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Replies to a few frequently asked questions:
Where do you teach? Will you come to my home?
I teach exclusively in my studio, conveniently located in the heart of Webster Groves. It’s where I have an extensive collection of sheet music, technique books, and technology – the space is equipped with recording gear, a synthesizer, and computer workstation that we integrate into lessons (even at the youngest ages!). So, there are lots of advantages to coming to my house – and not to worry, if you’d like to stay and wait during your child’s lesson, I provide coloring materials for younger siblings as well as reading materials for parents to enjoy. [UPDATE, MARCH 2020: All lessons are online until further notice. Read more here.]
At what age do you start accepting students?
I generally start accepting students at the age of 7. At times I have accepted students at the age of 6, although it depends on the individual student’s maturity and readiness for the intensity of private lessons. For the youngest learners, I tend to recommend checking out Kindermusik classes (for example, Webster University has a program nearby) as an age-appropriate option that will set the stage for success in lessons to come.
On the other end of the age spectrum, please note my studio is focused on the particular needs of students in the K-16 range (i.e. school & college) and so I only accept adult students in rare cases.
Regarding instrument selection, please note that children can start playing the flute as young as 6 thanks to curved headjoints – a modification to the instrument that reduces the stretch in the left arm. So there’s no need to wait until middle school (when most school band programs start)! I’ve worked with many young flutists and seen them blossom over the course of elementary school.
What do I need at home?
Flute students need their flute, of course, but they also need a music stand, a mirror, and both metronome and tuner apps on their phone. They will also need to buy sheet music on a fairly regular basis. Regarding instruments, if you are in the market for a flute, please ask me to help you find a good one – that’s part of my job as your child’s teacher, and we will all be happier when you know your hard-earned money is invested in good materials that will stand the test of time. (On this note, I do not recommend the use of trendy gadgets like lefreQue sound bridges, Valgon rings, Foster extensions, Lewis crowns, and the like. Please save your money – and remind your young flutist that skill comes from practicing and cannot be bought, no matter how many pseudo-scientific claims the maker of the latest widget might be making on their fancy website!)
Piano students need access to a real keyboard instrument – ideally a piano, but electronic keyboards can work if they are of sufficient quality (at the very least, they should have velocity-sensitive keys). iPad apps that simulate a keyboard are not enough for your student to make progress. As with flute students, please make use of me as a resource for finding the right instrument for your child! Piano students also need a bench that allows them to sit at the right height compared to the keyboard (a regular chair does not work, while a standard piano bench might need a cushion for our youngest students). Families should not put stickers identifying note names onto the keys (these “helpers” actually hinder student learning) – if they are already there, please note I require these to be removed if your student chooses to study with me (yes, it’s that serious!). And, as much as they may groan when I make them use it, piano students also need access to a metronome, whether as an app on a tablet or an old-fashioned manual one.