Suzanne Hannau

Flute Faculty, Musikgarten Faculty
Musikgarten Faculty
Program Area: 
Private Instruction
With Music Institute of Chicago since: 

DePaul University School of Music, Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance

DePaul University School of Music, Master of Music in Woodwind Peformance

Significant teachers and mentors: 

So many people have shaped me into the musician I am today. My professors Mary Stolper and Jennifer Clippert helped me create a solid foundation; they also taught me discipline, mental toughness, and how to love and express myself using my instrument. Doug Peck and Charles Newell completely changed my understanding of performance practice and how to enjoy the messiness of the creative process. I've performed in very influential masterclasses with Keith Underwood, Gary Schocker, Mary Kay Fink, Adrienne Greenbaum, and Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.

Teaching philosophy and areas of expertise: 

The private teacher/student bond is hard to explain to those who have never experienced it before. As artists, we are invited to express ourselves as fully as we possibly can, and that takes an incredible amount of vulnerability. As a teacher, I am called to find, nurture, and cultivate each of my student’s abilities. No true learning can be made without first developing trust. The first lesson plays a crucial role in building this trust: respect must be received and given from both parties in order to establish that flute lessons are a safe space to explore the world of music. I make sure to be friendly, non-judgmental, focused, and to take musical and interactive risks to model the kind of fearlessness I encourage my students to exhibit during music making. I emphasize that we never know what we’re capable of until we push ourselves to that limit. Something that I specialize in specifically is what I like to call "movement while playing." As an actor/musician, I've often been called on to run up and down flights of stairs, jump onto and off of furniture, and interact as a character in a scene while playing music from memory. As a result, I am hyper aware of how the body works in order to produce a quality sound as well as how to multitask while performing.

Professional affiliations & activities: 

As a performer: Court Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, TimeLine Theatre, City Lights Orchestra, St. Vincent de Paul Parish,Trio Accesso As an educator: Marian Catholic High School, Conrady Jr. High School,, Zion Conservatory of Music

Interests outside of music: 

I am also a Muay Thai kickboxing instructor! Even though it is a completely different sport, the two require overlapping skills, namely focus, discipline in building technique, and mental toughness. When I have time, I love to cook and have people over for small dinner parties. I have a red-eared-slider (turtle) named Peg. I love to read and am in two book clubs with various friends.

Favorite quote: 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." -Maryanne Williams

Favorite practice tip: 

Practice much slower than you think you need to: notes and rhythms are given to you on the page--they should be correct! Turn difficult passages into tone exercises and be hyper aware of how you are creating the sound.

Favorite composer or piece to play: 

Mozart, hands down. His music has so many different characters and his style is so sassy. I often tell my students to watch a Mozart opera the first time they work on one of his pieces because you get to actually see his musical ideas anthropomorphized by his characters on stage.

Favorite musical moment: 

It's impossible to choose one. One memory that comes immediately to mind is first time I worked with my colleague Aubrey McGrath on our "Winter's On the Wing" scene for SECRET GARDEN at Court Theatre. In this scene his character Dickon and I (the Robin) wake up springtime on the moor. The directors asked me to come into rehearsal a couple days earlier than originally planned to try a couple out-of-the-box performance ideas. They had just printed off my part when I got to the rehearsal hall, so I was far from memorized, but after running some blocking and choreography with one of the stage managers following me around with my music, I went off book and locked eyes with Aubrey and ran the scene, completely mesmerized by his character and what we were creating. It was messy--far from the scene that we presented on either opening or closing night--but it was the beginning of an incredible creative process that I'll never forget.