Making headway with any discipline takes a lot of work. And learning the flute is no different. Making progress fast is a possibility, but never a guarantee because there’s a lot to learn, information is widely available but not everyone will know where to begin. It’s daunting at best. So how do you go about making progress in a meaningful way?
We present five ways to streamline your flute practice into something you can start seeing major differences in. Let’s get started!
1. Have a system and a plan
With the internet, you are spoiled for choice. There’s so much available online but students going at the flute on their own often practice incorrect materials for their level. And that’s why it’s so important to build flexible systems of practice. A plan keeps you on the most stable path to progress. I think students always rise to the levels of their systems, so if their system is a sustainable one, the higher they rise. Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced flutist I recommend you put yourself on a diet of long tones, scales, and studies.
If you’re confused about where to go and what to find for this new diet, I recommend our series of beginner tutor books from our free Kickstarter Guide. These books are great because they walk you through the process systematically. If you’re using these books as an adult, despite their “beginner level” language, you are bound to see yourself progress when you follow the exercises.
If you are not a complete beginner, I would recommend the following super helpful systems to keep progressing:
- Long tones
- A technical regime of various technical exercises and components you’re working through on a monthly basis.
- At least one study a week
2. Don’t go too fast
Now that you’ve got an idea about what to include in your flute practice system, it’s vital to your progress that you keep steady. Don’t try to go too fast with your practice. This is especially important if you haven’t got the correct resource materials to practice with — or if you find yourself getting impatient with your progress. Skipping levels is worse for your flute journey in the long run because you’ll be working hard on things that won’t pay off yet.
Now, I understand that there seem to be more materials for advanced players compared to the less advanced students. But fear not! We’re developing resources that are aimed at less advanced players.
These exciting new resources are available for sale on our website, but, if you join our premium membership called The Practice Club, we actually provide these resources for you on a monthly basis. This means that you get to tailor your practice to your level, build a strong foundation, and progress with confidence.
3. Regular practice
This sometimes sounds like a no-brainer, but in our world full of distractions, it’s easy to reschedule practice sessions to the point where you don’t end up doing one. Students often ask how long and how often they should be practicing. And the answer depends on how much time you can actively devote to the flute outside of lessons. If you can only give about one to two hours a week, then it’s better to spread out the practice sessions. Think of it this way: 5-10 minute sessions every day is better than 2 hours once a week.
Motivation doesn’t begin with action. The action begins the motivation. And the goal here is to practice practicing itself regularly to build the motivation to keep practicing. Consistency is key, so start with small sessions of scales or long tones.
4. Use breaks as tools for progress
Now, just because regular practice is important, it doesn’t mean you should practice for hours on end. Your body needs breaks, and you can use these breaks as tools. There’s some interesting research coming out on how taking breaks is not only a healthy thing to do in any learning process but how it can actually help accelerate that learning process. Now, there are two sides to this. On the one, at a small scale, when you’re practicing with a whole lot of little breaks in between, you’re allowing your brain to just rest enough to actually absorb more information. On the other side, if you take a break and restart your learning process your brain is forced to repeat the information you learned in a short space of time.
I’ve seen this with my own students. When we take a two-week break for Christmas or summer, they come back to lessons having improved. By taking breaks, we give our brains the chance to register, digest, and store the information we just learned. So one way to incorporate this into your practice system is to maybe practice five or even six days of the week and take a break on weekends. Or practice every alternate day. The choice is yours, and choosing the best fit for you is important so you can see progress over time.
5. Find accountability
People seem to want to do things more when they are held accountable. And we’re not always our own chief motivators either. Basically, we are social creatures, so joining a community is a great way to track your own progress and encourage someone else’s! This could be in the form of getting a teacher, a flute choir, or an online community like this one! If your practice system is the train on this flute practice journey, then your accountability for your progress is the fuel that keeps it going.
Get ready to plan your practice on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis with our practice journal,