You’re interested in moving forward with your music! Perhaps you played music as a kid and want to pick it up again after 20 years. Perhaps you play classical music at an advanced level but want to branch out into other musical realms such as Balkan, klezmer, playing by ear, improvising or composing your own music. Or perhaps your child has expressed interest in playing the violin for the first time. Whatever your reasons, lessons with Kaila allow you to develop as a musician.
Flexer has had a thriving private teaching studio for over 40 years. In that span of time she has developed a flexible and collaborative method of guiding students to improve skills such as tone, intonation, improvisation, reading music, playing ergonomically, music theory and composition, playing back up, musicality and of course playing repertoire itself.
Kaila accepts students of all levels and ages seven years old and up and enjoys being a bridge between folk musicians who would like to improve their (music) reading skills; classical musicians who want to explore folk and fiddle styles (bluegrass, Celtic, Swedish, Balkan, jazz) and improvising; and everything in between. She helps her students navigate music from ensembles they may be in in school or after school or bands students want to arrange for.
Flexer believes that playing music is extremely personal and that the relationship between student and teacher is an important and sensitive one. She intentionally avoids any particular method (especially the Suzuki Method, for a variety of reasons—feel free to ask) or agenda but feels it is her job to expose students to a wide variety of music and encourage them to practice music that they find inspiring. This can and should be different for everyone. She uses a variety of books and her own transcriptions of hundreds of pieces from a variety of styles and genres. She always gives her students choices of repertoire to play because she believes that if you love a piece, you will be motivated to practice it as opposed to being forced to play repertoire you don’t enjoy. Within that fluid repertoire framework, she give specific feedback on all of the skills string players need to feel comfortable with such as bowing, fingering, playing in various positions, playing in various keys, tone production, how to think about chords and other aspects of music theory in a practical and applicable way, vibrato, not using too much vibrato and more. She expects her students to practice the agreed-upon assignments, to ask questions that arise and to bring in any music that interests them.
Kaila also works with musicians who don’t play stringed instruments but want to improve their musicianship, whether through learning about music theory, reading music, composing, improvising, learning to transcribe (writing music down on staff paper), transposing (playing a song in several different keys). She has worked with oud players, harpists, clarinetists and many other instrumentalists.
Because the relationship between student and teacher is so special and needs to feel right, she suggests taking a lesson with her with absolutely no obligation to continue and then try a few other teachers as well.