There are tons of resources for younger music students, but there aren’t many books or websites that target older learners. I started playing flute at age 16, and many of the basic beginner tools and books were for elementary school students. So, I want to share some flute tips for older beginners.
I have played music of some sort since I was 6, but flute came later. Whether you have prior music experience or not, I hope these tips help you up your flute game.
One of the biggest assets that older beginners have is their drive. Many young students play music because of their parents or friends. When you’re older, you can focus on music and do it for you. Whether you are 16 or 60 and up, these tips are for you.
Start with Rubank.
The Rubank books are a great beginner method for flute. Most “band books” are created with younger players in a class in mind. Those books aren’t well suited for older beginners or students who are learning independently.
Rubank has four volumes across three levels for flute players. The beginner method is similar to other beginner books, but it goes a little bit faster. In my experience, older music students are more motivated to improve.
Older beginners can handle the speed at which Rubank moves along. It is easier to learn and progress on an individual basis rather than in a class. If you start with a good quality method book, you will be better prepared for the future.
Get a Good Student Flute.
By good student flute, I don’t mean those cheap no-brand flutes you find on Amazon or Ebay. As an older beginner, especially if you are financially independent, you can afford a better instrument.
While brands like Jupiter and Gemeinhardt are well known, they are not always the best quality. I would recommend brands such as Trevor James, DiZhao, and Yamaha for older beginners. Those instruments will last longer than other brands, and they will hold their value better.
Trevor James, DiZhao, and Yamaha are more expensive, but they are worth it. I have the Trevor James 10x, which plays just as well as my more advanced flute. I have also heard good things about the DiZhao and Yamaha student flutes.
Focus on Your Tone.
Tone is the foundation of your flute sound. When you are starting out and as you get better, make getting a good tone your priority. That is another reason why you want a good flute.
I always start with tone exercises when I warm up. Harmonics, long tones, and octave leaps are all essential to my practice routine.
If you are a full time student or you work full time, you probably have a limited amount of practice time. Tone exercises are a quick and easy way to build and maintain your sound on flute.
Listen to Recordings.
Since you cannot practice all the time, listen to flute recordings on your way to work. Have some music playing while you make dinner. Listen, listen, listen.
You can then try and emulate the sounds you hear on those recordings. Listening to music also helps you learn new pieces. As you reach the point of learning full repertoire, your ears can be a super valuable resource.
I don’t listen to recordings as much as I should, but they are extremely helpful when I do listen.
Join Online Flute Groups.
I am a part of a few different flute related Facebook groups. I love being able to both ask and answer questions about the flute in a safe space. Everyone in those groups has a different background, and we can all share our experiences to help others.
When you first begin the flute, you won’t be able to answer questions. You can ask all the questions you need, and there are many flutists who can help you out.
Flute groups are especially helpful if you cannot take private lessons. Members include everyone from beginners to professionals, flute teachers, and flute technicians.
Don’t Give Up.
If you take any advice from this post, let it be this. Do not give up on the flute. It can be difficult. You might have days where you don’t want to practice. You might have a bad tone day. Things happen.
If you really want to play flute, you have to work on it. Giving up is the easy option, but is it worth it? Music does wonders for the mind, body, and soul. We need more adult amateurs in this world. Music should not just be something for children. Music is for everyone.
If you do have a ton of doubt about playing flute, take a break. Step away from it for awhile. Give yourself a break. That might be all you need. You might go back to the flute and have a renewed love of the instrument.
When did you start learning the flute? Are you an older beginner? Or a re-beginner? Let me know in the comments!