Private Flute Lessons

Student Stories

One of the greatest joys of teaching is getting to know my extraordinary students and watching them grow and change. Each one has a story... and I've asked them to share them with you.

More stories coming soon!



Sayoko Kuwahara

One day after I turned 40, I thought to myself that I needed music in my life.

Shortly after, I found myself in a music store, looking for an instrument to purchase. It needed to be small so that I can carry with me on business trips. Half an hour later, I waltzed out with a flute in my hand.

A flute? I had never even touched a flute in my life before!  Little did I know how difficult this dainty instrument was to learn as an adult.

Sayoko Portrait

I was lucky to find Bonnie Blanchard. While she specializes in teaching talented kids, I am neither talented nor young!  It takes me a long time to learn anything.

If I come close to playing a piece without a mistake, Bonnie suggests the next thing I need to learn. This next building block that I need to acquire has an interesting effect. Unlike talented young flute players who can just add it onto their foundation, I find myself suddenly not being able to do anything right. I utter under my breath “Ugh…”  I practice and practice at home without hearing any measurable signs of improvement.

Since I began lesson with Bonnie, it has been teaching me more than music and the flute. It has taught me patience, diligence, steadfastness and more. The accomplishment of any tiny step brings me an exquisite sense of satisfaction.

As I wished a few years back, music has become part of my life and it is a beautiful thing.  


Kathleen Shin

pull quote I started playing the flute in middle school. There was no big inspirational reason behind it. My friends joined band, and I merely tagged along.

In my middle school band class, we didn’t play pieces; we played arrangements of show tunes and movie soundtracks. I think the highlight of our last concert was titled “Shrek: Ultimate Dance Party.” This was the extent of our playing abilities.

During band rehearsals, my friend and I were placed at the end of the row, where we would pretend to shoot at inanimate objects using our flutes as rifles. This continued for a long time until one day, it occurred to me that I was last chair. My friend was absent, and I sat by myself looking confused while the others played their instruments. Things returned to normal when he came back to class the next day. For the next few years, I remained last chair in band.

Many people thought that always being last chair was no big deal, but when you’re at the very bottom out of 14 people, it gets personal. For this sole reason, I began taking formal private lessons from a teacher at the end of my sophomore year.

The summer before my junior year, I watched performances by flutists at a local competition in Seattle. I was blown away. I didn’t know that such a world existed outside of boring, old band music. It was amazing to think that an instrument like the flute could be played to produce such wonderful music. There were even competitors as young as 12 playing pieces memorized with such strong confidence! This small instrument possessed the power to make people feel an array of emotions. Right then and there, I decided that nothing else would do for me unless it had to do with music.

Last year, I was fortunate to have found the opportunity to study with such a wonderful teacher like Bonnie Blanchard. Since then, she has been preparing me for my college-level studies in flute... and to think it all started with being last chair!



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students with Gerard Schwartz

Jerry Schwarz invited 10 of Bonnie’s students to perform at Benaroya Hall in a flute choir piece for 11 flutes. It was a challenging and exciting experience!

Students in Studio

Flutist extraordinaire Darlene Drew, who travels with Disney's production of The Lion King, brought her many exotic flutes to Bonnie's studio in a presentation about the flutes and life in the orchestra.

Annual retreat

What’s better than fun and flutes in the mountains?
Donna Shin, Professor of Flute at the University of Washington (and Bonnie’s former student) joins us for three days At Mt Baker for our annual flute retreat.

Annual retreat

Janna and Munya know the way to their teacher’s heart.

Annual retreat

Bonnie’s students meet their idols, James and Jeanne Galway.

In their own words…

Working with Bonnie Blanchard’s four fantastic high school flutists was a delight… Their ability to integrate with the various idiosyncrasies of the orchestral timbres and rhythms indicated a high level of musical sensitivity and sophistication that I have rarely experienced from that age group. Bravo!

—George Shangrow, Director Seattle Chamber Singers and Orchestra Seattle

I am always deeply impressed with the level of performance in Bonnie Blanchard’s studio. Not only are her students at the top of their game, but also they clearly love Bonnie and thrive on her teaching approach.

—Catherine Miller, Vice President, Miyazawa (USA)

Bonnie Blanchard has a rare gift as a profound flute teacher and author. The teaching methods outlined in her books have influenced many award-winning students who have gone on to launch professional careers, either as performers or educators.

—Diane Hsu

I was so impressed with the quality of Bonnie Blanchard’s high school flute quartet that I invited them to perform a concerto with the Seattle Symphony. Their technique, tone, intonation and musicality were extraordinary. Bonnie is an inspirational and motivating master teacher.

—Gerard Schwarz, Conductor Seattle Symphony

Every year I hear hundreds of flutists from around the country, and Bonnie Blanchard’s students are a cut above. Her unique teaching style produces musicians with excellent playing skills who demonstrate a joy for music. Bonnie Blanchard delivers!

—Jeff Weissman,
President and owner, JB Weissman Music Company