Studying the flute is an opportunity to have fun while learning about music, culture, other people, and yourself.

Teaching is one of the greatest joys for me as a musician. I love sharing my knowledge with students, and watching them learn and expand their joy of playing music. I have over 10 years of experience and offer lessons to students ages 9-18 and adult flutists. I focus on the fundamentals of flute playing including breathing, tone, posture, technique, and expression.  I also approach flute lessons with a holistic philosophy, believing that studying music leads to a richer life through a better understanding and awareness of ourselves.


Each student's curiosity and motivation to learn the flute and music is unique, and I encourage them to develop that curiosity in lessons.

I embrace the student’s individuality and interests through repertoire selections, as well as musical and interdisciplinary exercises. My teaching style is conversational, so students are encouraged to be curious and ask questions. I will also ask questions to help the student reflect and engage in their learning process.

    Northern California   

Flute Camp



For 10 years, I taught at Flute Camp in Monterey, CA in July. I attended as a student, worked as a counselor, and taught for 8 years as assistant faculty. I recommend this to all 12-18 year old flutists looking for a week of flutey-inspiration! flutecamp.com



"Northern California Flute Camp is a one-week, intensive program designed to educate and inspire young flutists through an interesting and cultivating curriculum that examines many aspects of flute performance. Presented by Hidden Valley Music Seminars in beautiful Carmel Valley, NCFC offers a comprehensive camp experience by combining first-rate musical training with outdoor activities in the prime of California's physical surroundings."


Studying music is a unique journey that can be life long. It is a process of gaining self-awareness and developing skills to play the flute and music.

Lessons are structured to develop the student’s awareness, discipline, patience, and self-confidence to solve problems independently. We set an individualized plan which allows the student to set their own goals. Based on those goals, I teach clear and specific practice methods to help the student develop the skills needed to have fun playing music. 

Student Activities

My students explore different musical activities based on their individual interests and develop their own authentic joy. Activities include:

  • Learning music of various genres for personal enjoyment

  • Flute choir

  • Chamber music with family and friends

  • School bands and orchestras

  • Playing at church or with other community organizations

  • Annual studio recital

  • College wind ensembles or marching band

  • Attending adult or youth flute camps during the summer

  • Participating in local flute competitions

  • Attending Chicago Flute Club events including recitals, masterclasses, and the flute festival

Student Accomplishments

For students who excel in music and desire to study it at a higher level, I help them create goals and guide them to reach their potential. Student accomplishments include:

  • Attending or accepted with scholarships to study at University of Rouen (France), McGill University School of Music (Canada), Vanderbilt University, Duke University, University of Illinois-Chicago

  • Member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra

  • Members of the Illinois All State Band

  • Superior ratings in solos and chamber ensembles at ILMEA Solo and Ensemble

  • Attending the Merit School of Music Tuition Free Conservatory


Playing music is one of the gifts of being human. It encourages self-expression, creativity, and community.

In lessons, I guide you to find your connection to the music you are playing. After learning a piece, I help you find your place in the music world whether it be playing chamber music at your home, giving concerts with an ensemble, or playing by yourself. There is a place for your musical voice!


Matthew is ten years old and started with James when he was seven. James teaches with both energy and patience, and as a direct result my son loves the flute, can sight read well, and plays with a strong tone using vibrato. James is tailoring his lessons and approach expertly to

Matthew's needs as he gets older. He seems intuitively to understand how to coax and encourage my son's own interest and

enjoyment with music while at the same time keeping him focussed and disciplined on technique. James is a talented teacher, and we are very happy that we found him.



"James is the perfect teacher for me!   As an adult student, I feel more aware of myself as a musician and a learner than when I was a child studying piano and clarinet.  James has a way of teaching that reinforces good habits and celebrates small achievements. James helps me approach the flute with curiosity and with a reflective mind. He is responsive to my goals and helped me find an appropriate ensemble activities in Chicago and a summer camp out of state.  He supports me with practice techniques that lead to progress and feelings of accomplishment.  James is professional, upbeat, supportive, and encouraging.  I could not recommend him more highly!"


Adult Student

​"I have had Mr. Brinkmann as my flute teacher for two years and a half, and I have grown immensely as a flute player since then. I first came into his lessons with a small sound, which he helped me develop into a richer and more resonant one. Mr. B also taught me musicality, which is one of the most fundamental parts of playing an instrument, but also taught me new ways to efficiently practice the more technical aspects of flute playing. His instructions were always clear, as well as the explanations of why the technique exercises were important and what exactly they were targeting. Mr. B was also of great help and support through my college (and various other) audition process. I felt prepared for each audition, and all of them went smoothly. Mr. Brinkmann taught me how to have fun while playing, which keeps me enjoying playing the flute every day." 



currently at the University of Rouen, France

​"All of my students that take lessons with James, either in a group or individual setting, come out with an excellent understanding of technique and how to apply that to their ensemble music. James teaches a comprehensive process to flute playing and musicianship, allowing the student to be successful in a variety of settings."

Chad Smith

High School Band Director

© 2017 James Brinkmann