Flute success through specialist music education

Five flute students completed their education at Chetham’s School of Music in 2018, all progressing to hugely successful higher education at leading international conservatoires. Their achievements demonstrate their own commitment to learning and practice, but also prove the impact of a specialist music education in which every student, from 8 to 18 years old, enjoys an individual, structured timetable designed to develop and challenge their personal musical development. As one student told us recently, “At Chetham’s, every day’s a Saturday” – rather than waiting until the weekend for music sessions and youth orchestras, our students enjoy individual lessons, chamber music tuition, performance classes, music theory, choir and supported practice sessions within the daily timetable, placing music at the very heart of daily life.

Five fabulous flute leavers

2018 was quite a year for Chetham’s flutes leavers, Doris Cao, Bogdan Jeler, Ieva Kupreviciute, Beth Stone and Zoë Rasmussen. Hailing from China, Romania, Lithuania and the UK, all five flautists won scholarship places to UK conservatoires – an outstanding achievement! After A-level results in August, they’ll begin the new year at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Royal Northern College of Music and the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln.

Over seven years at Chetham’s, Beth Stone has also performed as a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and was an EMI Foundation Scholarship Winner in 2017. Beth studied with Rachel Forgrieve and Dr Martyn Shaw and will continue next year at the Royal College of Music, where she will be joint principal study Modern and Baroque Flute:

“Studying flute at Chetham’s for seven years has completely changed my playing. Through my time at Chetham’s I have had the opportunity to work with all of the flute teachers within the department, through lessons, classes and coaching. With the addition of masterclasses from world-renowned flautists, we’re constantly inspired to follow our dreams. I certainly would not be where I am today without the tuition & opportunities that are offered at Chetham’s” – Beth Stone, year 13

Beth Stone, Year 13 flautist at Chetham’s School of Music

Chetham’s flute students study with some of Europe’s leading flautists. Joint Heads of Woodwind Belinda Gough (Australian flautist and pioneering educator) and Dr Martyn Shaw (a leading authority on early nineteenth-century flute performance practice), lead a vast programme of solo and ensemble opportunities for young flautists. Katherine Bryan (Royal Scottish National Orchestra), Rachel Forgrieve (Sinfonia Viva) and Fiona Fulton (former member of Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra) guide our flautists through a unique timetable centred around individual interests and musical passions.

How does our timetable support young musicians’ development?

There’s not one timetable at Chetham’s, but 300 – a unique schedule for every student, centred around their individual interests and passions. So whilst one flautist might combine orchestral playing with Baroque music, another might take up Jazz, composition, or take a second study in a contrasting instrumental department. The timetable begins with two hours of individual teaching on first and second study instruments, but that’s just the beginning – classes, lessons and concerts combine to make music around one third of the Chetham’s timetable.

Specific support for flautists

In addition to core instrumental teaching, flute students of all ages take part in:

  • Performance class weekly opportunities to play for staff and peers, developing performance skills, stage presence and artistry
  • Technique class tone production, articulation, intonation and dexterity
  • Alexander Technique posture, confidence, tension and self-awareness
  • Breathing class relaxation, technique, strength and development
  • Masterclasses high profile visiting artists offer enrichment, style, interpretation and inspiration
  • Choir all students take part in choral singing classes, developing their sense of breathing and harmony, and may choose to join the Chamber Choir, Chorale or other ensembles
  • Jazz improvisation all students are invited to try improvising in an ensemble matched to their age and level
  • Music theory is taught to A-level and beyond

Performances and Ensembles

The School’s flagship ensemble is Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra, which performs three programmes each year in Manchester, Lancaster, London and elsewhere, often with guest artists or conductors. Younger flautists may also join Chetham’s Sinfonia, the Middle School orchestra, Chamber or Wind Orchestra, or Wind Band.
Many woodwind students explore Baroque music and historical performance, with regular concerts in the School’s medieval Baronial Hall, at Greenwich Early Music Festival, and across northern England. And for solo repertoire, five or more Lunchtime Concerts every week, and a regular programme of chamber music and solo concerts across the region, give students of all ages the chance to develop their performance skills in front of a public audience.

A tradition of success

This year’s leavers follow a strong tradition of success within the flute department, and across Chetham’s as a whole.

Adam Walker is Principal Flute at London Symphony Orchestra, and returned to lead a masterclass with current students in 2018. In Manchester, Amina Hussain plays with Manchester Camerata and Sarah Bennett with the Hallé. In competition, Silvija Scerbaviciute won the Friedrich Kuhlau Flute Competition 2016, and two players, Lucy Driver and Joanne Lee, won the Woodwind Category Finals of the BBC Young Musician competition the same year.  And to prove that Chetham’s leavers remain part of the school community throughout their careers, Dr Martyn Shaw and Katherine Bryan both joined the school as students and now teach the next generation of players.

Find out more

Auditions, and informal advice auditions, can be booked throughout the school year from September to June. Young flautists and their families are also welcome at a series of Open Days, with the next one taking place on Saturday 6 October 2018. Find out more about studying at Chetham’s, how to apply, and funding through the Music and Dance Scheme, by exploring our website.

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