Self Learning?

Basics of Flute Playing, Tone Production and Fingerings, Using Metronomes, Scales, Tone, Studies, etc.

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ChordMelody
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Self Learning?

Post by ChordMelody » Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:07 am

Hey guys, I'm currently learning flute by myself, I have some flute studies that I need to do, but other than that there's no real specific method.

What kinds of things can't I learn? or would be hard to learn when learning by yourself?

Like a specific technique? or something?

Thanks :D!

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Fox
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by Fox » Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:02 am

I started out learning by myself. I got the Trevor Wye books, and a couple of the Rubank books (don't like these at all).

I "progressed" pretty well on my own. Yet, when I finally found a teacher I liked and tried what he said ... well it took a few months to unlearn and relearn things.

Learning on your own, I have realized, you can attain to a certain level of proficiency. But, with a teacher you can progress quite a bit farther than on your own. Things I had to fix are: embouchure, flute set up, positioning, technique.

I could tell the difference even as an amateur. Hope this helps.

ChordMelody
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by ChordMelody » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:08 pm

Fox wrote:I started out learning by myself. I got the Trevor Wye books, and a couple of the Rubank books (don't like these at all).

I "progressed" pretty well on my own. Yet, when I finally found a teacher I liked and tried what he said ... well it took a few months to unlearn and relearn things.

Learning on your own, I have realized, you can attain to a certain level of proficiency. But, with a teacher you can progress quite a bit farther than on your own. Things I had to fix are: embouchure, flute set up, positioning, technique.

I could tell the difference even as an amateur. Hope this helps.
Thanks, yes it has, haha. Sadly though it's pretty much the same answer as almost every other instrument. ;/. I guess you gotta pay to be good haha.

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Phineas
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by Phineas » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:43 pm

ChordMelody wrote:I guess you gotta pay to be good haha.
Not really. The issue is not the money, but the environment and defending yourself against pitfalls. I also started out play flute self taught. Music theory wise, and reading wise I was fine. However, technique wise, and tone wise, I kept running into brick walls. It really helped when I had an expert (Someone better than me) to at least coach me into better playing habits. Especially if you are going to play in a group of section. Not so much of a problem if you are going to play for fun by yourself.

Just me two cents.

Phineas

ChordMelody
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by ChordMelody » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:08 pm

Phineas wrote:
ChordMelody wrote:I guess you gotta pay to be good haha.
Not really. The issue is not the money, but the environment and defending yourself against pitfalls. I also started out play flute self taught. Music theory wise, and reading wise I was fine. However, technique wise, and tone wise, I kept running into brick walls. It really helped when I had an expert (Someone better than me) to at least coach me into better playing habits. Especially if you are going to play in a group of section. Not so much of a problem if you are going to play for fun by yourself.

Just me two cents.

Phineas
Your two cents is appreciated (checks pocket) I have a dollar now!

Yeah, that's what I'm most worried about, tone wise and technique wise. I want to be at section playing level, so it's going to take some dedication!

Thanks again :)!

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Fox
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by Fox » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:22 am

What I'm doing currently is that I go to my teacher once every month or two. Basically, it's to get tips on how to improve what I'm doing, and so far a couple of the classes have resulted in quite an improvement. Mostly, they are little things that you would never think to do from reading books.

wkzh
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by wkzh » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:15 am

I think one of the things you don't get when you learn by yourself is to listen to another flute player play. There's this guy from the recent YouTube Symphony Orchestra, a violinist, he said that he learnt from his mother from young, but there's a limit to how much a teacher can give you, so he turned to the internet, listening the great violinists of the past. Through those recordings, they became his teachers.

I find it rather true, one of the most important aspects is to be able to have an idea of what you want to sound like in your mind, and that is definitely much easier with a role model to follow. Want to sound like Galway? Listen to Galway. Want to sound like Pahud? Listen to Pahud. Want to sound like Rampal? Listen to Rampal. Then emulate as much as you can, the tone, the articulation, everything.

Indeed, "they are little things that you would never think to do from reading books."
The flute family: probing the lower limit of human hearing and the upper limit of human tolerance.

lianeandflute
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by lianeandflute » Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:07 am

well… get a teacher!

don't just play studies, you have to play scales before you can play anything else, even studies. you will struggle though and hit a lot of walls which is why you need a teacher. it's not about throwing money at a problem, it's about getting guidance from someone who actually knows what they are doing and can help you learn everything properly and point out things you might not think of. there's more to music and learning and instrument then a lot of people think and it's very different for every instrument. :)
"It's happening inside you; not in the flute!" - Emmanuel Pahud (At a masterclass in Sydney, Nov. 2010)

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fingerbun
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by fingerbun » Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:43 am

lianeandflute wrote:well… get a teacher!....it's not about throwing money at a problem, it's about getting guidance from someone who actually knows what they are doing and can help you learn everything properly and point out things you might not think of. there's more to music and learning and instrument then a lot of people think and it's very different for every instrument. :)
Well, maybe.....

