Questions to ask your flute instructor by Terry Mack
You are excited.
You are at a flute festival and you have just signed up to take a lesson with one or two of those marvellous and talented flute players who perform at these events.
You are absolutely sure that you are going to learn something really great to help improve your playing. I am sure you will. I know I have.
Never having taken a private lesson (or any music lesson) from anyone on any instrument and bubbling with enthusiasm and anticipation I was quite unprepared for my first lesson. I thought they would just teach me however the first question any of the instructors would ask me was “what do you want to know?” I simply couldn’t answer that. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. Now there is a circular statement for you. It was true, I came to my first lesson expecting an instructor to listen to me and then impart some wonderful technique about how to improve my playing. Boy was I wrong. One instructor heard me play and then stated “ you play pretty well, what do you need lessons for?” It was at this point that I simply said, help me hear what I am doing so that I can improve my playing. Although this was a vague statement it did help the instructor get a sense of what I wanted to learn in the lesson.
After a few lessons I began to catch on how important it was for me to come up with a focus point for the lesson that I was to take. Since you only have a short time, it is important for you to really pay attention to your own playing and decide what you need to learn. Coming to your lesson prepared with this information will help you get the most benefit from the wonderful instructor you are meeting. The instructors really want to help you improve and input from you will give them a starting point.
Here are a few tips to maximize the time you get to spend with your chosen instructor.
- Before the lesson, spend time playing your flute and really listening to your own playing. Decide on something that you would like to improve better such as finger fluidity, breath control, structuring a song, mastering a fingering technique, playing with more notes or any other any other area you would like to improve.
- Take a voice recorder with you to record the lesson so that you can refer back to it. Ask the instructor if this is okay. Most of them will say yes.
- Take some blank tablature paper so that you can record any suggestions for playing a technique or a scale for future reference.
- If you have an interesting technique you would like to learn or have heard on a recording somewhere, bring that with you on your Iphone, MP3 player, CD player if you can. The instructor maybe able to help identify the technique and show you how it is done.