Earlier last year, I was challenged by my bandmates to learn another musical instrument to add to the repertoire of musical instruments that I could play. So I started thinking, “Why not learn Flute?” Thus, I bought a flute, started tinkering with it, and learned the rudiments of playing it. It is indeed great to learn how to play the flute, and it is portable enough to carry and play with.
If you want to get a hand at the oldest musical instrument, you better get yourself a flute, for the flute is considered the oldest extant musical instrument at hand. The oldest possible flute had been discovered in Slovenia, dated to be around 43,000 years old. This ancient flute, of course, is a far cry from the modern flute. It had five holes with a V-shaped mouthpiece.
Learning to play the flute comes with pros and cons. But once you’ve learned how to play it, you will find it rewarding. Before fiddling with a flute, it will help if you know the following pros and cons I discovered while learning the flute:
Advantages of Flute Playing
As a beautiful musical instrument, the flute had been mentioned in the Sumerian cuneiform tablet that dated back to 2600 BCE. The flute also got mentioned in several ancient texts, including the Bible. At present, you will find flutists who frequently use the flute in chamber music, orchestras, wind ensembles, military bands, and even marching bands. Here are some succinct advantages concomitant with learning how to play the flute:
It is a Versatile Instrument
One great advantage afforded by the flute is its incredible versatility as a musical instrument. If you are a flutist, you can play in any musical ensemble. Yet, this isn’t always the case with other musical instruments. So, the flute provides you with enough versatility as an instrumentalist.
As mentioned above, you can play the flute in concert band, jazz band, orchestra, flute choir, military band, pit orchestra, and many more. This gives you enough options to harness your skill as a musician.
It Gives You a Full Body Workout
Learning how to play the flute involves your whole body. First, you need to sport a good posture to be able to play it well. Second, it strengthens your lungs because you need to breathe in and breathe out regularly as you play it. Plus, to play it well, you need core strength.
Third, you will develop finger dexterity because you will be using your fingers to play it well. It also requires finger dexterity and breathing coordination. Plus, you build keenness of attention when playing the flute. Overall, you will work out your whole body when you play the flute.
It’s Handier Than Other Musical Instruments
I am a guitarist, and I know how difficult it is to be carrying around a guitar if your band is on tour. Yet, the flute, compared to the guitar, is more comfortable to carry around. So, when I decided to learn the flute, I had in mind that it will be more portable to carry than my guitar.
If you are a flutist, you will have no hard time carrying the flute anywhere you will be playing it. It is one of the most portable musical instruments because it is small. So, your bandmates, like the one who is playing the trombone, will envy your status as a flutist.
Enhance Body Coordination
One thing you can develop with playing the flute is improved body coordination. You need to coordinate your hands, mouth, ears, and eyes together to play the flute well. You also need to coordinate your muscles so that you can play it properly.
You will need keen eyes as you read the music sheets while playing the flute. You also need to blow into the flute’s mouthpiece while fingering the notes. Overall, you can enhance your reflexes and body coordination.
It Improves Your Breathing and Relaxes You
It will help to breathe well to play the flute well. You also need ample air to blow air into the mouthpiece. Thus, your lungs will be well exercised when you play the flute. With more air coming in and out of your lungs, your body gets oxygenated while working out your diaphragm and lungs.
In the same way, you can relax your body and mind as you play music with the flute. Its sound is relaxing and soothing to the senses. Plus, you get to settle down and relax while playing the flute.
Ease of Transition from Flute to Other Wind Instruments!
Another advantage of learning how to play the flute is the ease of transitioning from flute to other musical instruments. You can find several musical instruments with almost the same fingerings as that of flute, allowing you to transition from playing the flute to playing these instruments without much problem.
You can transition to playing saxophone, for example, if you know how to play the flute. You can also learn to play the piccolo with ease once you’ve learned how to play the flute.
I can’t think of any disadvantage of learning how to play the flute, for in my case, I am thankful that I’ve learned it. However, upon closer analysis, I think we can consider the following as “cons” when learning to play the flute:
Challenging For Beginner To Learn
At the onset of learning the flute, you will need to know how to shape your lips and blow through the mouthpiece correctly to get a tone. As you go along learning, you will also learn how to move from the lowest notes to the highest notes. You will find it hard to blow when you are practicing outdoors because the wind will be a factor. Besides, getting the right tone is not easy. You need to blow correctly into the mouthpiece to get the right tone.
Moreover, it plays a note at a time. Hence, you will not play a chord when you play the flute, making your practice a bit boring. Nevertheless, the most challenging part is how you would breathe or stagger your breathing to get a note. Yet, as you practice, you will get used to it. It will be useful to note that the flute seems to be the only musical instrument that necessitates most air.
The Playing Field for Flute is Competitive!
If you want to get noticed and excel, you may choose another type of instrument to master or play. The reason for this is that the flute playing field is crammed with flute players. Hence, you will find it hard to get noticed if you are a flutist, given the many flute players at hand. However, if you excel in flute playing, then you are indeed a great musician.
It is Hard to Tune
If you are one of the ensembles, then you need to tune your flute correctly. Since the flute is high-pitched, it cannot be delightful to tune to the right pitch. It can also be doubly annoying if it is out of tune. Hence, it will help to adjust its tune before you even start playing it. Moreover, the flute is susceptible to temperature change. Thus, its tuning process is very challenging.
Its Sound Gets Drowned Out in an Ensemble
The flute, undoubtedly, is an excellent sounding instrument. Yet, its sound gets drowned more often in an ensemble. Though, as a flutist, your mistake will not easily get noticed by the audience. So, if you’re the musician type who thrives in the limelight, the flute may not be the instrument for you.
It is Tiring to Play!
The flute may be one of the lightest and smallest musical instruments. So, you may think that it is easy to handle while you play it. Yet, this is not often the case. If you are only playing it for ten seconds, it will not be hard on your hands. Nevertheless, if you play it for several minutes without respite, its weight will bear on your hands, and your hands may get tired. Moreover, you may run out of breath if you play it for a long time.
The flute is indeed a beautiful-sounding musical instrument. It’s also fascinating to listen to, and if you play it outside, you will always get many willing ears to listen to you. Moreover, you will often find time to relax the moment you play the flute.
Learning to play the flute comes with many benefits, as mentioned above. It also comes with some disadvantages when compared to other types of musical instruments.
Yet, aside from such benefits and disadvantages, playing it also comes with other secondary benefits such as the enhancement of your memory and added confidence. It can also widen your social circle. So, overall, the pros of learning the flute far outweigh the cons concomitant with learning how to play it.