Lesson Basics & FAQ

IMG_3989Says Chris: “I love teaching people of all ages, seeing them develop self-confidence and discovering the joy of playing the flute. Lessons are full of smiles and laughter with the emphasis firmly on the side of encouragement tempered with work on the practical skills needed to help you make progress towards your goals.

“Tailoring lessons to individual student needs is key, as is allowing students to choose music that interests them. Students are welcome to choose music from my library of over 3,000 pieces or find other music that piques their interest.

“I particularly enjoy troubleshooting problems and finding creative ways for students to overcome obstacles. My students often call me creative and crafty when it comes to solving their problems in ways that encourage them to meet the challenge and go beyond.

“I look forward to working with you, whether you’re a school-age flutist or adult, beginner or professional, or somewhere in between.”

Question: How much do flute lessons with Chris Potter cost?

Lessons are $80 for an hour, $60 for 45 minutes and $40 for 30 minutes. The following are recommended weekly lesson times:

  • Elementary age students: 30-minute weekly lessons
  • Middle and high school age students: 30-45 minute weekly lessons
  • College and adult students: 45-60 minute weekly lessons
  • Professional flutists: 60-minute weekly lessons

Question: Why should a beginning flute student of any age take lessons with Chris Potter, when there are less expensive teachers also available?

Great question! I’m glad you asked! Who you choose as your first (and ongoing) flute teacher is an important decision. Though many flute teachers are available in the Denver and Boulder areas, I’m an excellent choice for several reasons:

Get a solid start: As you (or your child) begins playing the flute, it’s important to get the right start with building blocks that you’ll build on throughout your fluting career. This includes achieving correct finger positioning and body posture, getting off to a good start with fundamentals of breathing and air, beginning a solid foundation in music theory, and playing music that appeals to the student. It’s also important that lessons are fun and engaging, tailored to each student’s needs, and highlight progress along the way. These are hallmarks of my style and philosophy. While other flute teachers rely on method books to provide structure and guidance, my extensive experience will provide that solid foundation, allow for lessons tailored to your needs, and provide expert guidance every step of the way.

Overcome obstacles quickly and progress with confidence: Beginners of any age will encounter obstacles and challenges along the way. I have years of experience diagnosing problems and developing creative solutions. Having difficulty reading rhythms? We may dance around the studio to find the beats, compose music to approach the problem from another viewpoint, create flashcards, work with a tracking device to aid visual focus, or any number of creative solutions. Whatever the obstacle or challenge, I have all sorts of hands-on learning tools from my 20 years of teaching to help you see, feel, understand… or, phrased differently: help you identify the problem, address it, and enable you to move on with confidence. Identifying and troubleshooting obstacles is an important part of your progress no matter what your age or playing ability. Having a teacher with keen skills and creative solutions will last throughout your fluting career.

For advancing flutists, I can also provide additional performance opportunities through the Colorado Flute Association and the National Flute Association.

Question: Why should alto and bass flutists take lessons from Chris Potter?

In addition to the reasons I’ve mentioned above, I’m literally the alto and bass flute expert, known worldwide, with 25 years of experience playing, performing, and teaching alto and bass flutes. What’s more, alto and bass flutes are much different from the c flute, with their own characteristics, embouchure requirements, and setup and playing idiosyncrasies:

Low flutes have unique characteristics: Alto and bass flutes have unique and sometimes baffling characteristics that only someone with experience dealing with these instruments can explain. I’ve been playing alto and bass for 25 years as an international soloist and have more experience than anyone else diagnosing problems and resolving issues. People all over the world regularly contact me with questions about reliable brands, cracking notes, vibrato, tone, intonation issues, and hand, arm, and back pain, among other issues that pose obstacles to low flutists of all ages and abilities.

Curved head joints are a whole other story: Curved-head altos and all basses have very different set-up problems than do c flutes. Even experienced low flutists often don’t know where to place the curve and the head joint in relation to the flute body or their own body. This exacerbates problems of comfortably holding up the instrument and also having facile fingers available to play. With your curved head joint set up correctly, you’ll be quickly on your way to playing more comfortably and freely.

On a related note, low flutes require a different embouchure than c flutes do because of the mouthpiece opening. As a result, many low flutists have trouble getting a good sound on the instrument. I’ll help you rethink the way the embouchure relates to the mouthpiece, which often provides almost immediate improvements in your sound and tone.

Low flutes have idiosyncrasies all their own: Certain notes in the middle octave have an annoying tendency to crack when played loudly. The third octave is often thin and sharp. Holding up the bass flute and, even for some, the alto, causes intense fatigue in the right arm and hand. The list of nuances you’ll encounter when playing alto or bass flute could go on and on. Not to worry! With my years of experience, I can help you quickly solve these and other issues.

Question: I’d love to study under you, but I don’t live in Boulder, CO! How can I learn from your low flutes expertise?

  • Take lessons via Skype! I currently have students in Wyoming, Arkansas, and Alaska. No matter where you are, we can connect for lessons.
  • Join Low Flutes on Facebook! We’re a small but growing group of low flutists, with resources, links, music, and more posted daily.