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Irish Flute Lessons: why should you get a teacher?

On our journey to mastering the Irish flute, we are offered several ways to progress. The great thing about Irish music is it’s easy enough to pick up an instrument and start learning from home, thanks to the many recordings available and great online resources like speed changers, loopers (like, videos and such.

Most people will start self-teaching, but we’re all different and work differently. So when and why should you decide to move from self-teaching to lessons for the Irish flute? And how should you do it? Let’s find out!

Self-teaching: the good

Self-teaching is made easier with Irish music. The tunes are usually easy to pick up on, they are sessions all around the world where you’ll be able to share with others, and there are tons of resources available.

Self-teaching offers great benefits: you have to look for the information for yourself, which makes everything much more likely to stick for good. You can learn at your own pace, and select the tunes and techniques you want to practice.

Self-teaching: the bad

Like any other discipline, self-teaching has its limits:

  • No one will push you outside your comfort zone and broaden your scope more than you naturally would.
  • You may develop bad habits without knowing it, making it very hard to correct them later on.
  • You may end up following the wrong pieces of advice, or not focusing enough on what’s important to make the music what it is (for instance, spending too much time on the ornaments and not enough on the breathing or the pulse).

Getting a teacher

Let’s get straight to the point: there’s not really a downside to getting a teacher, except maybe the cost which can be high (usually around 30$/€) or if the teacher is not doing a great job.

Getting a teacher for Irish flute lessons will ensure you are on the right path, and an outside look on your progress will allow for feedback which is the best way to continue improving. It’s even more important for instruments like the Irish flute, that really require a good posture to avoid future problems.

The plateau

Most people will find themselves stuck at some point in their learning progress: this is the plateau. It happens several times in the journey of a flute learner, and you will need a kick to step out of it and keep improving your techniques.

How to get step of the plateau? Here are a few ideas:

  • Try to find new and different tunes to open your scope (try some Scottish or Breton tunes for instance).
  • Get some Irish flute lessons with a real teacher that will challenge you
  • Find a “tune a day” challenge to try and spice up your game (a quick search on Google will give you some inspiration).

Wrap up

Now the choice is all yours: there are several ways to get Irish flute lessons. Self-teaching may be a good idea if you can discipline to work on a regular basis and you are creative enough to find new sources for your learning materials.

If you do need the extra-push, or you’re stuck somewhere along the road, getting a few lessons with an advanced teacher will keep you busy and they are usually available on Skype or Zoom for around €/$30 an hour, which can be worth the investment.