Karen Brown BA LGSM (teaching) PGCE
Qualifications and experience
Karen holds a Licentiate in Flute teaching of the Guildhall School of Music, a degree in Latin and Music from the University of Sheffield and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Nottingham. She has been a self employed teacher running her own practice at home since the 1980s and is also a visiting peripatetic teacher in several schools in the Maidstone and Medway Towns area. She also performs regularly with her accompanist Bryan Gipps giving recitals in aid of local charities and churches and is principal flute of the Old Barn Orchestra and plays for other local orchestras as required.
Lesson content is varied to ensure competence in all areas and to provide a mix of the more immediately enjoyable aspects with tasks that are not always so obviously rewarding (such as scales and arpeggios!). Theory is taught alongside flute technique and performance. Absolute beginners to advanced are welcome, as are adults.
It is generally assumed that pupils will have their own flute to start lessons but Karen can also offer help and advice choosing a suitable student instrument whether new, secondhand or rented. Please do not hesitate to ask for help in this as there are many cheap instruments around which are not to be recommended.
Pupils are encouraged to look after their instrument and have it regularly serviced or given a basic checkover and Karen can recommend an excellent and very experienced flute technician who can do any kind of maintenance work at a very reasonable cost.
Learning an instrument is not a cheap hobby but to start with beginners only need a few items of equipment. A notebook, flute (essential!) cleaning cloth and flute duster, flute tutor book, as recommended by Karen, and ideally a music stand will suffice for starters. Other music books and equipment will be suggested as necessary. Do look for these on Ebay, Amazon etc where much secondhand music can be found very cheaply. Karen also sells on music which other pupils no longer need so always ask if the book you need is available. A flute stand is a useful item to have to enable the flute to be kept out for a while for practice and helps to keep it drained and reasonably stable. It is also more obvious and therefore more likely to be picked up in passing and played!
It is essential that pupils appreciate the need to practise regularly, although the length time devoted to practice is always secondary in importance to its frequency. An indication of how much practice is needed will be given which will be appropriate for the level the pupil has reached. It should always be remembered however, that the rate of progress, and therefore the degree of enjoyment is directly linked to commitment to regular practice.
Pupils will be encouraged to work towards the graded examinations of the Associated Board which are taken locally at three sessions per year. A pianist will be required to act as accompanist for the exam which can be your own or one I can recommend.
Pupils are always encouraged to join school ensembles if available to them, or if not, those held at local music centres. Where appropriate pupils will also be encouraged to perform in school concerts or enter local festivals and talent competitions if they wish.
Higher grade pupils can also occasionally deputise for absent players in local orchestras with which Karen is associated which in the past has sometimes led to concert appearances.
Lesson times and lengths
Lessons times are by mutual agreement between teacher and pupil but are usually held weekly. Karen does teach some pupils fortnightly if this is more convenient.
Younger students usually start with a half hour lesson working up to an hour as they reach around grade 5 or 6.
Fees and Cancellations
Lessons held in schools are always charged in ten week blocks whereas private lessons held at home are charged individually.
Karen does insist however, that where a lesson has been cancelled at short notice other than for reasons of illness or an unforeseen disaster, a fee for that lesson will still be due.
Where advance notice has been given every effort will be made to reschedule the lesson for another time in the same week.
Pupils are welcome to continue lessons throughtout the school holidays either at their usual frequency or on an ad hoc basis.
Remember you will get out of your flute playing whatever you put in so practise, practise and practise!! Learning an instrument has been proven to help with concentration in all areas of your education and can help you to apply yourself to your other subjects.
But above all enjoy the fun of making music, first of all on your own and later with others.
Learn to love your flute– I did and I still do!