Niagara Flute School
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Niagara Flute School is offering all lessons online. Continue your child's progress in their school's music class, or learn a new skill while practicing social distancing.
Technical requirements are a secure internet connection and Zoom, FaceTime, Google chat, or a similar video calling app (Zoom is preferred). Payments will be accepted via e-transfer.
Contact Casey at for more information and pricing.
Niagara Flute School offers lessons for flutists at all levels of ability, from beginners to advanced students looking to continue their studies at university. Musical study can begin at any age, although with flute there are some physical limitations for very small children (minimum 7 years of age is recommended). All that we require is a positive attitude, dedication, and good, old fashioned hard work.
Casey's teaching philosophy is a direct result of her education, upbringing, and experience. Her priority is making music and the instrument fun. Following in the footsteps of her first teacher, Casey does not believe that music must be a high pressure and intense experience. Rather, for most students (and particularly the parents of young students) should know that the knowledge and skills gained from a musical education can be easily adapted to any other activity. Music teaches dedication, problem solving, independence, leadership, teamwork, confidence, and humbleness; reinforces learning skills and techniques; and expands the student's world view. The benefits last a lifetime and one does not need to become a professional musician to take advantage of everything music has to offer.
Her belief is that the flute is a full-body instrument that should be treated as such - understanding how the whole body works when playing is crucial to comfortable, fluid, and easy music-making. With her experience and research on injury-prevention as well as her work in a health clinic with massage therapists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, and manual osteopathic practitioners, she has learned that there is no textbook "correct" playing position. If the flute is supposed to be fun, first and foremost it must be free from pain and discomfort, and Casey strives to find a position that works for each individual student.
Casey focuses on proper posture and playing position, breathing control and techniques, and secure technique. She teaches through the Royal Conservatory of Music syllabus and encourages her students to take examinations.
For availability, rates, or more information, please email or call 647-447-6682
The beginner stage is for students who have never played a flute before, or who have been playing for a short amount of time in group lessons or school band. It’s also a good starting point if it’s been a few years (or decades!) since you last played. The focus at this stage is on proper breathing technique, hand position, posture, instrument care, and note reading. There is an emphasis on basic skills like scales and rhythm, and the student gains a level of comfortability with the first two and a half octaves of the instrument, from low C (middle C on a keyboard) to high G. We learn some simple, familiar songs and some duets, usually up to about half a page long. This may be the first time some students play with other instruments (like piano or guitar) or in ensembles (band or flute choirs).
For very young students, usually 7 years of age and younger, the flute sometimes poses a bit of a challenge, physically. There are several options, including curved instruments, or starting on fife or recorder. It is not always an issue of the arms and fingers being a little too short to hold the instrument comfortably, as the flute requires very fine control of the muscles in the lips and jaw. Fife and recorder are easier to produce sounds on - fife is most like the flute, but smaller and instead of keys there are small holes that the fingers need to cover. Recorder is vertical and has a mouthpiece like a whistle goes inside the lips. Sound production is immediate on recorder but is played differently and will require more adjustment when “graduating” to flute.
At the intermediate stage, students are ready to move on to more challenging repertoire. Music theory and history start to be more important to learning a piece of music. Many students choose to take Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) examinations or enter in local competitions. There is a focus on improving tone and technique using the exercise books from the French School (written by the major teachers of the 20th century, the foundation of modern flute playing), and the range is extended to high C, a full 3-octave range. With more advanced music comes more emphasis on phrasing, expression, and style. The ears are trained further with ear tests (recognizing intervals and chords played on a piano) and melody playback.
Advanced students are those preparing for a career or future in music, be it in performance, education, or in other fields like music therapy or sound engineering. For university music majors, acceptance is based on a successful audition as well as successful application, so there is thorough study done to prepare several standard pieces of the flute repertoire as well as excerpts and solos from the orchestral repertory. In addition to RCM examinations and competitions, advanced students are encouraged to audition for and participate in youth orchestras and bands. Advanced students should be well versed in “the big 5”: rhythm, pitch, tone, style, and technique. When auditioning for university programs, students should take lessons with potential professors and visit the schools they are interested in. Just because a school has “the best” reputation does not mean it’s the right place for you! Niagara Flute School makes a point of helping students find the right school and teacher.