Oberlin Conservatory Flute Studio Syllabus (2016-2017)
Course Materials (see notes below for further detail):
A working flute
Studio class* Monday 3:30-4:20pm, Stull Recital Hall
Required of everyone taking lessons*.
One absence is permitted from the official hour of studio class. Other absences must be approved in advance or be the result of emergency or illness. (Please communicate with Alexa for all absences at your earliest convenience.)
Guest flutists will utilize this time wherever possible.
Studio class provides invaluable opportunities to perform for your peers, to get constructive feedback, to learn about pedagogy, and to gain experience in offering effective and supportive criticism.
“Studio class overflow”
We have an "overflow" booking in an adjoining room if we run overtime. Attendance at the overflow sessions in not required.
Attendance at every lesson is required!
Please knock on the door (REALLY loudly) at the assigned time.
If your preparation is inadequate, Alexa will stop the lesson, and will not "make up" this time.
Promptness: in the music business, being “on time” literally means have your instrument out and be ready to play at that appointed time. However, rather than risk your flute in the cold and often crowded hallway, please unpack in the flute studio.
Lateness: If you are going to be late unexpectedly, please text Alexa. She will also text you if going to be late. Sometimes emergencies happen, and it is courteous to communicate. If you are 10 minutes late without communication, that is considered non-attendance. If Alexa is 10 minutes late, she will buy you lunch.
Scheduling: Alexa schedules all lessons according to the schedule information supplied by students. Alexa intends to advise of any changes but PLEASE also check the schedule weekly (posted on the flute studio door) as you go by. The goal is a regular lesson time every week, but adjustments will be necessary at times to accommodate other obligations such as chamber music coaching, wind sectionals, and the performance aspect ofAlexa’s job (concerts/masterclasses elsewhere).
Rescheduling: Alexa is willing to reschedule lessons with reasonable notice, and if there is a good reason for not being prepared.
Please feel free to swap lesson times with others for any reason (and let Alexa know).
Illness: Please cancel or reschedule if you are sick, even with very late notice! Alexa will do the same. Please respect the health of others. Alexa will make-up lessons cancelled due to illness.
More on Course Materials…
You will seek repairs as Alexa advises is necessary, and arrange to have your flute maintained every 6 months.
Tuner, metronome, recording device:
Using app.s on your smart phone may be perfectly adequate. These are essential practice tools.
An electronic notebook may be acceptable if agreed in advance.
The notebook, or notes from the previous lesson, should come to every lesson. At the conclusion of each lesson, you will make a note to specify what will be prepared for the following lesson.
The following is not required, but a flute notebook would be lasting and excellent resource if it also contained:
-Notes from guest/external/summer masterclasses
-Goals/aims, projects, competitions, auditions, festivals
-Notes from listening to recordings
-Notes concerts you attend (to document your attendance).
-"Wish list" of repertoire
-A practice diary.
The contents of your notebook are intended primarily for your benefit, but Alexa also finds reading them helpful in adjusting the way she teaches to best suit each student.
Notebooks will be probably assessed mid-semester, and must be submitted by the last day of classes. Extensions may be granted if requested before due date.
The library is a very impressive collection but may not have what you want. Be prepared to purchase music that is not included in the library’s holdings. Alexa may loan out her music occasionally with the expectation that you will return it within 48 hours.
First and second year students must do a “jury” at the end of every year, usually in mid April. The “jury” comprises a short solo selection (approximately 7 minutes). Paris Conservatoire test pieces are recommended repertoire.
First, second and third year students submit a recorded étude per semester.
Third year students are exempted from submitting a recorded étude in the semester they perform their 30 minute junior recital.
Senior students present a full 45 minute senior recital.
Everyone is encouraged to do additional solo or joint recitals, to perform on the flute studio recital, and on the three woodwind, brass and percussion division recitals each semester.
Please see flute studio grading contract.
Excerpt class, Thursday 4:30pm, B 237
Attendance is not required, but is strongly recommended as comprehensive preparation towards professional orchestral auditions and the orchestral excerpt component of graduate school auditions. Excerpt class will cover the 40 most frequently occurring audition excerpts over 4 semesters, and will normally include a screened mock audition per semester. The excerpt class will draw on music readily found on line, in standard books, or will be supplied. The focus will be on preparation, performance and assessment of each week's assigned excerpt.
If you want to take part in this class, performing the assigned excerpt/s is mandatory, as is contribution of constructive comments, but because of the difficulty of many excerpts and "long term" preparation performance of excerpts (i.e. slower tempos and accuracy are preferable to scrambling through technically challenging pieces) performances in class are often "work in progress" rather than "audition-ready".
Other important stuff:
- Alexa expects a sincerely friendly and supportive attitude in this studio primarily because this is extremely important for your career development (see addendum on "professional" conduct).
- Tell Alexa if you have any concerns… she can’t help if she doesn’t know!
- All flutists are expected to attend every recital given by the flutists in this studio. If you are unable to attend, you should 1) communicate that with an apology to the performer in advance, and 2) tell Alexa, so she knows you aren’t just being rude.
-Please check the flute studio's website for announcements and any advertising of competitions, jobs etc. Alexa appreciates your assistance in keeping aware of events; Please advise Alexa of anything you think should be included.
-Please Alexa of any changes to your schedule and contact information.
It is best to email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 4409355471. Please note that Alexa does not normally answer her phone during lessons and very seldom checks either phone or email while teaching. If you need to reach Alexa while she is teaching, please call in between lessons, normally on the hour in the morning or on the half hour in the afternoon.
Flute studio syllabus addendum - Professional conduct
Essentially this is all about treating others the way you would like to be treated!
Music is a collaborative art for everyone except perhaps rare soloist pianists Being a successful musician usually requires much more than talent. For many situations including freelance work, it will be assumed that your performance level is adequate, and your personality and reputation then become the deciding factor in being selected for employment. The music world is also, like any specialized field, very small. Your fellow students will be your future colleagues…. NOW is the time to begin practicing successful “person-skills” and time management.
THINK before you speak or act.
Rude people don’t get asked back.
First flute players will never hire someone they perceive as disrespectful. Acts such as playing someone else’s solos and making any uncomplimentary comments upon performance or equipment (especially if unsolicited) will gives a bad impression that cannot be retracted. The best policy is to keep your critical opinions to yourself. The exception would be a principal flutist making constructive suggestions to the player on flute 2 or piccolo, where the conductor clearly expects the principal to be responsible for the section, and where rehearsal consistently demonstrates that a constructive comment may lead to improvements and is therefore appropriate.
Be on time
Late-comers are type-cast upon one or two occurrences. It doesn’t really matter what one is late for or the reason. A late-comer will never be hired for professional orchestral sessions or chamber music.
Absence is worse. If you are unfortunate enough to be late/absent with good reason, make contact with the party concerned as soon as possible to apologize first and explain second. NEVER wait for the other party to “find” or contact you.
Be well prepared
Poor performance might be forgiven. Laziness is resented and remembered. If your performance is below your perceived ability, you will not get asked back. Poor playing/attitude will be remembered much longer than good playing.
Fit in. Keep your “stuff” (clothes, possessions) out of the way, wear clean clothes, keep perfume to a minimum, avoid taking smelly food.
Be supportive Love Music.... Love Musicians!
We all appreciate companionship and compliments. A kind word costs nothing. However...
A person obviously “sucking up" is not to be trusted. If you can’t genuinely mean what you say, just don’t say it. Find an alternative comment that you can be sincere about.
...about your presence in social media. Once something is on the internet, you have no control on what happens to it or who may see it.