have one year experience and are eager to learn more. William's students have performed for PTOs, Civic Groups and Art Festivals, impressing many parents with their musical abilities. Available to conduct teacher workshops.


William was born and educated in upstate New York where he studied and performed Theater and Ballet. An Arkansas resident since 1974, he is a master flute-maker, flute player, and storyteller. William learned the art of flute making on the Seminole Reservation in South Florida under Sonny Nevaquaya. He was instructed in the fine art of concert tuning to the traditional pentatonic scale by the late Dr. George Foss, professor of music theory at Louisiana State University. William has performed statewide for various groups such as the Jaycees, Daughters of the Revolution, Philander Smith College, and is involved in the preservation of Native American culture and customs. He has also conducted workshops and assemblies in several schools in Arkansas.

AIE Program

Preferred Age Level: all ages
Geographic Availability: statewide
Time Availability: open
Special Needs: standard classroom equipment; whiteboard