Why the flute instead of another instrument?
Why did I choose to play the flute myself? Well… I have a pretty fun story. It all began waaaay back in about 1982 when my family was cleaning out my grandpa’s old root cellar.He was moving to another town, so we had to get everything out of the house. I was only about ten years old and had fun looking for all the treasures you can find in an old farmhouse.
On the last day of cleaning out the house, I thought to shimmy myself down into the root cellar. It was musty and full of dirt and a few rotten potatoes. I was poking around in the dark with my hand outstretched, afraid of mice and spiders when I suddenly felt something hard. It was a flute case. Seriously. I remember my heart pounding as I pulled it out into the light and opened the case to find a real, genuine flute.
This new ‘found’ flute was old. I found out much later that it was one of the first made of its kind in the early 1960’s. Older than dust, but it kind of worked. My parent’s couldn’t find the owner, so it was all MINE.
A little background to this is that my older sister had a flute, but I wasn’t allowed to touch it. Ever. I don’t think she had any idea how much I wanted to get my hands on that shiny tube. I do remember hiding in my closet sitting on the bumpy shoe pile (with our hung Easter dresses brushing the top of my head) and trying to figure out how to play her flute. She would have sister-strangled me had she known…
My start to learning, playing, performing, and teaching the art of flute was all serendipitous. I had a flute of my very own now!
I didn’t want to waste a moment. I felt I had been literally ‘given’ a chance at something I could be great at.
I worked hard. Boy, did I work hard to learn how to play that instrument. I look back now and see that I was quite competitive, and wanted to be really good at playing the flute.
Now it’s my job to help others on their own pathway to flute-success.
I was determined to play well, and I thought it was so pretty. What an elegant instrument. I had a guitar, but I had even more reasons for why the flute was calling me.
I like to challenge myself and do it myself also.
I wish I’d had some better direction those first few years. I could have really saved myself a lot of time and effort.
It wasn’t until two flute teachers and three band instructors later that I started to see the correct ‘light’ in my tunnel of effort. I also learned that not all so-called-experts are created equally. So, once I found a pathway that led to quick, easier, and more natural feeling results, I definitely perked up to listen and learn.
I had some little habits to break, but I fixed them with some concentration and focus within not too much time. I also had some natural skills that I was ever so grateful I hadn’t messed up with strange ideas that float around out ‘there’. My band teachers had been trumpet players.. They did their best, but definitely didn’t know how to help the flute players much with tone.
My favorite times were playing flute for fun with friends and gifted accompanists. I was asked to perform for loads of people, especially in church. That seemed to spark my drive. Once I found other musician friends who wanted to play music with me.. There was no going back. I was hooked. Music would be in me for life.
I also felt inspired while I was teaching (still true). So, I kept at it, and have loved every single minute of it. My first student was a young autistic boy from a couple of farms over. I learned so much from that experience, and found that I was a more patient and kind person while watching others go through the learning process. Since then I have worked with literally thousands of students around the globe on their own quest to make beautiful music with this instrument.
Now that I look back on my humble beginnings of flute playing, I know that it’s my job to help others on their own pathway to flute-success.
I haven’t just ‘made-up’ the proper way to play the flute.. In fact, I’ve taken many years of pedagogy training from instructors around the world. It has molded my teaching sequence, and I’ve been able to simplify it and create a super method that cuts many years off the learning process for others.
Why the flute instead of a different instrument? This story is just one of the reasons. I’m happy you stopped by today. This was just my beginning. I’ll tell you more of my story later.
Why did YOU choose to play the flute? Let us know in the comments. It’s fun to see how others got their start.
82 thoughts on “Why the flute? (part 1)”
Rebecca your story is very interesting. Your professionalism is reflected in the way you teach and manage your online system.
I wish you all success. You deserve the best.
Thanks, Ray – we’re glad you’re here improving your flute skills too. 🙂 ~Rebecca
Cool story on how you started with the flute.
I started with the flute when I discovered my opposing gender within me, the ying to my yang, I guess, I started with bamboo flutes and now I am looking for a concert flute, one of those metal mechanical things with all the buttons.
Hope to get it soon and start on your classes , I like your energy and your instruction is very clear and inspiring.
My big goal is to play classical music on my flutes to accomaoany videos of my art and an even bigger goal is to write my own flute music for the videos.
But I am older , so time not on my side but it never is when you find something you really want to do.
