LFP 020 | What Level is Proficient on Flute?

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LFP 020 | What Level is Proficient on Flute?

Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:

In this episode, you will learn what level is proficient on flute as well as how to make goals that will get you there.

This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 020.


You’ll learn:

What this podcast will be all about

  • Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
  • What proficiency is
  • How to make goals that will help you become a proficient flutist
  • How learning a new language relates to learning music
  • What you can look forward to learning from listening

Learn Flute Podcast 020

Press the Play Button to Listen Now:

Well hello again, it’s me, Rebecca the expert at Learn Flute Online here with episode number twenty!  

I’m happy you are here to listen and learn even more about playing the musical instrument flute. Today you’ll be learning about the words ‘proficiency level’ as a musician.

The cool thing about this subject is that there’s not going to be one perfect answer,.. and that’s what makes it so easy for me to talk about. Haha, what I mean by this is easily described to you by using a similar situation like learning how to speak a new language.

I actually had years and years and years of Spanish classes starting from about the age eleven. Now, you’d think that by the time I got out of high school I’d have that language down, but nope. I actually remember taking a trip down to Mexico as a young person and trying to buy a necklace from a street vendor there, and I tried to use my knowledge of Spanish- and not speak any English at all. 

Ya, that didn’t work very well, I ended up saying the same two or three words over and over until finally we resorted to sign language to complete the transaction. It was kind of funny, but it really brought to light that I wasn’t any where near proficient at this language.

Now, I didn’t give up there at all. I decided to continue learning, and actually ended up getting my minor in the Spanish language in college along with my Bachelor’s degree. 

The interesting thing to note here is that after like eight years of studying in school with text books and teachers, I then took another trip down to Mexico with my husband (who speaks portuguese, not spanish) and my boys. Well, no one was nervous about this at all because you know, their mom speaks spanish, right? 

Uh. Well, I thought I spoke this language until I got off the airplane and had about 10 different people yelling and waving at me to come to them and I thought they were telling me that they were going to help me get to my resort hotel. Maybe they were taxi drivers trying to get some buisness.

Well, in reality we figured out a very short time later, they were all trying to get our attention to come listen to their time share presentation. It was a real problemo. I couldn’t understand anything they were saying. 

It was all way too fast and didn’t even resemble what I had studied in school all those years. So, I’m back to the drawing board, and after many, many years have passed since my college days, I understand that I can read it on paper and kindof understand it there, but not in any practical situation. It’s time for me to get some latino friends and practice some espanol!

I hope you’re starting to see the similarities between my experience learning the language in school and assuming I was proficient because I had been handed a piece of fancy paper at graduation that said I could speak spanish. Haha, I actually laugh at it now because it’s just not practical at all. Get me in a room of Mexicans and I’m lost – – smiling of course, and loving their company, but completely lost in the conversation.

So, now let’s change this to the subject of ‘at what level you’d consider yourself proficient on your instrument’.

Well, I guess the answer would be pretty easy to see here that we need to first determine what your goals are. Is it to learn how to  maybe just  read a fingering chart? Is it when you can successfully blow each note? Or is it when you can perform a beautiful concerto on stage with admiring onlookers? haha, we could go on and on with deciding what the various levels are.

The important thing to notice here is that everyone has a different goal. But, I think I can safely say that for most music learners, we desire to be able to pick up our instrument, rattle off a something cool that sounds clear, resonant, and fluent that feels good. Also, just as in my analogy of standing in a room with some Mexican friends, musicians really do have a ton of fun playing together. The harmonies you can create are awesome. And, if you’re all learning together it’s even more fun!

There are various paper tests you can move through to see what level you can read, but I guess we need to evaluate the different levels of even that. For example, are the notes and fingerings correct? How about the counting? How are your dynamics? Are we able to use clear tone and posture that invites a listener to enjoy? And, there are about a hundred or maybe a thousand other skills we could add to this proficiency list. So it just never seems to  end.

I think it’s safe to say that most, if not all of the people on this planet who are learning how to play an instrument wish they were even better at it. Always seems to be a never ending situation. And, if you ask even a super high level professional performer, they would also say that they are still learning and growing. So the word ‘proficient’ is pretty relative.

I like to tell my new students when they first start with me is that they need to prepare themselves for the long haul. Learning how to play the flute isn’t a weekend adventure at all. But, that if they stick with what I show and tell them for a few years, they will definitely become very accomplished, and have an unusual skill they can enjoy and share for the rest of their lives.

