Welcome Flute Students & Parents!
Do you love the flute and want to be more awesome? (That’s why you’re here, right?)
Have you ever been so nervous you basically forgot how to play the flute? (Been there. Done that. Bought the T-shirt. I’ve got a solution!)
Want to learn the secrets of playing rhythms confidently? (shhhh….top secret info ahead!)
Are you looking for a new adventure learning piccolo, bass, or alto flute? (I’ve got a quiver of flutes ready for any adventure!)
Parents: Is your child coming home every day frustrated that they’re not “getting it” as quickly as other students?? (I can help & yes, online works!)
I believe every moment of our lives brings infinite possibilities for new discovery, growth, and adventure. Whether your goal is learning how to play the flute, get into a youth orchestra or music festival, pursue a college music degree, or just get more awesome at the flute, I can help you! Over the past 20 years, I have taught students as young as 5-80 years old. You are the focus of lessons -- this is an inclusive and diverse studio, and I sculpt lessons to match your learning style and needs.
What will you gain from taking lessons?
I’m so glad you asked!
By taking lessons you will...
Hone your tone (and breathing, oh my!)
Accomplish more with less effort — AKA efficient practice #makeiteasy #freetime
Venture into the fast lane — beep-beep — zooming fingers ahead
Explore something new like jazz or improvisation or world flutes
Fly fearlessly in the high register (seriously E and F# get in line up there, please!)
Unleash your tongue — who’s got the fastest double-tongue? You will!
Navigate sight-reading and auditions, like a boss!
Wait, wait don’t tell me...there’s more!
You also get to:
Take part in studio classes with special guests (Beatboxing, jazz, celebrity Jeopardy!)
Go for the gold in Fluter Olympics! (Can you headjoint slalom?)
Access to exclusive resources in the Student Portal (it’s even got a password!)
Expert assistance finding a new instrument (and some secret special deals too!)
Perform in studio recitals (Fall and Spring solo recitals and the hilarious Duet Idol!)
Participate in local flute club events and competitions, youth orchestra and ILMEA ensembles (We represent!)
Get techy and collaborate with virtual flute penpals across the globe! (Expand your world!)
Become part of a FUN flute family that truly supports and celebrates YOU! (Warning: giggle fits ahead!)
COVID-19 Update: Until further notice, all lessons are taking place online using Zoom, google hangouts, or FaceTime.
All you need is internet and computer, phone or tablet with video camera.
Are you a beginner flutist?
Want a class just for you?
Flute 101: The Adventure of Fluter Mountain!
LESSONS & TEACHING STYLE
In lessons, I focus on the process and journey of learning, empowering students through a spirit of curiosity, adventure and experimentation. I ask students a lot [...a lot…] of questions aimed at helping them to focus their attention on their own experiences while playing and inviting them to help find solutions.
A typical conversation runs something like this:
Me: So...what did you notice about the high E in bar 2?
Student: It was kinda shrill...like I stepped on the cat’s tail.
Me: That’s pretty shrill! What did your throat feel like when you played it?
Student: hmmm…..tight, like I was squeezing it.
Me: So, what could you do to not sound like you stepped on the cat’s tail there?
Student: Maybe not squeezing my throat?
Me: Ok, let’s try it and see what happens!
By guiding students to trust their own perceptions and experiment with solutions to the problems they encounter, students’ confidence and self-awareness grows leading to accelerated learning and achievement. Thus, “mistakes” are just opportunities to investigate how and why something sounds the way it does. When things go really haywire, we pull out the giant “OOPS!” eraser, wipe the air clean, and laugh it off. And yes, we absolutely cover all the important fundamentals of playing the instrument, so that everyone has the tools to play whatever they want to play—but we have a lot of fun doing it!
