The Flute Academy
The 3 big reasons to learn to play flute before learning to read music

The 3 big reasons to learn to play flute before learning to read music

Nov 18, 2019

When you're learning to do something new on the flute, there are 3 incredible benefits to learning the new skill WITHOUT using written music to help you learn it.

The 3 big reasons to learn to play flute before learning to read music

For example, learning:

1. A new scale

2. How to play longer phrases by breathing differently

3. To play with a stronger sound

And the biggest example of course is:

4. Learning to play the flute as a beginner

What are these incredible benefits?

I made you this short video to show you the 3 big benefits to learning this way.


Learning flute fingering first

Okay, this is kind of funny. I'm gonna teach you in this video. Why I believe you should learn to play the flute book before you learn to read music. The reason it's funny is because someone emailed me and said, what beginner learn to play flute book, should I use? And I said, oh, I'll do a video on it.

So I sat down to prepare this video and it turned into this gigantic rant. So I'm gonna tell you the reasons why I believe you should learn to play the flute first and then learn to read music. And next week I will tell you about which beginner flute book is a good one to use because obviously learning to read music is an excellent skill. All right. So if that's your first introduction to me sorry about that. I didn't actually even say who I am.

Flute School

My name is Jane Cavanagh, my business called the Flute Teacher School shows people the tiny little techniques to really improve their flute playing, which is basically the fundamental techniques of playing the skills. Because when you get these fundamental things right, everything else falls into place one by one.

Flute School mini course

An example of this is a mini-course that I've created, where it shows you how to quickly improve your tone by learning three tiny changes to make to your embouchure. At the end of this video, I'll show you how to enrol in that free little course, but for now, it's not gonna be a rant. It's gonna be logical points about why to learn to play the flute before you learn to read music. So basically think of this. When we learn our first language, we learn to speak and understand first.

Listen to your flute playing

And then after we've been doing that for a few years and we go to school, we learn to read and write. So if we mimic that when we are learning to play an instrument, it means a few things will happen to you. You'll learn to listen to what you're doing. The reason it makes you a better musician is because when you learn to listen, it means that you then learn to auto-correct, or correct what you're doing because you can hear, you've learned to hear what you're playing and you go, oh, that doesn't sound right.

Let's focus on that. And let's change it rather than using just music to go, okay, put a finger there, blow, put a finger there, blow, hold for two beats. Then change to that note. If you're learning to play the flute at the same time that you're learning to read music, it shuts off part of your brain that you really need to be able to listen to yourself.

One flute technique at a time reduces overwhelm

The second reason why it's great to learn to play before you learn to read is that it reduces overwhelm. So if you were learning to read at the same time, you would be trying to learn all the tiny little muscle things of your embouchure and what that needs to do, where to put your fingers, how to hold yourself, where to stand, where to look, the combinations of notes, and you get overwhelmed.

What overwhelms often leads to is quitting. And I kind of feel like saying, it's not your fault. It’s not your fault. You can't learn 50 things all at the same time. So when you learn to play first, you only have 25 things to learn at once, which is still overwhelming in itself. So you've got so many things to coordinate with your body, to be able to get a good sound, learn how to put your fingers in the right spot, et cetera. There's so much stuff, adding learning to read at the same time is just too much.

Learn to play before you read music

If I could sum that up, I would say that, if you learn to play before learning to read, it means that you're learning the flute and you're playing the flute over your life is going to be sustainable because you won't feel so overwhelmed that it's too much or that you don't feel very good or you don't feel very musical.

The Flute Academy

All of that is lies. It's not true. If you take things one step at a time, which is how I teach in the flute academy, which is my online program. One step at a time, and you don't feel overwhelmed and you accomplish little things at a time and continually accomplish little things, you end up learning so much faster than someone who tries to do everything at once. Not only that you don't burn out and you can keep going for years to come and you enjoy your flute playing for years.

Good flute posture

Okay? The third and final reason why it's good to learn to play before you learn to read is that you learn to basically have good posture. And I don't mean sitting up straight or standing up straight. I mean, you learn how to hold this strange feeling, asymmetrical, very non-human instrument so that you don't hurt when you play.

Release tension when playing flute

And again, the word sustainable comes in. You learn to play in a way so that you don't have tension in any parts of your body, that where it shouldn't be, which ends up causing injury down the track. So you have the attention like the brain space when you're just learning to play without learning to read at the same time. You have the brain space to be able to concentrate on what matters. When you have great posture, it means that you are also free to breathe really well. And that serves you down the track as well, years down the track.

If you're free to breathe well, you're going to become a much better musician. If you're holding the flute strangely because you're trying to learn how to play notes at the same time or read notes, and this shoulder's tight, or this hand's really funny, or you're trying to prop this up and you are just really just concerned about reading what's on the page. That's gonna become a habit and it's not good for the future. It's not good for your joints, for your ligaments or for your flute playing the sound of your flute playing.

Proper flute techniques

So they were the three reasons why it's good to learn to play first. And that is why you'll notice in all of my videos, in every lesson in the flute academy, I don't teach you how to read music. It's an amazing skill - total. I'm a big advocate for learning to read music but it's not what improves your flute playing. So I'm here to teach you how to improve your flute playing, and then as well as that spend time learning to read music. But that's not my thing. I'm here to teach you how to get better at your flute playing.

Free flute mini course

Okay. So speaking of which that mini-course that I was telling you about go to and you can enrol there for a free three-day minicourse to quickly improve your tone on the flute. I show you a tiny little tip every day for three days. So I'd love to see you there. And if not, I will see in next week's video where I'm going to be talking about which learn to play flute book to use because there are two different types.

Faster Progress Through Proper Technique ™

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Come and join Jane in The Flute Academy to transform your flute playing - one clever tweak at a time!

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