How Long Does It Take To Learn the Flute | Tips to Learn a Piece of Music Quickly (for an Event)
Hello fluters! Welcome back to another blog post. Today I'll be going through sharing some tips on how to learn a piece of music quickly on the flute for an event as well as tackling the question that I get asked by several parents, how long does it take to learn the flute?
Let's start off by answering the question, how long does it take to learn the flute?
It really depends on several factors for each student. It depends on how quickly they're able to create a sound consistently on the flute as well as how much practice they put in during the week to revising and applying the content of their flute lessons. There are also certain skills that we cannot rush, such as the development of muscle memory around the student's lips and their ability to change between fingerings fluently from practising those changes regularly.
Generally, students who take the proper time to set up their technique solidly should be able to play a short 8-16 bar tune within a couple of months, provided that they are practising regularly at home and consistently throughout each week.
The reason why student should aim to set up their technique correctly at the start is so that they can avoid needing to spend more time in the future to undoing any unhelpful habits that they might have developed. Examples of unhelpful habits can be holding the flute too high or too low, creating an embouchure that is too big or too small that doesn't help the student produce a clear, resonant tone or sloppy finger positions on the keys that will hinder the student achieving efficient technique in the future.
Tips for learning a song or piece of music on the flute quickly (for a performance or event)
Here are some tips for those of you who have no flute playing experience and are a complete beginner, but who would like to learn a short piece of music in a short amount of time to perform for an event or in front of friends and family.
I completely understand if you might have heard a song or piece of music that you'd really like to learn to play on flute but you're not really interested in getting stuck into playing flute seriously.
1. In that case, if you have zero experience playing the flute and haven't even tried making a sound, the first thing you should aim for is to be able to produce a solid, clear sound just on the headjoint. You should aim to do this for 5-10mins a day, consistently for at least five days during the week. This way your lips can start to getting used to making the shape they need to to produce a sound.
2. Once you're able to consistently produce a sound on the headjoint of the flute, the next step would be to transfer that onto the entire flute put together. Note that this can be a little bit more difficult as you have less control over the angle of the headjoint. This is because your hands are now on the middle joint and not the headjoint.
Now if something isn't sounding right or the notes aren't coming out despite you having the right embouchure and fingering setup, try to check if the flute you're playing on has been serviced within the last 12 months. If it hasn't been, it might be a good idea to take it to a repair technician as an instrument that has been properly serviced will feel easier to play on. It also really helps if you can play on an instrument that actually works properly and isn't on the verge of falling apart.
3. At this point, try to aim to hold a single long note that spans for 2-4 beats every time you pick up the flute to play. I often to try get my beginner students to try to produce a stable, clear note that isn't airy or unfocused as much as possible.
4. Once you're able to hold a long note consistently every time you pick up the flute to play, the next step would be to try to portion out the air a little better so that you can start to hold notes for 6-8 beats.
5. Once you have your sheet music of the song or piece of music that you want to play, download a flute fingering chart and circle all the notes that you need to learn for this piece.
Make sure that you are realistic in picking a song or piece of music that is not way too difficult for you. If you've picked a piece that has a lot of repeated notes and doesn't need frequent fingering changes then you've picked well, but if there are some fingering changes that's cool too, just learn the note changes slowly and always work on 2-4 bars at a time.
Your aim should be to get familiar enough with the changes in those bars that your hands develop muscle memory of those changes, which will enable you to play through those small sections without stopping or hesitating.
6. Repeat this process until you get through the entire piece and gradually try to play through larger sections without stopping or hesitating. So instead of only practising 2-4 bars, you may start to practise 6-8 bars, then 12-16 bars. Hopefully you'll get to a stage where you can string together a performance of the entire song without stopping and have all the note changes under your fingers.
And there you have it! A rough guide on cramming a song or piece of music on flute as a complete beginner and how you can approach working towards a performance for an event or for family and friends.
For more flute-related resources feel free to check out my other blog posts.