“I walked into Mrs. McKnight’s studio as a scared, confused sophomore, and after graduating I am walking out (but will return!) with confidence that I didn’t know I could have. Mrs. McKnight has taught me how to become both a better flute player and a disciplined, perseverant person. I have grown so much in my three years with her and will leave for college knowing that she’s cheering me on.”
--Bethany Winget, 2023 graduate of Grand View Christian School; Principal flute of Des Moines Youth Symphony and Wind Ensemble, 2nd chair 1st flute of Iowa All State Band 2022, 1st place (2022) and 2nd place (2021) in the Senior Flute Wonders Competition. She plans to pursue a degree in Flute Performance at the University of Northern Iowa beginning in the Fall of 2023.
"This would be the start of my fifth year taking lessons from Erika. I started in 7th grade. With Erika, I have accomplished more than I ever thought I could. Whether you're a student in college, middle or high schooler, or adult, I highly recommend Erika to you. She is such a wonderful teacher and never fails to push me to new heights."
--Aubrey Williamson, Senior at Norwalk High School; 1st chair in the 2019 All-State Band, as well as 1st chair in the University of Northern Iowa, Drake, and Little Hawkeye Conference Honor Bands; 2nd place for the 2020 IBA Major Landers Scholarship in the South Central District, 2nd place in the 2019 Senior Flute Wonders Competition, 3rd place in the 2017 Junior Flute Wonders Competition. She plans to go to University of Northern Iowa for Music Education.
"Erika has been my daughter's instructor for the last 5 years. The growth Aubrey has shown has been phenomenal. Erika provides so many opportunities for her students to perform and get her students involved in a larger flute community. She has prepared her for competitions and taken her to various competitions throughout Iowa. She has met many other students and college professors through Erika, and even has made the decision to continue with flute into her college and professional years. Aubrey has shown tremendous growth in her confidence not only with her performance but in her everyday life as well. Erika has challenged Aubrey and has taught her skills that will take her far. I can't say enough about the experiences Aubrey has had under Erika and what Erika has done for her and our family. We thank you, Erika for becoming such a huge part of our lives!"
--Heather Williamson, mother of Aubrey Williamson, Norwalk
“Mrs. McKnight has worked with the college flute students for Faith Baptist Bible College for over fifteen years and consistently delivered outstanding instruction of the highest level. She is an excellent musician, mentor, and performer, and I am delighted to give her my highest recommendation.”
--George Dougherty, DMA, Artist Teacher of Trumpet, Simpson College and Formerly Professor of Instrumental Music, Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary
“I have so enjoyed taking lessons from Mrs. McKnight during my college years in Iowa. I have grown much in my playing since I started taking from her. She has pushed me to excellence in the areas of technique, musicality, and knowledge of music. Because of her training she has helped me become a well-rounded musician so that I can teach others the flute. I always enjoy my lessons with her, and her personality is always so vibrant and encouraging. She is an incredible musician and instructor and will be able to take your students very far in their playing. They will get a well-rounded and solid foundation in music no matter the age that they start.
"This is my fourth year taking from her, and it has been a blessing to me to not just be her student but to have a good friendship with her as my instructor. She puts her students as a high priority, seeks to get to know them, and loves hearing about what is going on in their lives. She has had excellent training on the flute and always has something new for me to work on when I leave each lesson. It is always a joy to hear her play as she puts her whole heart into the music.
"Growing up in a musical family I always appreciated a high level of playing with music and tried to reach that higher level of playing. She sets a good example to me to be very passionate about my playing and push myself as far as I can go. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be one of Mrs. McKnight's students and for all that she has done for me to prepare me for the future in music.”
--Karis Giegerich, Senior at Faith Baptist College, degree in Sacred Music
“Erika is a nice teacher! I really like the music I get to play. My lessons are interesting, and we work on different things each week. Erika does lots of different things for warm ups so I don’t get bored with doing the same thing all the time. She also explains things in different ways to help me learn things the way that it’s best for me, and she takes the time to make sure I understand things. Whenever she critiques my playing, she does it in a kind way. She makes me want to practice to get better. It makes me happy to hear her tell me I did a good job with a piece.”
