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Best Start Music Lessons: BAND

Best Start Music Lessons: BAND


Flutes often have a difficult time in beginner band programs. Unlike some other instruments, it can be challenging to get an initial sound out of the flute. This can be disheartening to young beginners who notice their friends on other instruments making an initial sound with comparative ease. However, this challenge can be overcome by spending time developing a good sound on the head joint, and on a few simple notes, before rushing on to playing the band songs. 

The initial focus of the book is on exercises and activities to help a beginner make a sound on the flute. It then goes on to introduce what are arguably the easist notes to play on the flute, working up to the notes commonly used in band songs. A limited number of well known folk songs are used throughout to practise the notes learned - both playing the notes and reading the music. The same songs are repeated in various keys, and also high and low, so that the student systematically learns to play (and read) a large range of notes.


Five and eight note scales are introduced, as well as slurred octaves. These may eventually be used by teachers as warm ups.


It is recommended that beginning flute players practise the embouchure and head joint exercises daily, so that they can develop a beautiful and flexible sound across all registers of the flute.


This book came about after years of encountering students in band programs who did not receive individual lessons. Many of these students struggled with: making a good sound and reading music. Also, they could only play in B flat Major, and had never learned any music other their band songs. For most of these students their teacher (if they had one) had no contact with the parents. Limited communication means that parents often lack the tools and knowledge to assist with practice at home.


Unfortunately, the common characteristic among all these students was that they lacked enthusiasm. I believe that their lack of enthusiasm was a product of their being unable to play their instrument well enough to keep up with their band program, their peers, and the subsequent loss of confidence in their abilities as a music maker. This is a very sad thing to witness, when it could have been easily avoided! 


I hope that the exercises and activities in this book will be useful not only for teachers in lessons, but also for students and parents for use at home.

  • Sarah Broughton Stalbow is a well known flute player and educator from Sydney, Australia. She is a graduate of the Royal College of Music, London, and the Australian National University, Canberra School of Music. Sarah has performed in orchestras in the United Kingdom, China, and Australia, and as a chamber musician she has toured Asia. Sarah has a special interest in teaching beginners, and has been inspired by her mother, specialist in childhood development and learning, Beverley Broughton.

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