Flute teachers join forces to help young musicians

A quartet of local flute teachers has banded together to form a highly accomplished group that will benefit aspiring young musicians.

Earlier this year, Carmel Valley and Sorrento Valley professional flutists Elena Yarritu, Joyce Hayutin, Vivian Bergova and September Payne created San Diego Coastal Flutes. The group works together offering lessons in traditional and contemporary methods, and competition preparation. They also offer audition and mentoring advice.

The teachers cater to the individual students’ needs, matching them up with the appropriate instructor based on interests and experience level — beginner, intermediate or advanced.

In addition to teaching, the flutists also perform together as the San Diego Flute Quartet at retirement communities and they’ve booked a show for later in the year at the Carmel Valley Library.

The flute is a very popular instrument among young musicians, about the same as piano or guitar, according to Yarritu. At Carmel Valley Middle School, where Yarritu is the flute coach, she said half of the school band is made up of flutes.

When Hayutin took students to test for the Music Teacher Association of California, she said 85 percent of the woodwind instrument players were flutists.

Because so many students choose to play the flute, it’s important to have an informed teacher who can help give an edge and prepare students for auditioning for a group or performing at an evaluation, Yarritu said.

The San Diego Coastal Flutes teachers focus on that prep — their students work to take theory exams and get tested by the Music Teacher Association to earn certificates of merit.

Hayutin has students who are top-rated in such evaluations; Yarritu just had a student come in first place at the San Diego Flute Guild competition.

“We are hard core but fun,” Hayutin said of the teachers.

The group is excited to be holding its first summer camp, from June 21-25 at Temple Solel in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. For campers ages 9-18, the camp will provide tone and technique development, master classes, theory and history, but with an emphasis on fun.

“We want to make it as fun and educational as possible,” Hayutin said.

In flute choir, campers will have the opportunity to try alto and bass flutes and, during a craft session, students will make their own flutes. Lunch will be served daily and each camper will get a T-shirt.

To register, visit

  1. For questions, e-mail Elena Yarritu at