Flute Studio Guidebook


Alaina Diehl’s Flute Studio Guidebook, Fall 2011

Lessons are an important part of musical development, and they should be a productive, fun, and fulfilling collaboration between the teacher and student. In order to make the most out of our school-year lesson time, I am outlining studio policies and expectations so that lesson time can continue to be time well spent.

Just a Few Benefits of Music…

Many research studies have been published on this topic… So I’ll just keep it practical! Some of these benefits include: fun, friend-making, love of music, self-discipline and self-motivation, self-confidence and self-esteem, special knowledge about an educational subject (yay, this is fun and academic!)
Some of the skills we gain: listening, hand-eye coordination, making and attaining goals, facing and overcoming set-backs, reading and interpreting music and its symbols, understanding foreign language musical terms (basic Italian, French, German, etc.)

Lessons aren’t a magic carpet ride to success!

Choosing to take lessons shows a degree of seriousness about your playing. Even if your music time is “just for fun,” you want to make improvement and accomplish musical goals. This being understood, you will make significant progress only if you dedicate time each day to practicing (this doesn’t include time spent playing in band)!

Recommended times are as follows:

–          No less than ½ hour a day at any playing level (beginning, intermediate, advanced)

–          Intermediate students should consider practicing 45 minutes to an hour every day.

–          Advanced students should consider practicing 1-2 ½ hour every day.

You will be assigned practicing material each lesson day to be prepared during the week for the following lesson. Although you may be busy, and things might not be perfect just yet, please be ready to cover these materials as well as some new materials the following week.

Don’t let yourself be bored! If you need more material, I’ll be happy to set you up with more. Be sure to compliment your diligent practicing with playing for the love of playing. I like Jazz, Bossa Nova, Disney Tunes, and Star Wars. You don’t have to be stuck in a box. Flute players are making their mark on Celtic music, Rock n’ Roll, and even beat boxing! Play because you love it!

Practicing is its own reward.
You’ll love the confidence that comes with making improvement on your instrument.

 Lesson Length Guidelines

The length of your lesson is established on a case to case basis. Here is just a rough guideline:

All beginners – ½ hour lesson
Middle school students – ½ hour to 45 minutes
High school students – 45 minutes to 1 hour

Music and Equipment

Needless to say, there are certain tools of the trade that will be required to get the most out of your musical experience – the most basic being music, of course! I will recommend several books of studies (etudes, scales) and pieces (repertoire) throughout the year. Please be prepared for this extra, yet necessary, expense.

Other helpful and necessary items will include a music stand, a metronome, and a tuner.
Even Beethoven used a metronome! (It’s perhaps music history’s most infamous metronome.)

If you have any questions about equipment, don’t be shy! Please ask me in person, give me a call, or shoot me an e-mail. I’ll be more than happy to recommend brands, etc.

Flute Maintenance and Repair

To keep our flutes in good shape, we only need a few tools: a cleaning rod (preferably wood or plastic, only because metal scratches) and a soft, untreated cloth (silk, cotton bandana). Avoid the fluffy one-piece swabs. If it’s all you have, that’s okay! Just make sure to leave it outside of your flute case to dry. The point of the swab is to remove moisture from the flute, not store it there.

To wipe finger prints from your instrument (to keep it from tarnishing or feeling sticky), you can purchase a treated cloth specifically for this use. Be careful to avoid the pads, as this type of cloth will have a negative impact on them.

It’s a good idea not to waste money on one of those “complete care” flute kits you can buy at music stores. You shouldn’t use most of the items in that unless if you are trained in how to use them (a professional repair person).

Be careful not to eat or drink sugary drinks right before you play. Even if you don’t, you may find that your pads become sticky. This is cleaned using a special kind of paper. You could buy a specialty item from a music store, but cigarette papers are just as good. Woodwind professionals use them all the time. Bring them to your lesson so I can show you how to clean your pads without damaging them.

Another helpful item is a screw driver. You can get this from a music store, too, but an eye-glass kit screw driver is just the right size, and a fraction of the price. Remember not to play around with your screws! If one starts to come undone, screw it in gently (not too far). I can show you how to do this at your lesson.