Students develop their own interests and voices. They help choose guest artists and studio class topics (beatboxing, improvisation, world flutes, etc) and are encouraged to participate in community youth orchestras and flute festivals. We have flute penpals with studios around the world, game nights, and the beloved Flute Olympics! Students perform in fall and winter solo recitals collaborating with a world-class pianist and a student-directed chamber music concert, fondly known as Duet Idol. During lessons, I often make use of my collection of talking Minion figures, flute cats and hearts, various stuffed animal assistants, some crazy dice…and Cheddar The Cat always has something to say (Meowwwww!). The moment you enter my studio, you have gained a dedicated teacher, a non-judgemental ear when you need to talk, and a powerful and loyal advocate in your corner for life.
SCHOLARSHIPS: I believe all students who wish to learn should have access to high-quality instruction. Partial scholarships for lessons are available to students with financial difficulty. Please fill out the scholarship application or contact me if you have any questions. [SCHOLARSHIP FORM]
In-Person: Current Studio locations for private lessons are: Evanston, Vernon Hills High School, Music Institute Of Chicago (Suzuki and chamber music). Please contact me to set-up a complimentary trial lesson and with any questions you may have.
Online/Skype: Online lessons offer great flexibility in scheduling and a great possibility to reach beyond teachers in your local area. There is less driving time involved and fewer distractions to the environment. Online lessons happen via Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Zoom. Because nothing can substitute for in-person experience with a teacher, it is my policy to see my weekly online students at least 1-2 times per year (when possible). Please contact me with any questions you may have or to set up a trial lesson.
Ready for your complimentary trial lesson?
What would you like to know more about?
“There are teachers who are good at what they do, and then there are teachers who change their students’ lives. Shanna happens to fall into both categories, touching the lives of her students in ways that go beyond the expectations of one’s job as an educator.”
— Melody, student
About The Teacher
Nice to meet you!
Ok, so let’s get real for a moment here, shall we?
Please raise your hand if you have ever:
Uttered the words “I’m bad at…” or “I can’t possibly do what s/he/they do”
Convinced yourself you didn’t want to do something because you actually believed maybe you weren’t good enough for it (auditions/competitions anyone?)
Felt so overwhelmed by a piece that instead of practicing you sat there paralyzed and just did nothing (or took a nap!)
You know what you want to do, but you were a little (or a lot) afraid of it
Yeah, I’ve been there too.
(Oooo! Oooo! Pick me! Pick me! Am I right?)
Can I let you in on a secret?
(Please say yes, I can’t hold this one in for much longer…)
It’s not who you think you are that holds you back.
It’s who you think you’re not.
I’ve got a small problem as a teacher. I can only see the biggest, most amazing version of who you are and all the glorious potential inside of you. I believe it’s my purpose to help you see your own incredibleness.
Because once you do, you can’t unsee it and you become the unstoppable you that you’re meant to be. Nothing holds you back--I get goosebumps just thinking about it! I believe that music has the power to unlock this within us, and the flute is our vehicle to a world of adventure and discovery.
So how did I arrive at all this?
I had amazing teachers and I want to share what they taught me with YOU! The flute secrets and life lessons they gave me continue to inspire me daily, I happily pay-it-forward to everyone I teach. From kernels of wisdom and flute hacks to scholarship help, I’m all in for my students.
I am a professional teacher -- I’m constantly learning, observing master teachers from around the world, and completing professional development so I can be a better teacher. I share everything I learn with my students, whether that’s experience as a performer, arts entrepreneur, or teacher. I expect they’ll share any adventures they have out in the world with me too!
Wanna know more? Grab a snack 'cause it's storytime!
It all started when I was 8 and I spent a month sitting on the floor in front of a mirror (a month of tears, a month making myself dizzy) trying to get a sound out of a flute headjoint. My first teacher was a pianist because we couldn’t find a flute teacher who would take me that young. He gave me a dime if I spelled rhythm correctly. I couldn’t play rhythms correctly, but, hey, at least I could spell it, right?
And then I struck gold! We found Mrs. Humberg, aka Grandma and later my dearest friend. She opened my eyes to a whole world I never knew existed. She taught me to see the beauty of music and believed in me so strongly that I had no choice but to do the same. Every lesson was filled with fun and humor and hard work. I was hooked.