Everyone always argue pro teacher on these discussion boards, so let me argue the opposite.

A teacher is a useful resource, no doubt about it. I am currently studying under a double bass teacher and a flute teacher. On the other hand, the instrument that I made my living at for years (electric bass) I am COMPLETELY self-taught at....never had a lesson from a teacher. And it's the one I'm best at. There are many places to learn besides lessons. Listen, watch other players, books......

Plus, from having watched friends and relatives go through lessons, well, no offence but there are some terrible teachers out there who do more harm than good, and the formal curriculum here in Australia (called AMEB, and I understand derived from the British curriculum) perpetuates a classical mode of thinking that can be really damaging for other styles. Nothing sadder than hearing a classically trained pianist thinking they are playing jazz because they are playing the notes on the page.....kind of like a parent who things they are cool because they are copying their kids' slang :-)

The Beatles didn't credit their musicianship on formal lessons. They got good because they spent eight hours a night in Hamburg playing. Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles couldn't read music but they made a mark. Tori Amos was thrown out of music school.

So, if you know what you need and have a suitably qualified teacher, then by all means go for it. But I'd hate to see anyone give up on the joy of making music because they could afford a cheap instrument and a book but couldn't afford lessons.

lianeandflute
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by lianeandflute » Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:05 pm

fingerbun wrote:
lianeandflute wrote:well… get a teacher!....it's not about throwing money at a problem, it's about getting guidance from someone who actually knows what they are doing and can help you learn everything properly and point out things you might not think of. there's more to music and learning and instrument then a lot of people think and it's very different for every instrument. :)
Well, maybe.....

Everyone always argue pro teacher on these discussion boards, so let me argue the opposite.

A teacher is a useful resource, no doubt about it. I am currently studying under a double bass teacher and a flute teacher. On the other hand, the instrument that I made my living at for years (electric bass) I am COMPLETELY self-taught at....never had a lesson from a teacher. And it's the one I'm best at. There are many places to learn besides lessons. Listen, watch other players, books......

Plus, from having watched friends and relatives go through lessons, well, no offence but there are some terrible teachers out there who do more harm than good, and the formal curriculum here in Australia (called AMEB, and I understand derived from the British curriculum) perpetuates a classical mode of thinking that can be really damaging for other styles. Nothing sadder than hearing a classically trained pianist thinking they are playing jazz because they are playing the notes on the page.....kind of like a parent who things they are cool because they are copying their kids' slang :-)

The Beatles didn't credit their musicianship on formal lessons. They got good because they spent eight hours a night in Hamburg playing. Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles couldn't read music but they made a mark. Tori Amos was thrown out of music school.

So, if you know what you need and have a suitably qualified teacher, then by all means go for it. But I'd hate to see anyone give up on the joy of making music because they could afford a cheap instrument and a book but couldn't afford lessons.
I totally what you're saying, but you can also argue that the bass guitar is not as hard to learn as a classical instrument (even though it's no less of an instrument). My Dad taught himself acoustic guitar and he's pretty good, and also quite musically talented, but because he's self taught, he can only go so far. There are exceptions of some people who can do whatever they want, but they are very few and far between. The Beatles were fantastic, but they weren't playing guitar concertos, they did mostly basic chordal progressions and riffs with their guitars and it was great for what they were doing, but not enough to make them concerto soloists (not that they wanted to be soloists). An instrument like the flute is really quite complicated to play, not to mention at higher levels. I only got where I am because I have an incredible teacher. And I say this as a student studying flute at the Sydney Con with my LTCL (Licentiate diploma from Trinity).

so.. I guess it depends where you want to go with it to an extent. But I would still recommend lessons with a good teacher from the beginning at least until you're up to a decent standard so that you know how to play properly and express yourself without getting frustrated on the flute.

You are also right about learning from other sources - masterclasses are really good for this, although you still can't beat a good quality teacher with one on one time.

And this is the important part: good quality teacher. You are so right when you say there are some crap teachers out there. Take it from someone who, as a teacher, is now having to make my students relearn everything because they were taught terribly. Nothing beats a good teacher. To hear before and after stuff of people who go and get a good teacher is amazing, people who I thought were not going to get anywhere suddenly bloomed into quality players in a matter of a few years.

I'm from Aus. too and did all my exams with Trinity because AMEB is a strange organisation that rewards technical ability over musicality and, like you say, often ends up damaging it's exam takers.
"It's happening inside you; not in the flute!" - Emmanuel Pahud (At a masterclass in Sydney, Nov. 2010)

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fingerbun
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by fingerbun » Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:35 am

lianeandflute wrote:
fingerbun wrote:
lianeandflute wrote:well… get a teacher!....it's not about throwing money at a problem, it's about getting guidance from someone who actually knows what they are doing and can help you learn everything properly and point out things you might not think of. there's more to music and learning and instrument then a lot of people think and it's very different for every instrument. :)
Well, maybe.....

