Private Lessons – Post-Collegiate and High School

Kristina Murray

PRIVATE LESSONS are available in person or online.  For instructions on online lessons, please scroll all the way to the bottom of this page.

POST-COLLEGIATE STUDENTS

Over the years, the largest growing group of students I see are increasingly those who have recently completed undergraduate or graduate work and are preparing for the next step of graduate school auditions (“gap year”), or those who have finished their studies at the undergraduate/graduate level and are seeking advice launching into their careers (young professionals).  This is a particularly exciting and daunting moment in life, where young musicians must face the reality of pursuing an artistic life.   They are no longer aspiring  to have a career, but are walking into the jungle head on.

As students, when we struggle we have an immediate community around us who are sharing the same struggles whether we are in the same class, flute studio, school, or degree path.  Additionally, we have the care and mentoring of our very beloved teachers.  The absence of that camaraderie can make us feel like we are the only ones struggling, and yet nothing could be further from the truth.  For some, the loss of structure and routine can be equally if not more disconcerting.  Finally, for the fortunate who walk straight from school into a professional position, the transition from being a student to becoming a professional can also create a conflict of identity.

Typically, my work with this demographic group results in longer sessions of approximately 90 to 120 minute weekly sessions, not only coaching through repertoire and music-related skills, but also working on those difficult aspects of the transition to professional life.  Skills developed together can include habits of discipline and motivation, creating and managing a private studio or performing career from scratch, marketing and self-promotion through commercial recordings, websites and social media, effective networking and interviewing/auditioning skills, and creating an authentic professional persona or brand.  Simple tasks like creating a personal mission statement for a professional life can give the flutist direction and help guide decision making.

I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have about post-collegiate lessons, fees, or other concerns, so please feel free to contact me at anytime.

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

Private lessons are a wonderful way for students to develop their love for music and explore their own creativity.  Additionally, there are life skills that are developed through this wonderful pursuit.  Much has been made of the impact musical study has on math and other academic areas in young students, but I believe equally important benefits come from the self-discipline of practicing, the ambition of reaching for goals, and the teamwork of playing in ensembles.

For the aspiring young musician, I love to encourage all the wonderful aspects of a musical life that bring joy and a fun diversion from an otherwise busy life.  For the serious musician, I have decades of experience successfully preparing students for competitions, summer music festivals, and ILMEA auditions/festivals at all levels.  Additionally, I regularly advise students considering music as a professional career, whether as performers or educators, and I help these students view the rigorous process of collegiate and graduate level admissions as the exciting (and enjoyable!) gateway into the professional career of their dreams.

Practice skills are a core aspect of my teaching method that I work extensively to share with my students.  Students quickly understand how to practice efficiently and how this leads directly to skills and achievements that they enjoy!  The very discipline that they (and their parents) may have dreaded before, is now seen as directly responsible for technical mastery of the instrument, musical understanding, and ultimately a dramatic increase in confidence on stage.  This confidence will quickly reach into other areas of their life as flutists see themselves suddenly invited to exciting new opportunities in music.

Lauren Gaynor

My philosophy on practicing also includes what I affectionately call the “ebb and flow” of life.  In other words, I teach students how to balance skillful practicing with heavy time commitments like school finals, athletic tournaments, theatre productions, and more.  I encourage students to keep a healthy approach to music that minimizes stress while being mindful of longterm goals and achievement.

Finally, I consider it a privilege and an honor to hold the trust of my students’ parents.  I understand fully that a student’s life in music (regardless of their ambition) is a three-way joint endeavor between the student, myself, and the parent(s).  I make it a priority to keep lines of communication open, and I welcome feedback and questions from parents at all times.  Parents are always welcome to sit in on lessons or to have a chat with me whenever there are issues that I can address.  I am happy to manage all practicing (a challenge at home at times), and I am also happy to assist in purchasing music, instruments, and other needed accessories as is preferable.

All students who take regular lessons are given complimentary subscriptions to Flute Talk magazine to further their interests and are invited to perform and participate in full recitals or mini-recitals to develop their performing skills and build community among my students.  (Full recitals for all students are scheduled annually at Elmhurst College, and mini-recitals of 3 – 4 students are scheduled regularly in my home.)  I am committed not only to developing the love of music in my students, but also to the core belief that parents should feel confident in the value of the teaching and services I am offering.

Private lessons are a part of my professional life that I truly cherish and enjoy.  Please click here for a sample guideline of texts and skills and a basic trajectory for a beginner to advanced student.  I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have about lessons, fees, or other concerns, so please feel free to contact me at anytime.

Happy fluting!

