More recent scholarship in fields such as musicology suggests flute girls had a more complicated role at symposia.  Because of their status as slaves, it is likely that many were forced into unwelcome sexual activity. Still, it is inaccurate to say all flute girls were prostitutes, particularly when other classes of women such as the hetairai (concubines) and pornai (street prostitutes) were also common in ancient Greek society. It is more likely the aulêtris fall somewhere between these two categories.  In addition, during the seventh to fifth centuries when both the aulos and the red-figure pottery that captured its use were popular, two “separate but interactive lyric traditions” existed: “one concerned with the desires and pre-occupations of women, another that was configured in relation to the predilections of men.”  Because lyric poetry was frequently accompanied by the aulos, flute girl music should be read in light of both traditions.  In short,
Because of the flute girls’ disputed nature in the symposia and larger Greek society, as well as their position to communicate multimodally through music at gatherings, they occupy a unique rhetorical position for students studying classic texts and ancient Greece. 
The recent digital turn in classics scholarship  is especially useful for exploring the multimodal literacies associated with the aulos. Multimodal literacy
Classics has always been a multimodal field because texts communicate in more than one mode (oral lyrics, graffiti, symposia amphora, flute or lyre music, gesture, etc.) and different literacies (for example oral and visual, or visual and written) co-existed simultaneously. Multimodal literacies are exceptionally prominent in the case of the flute girl. During a time when only a tiny fraction of the population was literate, both flute music and Attic vases featuring the flute players were “read” by a far larger population. Flute music meant something specific to listeners of the time; it had a grammar, and had specific rhetorical qualities that would likely be familiar and persuasive to listeners at symposia. Put another way, guests would likely be literate in flute music and its signification on pottery. References to music are prominent in earlier works such as the Iliad and the Odyssey because “music occupied a prominent place in everyday life not only because it was amusing and socially valuable but also because it embodied larger universal principles and was a vehicle for higher understanding.”  This prominence of flute music is captured on surviving fragments of Attic pottery used for all kinds of occasions in all levels of society. Artifacts featuring flute girls and flute music include kylix for drinking wine and lekythoi were used to pour libations at symposia. Painted amphora were used to store food. These vessels visually capture the roles of the flute girl and their listeners in ancient Greek society and provide useful intersections with primary texts such as Plato’s Republic and Symposium and the flute music itself.
The Multimodal Literacies Associated with the Aulos
Because music and literary culture were tightly intertwined within Greek society, the prevalence of the aulos is a useful point of reference through many classical texts with multimodal and digital opportunities. Within primary texts, a recent search using the word “flute” within the Perseus Digital Library yields 15 specific reference points in English translations from the Greek.  For texts that undergraduate students would be likely to read, there are several mentions of the aulos and each offers an opportunity to complicate the role of flute music. One message that emerges through a broad digital search is the aulos is not a neutral instrument or mere background. Though Plato “ascribes to music the power to model the soul according to ethical contents,”  music could also corrupt “the psyches of listeners.”  Music, in this case, could be a double-edged sword and suspicion of the rhetorical possibilities of the flute girl is often attributed to Plato. In the Republic for example, Plato claims
This reference to the ability of the aulos to charm or distract from higher-level thinking illustrates Plato’s view that mousiké is only valuable when it reinforces moral values versus vulgarity.  If we can assume listeners were literate in flute music (i.e. they could listen to it and know what it meant) the musical text of the flute (and its player) could be read as a competing conversation. For this reason, in Plato’s Symposium Socrates establishes an ideal of an aulêtris-free symposium where flute girls are sent away so the male symposiasts can focus on conversation without distraction. 
A similar conversation is referenced in Plutarch, where Alcibiades rejects the flute for any symposium participants since it was impossible to play the flute and talk at the same time for “the flute closed and barricaded the mouth, robbing its master both of voice and speech” (Plutarch Alcibiades 2.6). He goes on to note:
Because the instrument prevented conversation, it was not useful when spoken dialectic was the central (i.e. most valued) activity. The aulos was also negatively perceived outside the symposium. Aristotle argues for banning the aulos in the classroom specifically in Politics, where he warns that auloi “produce a passionate rather than an ethical experience in their auditors and so should be used on those occasions that call for catharsis rather than learning.” (Aristotle Politics 8.6 1341 17–24) In short, Aristotle sees the aulos as an instrument not fit for the classroom because the type of music listened to affects the educational development of the soul.  Like Plato and Plutarch, Aristotle recognized that flute music, and all of its bodily and emotional associations, competed with intellectual thought.
What Can the Study of the Aulos Via Digital Tools Teach Us about Ancient Non-Textual Literacies?
Pedagogical Implications for Digital Classics: What Can Multimodal Literacies of Flute Girls Offer?
Attracting students has always been important to the field of classics,  but scholars such as Crane (2016) advocate for thinking even more broadly about cultivating a culture of citizen-scholars. It is here that a link between digital humanities and classics is distinctly useful. Digital spaces featuring flute girls and the aulos make a citizen-scholar culture immediately evident to students. For example, there is a whole YouTube subculture devoted to showcasing musicians playing historic Greek instruments such as the aulos and pop up Pinterest sites devoted to showcasing the aulos on Attic pottery fragments. Many of these sites were not created by classics scholars, but instead by musicians, artists, and gender activists and yet the increase in these sites teaches us to look at classical study beyond what the experts can teach us and our students. Such citizen-scholars are essential to the next phase of classical studies in the digital age
Put another way, not only do these scholars contribute to a richer intellectual and more adaptable classics culture woven into everyday life, but they also help classics scholars process the vast array of emerging data to process. There aren’t enough scholars to do it all alone and the ongoing shift to digital tools in the classics can be capitalized upon to provide a richer educational experience for our students. Blackwell and Crane (2009) suggest
and this includes the student audience.