Flute Tips For Beginners.
I originally played the flute in my school days, an instrument I loved playing. Then I discovered rock music and spent many years behind a drum kit! However around twelve years ago I felt the urge to pick up the flute again, which I did, and I have never looked back.
I spent the first year reteaching myself to play, as well as taking many music courses and attending workshops. Then I nailed my first professional booking. I played background music at an event at the stunningly beautiful Lamport Hall, Northamptonshire. Since then I have played at events all over England. Including many beautiful stately homes, folk festivals, country shows, you name it?! I've most probably done it!
With the New Year approaching it is the perfect time to start a new hobby, or revisit an old one. I highly recommend playing the flute, if you use to play, pick it up again, it is fun, exciting and a timeless, classic instrument. Don't think the flute is all about classical music either, I play jazz, folk, rock, blues, pop, and country too.
Want to get your flute on?! Yes?! Of course you do! Well here are my Top Tips on getting you started.
In the words of Julie Andrews, let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start... First you are going to need a flute. Don't think you have to spend a lot of money on your instrument. Second hand is fine. Look on eBay, Gumtree or your local selling sites. Or you can get a cheap flute brand new. I have always used a Jupiter flute, I brought it new from a music shop. It cost £249 and it has always been good enough for me. But for brand new I would say don't go below around the £180 mark. You get what you pay for when you buy from new. However it is always worth having a look in your local music shop, they may have a sale on.
Good To Go.
Flute sorted! When putting the flute together, which is in three pieces, the head-joint, body-joint, and the foot-joint. Always be careful, don't touch the key work, you could damage it.
Gently twist and turn the head-joint in the body-joint, line up the blow hole with the first key on the flute. Then gently twist and turn the foot-joint in to the body-joint.
Blow a few deep breathes into the blow hole to warm the flute up.
Okay there are some brilliant flute teaching video's on YouTube, and many great flute for beginners books out there. But if you are a complete flute new comer, I highly recommend getting in touch with a flute teacher, for some beginners lessons. Then you will be shown how to hold the flute properly, how to breath, how to blow, the basics of reading music, music theory. You'll also have someone to ask questions too. But one hour lesson a week will be plenty, you can practice and continue to self learn at home. Plus a bonus with the flute, it is not a noisy instrument, so your neighbours will be cool!
Flaustists need strong lips. Give these exercises a bash. Stick your bottom lip out, pout! Twitch your top lip up and down, kissy kissy. Or make up your own!
You use your tongue to start a note on the flute. Practice saying 'Twen-ty Tur-tles' several times. Then play a note, thinking the same words 'Tuu-Tuu-Tuu-Tuu' It will become natural after awhile.
Less Is More.
Practice for at least half an hour every day. It is much better doing that than practising for a few hours on just one day. Like an athlete you have to keep your training up. Practice difficult bits, as well as easy. With whatever you find difficult play it slowly until it becomes easy.
Be patient with yourself! I remember getting so annoyed at myself when I started to learn to play middle E. It just wouldn't come out right! Then of course one day it came out perfectly, and I have nailed it ever since.
Practice often, and play your flute to anybody who will listen, family, friends, pets.. Be it a small audience or a larger one, get use to early on having eyes on you whilst performing. It will install confidence in you and your ability to perform.
If you feel nervous to begin with, remember the only person who knows that is you! Nobody else will know. Just smile away! A smile hides everything.
Learn, learn, learn.
Music theory is important. Once you can read music and mastered the notes, you will be able to play every piece ever written. Learn your scales, they will always come in handy.
Start early on memorising pieces, get yourself use to playing from memory. The earlier you start, the more natural it will become. You will find learning pieces off by heart will become quicker and easier as you advance with your playing.
Care About Your Flute.
Always clean the inside of your flute after playing. Take it apart to clean it, but never pull the rod all the way through the flute, in case it gets stuck.
Wipe the outside with a soft cloth. Then always put the instrument safely away in its case. You don't want to accidentally step on it!
Most importantly enjoy your flute. Enjoy learning, challenge yourself, set yourself goals. Join a flute group, or a local orchestra. If you are still learning tell them that, as every musician had to learn at some stage. Just go for it! The flute is such a magical instrument, which will fill you with joy.
Being social with you flute is a great way to make new friends, and learn together. Once your standard is good and your performing confidence is up, branch out, start asking around at local events to see if you can play background music. Just get yourself out there.
Good Luck x