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Elizabeth Janzen’s Advice for Flute Students and Teachers

Elizabeth Janzen (Associate Professor at Texas A&M University—Kingsville and second flute in the Victoria Symphony Orchestra) gives some advice in this talk with Flute Magazine.
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Elizabeth Janzen flute advice

What advice do you have for students?

My advice for students is: save everything that you hear along the course of your educational career. I talk to my students about having kind of a mental filing cabinet in their brains. When they hear advice from me or they hear advice from another teacher in a master class or clinic; even if it doesn’t make sense at the time or even if they’re sceptical of that advice — to file it in that filing cabinet and make note of it because it might make sense in a couple of months or a couple of years if you keep coming back to it and thinking about it, and exploring it. I, myself as a student, have had some revealing moments in my playing when I’ve managed to connect something that one teacher said with another wording that another teacher used, and all of a sudden, it’s like a light bulb goes on. I encourage my students to try and really save every little tidbit of information they can and keep reviewing it every once in a while because it can suddenly make a difference.

What advice do you have for teachers?

My best piece of advice is just to strive to find the right path for every student. That can mean a couple of things; by that, I mean, of course, first and foremost, you want to help the student find a connection to music that is meaningful for them. It might not be a direct path; it might not be an obvious path, helping them find a lifelong connection to music that will reward them. And whether or not that’s in performance, teaching, or a lesser-known area of a musical career. I think teachers must seek to foster that and help their students find that correct path. But it can also mean just remembering that every person has a different learning style. I’ve been working on teaching to find that unique pathway to communicate with each student and remember that not every student learns in the same way. What might seem obvious to me can be a completely different language to another student. And trying to find common ground and a kind of a primer between the two of us — between the students’ language and my language. It’s challenging but a gratifying goal that we as teachers are challenged with every day.

Website: elizabethjanzen.com

Full Interview: “Save Everything That You Hear Along the Course of Your Educational Career”

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