Evan Van Breemen

Studio policies:

  1.  Lesson fees are due at or before the start of each lesson.  These may be paid monthly at the first lesson of the month or weekly at each lesson.  Lessons may be paid in cash, by check, or using Venmo, Chase Quickpay, or Applepay.
  2.  Students may change their lesson times to accommodate emergencies including sickness or other conflicts.  Please avoid skipping lessons whenever possible, as skipping lessons causes a quick regression in skills.
  3. Lessons missed without any prior notification will be paid in full.
  4. Should I need to cancel a lesson, I will always offer a time to make up the missed time.
  5. Lesson times are scheduled in 1 hour increments.  Should your student arrive late, it is likely that I will have to conclude the lesson at the previously scheduled time to accommodate following lessons.  If you are aware of a problem (i.e. traffic, etc.), please text me with an estimated time of arrival as you are able.
  6. Students are expected to bring the following to all lessons:
    • A well-maintained instrument
    • A blank notebook, including a simple written log of their daily practicing.
    • All assigned music, including repertoire, scales, and etudes
    • A cleaning cloth and cleaning rod.
    • A totebag designated only for their music.
  7. I am always happy to assist students with any school or youth orchestra ensemble music in their lessons to help prepare for concerts and auditions.  If it would help to have an extra lesson, please feel welcome to ask.
  8. A music stand, metronome, and tuner are useful for effective practicing.  In addition to items that can be purchased at most music stores, there are many wonderful apps for smartphones or tablets.  These do not need to be brought to lessons.
  9. Students who are interested in collegiate level study will benefit if we begin discussions about this pursuit as early as possible.  It is totally fine to ask a lot of questions to “test the waters” before jumping in!
  10. Please keep communication open to help me understand what is best for you or your flutist.  I’m always happy to hear your observations and suggestions.

Good advice for students considering auditioning for music programs in college:

“Entering freshmen should be able to play one of the Bach sonatas, the Hindemith Sonate, a French concours piece by Enesco, Faure, Chaminade, or Gaubert and possibly a Mozart Concerto…Entrance auditions help to identify a prospective student’s ability, promise, and problems to be addressed. I have learned that students can pay more attention to playing musically after they have organized the fundamental elements of playing: good breath control, scales, studies, fingering accuracy, good balance and support of the flute for optimum firmness of the lip plate on the lower lip, and the more subtle aspects of embouchure control. In an audition a student should demonstrate good tone and dynamic range, knowledge of scales and arpeggios, good rhythm, and the ability to shape a musical phrase. Accurate rhythm is a good indicator of musical talent; if I point out an incorrect rhythm, I want to hear the correction to be sure that the student is properly sensitive to the underlying pulse.”

-Walfrid Kujala, Flute Talk Magazine, November 1991

ONLINE LESSONS

To prepare for your lesson, please read the following:
  1. COMPUTER/IPAD/IPHONE: Please use a laptop or desktop computer with a camera and microphone. These can be internal or external, whatever your preference may be. As a secondary option, you can use your iphone or ipad, but sound quality does seems to be slightly better for the student when using a computer. We will be using Zoom so that I have the option to share music with you, etc.  However, if this is problematic for you after we’ve tried Zoom, we can also use Facetime. The video quality with Facetime is fine, but we lose the other functionality like screen sharing that can be helpful in lessons.
  2. LIGHTING IS IMPORTANT: Please find a well-lit part of your house. Facing a window with indirect sunlight is even better. If the room is dark, I’ve found that the quality of the video can be severely compromised, although I can obviously still hear well.
  3. LOCATION: Please find a larger space. Ideally, when you look at yourself on the screen, your flute should be in full view and centered within the frame.  This allows the best possible sound and also allows me to see both your hands and embouchure. You can use a bedroom, dining room, basement, whatever space you prefer that will also allow you to stand a few feet away from your camera.
  4. CAMERA VIEW: Please keep the view from the camera unobstructed, again, so that I can have complete view of both your hands and embouchure. This is especially important with regard to the placement of your music stand.  If your camera angle allows you to stand for your lesson, as usual, that would be preferred.  However, if this is not possible and the computer must remain on a table, sitting is also fine.
  5. PAYMENT: You can pay for your lesson via Venmo, Chase Quickpay/Zelle, or Apple Pay.  These are preferable to checks, if possible, but checks are also fine and can be sent directly to my home.
  6. USING ZOOM: To join me in a lesson through Zoom at the time of your lesson:
    1. 10 minutes before your first lesson and from your laptop computer, please go to Zoom.us/join.  Please enter the Meeting ID and Password that I will provide for you ahead of time.
    2. Once you are on the video screen, please make the following simple changes to your sound settings to maximize the quality of the audio transmitted.

      1. Next to the microphone/mute button, hit the up arrow.
      2. Click on Audio Settings.
      3. In the “Microphone” section, make sure that your mic is chosen if you’re not using the internal mic, and set the input level so that the marker is about 75%. Make sure “automatically adjust volume” is NOT checked.
      4. Hit the “advanced” button in the lower right corner. If this button is not visible, you need to update Zoom to the latest version.
      5. Make sure “Turn on original sound” is checked. Next, find the three drop down menus.  Those should be changed to: Disable, Disable, Aggressive.
      6. Close the page.  When you go back to your Zoom main screen, in the left upper corner, it should say, “Turn off Original Sound”. Now you’re all set to go!