Flute Zoo by Kathy Blocki
Updated: Jan 10
My name is Stéphanie Superle and I’m thrilled to be back as a guest contributor for Flute Thoughts of Larissa. We talked last month about The Blocki Flute Method and today I’m excited to continue the conversation with the newest series from Kathy Blocki: Flute Zoo.
Now, before we dive in, I just want to say that the Flute Zoo Series is completely new to me! I ordered the series for a FlutePlay Method Book chat and thought this blog post would be a great opportunity to dive into the series in even great depth. In case you missed my previous post on The Blocki Flute Method, the one thing I cautioned is the length/size of Book 1. At 86 pages, it’s rare for students to finish it in their first year - at least in my experience. Thankfully, that’s why Kathy created Flute Zoo. If you’re wondering what the difference is between the Blocki Flute Method Book 1 and Flute Zoo Book 1, here’s what her website has to say about the new series:
“The content in the Blocki Flute Method Book 1 equals Flute Zoo Books 1, 2 and 3. The Flute Zoo books move at a slightly slower pace and are shorter giving a sense of accomplishment as they finish each book more quickly. The Flute Zoo Five-Note Fun Sticker Book is essential to the Flute Zoo series but can also be used with the Blocki Flute Method Book 1.
After working through all four Flute Zoo books, students will be ready to start in Blocki Flute Method Book 2.”
So, what else will you find in Flute Zoo Book 1?
Head joint rhythm "building blocks": for head joint and Pneumo Pro
Head joint activities with coloured notation
Student composition activities
Extended techniques: "froggy" key clicks
a giant music staff on the inside cover for games and activities
a certificate of achievement at the end of the book
Accompaniment tracks available on YouTube
Lots of head joint-only activities to develop tone & flexibility
photos of embouchures, head joint placement and activities, hand position, and how to use the Pneumo Pro
lots of colourful hand-illustrated animals with all songs titled to follow the animal theme
"lego" elements and a rainbow scale system
The full series includes 8 books plus a Sticker Poster
On first glance, the new series is bright and vibrant with lots of fun and engaging music, activities, and techniques for young beginner flutists. I do find it interesting that this new series has adopted a rainbow scale system using a new musical rainbow instead of a more standard musical rainbow to coordinate with other instruments like hand bells, boom whackers, etc. The coloured notation is used throughout Book 1 and after diving into the Teacher Manual, *no explanation is given on how to best use this new system. For anyone new to Flute Zoo and The Blocki Flute Method, the Teacher Manuals are quite helpful in understanding Kathy’s approach and will help with introducing new concepts before they arrive in the book. For example, teaching B to C happens earlier in practice than it does in the book. The Teacher’s Manual gives you all of Kathy’s tips and tricks for teaching with this method.
The other small thing that surprised me was seeing folk songs renamed to keep with the animal theme of the book. Most flute teachers will *hopefully* recognize the tunes when students play them and will *hopefully* take the opportunity to educate their students on the origin of these songs!
Overall, it’s exciting to see a new series that incorporates elements from Kathy’s previous series with bright vibrant illustrations, new building blocks and key click techniques, and new activities to encourage and inspire young flutists! If you’re using the new Flute Zoo series, I’d love to hear from you! (I’m sure Larissa would, too!) Send us an email at: email@example.com to chat.
PS - if you’re as big of a method book nerd as Larissa and I are, come join us in the FlutePlay community where we explore a new method book every month. Together we have created a safe and welcome space to learn, explore, and connect on all things flute pedagogy!!
*UPDATE: The musical rainbow referred to in this blog post can be seen on page 2 of the student book and page 22 in the Teacher's Manual. An explanation of the note colors Blue, Red, and Green can be found on page 6 of the Student Book 1 and page 26 in the Teacher's Manual.