--Annie Roesler, 7thgrade at Urbandale Middle School
“I began working with Erika two years ago when I decided to relearn how to play my flute after a 25-year hiatus. I had played as a teenager but wanted to play as a hobby and in my church. Erika is very skilled at teaching based on my abilities and I’ve grown as a musician quickly in the last two years. She understands my schedule as a working mom and works with me at my pace. I truly enjoy working with Erika.”
--Jennifer Dugan-Burns, Johnston
“Although I have only been working with Mrs. McKnight for about six months, she has helped me improve in my playing so much! She always takes the time to get to know me and to make me feel comfortable at the start of lessons. I appreciate her teaching style because she does not just tell me what needs to be fixed; she allows me to evaluate myself and think critically about my playing. I am always impressed with Mrs. McKnight's skill level when she demonstrates my pieces for me. Mrs. McKnight has helped me to improve my playing in every aspect!”
--Amy Duty, Freshman at Faith Baptist Bible College, degree in Biblical Counseling
"It was a joy to see my daughter grow, develop and thrive under Erika's tutelage."
- Valerie Bantz
“Erika is such a wonderful asset to the Iowa flute community! She is smart, kind, and an excellent role-model for students. Erika’s attention to detail, historical understanding of music, and expressive playing make her an absolute joy to collaborate with as a duet and chamber music colleague.”
--Megan Hofeldt, Instructor of Flute, Central College and Grand View University
"Erika taught me for several years and shared her love for the flute with me over the course of those years. I learned so much from her and she helped me through so many challenges with my flute playing. She makes concepts easy to understand and helps her students grow in their skill and ability. Whether you need in-person or online lessons, Erika does an excellent job."
--Lizzie Kelly, Senior in High School (homeschooled), Minnesota
“If you are looking for professional, encouraging, and expert-level flute lessons, then I highly recommend Erika McKnight. Erika knows that the relationship between teacher and student should be genuine and she truly tries to understand and relate to her students, nurturing them along to their highest potential. She is always looking for ways to enhance the students’ knowledge and participates in flute conferences and workshops alongside them. My daughter took lessons from her for 5 years via video calls and twice-yearly, in-person meetings. As a result of these lessons, my daughter not only grew in her confidence and ability to play the flute, but also as a person.”
--Nancy Kelly, mother of Lizzie Kelly, Minnesota
“During the five years that I was Erika’s student I grew in confidence and maturity; not only in my flute playing, but also as a person. Erika is a talented and creative teacher who genuinely cares about each of her students and their success. She knows when to encourage and when to challenge. I am so thankful for the time I spent working with her.”
--Rachel Croyle, graduate of Iowa Christian Academy; currently at Iowa State University- Chemistry Major/Music minor; participates in the ISU Flute Ensemble as well as the ISU Symphonic Band
"Erika is a wonderfully personal, wise, and experienced flute teacher and I was so blessed to have worked with her for many years. I started learning from Erika when I was 11 years old and continued all throughout high school. She guided me through recitals, solo contests and All-State Band. Erika’s personal musical accomplishments, vast knowledge and experience allowed me to grow in more ways than I could have imagined. It definitely was not easy, but she continued to encourage me and hold me accountable to my improvement. Whenever I struggled with a passage, Erika had an arsenal of exercises and techniques that addressed the problem, so I could avoid those trouble spots in the future.
"We started every lesson just chatting about life before getting started on the music. Erika would ask me questions about my classes at school, or my friends and family. She cared about me as a person and as a musician and that reflected into her personal, genuine and wise instruction as my flute teacher. I have been so incredibly blessed to have Erika and would highly recommend her for any flute player, no matter how young, who is ready to work hard to grow!"
--Natalie Bantz, graduate of Valley High School, Des Moines Youth Symphony, All-State Band; participated in University of Northern Iowa Flute Choir; BA in Elementary and Middle Level Education degree with a minor in Math teaching from University of Northern Iowa
“My daughter took flute instruction from Erika Leake McKnight from 6th-12th grade. It was a very positive experience. Erika has a friendly disposition and is very encouraging, yet pushes her students to improve and succeed in their flute playing. Erika was able to challenge her and propel her to reach her full potential in her flute playing. It was a joy to see my daughter grow, develop and thrive under Erika's tutelage.”
--Valerie Bantz, mother of Natalie
"Erika is very skilled at teaching based on my abilities and I’ve grown as a musician quickly in the last two years."
- Jennifer Dugan-Burns, Johnston