Serendipity, yes, I like that … fits my art well.
Enoyed reading how you started your flute.
Hi Lisa, it’s so nice to hear from you here. Yes, yes the flute will compliment your art well. Congratulations on already being an ‘artist’- this will help making music happen even easier for you. All times are the best times to make music. You’ll do great. I’ll see you soon in the member’s area with your new ‘flute’. Yay! ~Rebecca
Hello Rebecca Ji, Namaste Ji ! I had started playing the Indian Flute on the Left Side since Childhood as I learnt that the Divine One – Bhagwan Krishna used to Play this Indian Flute in His Childhood. It was much by the Tune than Any Symbols of Music. So, my Greater Effort First is to Know the SCRIPT or SYMBOLS of VARIOUS NOTES. And to Hold and Play the Correct Notes on the Western Flute. Waiting to Put the Western Flure in my Daily Life.
Fun Fun! I’m so glad you are here learning. Good luck, and have fun! ~Rebecca
Hi Rebecca, I absolutely love your story. I’m a Concert Organist myself and I do believe that music is a divine gift. I always wanted to learn flute but never had the means while I was putting myself through University. Thank you for taking the time to explain things to me so well. I really enjoy my flute lessons with you.
Hi Janice, thanks for posting today. I’m sooooo glad you’re here learning to play the flute. It’s unlike any other instrument. You’ll find a lot of satisfaction as you move through the levels. Proud of you! See you again soon. 🙂 ~Rebecca
I must say you are the best flute instructor. Thank you for taking the time to explain every detail in this process. I look forward to completing all of the modules and becoming an expert!
Hi Zelda, It’s so great you’re here learning. I can’t wait to hear of your progress! Keep it up. ~Rebecca
Hi Rebecca, I am having a pneumonia already one week. I got picked up at school 11:36. the day was Tuesday. I hope you are having a fun time at America.
So sorry you are sick with Pneumonia, Claire. I hope you feel better very soon! ~Rebecca
WELL DEAR SO INSPIRING FOR ANY MUSICIAN,BUT I GUESS WE HAVE TO ADMIT THAT TIME HAS CHANGED AND THERE ARE LOT OF DIFFERENCE IN TAUGHT AND SELF LEARNED MUSICIAN….I HAVE BEEN STARTED PLAYING BAMBOO FLUTE …NOT THE METAL ONE SO I WANTED TO KNOW YOUR IDEAS ABOUT BAMBOO FLUTE,,AND ITS BASIC NOTES AND ALL
Hi Sanjay, thanks for the message. The lessons on this website are for the western/transverse/classical/silver flute. I hope you can find one and join the lesson membership. You would do well. 🙂 ~Rebecca
Thank you for the flute lessons. I am almost 8 years old. wen i was 6 years old i wanted to play flute.i like your flute lessons.i am soon going to module 2.but i am still practicing module 1. – Arishah.
Hi Rebecca. Your lessons are easy to understand and follow through even for my young daughter. We just bought her a beginner flute about 2 weeks ago. She already showed interest years before but never had the chance to play it. When a nearby library set up a wind instrument show for kids to test and play around, she was so excited. She managed to make a sound after a few tries. So we gave in and bought her a simple flute. I hope she keeps her interest and improve slowly. She won’t be having any classes other than yours for now, so I really appreciate the steps that you’ve assembled. – Arishah’s mom.
Arishah, you are super! I am so glad you are learning how to play the flute. My lessons will teach you well! Please let me know if you have any questions. I like your comments. 🙂 Rebecca
Hi Rebecca, just wanted to leave a note saying I really appreciate all the work you have done to put this website together. I’ve just started module 2 and am enjoying watching your videos and the lessons. I teach college for a living and am extremely passionate about my subject, and I can tell you are too so I’m sure this is going to be an extremely rewarding and fun journey!!! The best part is when I can make my sounds sound like yours!!! Thanks!!
Hi Bobb, Thanks so much for adding this note here. I’m excited you are joining us here! You’ll do great. I’ll continue doing my best to add all of the lessons you need. See you again soon! Rebecca
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Absolutely new at this so the slow progression is grand, thanks.
In regard to the high pitch, I trail off to the low pitch. I fear I am ended the high pitch incorrectly, does that make sense and if so am I over thinking this or is this something I need to correct now?
