Studio Teaching – What (Not?) to Wear AND This it what Happens when Moms get Free Time

In my years of studio teaching, I have had read many an article that addressed the appropriate teaching wardrobe.  As a mom, a fitness advocate (born-again, ok, maybe just born), professional musician and teacher I’m here to declare, “WE NEED AN UPDATE!”

To illustrate WHY we need this professional wardrobe update, I give you my schedule yesterday:  (If you are really only interested in what to wear when you teach, just scroll on down to the last paragraph or so . . . )

6 AM:  Alarm clock goes off.

6:03 AM:  Back-up alarm clock goes off and is silenced with a mighty smash of my hand.  I realize I’ve awakened with a migraine, which is what happens from time to time, especially when I stay up late worrying about kids and students and then read from the Outlander Series to escape and then notice that it’s midnight.

6:10 AM:  Alarm clock goes off again.  Fine.

6:30 – 7:30:  Wake sleeping children, who don’t want to get up anymore than I did, feed them, and boot them out the door.

7:30 – 8:30:  Answer emails and attempt to eat breakfast.  Realize I have no appetite due to the migraine.  Decide that I won’t go to the gym as planned, but will spend a cozy morning in bed, just me and my migraine.

8:31:  Realize the cleaning crew is coming, and I need to get the 4%T$%! out of this house.  Plus I need to lay out the bed sheets.  (Yes, I know it’s a first world problem.  I hate cleaning house and am through justifying this.)

9:15:  Get the (&)*^% out of the house.  Head feels better because of med, but med makes me feel like the whole world is that radio station you accidentally come across while driving through rural areas that doesn’t QUITE tune in.  Decide for the easiest possible chore.  Driving to the farm market to get apples, cider, and apple cider donuts.

9:45:  Obtained Donuts (and oh yeah, the cider and apples), and drive home. 

10:00 Crud, the cleaning crew is already here.  I HATE being in the house when they’re here.  Slink in, cheerily greet the two 20-somethings who are cleaning the downstairs.  Smile as they smile at me and pretend this is the best job ever and they are totally happy and fulfilled to be vacuuming my curtains.  Offer them some apples.  Slink out.

10:05  Realize that I have no errand to run that can reasonably be accomplished before meeting my friend Randi at Espresso Bar for a work-related chat.

10:06   Stare into space.

10:07  This is what happens when moms get free time.

10:08  Decide cleaning people are probably staring out the windows and thinking I’m mental.  Decide to walk downtown and do a little shopping before meeting Randi.

10:09  Walk into Simply Charming and pick out a cute tunic to try on.  Model it for sales lady.  Find out it’s a dress.  Put it back and leave.  (I am still in a Treximet-induced stupor.)

10:20  Walk into Winchester Book Gallery.  Have excellent venting session with owner Christine about how people think that people who own shops or work from home don’t do any work.  (Yes, after spending my morning at the farm market and trying on a dress/tunic (drunic?) and wandering around downtown.) 

10:30 – 11:45  Have rather long and cathartic studio teacher venting session with Randi.  Feel much better.  Randi is awesome.

11:45  Walk home and discover cleaning people already done.  Yay!  I can go in and lie down.

11:50  Can’t sleep.  Eat quick lunch

1 PM  At some point, I drifted to my desk and fell asleep with my head on it.  A text message awakens me.  I remember I need to go the store. 

1:05  Actually get in car and drive around the block, only to remember I have to teach a lesson at 2, and there is no way I can get in and out of Wal-mart and back in time to teach.

1:06  Decide I can make and drive around the block again.

1:07  Go back inside.  Put head on desk.  Sleep some more.

1:45 And here we are.  It’s 15 minutes to teaching time, which will go from 2 – 6, and I don’t have time to change.  I am wearing my favorite Champion fold-over top boot-cut work out pants, a tee, a sweater, and athletic shoes.  I don’t change.  I do grab some caffeine.  I do fix my hair so it doesn’t look like I’ve been sleeping with my head on my desk.  And I don’t think it’s a problem.  Thankfully, not all my days are Treximet-induced stupors like this one.  I’m usually a rather together individual.  But I went through a number of years where I would daily barely manage to change out of a shirt with baby spit-up and mashed peas on it before my first student arrived.  What I’ve found is that my students respect me anyway.  And I like to promote the fact that I work out to my students; I think it’s important for musicians to be as fit and healthy as they possibly can.  Further, I often do exercises with my students that involve lying on the floor, or sitting on a large rubber ball.  I dance around the room during lessons.  And I’m standing.  A lot.  My feet need to be comfortable. 

I can’t be the only one.

I also find that over-dressing – – looking too professional or stuffy, can be off-putting, especially to younger students.

So with that in mind, I would like to present the Domestic Flautist’s best attempt at

Updated Attire Guidelines for Home Studio Teaching – for the Conscientious Flutist who lives in the real world, in 2013, and really, really likes comfy sweaters:

  • Look clean and pulled together.  Avoid clothing with holes or stains.
  • Hair should be neatly combed and styled, or thrown back into a last-minute pony tail.  Which still looks pulled together.
  • Avoid low-cut tops and super short skirts.  (Remember the large rubber ball . . ???)
  • Forget it with jewelry that’s going to get in the way of playing the flute.  You’ll end up taking it off anyway.  How do I know this?  Here is a photo of my “bracelet pile”. Image This is where I stack the bracelet(s) I’m wearing every day when I begin to teach.  The pile gets bigger and bigger until it topples and I remember to put them away . . .
  • Neat and polished-looking jeans and athletic attire are fine.  Avoid sweatpants.  Just avoid sweatpants all the time.
  • Keep your nails, nose, and face clean.  (Sorry, that was for my kids, but it’s always a good idea.)

Teach in relative comfort and with confidence.



About fluteromano

An active freelancer, private teacher, and university professor settles down to raise a few kids in a small town. For my professional bio, please see my studio website:

One response to “Studio Teaching – What (Not?) to Wear AND This it what Happens when Moms get Free Time

  1. once again, your teaching advice can easily be adapted into real life….i am (almost) inspired to toss my overalls and sweats…wait, scratch the overalls, they are a most forgiving item of clothing. i do try and keep my nose clean.

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