AMAS Faculty Spotlight: Q&A with Shannon Canchola - Wind Faculty


What are you most excited about this year at the symposium?

I believe I’m really great with high schoolers in particular. I always get in there and I’m always able to really hear what they’re doing wrong instantly and fix it. And if there’s no bad habits, I’m the queen of vibrato technique and musicality. That’s my bread and butter - teaching and improving high school and college students. I use a lot of strange techniques that work, and they love it. They eat it up.

What projects are you working on right now?

Freelancing. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of work with CMG. A recording type of orchestra company. We’re doing a lot of independent films and Nickelodeon cartoon recording sessions. I think I’ve been doing a good job because they keep calling back (laughs). I also have a classical chamber ensemble called ACE Trio. We just won the Beverly Hills National Chamber Competition. We’ve been playing together for a year, and they’re such great friends of mine, and we make such great music together. 

Band or Artist the has caught your attention this year?

It’s interesting because my classical musician friends just listen to classical music obsessively, but I need a break from that. I’ve been getting into this Neo-Soul singer and tenor saxophone artist named Braxton Cook. He sings all of his music beautifully and does a lot of great jazz improv. (As well as) Hiatus Kaiyote. I’m really odd. I really don’t like Mozart very much, or Haydn anymore. I’m here for new music and new composers 100%.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee and tea. Whatever gets the job done.

Any session highlights you can give us before the symposium?

I’m really into body work and seeing exactly what your body is doing when you’re playing. It’s not body mapping. It’s not Alexander technique, but it kind of stems from that style of teaching. If something sounds tense to me, I can instantly hear which body part is tensing up, and then get the students to discuss and analyze those issues by asking things like, “What are you doing when you play that high F Sharp? And why does it keep making that weird flute fart sound? Let’s fix it immediately.” I’m a very emotional person. In the past I played very aggressively and strong if the music reflected that. Sometimes I’d go overboard and start having a tense throat and digging into my face, and I couldn’t help it because I get so into it.

Wake Up Time

6:30 or earlier, depending on what I have going on in the day. The morning is the best time is to e-mail and catch up on everything.


My mantra has always been if there’s a will, there’s a way. If you have an extreme passion and never give up, you will make it. You absolutely have to struggle and eat mac and cheese out of a box for a long time and be OK with that, and know that the end goal is there, and that you will make it. 

Commuting Habit

Every week is a new adventure. I teach as far as Rancho Cucamonga to as far west as Northridge. Everyday I’m at least in three or four different cities, teaching at five high schools and teaching twenty-three private students.

Best Habit

Saying yes a lot. People always wonder how I get all these gigs and opportunities, but when I was younger I just said yes to a lot of free things just to play, get my name out there, and meet people. It’s a great habit to have, but it’s so exhausting.

Productivity Philosophy

What makes me feel more productive and satisfied with my structure is making a checklist, checking off one thing at a time, and trying not to feel too overwhelmed. Just taking all these deadlines as they come and completing them as best as I can. I think just being thankful for that productivity keeps me going and keeps me smiling, and remembering that I did not have this much work and insanity in my life years ago. It keeps me motivated.


Shannon Canchola

Shannon Canchola is a versatile flute performer who has performed with many professional ensembles including the Redlands Symphony, the California Philharmonic, Kaleidoscope orchestra, the Los Angeles Sinfonietta, the Beverly Hills Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bellflower Symphony and is currently principal flute of Center Stage Opera Company. With these groups she has had many notable performances at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Redlands Bowl, the Avalon Theater for the L.A. Music Awards, the California Theater, the Madrid Theatre, the Dolby Kodak Theatre, Zipper Hall, the National Association of Music Merchants in Anaheim, the Ambassador Auditorium, Balley's Event Center in Las Vegas and many other venues in California. She has also recorded and performed with many iconic musicians including Grammy Nominated Michel Weir, multiple award-winning pianist David Osborne, Iranian popstar Artist Arefkia, violinist Bijan Mortazavi, Hengameh, Omid Soltani, and youtube sensation Iranian pop-star Mansour Bahat Beraghsam, cellist Tina Guo and violinist Taylor Davis. Shannon has many commercial music credits for both recording and performing including being a member of World of War Craft Composer Jason Hayes’ Video Game tribute band Critical Hit. She has also recorded for many films and television shows including award-winning short film Amusia and has also worked performing directly with Nintendo Company for their 50th anniversary of Super Mario as a hired musician. She has had numerous solo and small ensemble performances at Cal State San Bernardino, Fullerton City College, Pasadena City College, Cypress College, Classics at the Merc. in Temecula, Laguna Beach Live! concert series and the Wrightwood Classical Concert Series. More recently, her professional chamber ensemble ACE Trio has won the 2018 Beverly Hills National Auditions competing with 132 other musicians.

Shannon obtained her M.M. in flute performance at Cal State Northridge studying with Heather Clark where she has won the Cal State Northridge Concerto competition and performed with the symphony in December of 2016. She also obtained her B.A. at University of Redlands in flute performance studying with Sara Andon. In addition to performing Shannon also teaches privately, holds weekly flute master classes with numerous high schools, guest clinics for many professional youth orchestras and is an official adjudicator for Music Teachers Association of California Certificate of Merit program and for the San Diego Flute Guild Festival.

Learn from Shannon and many more at the Arcadia Symposium.