Mastering the flute doesn't come easy.

I know how frustrating it is to be told to “fix your posture” but not shown how, or when you feel lost learning a new piece (“Where do I start?!”). You sigh in exasperation, put your flute away, and wonder why you don’t sound like Emmanuel Pahud.

 

Not to worry -- you’ve come to the right place!

 

Throughout my 15+ years of flute playing, I’ve honed in on exactly what it takes to play with confidence in your abilities but most importantly, to make consistent progress you feel proud of.

 

I’m Caitlin, and I teach motivated flutists to make noticeable and consistent progress on the flute. I give my students the tools they need to be their own teacher in the practice room, and we work on step-by-step processes to avoid confusion and frustration when things don’t go their way.

 They leave each lesson with a clear understanding of what they learned as well as practice notes in their lesson journal so they remember exactly which process to use to achieve their goals.

Want to study with me?

But how did I get here?

 

It all started when I was nine years old. I blew into a flute at my elementary school’s band meeting, made an actual sound, and said, “I’m sold! Sign me up!” I didn’t end up trying any of the other instruments.

 

From then on, playing in school bands and orchestras became my passion. For someone as introverted and shy as I was, the band room was my safe haven; I could express my creativity and connect with friends without feeling as uncomfortable as when I had to use my voice.

 

Despite all the joy I felt playing the flute, I faced almost every obstacle imaginable as a young musician. 

 

Somehow, I didn’t seem to progress as fast as I wanted to,
but I didn’t know why. 

I got super nervous playing in public, and I didn’t know why. 

My technique and posture always felt tense and wonky (resulting in an overuse injury), and I didn’t know why. 

 

It’s not that my teachers weren’t helpful - quite the contrary. It was me that had a mental and emotional wall up, which led to a lot of self-sabotage and misery.

 

In the fall of 2017, I almost quit music, months before finishing my Bachelor’s degree. I simply couldn’t take the failures and feelings of inadequacy anymore.
 

 It was only after taking a woodwind pedagogy course, as well as absorbing all the knowledge from my three summers at the Orford Music Academy, that I realized what was going on. 

 

For years, I thought practicing and playing the flute was just like homework - you play through your assigned material and put it away. 

 

I thought, “If you’re good at something, you don’t have to put effort into it. Talent should be effortless.”

 

As you might imagine, this is not the case. 

 

I read Carol Dweck’s book Mindset, and my life changed. Suddenly, I understood that being talented does require effort... and lots of it. 

 

It requires strategic tools, clear concepts, and positive self-talk.

So what happened next?

I started to keep a practice journal, organizing my practice sessions into manageable 20-minute chunks and made sure to focus on the quality of my playing instead of the number of hours practiced. I took Alexander Technique classes, I became more receptive to my teachers’ constructive criticism, and I consulted a mental skills coach to work on coping with my performance anxiety. 

 

I started seeing the value in exploring the weak spots in my playing and actually sorting them out, instead of ignoring them out of fear. I pushed my comfort zone wider and wider, month after month until my love of music finally overtook my fear of failure.

By combining my newfound motivation to practice efficiently with the proven practice tools from my professors, I made the most out of my practice sessions and let me tell you, I saw results - and fast. I performed more freely and I tackled pieces I never thought possible all while feeling eager to share my craft with audiences and students alike - a feeling I never quite had previously.

 

Through this process I became proud of the work I was doing and learned the value of having conviction in everything you do.

 

I know what you’re going through.
I have been there myself.

Nothing came easy for me, which is why I had to develop clear processes for mastering techniques on the flute, from efficient breathing to refined technique. I know what it will take to get you moving forward and achieving your dreams with tangible results.

That’s my story!

Interested in checking out
my experience?

Where did you study?

  • University of Montreal
    (Graduate Diploma in Flute Performance) with Denis Bluteau

  • McGill University (Bachelor’s in Flute Performance)
    also with the wonderful Denis Bluteau

  • Vanier College (DEC in Music) with Heather Howes

  • McGill Conservatory of Music with Kelly Williamson and Sylwia Niedzwiecka

 

What are some of your accomplishments?

  • Semifinalist in the first ever Concours de flûte de Paris
    in 2019

  • Finalist in the CEGEPs en Concert solo competition representing Vanier College

  • Winner of the West Island Youth Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition

 

Who have you studied with and/or performed for other than your school’s teachers?

  • Ariane Brisson

  • Sandrine Tilly

  • Claire Guimond

  • Alexa Still

  • Julien Beaudiment

  • Jeffrey Khaner

  • Camille Watts

 

Which ensembles have you played in?

  • University of Montreal Orchestra

  • McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble

  • McGill Wind Orchestra

  • Montreal Youth Symphony Orchestra

  • West Island Youth Symphony Orchestra

 

What else do you do?

  • I work with emerging and/or student composers
    to premiere new works

  • I play in a flute & clarinet duo called Ensemble Camellia

  • I perform in solo and chamber recitals
    (check out my Facebook and YouTube pages
    for information and videos!)

 

Of course, as much as I love playing and teaching the flute, I do have other passions! 

  • I read around 50 books a year

  • Netflix regularly asks me if I’m still awake and watching many a TV show

  • And cat videos will have me laughing and crying all day long.

 

Interested in booking a free trial lesson with me?

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© 2020 by Caitlin Berger
Photography by Runa Shuda. Proudly created with Wix.com.

I acknowledge that I am situated in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal, on the traditional territory of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians, the Mohawk, and the Haudenosaunee.
Please visit www.native-land.ca to find out more about the land you live on.