Andrew Darlison, Flautist

Teaching Methodology

Andrew sees his teaching as revolving around key musical principals as opposed to technical obstacles. Musical phrasing and shape and the desire to communicate through music are areas of study and importance that can be developed as a central core, tackling technical problems and issues as they arise.

Tone production, articulation, pitch control, quiet and LOUD playing etc. (the list goes on for ever if broken down in this way) must be mastered but with a focus on more musical matters it is easier to solve technical problems.

The most fundermental foundation for flute playing is breathing - Andrew is convinced that any thorough work on tone production must be supported by an understanding of the importance of relaxed, deep breathing and blowing. The analogy with singing and speaking is central to the development of a clear understanding of musical phrasing, shape, flow and direction. It is also the unifying element in a process that can sometimes feel like juggling many different balls at the same time.

Working with an awareness of breathing allows a student to quickly assimilate the idea of phrasing in music. Relating music to the way we communicate and articulate ourselves in other aural ways as well as with the written word, and how music resembles and can be used to communicate the world in which we live, are central to a genuine understanding of music. With this approach a student can progress to complex musical material very quickly and can then spiral up through the repertoire building on the basic principals established at the very start of their education.

With an understanding of musical structures technical obstacles can be met and overcome with relative ease. Technique can be seen as representing a "key to the door" as opposed to an insurmountable hurdle. Sometimes the successful negotiation of a technical problem(s) can in itself be the catalyst for musical expression - "freeing" the creative impulse of the student.

Andrew's teaching encompsses all areas of the flute repertoire including jazz, improvisation and contemporary repertoire as well as baroque and classical music. He also has experience of teaching very youing children (6+) on the "fife", a small, plastic, eight holed flute. It is important to him to make learning and playing the flute enjoyable, not neccessarily without struggle but above all ultimately rewarding and enriching experience.