frequently asked questions - new students
What lesson times do you have available?
Current available half hour lesson times include Mondays at 5pm and 530pm and Thursdays at 5pm and 530pm.
What do I need to bring to my first lesson?
This will vary depending on whether this is your very first music lesson ever, or whether you have played music before (on any instrument).
If you've never played before, you will need to bring your flute (if you have one yet) in its case, together with a suitable piece of material to clean inside the flute. I recommend a soft (well-used) men's handkerchief - these are the ideal texture and absorbency. You will also need to bring the cleaning rod which should be included in your flute case. I will show you how to use these to clean the flute, and the correct way to put your flute together, in the first lesson.
If you have played the flute before (and/or another instrument) then you will need to bring your flute, together with any music you have been working on. Depending on your previous musical experience, I may ask you to play for me (technical work, eg scales/arpeggios, and also pieces) or we may spend some time discussing the difference between the musical instruments you have previously played and flute playing.
Don't forget, your first lesson with me is free, so we can work out if my teaching style suits you before progressing any further.
Finally, you will also need to be aware of your schedule for the next week or so, so we can organise another lesson, in the event you do wish to proceed.
I've seen a flute on Gumtree/eBay which looks good - should I buy it?
Unless you have reasonably extensive experience in playing the flute, I would strongly recommend that either myself or another experienced flute player check out the flute prior to you buying it. Not all flutes are created equal - you need to make sure it is a recognised make (there are some very nasty inexpensive flutes on the market, which have a range of issues which make them highly unsuitable) and also that it is in reasonably good repair. This is something I am more than happy to help you with.
Do you teach group lessons?
I only teach on a one to one basis. Regardless of your musical experience and level, I find that individual tuition is by far the best approach to improve students' performance. If there is sufficient interest, I am happy to take ensemble groups (eg flute duets, flute choirs) but this is in addition to your usual lessons, and concentrates on different skill sets.
What do you expect with regards to practicing?
I do expect students to practice 5-6 days per week. The amount of time spent in practice will depend upon the age and experience of the student. As an example, I would expect a six year old to practice between five and ten minutes per day. Regular practice is the key to learning to play any instrument. For the flute it is particularly important, as it assists in the development of muscle memory, both with respect to learning how to play the different notes, and also to creating effective mouth positions (called the embouchure) to develop your best sound. For younger students, this may require parental reminders to ensure daily practice becomes a habit - for example, after you get home from school and have a snack, and before you do your homework, you do your flute practice. This way it becomes a part of the young student's daily routine.