Am I ready?

Performace Tips, Advanced Technique and More

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Am I ready?

Post by Kshel » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:10 am

Hello fellow flutists,

I am considering offering beginner lessons to middle school flutists as a means of extra income.

I have never taught flute before, but I have been playing for about 12 years now in various ensembles. I am by no means a professional, and I do not have a degree in music. However, I do think I am capable of offering feedback and tips to a beginner.

That being said, I do not know how to run a "standard" private lesson. I could never afford them when I was younger, and I certainly could not afford them in college. Can someone please give me the run-down on how a good private instructor runs a lesson? How about things I shouldn't do? Any feedback at all is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!!

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Post by pied_piper » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:46 am

I find that a good approach is to divide the time into two or three parts:
1 - Tone building/scales/foundations (embouchure/posture/breathing/etc.)
2 - Methods/Etudes/Exercises/music theory
3 - Flute solo or ensemble literature (play a duet with him/her)

If you do a half-hour lesson, there may not be time to do much with solos, so concentrate on the first two. An hour lesson allows more time to include additional material like solos. The time alloted to each part will depend upon the needs of the individual student. For example, if the student has a poor tone, you might initially spend a larger amount of time on improving the tone. If they have a poor embouchure, you might spend more time on that. If their foundations are good (for their age) you can allot more time to methods/etudes/theory.

At that age, it helps to tie things together. For example, to have them learn a new scale (e.g. Ab), it helps to have an etude in the same key to reinforce learning the scale. When working etudes, begin to introduce the idea of not simply playing the notes, but to try to play musically. Students with only a year or two playing will need guidance and patience.

The lessons should be structured, but don't be overly rigid - have some fun too. It makes learning a pleasant experience. Learn to adapt to the unique needs of each student. Praise them when they do well, but don't admonish them harshly for mistakes. Rather try "OK, that wasn't bad but let's try again and see if we can fix the wrong note(s) here. Also, breathe at the end of the phrase instead of in the middle of it."

Always challenge them, but don't force them to progress too quickly. Middle school kids are not usually ready for seven sharps, but you might find a prodigy that can handle it. So, again, try to pick material for them to play that will keep them interested but not frustrated. That is YOUR challenge.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."

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Post by Kshel » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:58 am

This is so helpful- thank you for the advice! :D

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