Jen Cluff ~ Finding a Flute Teacher
Canadian Flutist and Teacher
FINDING A PRIVATE FLUTE TEACHER:
A young person asked about how to find a private teacher (on a severely restricted student-budget) and really make a go of flute lessons. She'd been wanting to for years, but her parents would only allow it if she was serious and she showed true progress. The article below is based on her limited budget, and newness to the "teacher finding" idea.
Since that time I've also written articles on Why you need a private teacher, and How to Progress Until Lessons begin. But back in 1999, here are the humble suggestions I came up with for finding one's first private flute teacher and how to manage a small budget sensibly.
Question: $150 is all I have to spend (
available from parents) , so I said.... let me take
lessons for that amount of money, and they are now
thinking about it. But I have to be the one to call
around and find a teacher myself before they consider it.
So here are my questions:
Conservatory of Music or Community Music School
c) Call the
largest local University's Music Department. Very often the folks working the at the Music Office will likely have some knowledge of the most productive and
well respected flute teachers in the area. (as students
entering that University on flute tend to come from the
studios of top private teachers). Ask how to be directed to a list of accredited flute teachers in the area.
Online: You can also use an online flute teacher search by country and state/province at: www.harpsong.org or can phone the symphony office of your local symphony, and ask if you can have the name of the lead flutist (Principal Flutist.) Look up their phone number or email, and politely phone and ask whether they can recommend a private teacher, or have students who will teach private lessons.
2. For internet users in small towns: Use a google search to locate a flute association near your hometown. Ex: Florida Flute Association or 'British Flute Society' etc.
A great number of the United States and various countries around the globe have online flute teacher listings. I've personally found them in about 20 states, and in about 6 countries, while just helping flute players online try to locate a teacher. To do a google search go to www.google.com and put in the search terms "Flute Teachers" and the name of your state or country. Or you can try "Flute Association" etc.
In the U.K. there's a music-teacher finder that is geographical and gives price ranges too: www.musicteachers.co.uk
A huge number of private flute teacher listings can be found by going to www.harpsong.org where there's a private flute teacher search by country and state, and also at other large flute source sites (ex: Greater Boston Flute Association, or www.larrykrantz.com ).
You can also do a general 'private flute teacher' search using www.google.com and simply putting in the terms "Flute Teacher" and the name of your town.
Ex: "Flute Teacher" Austin Texas or "Flute Teacher" Vancouver.
Check out the flute teacher's credentials, (A Bachelor's Degree in Music, and/or history of productive teaching studio and happy former pupils etc.) and try and meet and greet them in person at an introductory lesson or two before committing to any one teacher.
And always try and study with the TOP TEACHER in your area, or take their advice about who to study with if they have a full schedule already for the year.
What to ask when you contact a music teaching Conservatory, Music School or University Music Department by phone?
Say to the people of above music conservatories, Universities, or local music schools and other institutions:
kindly provide me with:
You are looking for the flute teacher with the most positive reputation, and a happy studio full of productive students. Asking other flute players will quickly point you in the direction of the "good teacher" who always puts out students who play musically, and well. To find these other flute players you have to either attend concerts (very fun) or use the internet or phone book.
Next stage in finding a teacher? Do your flutey research:
information you've received out for yourself:
When you've located a great flute teacher:
Notes on budget contraints:
FROM ANOTHER STUDENT:
If you have so little money that for now, there's no way you could afford the top private teacher in your area, then call that top teacher anyway and ask them who they'd recommend from among their students. Alternately, you could pay for a set of lessons (four or more) and then gradually explain your finances to the teacher and ask if you could exchange a service of yours in barter for lessons. If you have great skills (gardening, babysitting, typing, office work etc) then this may well work.
Notes: Accept lessons
with another flute student only if it's all you can
currently afford. When you study with a student, do it
with the understanding that you're merely "getting
started", and when you've progressed through 10 or
more lessons, you'll move on to a more highly skilled and
An experienced teacher also spots "bad habits" and posture problems earlier (or any other kind of physical problem that may be holding student back) and have more ideas about how you can solve the problem more quickly.
A newbie young teacher, who's still a flute student themselves, won't necessarily recognize simpler solutions to flute player's problems. They may well be flummoxed by areas of difficulty that you may have that they've never experienced in their own short time on the flute.
For the very budget-minded:
If you phone a
top-notch University Flute Instructor for student-teacher
recommendations you can certainly ask:
Chances are one of their dozen or so University flute students will want to teach under the main teacher's supervision. Often you can work out a "learn how to teach flute" deal with a student and their professional teacher.
That way mistakes will be caught by the more experienced teacher. Sort of like getting your dental work at a college for free, and having the true Dentist catch the student's mistakes before they make them.
HOW ABOUT 10
TOP-LEVEL LESSONS RATHER THAN
For more on "How to progress quickly on flute" see my article by that name.
To read about the
various flute playing skills and levels see the CHART on this site.
For the cheapest book list for all levels see: Jen's Flute Book List for the budget-minded.
6. If you need more
sheet music or CDs of flute pieces, remember to ask
relatives and family for such items (or a gift
certificate from the most flute-music stocked sheet music
store ) for your birthday, Christmas, or as special
helping-gifts from aunts, uncles, etc. Take on a few
extra chores for "music money" if possible.
From Jennifer Cluff 1999
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© Jennifer Cluff