Hey Rebecca! Thanks so so so much for the flute lessons! I had to play the flute in my school, so I decided to get ahead with a couple of videos. Thanks to your modules, I can now play the flute and enjoy it too! My music teacher didn’t have time to teach me all this, because she had to teach 6 other instruments in one period, thanks to you I can get ahead!
I hope you continue to give lessons on learnfluteonline.com! They are great!
Hey Kat, I’m sooo glad you’re doing well learning to play the flute. Yes Yes, I’m here online for you all. Don’t forget to move on into the Gold Level where you’ll definitely learn to be first chair in that band. Good luck! 🙂
Hi Rebecca! Thanks for your online lessons. I keep putting them off because that’s how I am, I am afraid of failure so I don’t even start. I began flute in 6th grade but stopped when I realized that it was marching band and I would be in the front of a lot of people. I would like to learn again for my own enjoyment.
Hi Cindi, I don’t think there’s much of a chance of you failing with my online lessons. I take you through everything in easy baby-steps. You can do it! I know you can. 🙂
Sure am glad I ran into your website and love the simplicity of your lessons. I had my artley flute from the 70s refurbished last year and with technology today canI enjoy doing my lessons in the privacy of my apartment. Hopefully I can join the church band after I learn the notes, work on the timing (I always had a problem with that) and learn to play by ear.
I just finished module 2, so far so good!
Hey Olga, there are many friends here in this online studio learning to play the flute for the same reasons you have. We are rooting for you! 🙂
Thanks so much for your lessons! Though I’m starting with a private teacher in person soon, I like to be able to start on my own, and your website has helped a lot. I love a personal challenge! I only renting a flute for now, until I’m sure I’ll stick with it, but then I’m planning to invest in a nice flute, like a Yamaha or Geminhardt. (Those too were based on online teacher reviews.) I’m sure my teacher will have other recommendations for me too, but what are your recommendations for a good student flute?
Cool, Lydia. I hope you have been able to find someone who is very knowledgeable and encouraging (we are a rare breed, you’ll learn..). The Yamaha and Gemeinhardt are actually band brands. This means they are on the ‘cheaper priced’ and ‘cheaper made’ spectrum of flutes. But, actually there are a few that are fabulous! This one is my absolute favorite for big tone – click here and this is the other one I really like for beginners (especially adults): click here I recommend both very, very highly.
The Gemeinhardt brand tends to break easily, and the Yamahas are hard to play in tune.(my humble, professional opinion)
Good luck!!!! I LOVE new flutes! ~ Rebecca
You even have a student from Poland. 🙂
I’m 20 and flute is my first instrument. I know it’s bit too late and I probably will never play Flight of Bumblebee, but it still fantastic journey. Thanks 🙂
Is your sister a prof flute player today? Sorry I’m intrigued by your story :@). My husband calls me curious George
ha, nope my sister quit playing the flute right out of high school. She could have been good, but honestly I had the advantage because #1 I really, really wanted to be good, and #2 she studied with a teacher who kind of gave her a lot of bad advice (and she was mean!). I sailed through because my mom wouldn’t pay for two of us to have lessons from her. Good thing! It saved my want-to-be-a-professional-flute-player-teacher-bacon.
I have played the piano for five years now, so I am accustomed to notes. I play with the church band, and am fairly advanced, so starting out as a beginner with flute was frustrating. I was using a book, but got bored really fast. Your lessons are SUPER fun, and make me feel like a pro when all Ive done is make a high note on the head joint…:) I’m on module two and am dreaming about the time when I can play flute with my church band…
Thanks for all the time and effort you put into teaching me, and students like me.
Thanks so much!
Hi Eleanor, you’re going to absolutely LOVE this program because I have all the materials set for you in learning order… and you can move through the lessons at your pace (as fast or slow as you’d like). This will make for a very successful year for you as far as flute playing goes. Good luck! Can’t wait to see more of you. 🙂 Rebecca
Wow that’s pretty cool. I lived in Colorado and always thought the flute sounded really pretty. Then we ended up moving to California. At school I got a chance to learn the flute! I was so excited. But then my music teacher barely taught anything. She taught 1 note a day and talked about it the whole session. So I was pretty disappointed. Then I searched flute on you tube and picked your video. I went to your website and signed up. I am very grateful for this website! Thank you so much for making it. I also am going to play “Silent Night” at my school play on the 18th. Well heading to Module 3! 🙂 🙂
Hey Alina, I”m SO glad you found me. I’ll help you become first chair – forever! ~ Rebecca
I’m so glad I found your site Rebecca! I am 52 and play guitar in the worship band at church. I thought it would be really cool to be able to learn the flute to add into the mix, but it has obviously been years since my high school band days. In high school I played the saxophone and clarinet, so I can read music but have never played the flute. I have been coming home from work every night to practice with your lessons. So fun! Thanks for all of your help.