Everyone always argue pro teacher on these discussion boards, so let me argue the opposite.

A teacher is a useful resource, no doubt about it. I am currently studying under a double bass teacher and a flute teacher. On the other hand, the instrument that I made my living at for years (electric bass) I am COMPLETELY self-taught at....never had a lesson from a teacher. And it's the one I'm best at. There are many places to learn besides lessons. Listen, watch other players, books......

Plus, from having watched friends and relatives go through lessons, well, no offence but there are some terrible teachers out there who do more harm than good, and the formal curriculum here in Australia (called AMEB, and I understand derived from the British curriculum) perpetuates a classical mode of thinking that can be really damaging for other styles. Nothing sadder than hearing a classically trained pianist thinking they are playing jazz because they are playing the notes on the page.....kind of like a parent who things they are cool because they are copying their kids' slang :-)

The Beatles didn't credit their musicianship on formal lessons. They got good because they spent eight hours a night in Hamburg playing. Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles couldn't read music but they made a mark. Tori Amos was thrown out of music school.

So, if you know what you need and have a suitably qualified teacher, then by all means go for it. But I'd hate to see anyone give up on the joy of making music because they could afford a cheap instrument and a book but couldn't afford lessons.
I totally what you're saying, but you can also argue that the bass guitar is not as hard to learn as a classical instrument (even though it's no less of an instrument). My Dad taught himself acoustic guitar and he's pretty good, and also quite musically talented, but because he's self taught, he can only go so far. There are exceptions of some people who can do whatever they want, but they are very few and far between. The Beatles were fantastic, but they weren't playing guitar concertos, they did mostly basic chordal progressions and riffs with their guitars and it was great for what they were doing, but not enough to make them concerto soloists (not that they wanted to be soloists). An instrument like the flute is really quite complicated to play, not to mention at higher levels. I only got where I am because I have an incredible teacher. And I say this as a student studying flute at the Sydney Con with my LTCL (Licentiate diploma from Trinity).

so.. I guess it depends where you want to go with it to an extent. But I would still recommend lessons with a good teacher from the beginning at least until you're up to a decent standard so that you know how to play properly and express yourself without getting frustrated on the flute.

You are also right about learning from other sources - masterclasses are really good for this, although you still can't beat a good quality teacher with one on one time.

And this is the important part: good quality teacher. You are so right when you say there are some crap teachers out there. Take it from someone who, as a teacher, is now having to make my students relearn everything because they were taught terribly. Nothing beats a good teacher. To hear before and after stuff of people who go and get a good teacher is amazing, people who I thought were not going to get anywhere suddenly bloomed into quality players in a matter of a few years.

I'm from Aus. too and did all my exams with Trinity because AMEB is a strange organisation that rewards technical ability over musicality and, like you say, often ends up damaging it's exam takers.
Your musical education is corrupting you. :-)

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Phineas
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by Phineas » Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:44 am

lianeandflute wrote:I totally what you're saying, but you can also argue that the bass guitar is not as hard to learn as a classical instrument (even though it's no less of an instrument). My Dad taught himself acoustic guitar and he's pretty good, and also quite musically talented, but because he's self taught, he can only go so far. There are exceptions of some people who can do whatever they want, but they are very few and far between.
Well, that is not totally true. People do not make it in the music field for many reasons beyond talent or ability. Classical is a funny realm at least for me. The hardest part of playing Classical is not the music, but the environment. Not to mention the cost, and the business aspect of it. Music as a whole is an industry that costs a lot of money, but will bring very few people a return that invests in it.

The reason I encourage people to take at least some flute training is the physical aspect of playing flute. Breathing, pitch control, learning techniques, posture, etc.... These are the things that a self taught flute players runs into. I started out self taught on flute. Sure I could huff and puff through a tune/piece, but it was not smooth. Taking some lessons solved these issues!

I do not fell that being self taught is a limitation. There are a lot of famous people who are self taught. It all depends on your goals...right?

