Dr. Anna Meyer: The Monster Flute Method Book
Updated: May 11, 2021
I never would have imagined I would want friendly monsters to teach me to play the flute. Where was this book when I first began learning? The monsters are informative and reassuring! They provide nice breakups from the normal exercises in the pages! They explain key concepts, offer tips and tricks along the way, and explain other musical concepts such as oratorios, and what the opera Carmen is about.
This book starts with everything you need to know about your teachers – the monsters. The monsters first take you through a music theory section referenced throughout the book as the teacher sees fit. It covers the basics of counting, and time signatures with a 4 base. The color pictures which follow are brief, and clearly show hand position and embouchure with the help of a human and additional tips from the monsters. Very first notes and songs are different from the usual BAG notes (see highlights and cheat sheet), but with the songs being more musical the feel is more (dare I say) “professional”. The monsters have activities like rhythm challenges and technique challenges to keep things light and fun. The first duet is Mary Had a Little Lamb and both parts are introduced (with different titles) separately and then put together into to very clever duets (you’ll have to see how these are done in your own book). Other duets follow with the student provided the option to learn both parts for each duet. Appendix at the end contains terms, the major scales, circle of fifths, order of sharps and flats, and a large fingering chart. The back few pages are flashcards with the written note on one side and letter name on the other.
Most new concepts are given in big one-page explanations that are easy for parents and students alike to understand. There is a fair amount of reading in this book between the monster speech bubbles and the explanations, though they are explained in plain, easy to read text which could come in handy for non-musical parents trying to help their children at home. Each song has a check box or star-burst box (challenging song) for the teacher to leave a symbol to show completion, which really appeals to my list-making side.
From the Author:
The Monster Flute Method book was born out of the necessity to find an engaging beginning flute book for middle school-aged beginners. At the time in which I wrote it, I was teaching group lessons to 5th-8th graders and I needed something with everything in one place. I needed scale sheets, I needed the circle of fifths, I needed flash cards, and I needed content for the kids to read or work on while I was working with other students in the class. I also wanted something that would catch the attention of the younger students more so than the Rubank I had been using (which I still love for content!) The monsters were conceived as a means of delivering the content to the kids in an entertaining way, and to let the kids know that some of their confusion or frustration at learning a new instrument and language (music!) was not unique to them. I always try to include joy in my teaching, and I hope that comes across in this book. While it was written with the group class in mind, it works equally as well with individual instruction, and the lengthier theory content can be assigned to the students to read at home and come back ready to dive in.
Order of notes as follows: G1, F1, A1, B1, E1, E2, C2, C3, D2, Bb1, B2, F#1, F#2, Eb2, C#2, Ab1, Ab2, D3, E#2
Range of notes: E1-D3
Rhythms: Whole/Half/Quarter Notes, Whole/Half/Quarter Rests, Eighth Notes, Dotted Half notes and Dotted Quarter Notes, Triplets, Eighth Rests, Offbeats, Sixteenths, Syncopation
Other: Dynamics, Slurs, Ties, Arpeggios, Repeat Sign, Trills
Written for 5th-8th graders.
Monsters teach you to play the flute offering tips, tricks, and challenges along the way.
Music theory basics at the start.
Extensive appendix covering terms, all the major scales (one-octave), circle of fifths, order of sharps and flats, and a nice large fingering chart.
New concepts have easy-to-read and understand explanations from the monsters.
Extra special thanks to Dr. Anna Meyer for sharing a paragraph of her own words in this post. Thank you!