Whether you’re learning flute for the very first time or relearning after a long break (decades anyone?), it’s never too late to start.
Adult learners enjoy tremendous success in learning a musical instrument, with progress at a rate that often leaves younger students in their dust. And that’s despite having the additional time demands and responsibilities that adult life brings.
So how do they do it??
Based on my own experiences and those of fellow adult learners, I’ve listed 12 reasons why learning flute later in life can put you in the fast lane and have you realising your goals sooner than you think…
- 1You actually like to practice. For me as a high school student, an hour of practice seemed like an eternity! These days, an hour of playing flies. I get lost in my musical world and laser focused on nailing something that’s been challenging me. I’ve finally connected the dots that practise = progress.
- 2Challenges don’t defeat you. As a teenager you may have just skipped over trouble-spots and hoped you got away with it. But with some life experience under your belt, your problem-solving skills have matured and you can pick apart a problem phrase to slowly work on each element (fingering, articulation, dynamics, where to breath etc) and patiently piece it back together again. The satisfaction of finally playing it through and moving forward is actually kind of addictive!
- 3You can research and buy your own flute. This is a big one. A good quality flute will mean you no longer have to ‘make do’ with the school’s rental flute that’s been ‘well loved’ or a cheap hand me down from an older sibling due to family budgets. Treating yourself to a well-made flute made from quality materials will mean you no longer need to fight to play beautifully. This flute will allow you to grow into its capabilities, not frustrate and hold you back from your full playing potential.
- 4The internet was invented…Mind. Blown. The opportunities to learn and play are now almost endless. You can watch flute tutorials and listen to performances from the world’s best flute players anytime and anywhere in the world. Or search for almost any kind of sheet music thinkable and have it delivered instantly to your inbox. Or join online flute player communities and share and learn with players you would never have the chance to interact with otherwise… It’s never been EASIER to learn flute!
- 5You know what type of music you like. A lifetime of music has opened your ears to music from other cultures, time periods, genres and composers. Actively listening to a variety of music helps to make you a better player by exposing you to rhythm, tuning, tone, use of articulation, dynamics and vibrato. By hearing them as an audience member, you start to gain an appreciation for all the elements that create an unforgettable performance. And on the simplest level, it prevents boredom!
- 6You want to play, you’re not made to play. The weighty expectations of parents and teachers are largely lifted off your shoulders. Also, most adult learners know the ‘why’ behind their playing. They’re passionate about very specific dreams and goals (some which have been simmering below the surface for decades) which are incredibly exciting and motivating.
- 7You've got the freedom to learn the things you want. Whether you’re learning online or with a teacher, you’re actually free to have fun. You’re not limited to one tired old exercise book or set pieces for examinations. Tell your teacher your flute playing goals and what you want to play - and they'll equip you to get there.
- 8You’re not afraid to ask for help. You’ve realised that the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask!
- 9You can choose the learning resources/ teacher that are right for you. Made infinitely easier with the internet, you’re no longer limited to the only flute teacher in your town and the resources they prefer to use.
- 10It’s good for your mental and physical health. Research shows that musical training actually grows your brain, stimulating new neural connections which act as a defence against memory loss, cognitive decline and diminished auditory function. Your brain gets a work out every time you play, and just like training at the gym - the more you play, the greater and longer lasting the benefits.
- 11You can set goals and manage your time. Skills honed through running a family or your career mean you know how to get things DONE. (An important skill set to have when the busyness of life can mean your practice time is limited).
- 12It sets a great example for your kids. It’s amazing to think that your flute playing can positively impact the next generation. Your bravery in trying something new, and the fruits that practice and perseverance brings can inspire your kids both in music and other areas of life, and has the chance to exponentially influence others.