Laura, you’ll do great! I’m so glad you have a purpose and a place to play once you get to that point. I help loads of you succeed in your awesome church bands. FUN! ~ Rebecca
I leaked your story and I hope to learn myself to play the flute.
We’d be glad to have you learn here also. 🙂 Rebecca
i also just finish my second video i am so happy smiley face 🙂
So glad, – congrats!
thats a cool story so far i hope to hear more about it i chose the flute because i liked playing the recorder in 6th grade and i heard that the flute was similar to the recorder so i have been practicing and i am enjoying it so far i am getting better and better at playing thanks for all the help so far Rebecca i really enjoy your videos ~Makayla~
You’re going to get really good with my lessons, Makayla. Go through them in order and you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn. ~ Rebecca
I can’t get the high notes. Not even only the headjoint ( Module 2 – Video 2 ). What am I doing wrong? This is the only thing that seems to go wrong. I have a history of playing the saxophone so notes and finger-placing are no problem for me. But the high notes are! Do you have any advice?
@ Lianne: Hmmm… the shape of your tone hole (in your lips) are probably too flat. Push your lower lip out so it’s kind of mushy and fat- then make sure you are focused “forward”… then blow FFFFASTER air. Did it work? ~ Rebecca
I am glad u have this lessons online it can give flutist advice and tips on how to play not to take anything away from this is how can a beginner learn without a teacher to hear or c what and how the notes r being played
Hi Rose, this is a good question. The answer is that you get to examine and really listen to what you are doing and take full responsibility for doing what is correct. It will help you become a good musician in the way that you will fully understand what needs to happen and know how to make it happen for yourself. It never hurts to have a ‘live’ teacher there with you as well. If you don’t have one, you are lucky to have found my lessons as well. 🙂 Keep it up. Watch the lessons carefully. Follow what I say to the very best of your ability, and you’ll find yourself progressing rapidly. ~Rebecca
I am glad u have this lessons online it can give flutist advice and tips on how to play not to take anything away from this is how can a beginner learn without a teacher to hear or c what and how the notes r being played my teacher is always corrected me showing me exactly how notes r played by listening to him playing
Hey rebecca hii!!!! 🙂
I’ve started learning flute only based on ur videos.. They’re so nice and easy ..
I’m just very excited to see ur full flute performance.. Couldn’t find them on youtube . Can u send me a link of any flute performance u’ve done. Excited to see .. 🙂
Welll, I’m sorry to say that my big performing days were long before digital equipment and the internet. I have many videos of my recitals and big concerts, but you should know that I perform for you in every single learning module. That’s about 560 videos so far here at Learn Flute Online. 🙂 ~ Rebecca
Dear Rebeca,play sax and clarinet and drums in church since I found you online the notes of the flute are getting there thanks so much!
Hi Tony, you are in the right place, for sure. I’ll show you everything you need to know. You’ll be the best multi-instrumental guy at church. 🙂 ~ Rebecca
Hi, my husband bought me a flute for my 63rd birthday a couple of weeks ago, I started the modules straight away and even got a sound out of this beautiful instrument. Since then I had some surgery on my eyes and couldn’t blow a note for over a week so I’m back to square one but I’m not discouraged, I love a challenge and my new flute is just that. I’m looking forward to my lessons. Thank you, you are inspirational. By the way, whilst I was convalesing I took a preview at the other modules and your sons are a credit to your teaching.
Hi Jenny! We’re glad you’re here to learn. You’ll do well, and congratulations on your new flute. That’s definitely exciting. We’ll be watching for you soon after your recovery. 🙂 ~Rebecca
I just finished Mod. 1 & going through Mod. 2 lessons. For some reason, lessons # 2 through 5 do not open up. I’m stuck for now… 🙁
Tech. problems aside, the reason I decided 2 play the flute is because I love the sweet happy sound of it… I even imagined going through the notes of a flute for certain songs, even though I do not know them (many rhythms… including Techno :)))! Lesson 6 of Mod. 1 was very motivating, because that’s what I want 2 accomplish: playing by ear! Keeping steady progress!
