Are you looking for flute tips to help you learn without a teacher? I’ve had to teach myself over the years, and it’s not always easy.
But having the right resources and tips has helped tremendously. Read on to learn how you can get better even if you don’t take private lessons.
1. Use the Right Materials
One of the most important flute tips I can give is to use the right books. If you’re a beginner, I’d recommend using the Rubank Elementary Method or Flute 101.
When you have a bit more experience, the Trevor Wye Practice Books for the Flute are excellent. You can also use the Taffanel and Gaubert 17 Daily Exercises and any book by Marcel Moyse.
The right books can help you stay on track as you learn and improve. While books can’t replace lessons, they can help. Whether you can’t afford lessons or are too busy, a good book can take you a long way.
2. Read Blog Posts
Blog posts like this one are fantastic resources for self-taught flute players. In my blog, I like to share flute tips weekly. I cover everything from practice tips to flute reviews and the best accessories.
Now, you can’t learn how to play from reading blog posts. However, you can learn about good instruments and resources that are out there.
Then, you can purchase those resources to improve your playing. I also like how you can read anywhere, and you don’t need to use headphones if you’re in public.
3. Watch Videos
One of the best ways to learn without a teacher is to watch videos. You can find a variety of YouTube channels that share flute tips, like mine.
Learning the flute with videos can be a lot easier. You get to see how the creator or teacher is forming their lips and holding the flute. I could write a helpful blog post, but it’s still hard to describe certain concepts.
If you want to really dig into flute playing, find some YouTube channels to watch. You can also watch videos of performances and watch how the performer is holding the instrument and try to imitate them.
4. Listen to Podcasts
Maybe you’ve taken flute lessons. You’re out of school and are too busy to continue studying with a teacher, but you still want to learn. In that case, pod casts, such as Flute 360, are great!
I like listening to podcasts when I’m cleaning or when I’m walking on a treadmill. Some people listen to podcasts while they work, but I’m a writer so need to focus on that rather than the words of a podcast.
However, if your work is less intense, I guess, you could also do that. A lot of flute podcasts won’t teach you how to play. But they can help you with things like career development.
5. Look on Social Media
Another one of the best self-teaching flute tips I have is to use social media. I’d recommend Facebook and Instagram primarily.
You can join a variety of Facebook groups where you can ask questions or get feedback on your recordings. Groups like Etude of the Week also help provide accountability to practice something new regularly.
Instagram is great for sharing recordings of your playing as well. You can use the #100DaysOfPractice to motivate you to keep a practice streak. Post something each day to encourage yourself to practice for 100 days.
6. Make a Schedule
You should also make a practice schedule that you can stick to. Fortunately, you don’t need to practice for multiple hours a day. But you do need to practice consistently if you want to improve.
Consider when you have time to pick up your flute and practice. When I had a full-time job at a bank, I woke up half an hour earlier than usual. Then, I was able to practice for 30 minutes before doing anything else.
Of course, if you live in an apartment, you may need to practice in the middle of the day. Do what works for you, and don’t be afraid to change your schedule if it no longer works.
7. Stretch Before You Play
Some flute tips apply to self-taught players and those with a teacher. The tip to stretch before you play is one of those.
Stretching can help keep you limber. Playing the flute involves a lot of repetitive movement, and that can lead to repetitive stress injuries (RSIs). By stretching before you play and during a long practice session, you can reduce your risk of an RSI.
You can’t get rid of the risk entirely, but stretching helps. Be sure to stretch your hands, arms, shoulders, and even your legs. Then, you can play more comfortably and enjoy playing.
8. Join the National Flute Association
The National Flute Association (NFA) is an excellent organization. It’s open to anyone, and you don’t even have to play the flute.
They have resources for beginners, professionals, and everyone in between. I love that you get access to things like Naxos for recordings. You can also get a discount on Play With a Pro, which has online lessons.
My favorite part though, is the annual convention in August (this week). The convention has events for professionals and amateurs alike.
9. Find a Flute Choir
Once you’ve played the flute for a while, you can look for a local ensemble. A flute choir is probably going to be the most accessible. It’s only flutes, so many groups will allow you to join.
You can also join a local community orchestra or concert band. But those ensembles only have 2 to 5 flutes or so. It can be more competitive, and you may even need to audition.
In a flute choir, you’ll also usually have other players on your part. That way, you can learn from them, and you don’t have to worry about playing alone.
10. Choose Solo Music
If you want to play alone, definitely do so. Playing solos can help you get better, which could help you in an ensemble as well.
I’ve arranged and composed some solo flute music. A lot of players don’t know a pianist or can’t afford one. Playing unaccompanied music allows you to perform if you choose, such as in a local recital.
You can still learn some of the standards, from Bach to Debussy. That way, you’ll be able to get into a music school if you choose to.
11. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Breaks
One of the best flute tips I can share is to take breaks while you practice. Like stretching, breaks can help you physically. If you play for too long, a few things can happen.
First, especially as a beginner, you could get lightheaded. You can also tense up, even if you’ve played the flute for years.
Consider shorter breaks to go to the bathroom or get water. But also take longer breaks to eat a meal or take a walk outside.
12. Consider Learning Other Flutes
After you’ve played the regular flute, you may want to learn the piccolo or alto flute. Then, you can play even more music or explore different parts in a flute choir or orchestra.
I don’t recommend learning other flutes as a beginner. You need to learn the foundations first. But if you’ve played for a while, learn the piccolo or the alto or bass flute.
Then, you can renew your love of the flute. You might also find another flute more fun to play in a flute choir. I love playing the alto flute in that type of group.
13. Go at Your Own Pace
As you learn the flute, be sure to take things as fast or as slow as you need. Some people learn much faster than others, and that’s great.
But if you need a few extra weeks to learn an etude, take that time. It’s better to follow your journey and not compare yourself to other flute players. Especially try not to compare yourself to players with fancy degrees.
You’ll meet your goals as long as you’re consistent. Who knows, if you go too fast, you could stress yourself out and quit playing music.
Which Flute Tips Will You Follow?
The best flute tips can help you learn and improve, whether or not you have a teacher. From using the right books to going at your own pace, you have control of how you learn.
If you need a bit of guidance for the Bach Partita, download the Bach Partita Practice Guide!