I read somewhere in a census a few years ago that about eight percent of the population of the United States anyway  play a musical instrument regularly. What this tells me is that you and I are among the elite learners, and especially because we are not being forced to learn. We are here because we love it and understand its value and beauty.

So,  joining me here today in this discussion about what we could consider a proficient level is interesting, and I still don’t feel there is one right or wrong answer. Just like learning a language, there’s always more to learn and express before we can claim complete competence. But, if we all understand that there is joy in the journey, then that’s all we really need to look for.

Thanks for letting me ‘wax philosophical’ for a few minutes today. I’d like to know how your journey of learning to play the flute is going? Do you feel accomplished on any level quite yet? Take every little step and master them one by one. Your skills will build upon one another, and you’ll find yourself amongst that small, prestigious group of people in the world who can call themselves a musician- which just means you play your instrument regularly.

If you’d like to leave a comment on this particular show, please do so here where you are listening, whether that be on itunes or on the Learn Flute Online dot com website or somewhere else where you have had it streamed. It’s always fun to hear from our fellow musician friends!

And, of course don’t forget to come on over and get yourself signed up for the video lesson modules where I show you step by step how to play the flute in a systematic, organized, easy to follow method. I include everything you need to learn.. except the flute. And even then, I can help point you to the right place – we’ll get you on your way.

Have a beautiful day!
Thanks for listening today, remember this is where people of all ages, such as you, can come, learn, and play the musical instrument flute in an easy to follow organized manner and in the privacy and comfort of your own home, on your own schedule.


Thank you for Tuning In!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about the flute today as we answer the question – “What level is proficient on Flute?”  Join us for the next episode.

Have any questions? Comment below and I will help you out.

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller
Get Flutie with us! Learn and enjoy every musical minute.

4 thoughts on “LFP 020 | What Level is Proficient on Flute?”

  1. As a young adult I had the desire to be a piano virtuoso. That was a dream and with lessons in college I became close to playing beautiful music. My knowledge grew in reading music which paralleled my playing of the flute. Who knows where I would have gone there if I had the flute I have now.
    My daughter also plays the flute and I found is important to get her a good flute and a private teacher. At the same time I also found myself playing in a flute trio. The importance of music and a group of like minded musicians has made my adult life enjoyable.
    Learn flute online has given me direction. I may not be a soloist but I’m finding myself beginning to run in a new circle of friend that support music in retirement. It took the isolation of Covid to push me to find new methods of learning. Call it “Home schooling”! A teacher dedicated to help me find my forever flute, take me to new levels, and give me opportunities to grow.
    I now play in a band, a flute quartet and perform church music with a new level of confidence. I’m still learning the “language” of playing the flute and can run with the best of them. Just like learning a language, being among other musicians is an important part of learning the language of music.

    1. Rebecca Fuller

      Hi Judy, thank you for your beautiful comment. It is wonderful to look back and see how your life has been directed to bring you where you are now. You are a wonderful musician who is still learning and willing to try new things. I am so proud of you! -Rebecca

  2. Well I feel much better! Your comment on how it takes years is very helpful…Proficiency to me is back to that place i was…never feared squaking or playing flat or airiness, could readily read any score no matter how complex and play it fully without practice…i had confidence, good tone, good dexterity, stamina and strong lungs. I was also 14. We played about 20 minutes of the 40 minute class (i think the flutists got more time than any other group). I also played in the band for an hour before school three times a week..so frequency in short bursts helped. When i can do that again I will feel proficient…rewinds help but i think perhaps one also has to move forward to greater challenges than perfecting simple tunes. In pottery 9 (grade 11, minor), my teacher said there are 2 kinds of students…those who are perfectionists and create a few pieces…and there are those who plow through and create a lot of things…for him the learning curve was a greater incline for the latter group…i dont know if that logic holds but somehow i think flute is in between…review the basics, follow the modules and do the homework….play everyday as much as you desire, play all kinds of genres, foster patience and keep your fingers crossed. Well the fingers crossed isn’t necessary cause this isn’t about luck…just patience…thanks!

    1. Yes! Luck is what happens when you combine good directions with good implementation. 🙂 You’re doing fine. Thanks for commenting, Cheryl. Keep it up! -Rebecca

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