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 ~ Woodwinds ~

Private Instruction

I’m a qualified music teacher offering personalized lessons and instruction to students in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.  Lessons are offered primarily online, but I am available for in-person instruction as well.  I specialize in woodwind instruments.  Flute is my primary instrument, and I teach beginning to advanced levels.  I offer recorder lessons as a great introduction to music for beginners.  I also teach beginning to intermediate clarinet and saxophone.  I've found that online instruction works well for beginners to intermediate students.  Teacher and student can play together remotely, and duets sound amazing!  With so many people learning remotely now, lessons online can really help with establishing the basics of instrumental technique from the convenience of home.

I have 20 years of teaching experience, including in public school and privately.  I teach people of all ages and experience levels, but I especially enjoy sharing the love of music with our youth.  Music is part of a well-rounded education and has many benefits.  Studies have shown that playing an instrument is neuroprotective, with life-long musicians having enhanced cognitive function.  Playing or listening to music also reduces anxiety, as most of us know from personal experience.  Students receive a complete music education experience; aural and written theory, history, music as therapy, and introduction to elements of world music.

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~ Meet Alison ~

Hi!  I'm Alison MacHaffie and ever since I was a young child I have been enchanted with music.  From as early as I can remember, music has moved me in profound ways, and has been my most enduring passion in life.  Music has also been a powerful force of personal healing for me.  I received my B.A. in Music Education from West Virginia University in 1997, then went on to study for an M.A. in Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2001.  I have also studied music therapy and integrate music as therapy into my direct support work with people with disabilities that I've been doing since 2003.  My teaching style is fun, while also holding my students accountable.  I love working with students of all ages and abilities.  You are never too old to learn a new skill.  I once taught a 97 year old man to play the flute!  I get so much satisfaction from seeing people grow and develop their musical skills, as well as benefit from the therapeutic value of music.

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Home: Lessons

Flute Lessons

I design each lesson according to my students’ abilities and goals. No matter your level of skill or experience, you’ll gain a lot from taking my lessons. Each class includes technical and theoretical instruction, along with plenty of time to put your new knowledge into practice.


"My daughter is doing so well!  I've been really proud...she sounds great and has been practicing without any prompting from me lately.  She has really found a love of music and you are a huge part of that!  Thank you!"

~ L. Archibald

"Alison is fantastic and great with kids!  She has been giving my daughter music lessons for almost two years now and my daughter is learning so much thanks to Alison's knowledge and patience.  When I hear my daughter practicing, I sometimes get amazed by how beautiful it sounds.  I find her picking up her instrument in-between practice, just for fun, which tells me that Alison is really helping her cultivate a love of music, and that makes me so happy."

~ Lora L.

"My children were taking music at school but when it shut down, I decided to hire a music instructor instead.  I found Alison because she was referred by a friend and was willing to do remote lessons over video.  I am impressed with how much my kids have accomplished under Alison.  They have progressed more in 8 months remotely than in two years of in-person instruction at school.  We will be continuing lessons for sure."

~ Joe C.

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