About the Teacher

Cynthia Yan

Cynthia is a current undergraduate student at Washington University in St. Louis studying computer science with a minor in bioinformatics on the pre-medicine track. She has been playing the flute for 9 years, and has studied under Carol Meves and Heather Yarmel. Currently, she is studying with Dr. Jennifer Gartley of the Washington University Department of Music and serves as co-assistant principal flutist of the Washington University Symphony Orchestra.

Her musical achievements include four years of qualifying for the Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) State Music festival with two Exemplary Soloist nominations, three honorable mentions from the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) Concerto Competition, and finalist standing as well as a scholarship of $1,250 from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Stars of Tomorrow competition in 2021. She was principal flutist of the MYSO Senior Symphony from 2019-2021, a member of the WSMA State Honors Band in 2019, and co-principal flutist of the WSMA State Honors Orchestra in 2020. Based on her experience, Cynthia was awarded a $5,750 scholarship from the Washington University Department of Music.

Cynthia’s teaching experiences include teaching music to members of the Sussex Hamilton High School Band, working as a Mathnasium tutor, private tennis coaching, and coaching for Buddy-Up Tennis St. Louis. Outside of music, she enjoys hiking, playing on WashU’s club tennis team, and weightlifting.


My Teaching Philosophy and Curriculum

Cynthia believes in first building a strong foundation for tone and technique by working on tone exercises and technical etudes, while also allowing students the freedom to choose what they would like to play soloistically. Having a clear yet beautiful tone is one of the most challenging parts of playing the flute, and practicing tone exercises allows flutists of all levels to drastically improve their playing. Next, working on etudes allows students to work on common fingerings and patterns that will pop up in solo music, ultimately giving them the freedom to play any piece of music they desire. Ultimately, Cynthia believes in building a strong base so that flutists can play the music they want to play with ease.

Cynthia recommends that beginner flutists start with the Trevor Wye Practice Book For The Flute: Book 1 - Tone. More advanced players can begin with De la Sonorite by Marcel Moyse. Essential books to build technique include 17 Big Daily Finger Exercises for the Flute by Taffanel and Gaubert, Etudes by Sigfrid Karg-Elert, and Etudes by Joachim Andersen. Lastly, a great solo book for advanced players is Flute Music by French Composers.

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