How can I learn to play the flute myself?

In the flow. Or: How I learned to play the flute

By Helga Schäfer (Munich City Library Am Gasteig / Music Library)

A month ago a flute found me. As with Harry Potter's “The Magic Wand Looks For The Magician”, I work with musical instruments: You will find me ... And so I start as an absolute beginner, but with prior knowledge - I play treble and bass recorder and sing in the choir - at the age of 50+ with a new instrument, first of all in a self-experiment. If the ambition seizes me and it's worth it, I can still book lessons with a flute teacher. But first I stay on the experimental level: I need grades, a school for flute. In our music library on level 0.1. At the Munich City Library Am Gasteig I find what I am looking for, in the music shelf under H 1100 I have a large selection of flute schools.

In the shortlist for me are:

Elisabeth Weinzierl and Edmund Wächter: Playing the flute. The new flute school. Ricordi Verlag, online catalog

Barbara Gisler-Haase: Magic Flute. The flute school from the beginning. Universal Edition, online catalog

Cathrin Ambach: Playing the flute - my favorite hobby. The modern flute school for young people and adults. Schott Verlag, online catalog

I choose “Magic Flute” because I like the description of the tone approach and the posture best. And there is a CD with nice pieces to play along with.

At first there are exercises only for the head piece, the remaining parts stay nicely in the case. And it's not that easy to get an even tone out of this headjoint! The instructions say: Practice in front of the mirror every day - so go! And tones actually come out, deep ones and with overblowing also high ones.

The flute is finally put together ...

After about a week I would like to finally experience the flute as a whole instrument - and put them together. I have already studied the fingering at school, it starts with the first three notes, finally, g, a and b are not that difficult to grasp, but breathing! The whole flute needs a lot more air. That needs to be trained now ... It's good that I've already done a bit of voice training, because the principle of breathing is the same.

With these three tones I can already play whole songs on the CD, that's fun, so I'll stick with it: practice every day, that improves the approach, now there are cleaner tones and more in a row before I run out of breath. In the meantime I have become ambitious, I always want to learn new notes, even higher up, I experience a real flow: after I realized that I can now play many Irish pieces that I like very much, after I have played with Overblowing has progressed and can now blow the notes of D major, G major and F major scale! But I also practice every day because it's so fun, because these Irish pieces are really catchy tunes.

A beautiful music book with CD to play along with:

Irish reel book: 250 Irish tunes. Reels, marches, jigs, flings, hornpipes, airs, polkas, Carolan's tunes, folk songs. Edited by Patrick Steinbach. AMA Verlag, online catalog

Now I think it is slowly becoming worthwhile to take lessons in order to be able to play even more beautiful notes and much more, preferably Irish folklore, which sounds so beautiful with the flute, no comparison to my tin whistle. And maybe I'll find other players: I'm still looking for guitar, violin, drums, accordion (I play that myself, then another flutist). It can also be an Irish harp or banjo ...

The music library has a solution for this too - I'll put a note on the notice board:

I'm really excited, maybe I'll find fellow players soon, then we'll found a folk band!