At the Flute Examiner, we cherish our teachers, whether they serve college flute studios, community music schools, private independent studios or a combination of the above! We will start running a monthly studio profile column based on reader submissions.
To submit details about your studio, click the button below. If your submission is chosen, we will contact you for further information.
Introducing our first profile – The Flute Studio of Dan Parasky
Tell us about your studio, including the state that you’re in. What ages do you teach and what are your students like?
I teach in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in both the east (Murrysville) and north (Wexford) of the city.
I teach all ages of students: brand new beginners, middle school and high school kids, college students and adult amateurs.
My students are hardworking, creative and passionate and they support one another.
I love to promote competitions and auditions with my students so I start that process as early as elementary school. Most of my students enjoy working on the goals that come with taking auditions but I also understand that is not the route for everyone. Auditions and competitions are always voluntary.
One of the most important parts of my studio has been my ensemble program. It really brings the studio together and instills a sense of community.
I run 7 ensembles: The Studio Flute Orchestra (20 students, grades 6-12), The Honors Flute Choir (11 students, audition only ensemble), The Flutetastic Four Quart (high school honors flute choir students), the 8VA Quartet (high school students), the ETM Trio (high school honors flute choir students) the Abos-Flute-Ly Amazing Quartet (middle school honors flute choir students) and the 3 Flute-ateers Trio (middle school students).
What are your favorite teaching materials?
Too many to list!
I use a wide variety of books for many different situations and cater instruction towards what an individual needs and their learning styles. These are the ones I use most often.
Method Books: Flute 101, 102 103 series (Louke/George), Blocki Flute Method, Student Instrumental Course (Steensland/Weber/Ployhar), Rubank Series, Thomas Flute Method and the Graded Studies Series (Adams/Harris).
Technical Books: Trevor Wye, T&G, Moyse Books, Filas High Register Studies and Louke/George (Scale Book and Vibrato Book)
Etude Books/Compilations: Baxtresser Orchestral Excerpts, Garibolidi, Anderson, Berbiguier, Boehm, Kohler, Karg-Elert, Demersseman, Melodious and Progressive Studies (Volumes 1-4) and the Vester compilations
How has the pandemic changed your studio?
The pandemic hasn’t really changed my studio at all! All things are operating as usual with enhancements through online instruction when needed. If anything, my ability to reach and connect with students has actually improved as a result.
The pandemic has also helped to further enhance my perspective and mission to connect with students and families on the importance of music and the arts.
The pandemic also pushed me to launch my first online course in collaboration with Katherine Emeneth titled Studio Ensemble Revolution. I wanted to find a way to reach out to other teachers and show them the power of incorporating a studio ensemble program into their private studios and that online instruction can be integrated with chamber music.
What is the most rewarding part of teaching and what has been your biggest challenge?
The most rewarding part of teaching is lighting the spark in each student that makes them passionate about the flute and creating music.
This is often the biggest challenge as well because each student is so different. There is not a one size fits all approach in order to connect with someone to ignite the flame!
What things that you learned from your own teachers that you say consistently to your students?
Also too many…but these are repeated most often:
“Play that as slow as possible but in time”
“Finish properly, breathe quickly and move on”
“Keys to ceiling”
“Spin the air to the back of the room”
“Oxygen is our blood”
Describe the funniest or most memorable thing that has happened during a lesson on student performance.
The most memorable thing about lessons is not singled out to one event but simply the moments that I have with each student when they grasp something important about their playing for the first time.
Each student experiences multiple grasping points on their educational journey. I live for the moments when something sinks in and a student starts to apply that concept to take their playing to the next level.
What studio policy has been your (sanity) saving grace?
The expectation that students are to attend all scheduled lessons.
If you were able to instill one quality into future teachers, what would it be, and why?
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