Your First Lesson!

Advice to help parents help their children after the first lesson.

Flutes – we are likely to be working on the head joint only for a couple of weeks – it’s very important to get the blowing and tonguing right. If you do assemble the whole flute, be very careful to put the parts together gently, as the metal is very thin in places and can easily be damaged. Start each note by tonguing behind your top teeth – this is really important. Always clean you flute after playing and keep the cleaner with you for your lessons.

Clarinets – your thumb may feel tired at first, but it will get stronger. We assemble the clarinet from the bottom upwards. You must take the reed off and wet it in your mouth before trying to play. Your bottom lip should be stretched and firm, over your bottom teeth. Top teeth go on the mouthpiece (by the way – the reed goes underneath!) We may not have tried any fingers yet, but if we have you MUST have your left hand at the top. Start each note by tonguing on the reed. Be very careful with reeds – they are easily damaged. You must remove the reed to dry it after playing.

Recorders – don’t blow too hard! Gentle blowing makes a better sound. You MUST MUST MUST have your left hand at the top!! If you find it hard to co-ordinate covering the holes, it can be helpful to put sticky ring reinforcements around them. Start each note by tonguing behind your top teeth.

Saxophones – Your thumb may ache at first but it will get stronger the more you practise. You must take the reed off and wet it in your mouth before trying to play. Your bottom lip should be stretched and firm, over your bottom teeth. Top teeth go on the mouthpiece (by the way – the reed goes underneath!) We may not have tried any fingers yet, but if we have you MUST have your left hand at the top. Start each note by tonguing on the reed. Be very careful with reeds – they are easily damaged. Never let your saxophone hang by the strap. You must remove the reed to dry it after playing.

Everyone – if at first you don’t succeed, try again! Have a rest and come back to it later. It DOES get easier. You are building up muscle memory and strength gradually each time you try.

Sometimes I put coloured stickers on your instrument to help you. Rest assured that they don’t harm the instrument. Usually they fall off of their own accord after a while. Any remaining stickiness can be rubbed with a soft cloth.