Thoughts on Advancing from a Flute Graduate

I started playing the flute when I was 10 years old. I wanted to play Beethoven and all the fancy songs in movies. I didn’t like the fact that I had to learn beginner stuff. Learning the beginner stuff was frustrating for me! I remember going into my music class that same year trying to play “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and the sound would NOT come out. It was so frustrating. Being a beginner and that experience made me want to work harder at having good tone. Eventually I was able to start a song and feel confident that I would be able to make a sound.

At flute lessons I would go and play what I did that week. When I had done something well, my teacher, Rebecca, would up the tempo on me! And it would show all my weaknesses (that I hadn’t ironed out quite yet) to her and myself. Some of my mistakes were forgetting to raise the first finger on D, forgetting to take off my right hand pinky finger on D- as you can tell, D was my hard note. It was embarrassing! So I’d go home and practice it at a faster tempo until I got that down. Then we’d move on.

Flute Progress Cycle

Sometimes I was so excited to play fast songs or just skip the “play it slow first” or the “play it with a metronome” part so I would just play it fast. That got me into a whole bunch of messes with counting, fingering, breathing, tonguing, tone, etc. I would end up having to go back to the basics and play it so much slower with the metronome so I could get the right rhythms and fingerings down before I could go back up to the tempo I was already playing it at. Looking back I’m so grateful I had to learn it the right way before moving on so I didn’t have any troubles with the next skills and songs I’d be learning.

When I became an Intermediate flute student I was so proud of myself! We went to a flute competition and I didn’t know which level I was at and so I asked. Rebecca said I was an Intermediate student! I was so excited! I didn’t know what made an “Intermediate Student” but I sure was happy about it. Looking back I know that there are different skills, counting rhythms, and even some trills that we have to learn as well as being able to play with good tone, playing in tune as best you can, and making sure that our fingers aren’t flying out in outer space. I had to learn how to do some vibrato, how to play louder and softer, faster and slower, and play even more scales. Being an Intermediate student took a lot of work and practicing more than twenty minutes a day.

When I became an Intermediate flute student I was so proud of myself!

Being a beginner flute player can be challenging and fun. AND, it’s where you learn all the basics so that you can play the fancier songs and learn them a lot faster than just trying to play them. I look back and am so grateful I learned what I learned when I learned it. Those skills took me to the next level without me even knowing it! Continuing to practice for at least thirty minutes a day has helped me raise my level- even if it takes thirty minutes for tone studies and scales-every minute you spend playing the flute, helps.  I’ve been from the beginning all the way to the end of the chart on this page.. and the journey has totally been worth it.  I LOVE WHAT I CAN DO WITH MY FLUTE!

Good Luck!

McKenzi

Kenzi w Flute