Even if we take good care of our flutes, regular use will put it out of whack. If you play a lot, you should have your flute “maintenance” performed once a year, just for regular upkeep. Also, we get leaks from time to time. These have to be fixed by a repair person. For maintenance and repairs, I highly recommend you bring your instrument to Second Wind Repair. Let her know you’re my student, and I hope she’ll squeeze you in. Take the opportunity to schedule your regular maintenance by calling ahead of time. I can provide you with her number, and she is also in the phone book.

Performance Opportunities

Throughout the school year, there will be several opportunities to audition and perform.
Although nothing will be mandatory, I strongly advise participation in every available activity.

High School: All State auditions, Solo and Ensemble Festival, AFA Flute Fiesta Competition, and Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program auditions

Middle School: Solo and Ensemble Festival, AFA Flute Fiesta Competition, Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program auditions

Lesson Times and Rescheduling

Your lesson time is generally scheduled as a continuing, once a week appointment. If you need special arrangements (week-to-week scheduling, every-other-week scheduling), please let me know.
Regarding cancellation, it is always ideal to give as much notice as possible. Outside of emergencies, please give no less than 24 hours of notice for a cancelled lesson.

I’m rather flexible! Rescheduling is usually available if done in advance of a missed lesson. I teach Tuesday through Saturday and often have open times for moved or make-up lessons (including Sunday and Monday).

I reserve my time specifically for your lesson. If you don’t tell me that you’re not coming, I’ll be expecting you!
If you miss your lesson without calling, consequences are as follows:

1st time- Considered a mistake.
2nd time- All major key signatures must be recited from memory perfectly before next lesson may begin.
3rd time- All major scales and arpeggios must be performed perfectly from memory (one octave) before next lesson may begin, and I will charge for missed lessons starting from this point.
4th time- All minor key signatures must be recited from memory perfectly and all minor scales and arpeggios must be performed from memory (one octave) before the next lesson may begin.
5th time- I’m sorry, but you’ll have to find another teacher.


Scales are not intended to torture you – instead, they are intended to make you a smart musician and a good player.
Here is a general scale timeline:

By 8th grade: All major scales and arpeggios memorized in 1 to 2 octaves
By 9th grade: All major scales and arpeggios memorized in 2 octaves to fully extended range

All high school students should have their major scales fully memorized. You will need these for your chair placement auditions come the end of marching season.

If you really want to show off, learn your minor scales and arpeggios, too!

Other Music Education

Elements of music theory and history will be introduced in your regular lessons. If you would like to expand your knowledge of either of these subjects, I would be happy to direct you to reading and project work that can be assigned and submitted at lesson time.

The Albuquerque Flute Association (AFA)
is Albuquerque’s local flute resource. It offers quarterly newsletters in addition to masterclasses, competitions, guest artist recitals, and other flute-related events. The cost of membership is low, and it’s a great way to get connected with other flutists in the community.

The National Flute Association (NFA)

You guessed it… this is the biggest flute group you can join.
Taken from their webpage nfaonline.org:

The National Flute Association, a not for profit institution, is the largest flute organization in the world. It was founded to encourage a higher standard of artistic excellence for the flute, its performers, and its literature. Members include leading soloists, orchestral players, college and university professors, adult amateurs, and students of all ages. NFA annual conventions are held in major cities in the U.S.

Flute Resources

Flute Magazines: Flute Talk, Flute Explorer, Flutewise, Flute Focus… just to name a few! If you love flute and are hungry for more, a subscription to a flute magazine might be cheaper than you expected! I pay only $10 a year for Flute Talk.

Websites: The web is full of great flute resources.
The Flute Pages of Larry Krantz are very well known and respected! Check it out: http://www.larrykrantz.com
flutetunes.com also has some fun (free!) material to explore.

 New Flute? Better Flute?

Although not mandatory, you may consider “stepping up” to a nicer flute at the end of middle school/beginning of high school. Ask me about it, and I’ll try to steer you in the right direction, whatever your price range.


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