Phineas

lianeandflute
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by lianeandflute » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:52 am

phineas, i think what you said is kind of what i was trying to say, just put a little differently.

fingerbun, what is that supposed to mean?
i shouldn't have to feel like i have to defend my career aspirations and choices to some guy on the internet. i am trying to open up my abilities as a classical flute player by going and getting a higher education in the classical world under some of the best in their field. classical music is about being refined and disciplined, it's extremely difficult to master in terms of skill and musicality so for where i hope to be headed, i am doing the right thing by getting the musical education i am getting. i don't know what you meant but i can't help but feel a little offended…

with regards to your comment about the AMEB: classical music is not about playing what's on the page, it's about taking what's on the page OFF the page. the classical world is about being refined and disciplined. learning a classical instrument to a high standard is difficult and complicated, as is playing classical music to a high standard. AMEB is not directly responsible for people being taught badly. and what does the AMEB's curriculum supposedly being derived from "the British curriculum" (which means nothing as Britain has a number of well respected curriculums) have to do with anything?

being purely self taught CAN limit you in SOME ways. i know this from personal experience as well as observing those around me. as we've all been saying, this only applies to some areas of music making and depends on where you want to go. but generally, a (good) teacher can help you further your progression because they know what they're doing, and at a beginner's stage, you don't. you have to teach yourself to a degree as well (by listening to recordings, experimenting, etc), of course, but you can't teach yourself things you don't know - this is where a (good) teacher comes in.

I still believe that private lessons are really important for at least the beginning stages of flute playing so you are able to play at at least an average standard without feeling limited by lack of skills and knowledge. method books, in my experience, are a bit of a joke when it comes to learning the flute, and the flute is a complicated instrument to learn.
"It's happening inside you; not in the flute!" - Emmanuel Pahud (At a masterclass in Sydney, Nov. 2010)

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fingerbun
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by fingerbun » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:54 pm

Hi, my apologies Lianeandflute, no intent to offend. I'll admit a temptation to dig because you disparaged the bass guitar you stirrer you, but I don't think it informed my reply..... :-)

(And by the way, bass is easy to get started on, but like any instrument you can spend a lifetime learning to play it really well. You are of course free to disagree with this).

Your latest post makes it clear your aspirations are to be an outstanding classical technician. A worthy aim, and lessons are certainly a good way to get there. Frankly, you are probably a much better technician than me from a classical perspective.

But let me try and explain what might be the hole in your AMEB training.

You may at some stage have played in a community orchestra with someone who, like me, had come across from other styles and whose classical training was limited, and you can see all sorts of things missing from what they do? Try and imagine then, that an AMEB qualified LMus or AMus can sound just as bad....just as much "they don't get it" in a jazz or rock context.

When was the last time the AMEB curriculum taught you to create a really new sound? I don't mean new to you, I mean something noone has ever done before? What did AMEB teach you about recording the flute properly, or how to handle venues with different acoustic properties?

My original post was in a context where the prevailing opinion on this board is "you need to learn, get a teacher". I posted to say you can go a fair way (in my case to the standard where you make a living) without lessons. Not criticizing lessons. I take them myself. And not criticizing your approach..frankly you are doing something I would love to do.

Hope this all makes sense and helps the OP decide what they should do about a teacher.

lianeandflute
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Re: Self Learning?

Post by lianeandflute » Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:24 am

Sorry for stirring you about the bass guitar! I tried to sort of level it by saying that it was no less of an instrument but obviously that didn't work. I'm sure it is hard to learn as well. I'm the girl who loves the bassist in a rock band so I'm really not against them!

I'm not actually AMEB trained. I have done Trinity exams (similar to AMEB in some ways, but also tries to teach you more about creating a programme suitable for a recital context, writing programme notes, presentation etc, and I've found by comparison that it's slightly more about being musically proficient over technically proficient. Still, at the end of the day it's just another exam curriculum), but they were a small part of my overall flute education. I've worked hard with my teacher to learn about the things you mentioned - dealing with the acoustics of different places, playing different styles, dealing with different modes of recording, creating a recital programme, ways to deal with pre-concert nerves and what works for you before performing (like some people can be really social, i need to have space to sort of get in the zone, that sort of thing). These things aren't covered by many curriculums, like you say! I guess that, because I have a truly excellent teacher who was a soloist and orchestral musician her self for a long time, I've seen what an enormous positive effect teachers can have. But like we've all been saying, there's still a lot of self teaching involved in listening to recordings, experimenting etc.

You are right, the AMEB covers a tiny area of music making. It can't be held responsible for the musicians who come out of their system (good or bad) because they only teach a tiny part of what these musicians need to do. Teachers are responsible for teaching all these other things and people are also responsible for teaching themselves. I think the exams are a good way to get yourself motivated to achieve something, a certain technical level or repertoire that needs to be covered, receiving constructive criticism… but the AMEB curriculum shouldn't be the core of your musical education. i think we are actually in agreement!

but i think that the different areas of music - classical, jazz, rock - are so specialised that it's hard for anyone to cross over successfully. It would be nice if we could all do everything but there's just so much to each style that it's really hard to do one area well without neglecting another. it's still good to explore other things though.
"It's happening inside you; not in the flute!" - Emmanuel Pahud (At a masterclass in Sydney, Nov. 2010)

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