Thx again for such great material
OOps! Never mind! Lessons r back online… My bad!!
Awesome Gabriel. Just a note about tech problems – I have found that it’s usually a browser issue when the videos won’t open. Switch from your current browser to Chrome or Firefox. Or.. go have a sandwich and come back later. 🙂
I will be 67 soon and have always wanted to play. I was in band and had already chosen clarinet, but always thought flute has the most beautiful sound ever. Found you online and said to myself, “self, what are you waiting for”? Life is so very short. Still working on hitting those high notes.
You are such a great inspiration!
Hi Linda, I love your story. The funny thing is that there are dozens just like you working through my program. They’re doing great, and we totally welcome you in! 🙂 Can’t wait to watch you progress. Rebecca
HI Justina here I’m 12 years old I love your lessons I’m in band and orchestra.You rock! Thank you :]
Hey Justina, we’re all happy to have you here in the lessons. Good luck in band and orchestra – rock on!! (you’re very welcome) -Rebecca
hey thnx 4 the lessons! I feel so in the dark with the flute n can barely play it…if i ever learn it will prolly B bcuz of this site :). Thnx Becca!
Esther, I’ll help you out, no problem. Thanks for coming to learn! 🙂
I know is a good decision to be part of your students it’s so easy to learn. I always want to play a flute since my big sister wants to play a guitar but my mother never say yes to the flute. So, now at my 36 yrs I started with your lesson and I am enjoy the journey. Thank you so much. 🙂
From the Caribbean Island, Puerto Rico.
Hi Yanira- we all welcome you to Learn Flute Online! 🙂
I love my flute, it’s such a beautiful instrument and I want to play it beautifully also. I was lucky to come across your lessons online. Thank you.
I’m glad you love the flute as much as we all do here at Learn Flute Online, Maria. We are happy to have you here! 🙂
i love that!! i love your modules!!! i love my flute!!:)
Thanks Lucy. I’m glad you love learning!
When I was in 4th grade we had a talent show at my elementary school in the 1970s. I did a hula dance. I always loved to dance. My friend played the flute and I was completely mesmerized. My school had a music class and I started to play. I was never shy so I would play to anyone who would listen. In Junior High I was in the band. Then came high school and I stopped playing. I have been wanting to learn again for years. In March 2013 I bought a new flute. I will never stop playing again. Your modules are amazing. Thank you for making it fun, and challenging, to learn. You are a great teacher. I hope you teach online for a long time!
Oh Elaine, you’re super sweet. You’ve been doing a great job in the learning modules. I love the fact that you are so open about your learning process. Adults will look at you as an inspiration for sure. I love your flute story, and I’ll tell you more of mine later on. 🙂 Thanks again, Rebecca
Elaine’s story is identical to mine (except I was in school in the 60’s). I am really enjoying my new flute & your lessons!! It has been a great way to start out the year.
Awesome Adrienne, we’re happy to have you here learning for sure. It doesn’t matter if it was the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, or the 90’s etc. We can all still learn! So cool!!
I see people like yourself who seem to play so well and I don’t even know all the notes and I see these runs of notes all slurred together as 16 notes and think to myself how will I ever be that good. I am somewhat uncoordinated and my highschool teachers just mocked me in class and told me to study more. I did have a very good choir director that helped me in high school who made me appreciate the value of music.
You’ll get it, Bill. Don’t worry. No mocking here – we are all here to learn and have a good time. Those 16ths will be no problem in a while. 🙂
Lessons are great and easy to understand. Thanks for your help. I’m determined as all get out
I LOVE students who are determined as all get out! You can do it, I know you can!!
I really want to have you teach me things on the flute but I can’t afford lessons.
Hi Ashley, you can get started here at Learn Flute Online for free. Then you can hopefully join the membership at the monthly price in a while. You’ll learn so well. 🙂 ~Rebecca
wow you learnt the flute all by yourself
I am self taight also and have amazing career as a wood wind specialist . I play the flute ,sax ,clarinet ,piano and trumpet along with the didgeridoo
I play all kinds of music from worship to World music . I feel so blessed to be able to share my gifts 🙂
I agree, Doug. Nice to have you here! 🙂 ~Rebecca