One day she decided it was time to change teachers so I could grow even more. This is when she became Grandma, because we went together every week and both took lessons. Talk about demonstrating a lifelong love of learning!
Enter the single biggest influence on me as a player and teacher: Monty Adams. He taught me to trust myself and how to really listen, how to play with a sound that had all the colors of the rainbow in it, and how to solve problems in my playing by observing what happened. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t tell my own students a nugget of wisdom I learned from him.
After my mother became ill and money was tight, I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to keep up lessons. Monty gifted me a kindness I can never repay: a massive scholarship for the rest of high school. I pay it forward by offering scholarship assistance to any student in need.
His encouragement, belief in me, and support made me understand that even though I didn’t have a fancy flute like everyone else in youth orchestra (I played a student flute until senior year of high school when I bought a step-up flute from my earnings at Portillo’s), I had everything I needed within me to pursue my dreams. It is my goal as a teacher to help students develop that same kind of belief and confidence in themselves.
So while I offer students all the nuts and bolts they need to become amazing at the flute and play any style of music, I am really teaching them confidence in themselves to explore and learn fearlessly with a spirit of curiosity, so that they can experience for themselves just how limitless they are.
Ok, but what about your creds?
Here’s my very formal bio:
Flutist Shanna Pranaitis fearlessly expands the realm of sonic possibility for her instruments through innovative performances and educational projects, in which she integrates multi-disciplinary elements to create seamless, immersive concert experiences. She is interested in exploring ways to engage and involve a wider community in the process of experiencing music. An important part of this work is the close cooperation with living composers, poets, movement artists, and other interdisciplinary artists, around the world on the development of new work.
Shanna studied contemporary music under Matthias Ziegler, Camilla Hoitenga, Eva Furrer, Philippe Racine, and Kathinka Pasveer. Such has served as indispensable enrichment to her performance studies at the University of Michigan (Amy Porter) and Northwestern University (Walfrid Kujala and Richard Graef), where she received her masters and bachelors degrees, respectively. Her formative training was guided by Monty Adams and Dolores Humberg, to whom she is deeply grateful.
A passionate educator, Shanna is on faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago and maintains an exciting private studio. She is certified to teach the Suzuki method having received her training from David Gerry and Kelly Williamson. Shanna is also the co-founder of FluteXpansions, the first comprehensive e-learning platform and laboratory for composers and performers to explore contemporary flute music and techniques. Committed to sharing her knowledge with others, she helps students uncover their potential. She is in demand as a guest lecturer, masterclasses teacher, adjudicator, and clinician at universities around the world and middle and high schools in the Chicago area.
Shanna travels the world regularly to perform and teach as a solo guest artist and with the chamber ensembles Memoria Nova and Collect/Project. In 2017, she co-curated and co-organized the first multi-day festival of Galina Ustvolskaya’s music in the United States. She has presented premiere performances of pieces written for her at such festivals as the Gaudeamus Muziekweek (NL), Sonic Fusion Festival (UK), Darmstadt Ferienkurse (DE), International Computer Music Conference, and Omaha Under the Radar, among others. She has received numerous accolades for her performances including, prizes at the Stockhausen Courses, the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, and New Music USA project grants. She was previously a founding member of Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente, with whom she received the 2012 Kranichstein Prize for Interpretation. She was also a former fellow of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble at the Aspen Music Festival.
The most recent recording includes a disc of Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf’s works for flute on NEOS (release summer 2020), in addition to previous releases of the album Mobile with guitarist Jesse Langen, featuring world premiere recordings of music by Fredrick Gifford, and the album SORI featuring works by Kyong Mee Choi for instruments and electronics. Current recording projects also include a solo disc of works for her Kingma open-hole bass flute.
She performs on a Burkart flute and piccolo and Kingma bass and alto flutes. PORTFOLIO