I am an adult who has never played flute before. I always wanted to play the flute when I was a kid, but it never happened.
Recently a flute came my way, inexpensively (I'm hoping it doesn't need much work, if any), so I've decided to learn.
Right now I'm at a time in my life where I don't know how much money I have to put toward lessons, so I'd like to at least get started on my own... So far I've been using videos from websites like expertvillage.com and finger charts from JenniferCluff.com, etc to get some of the basics.
I have two questions about my endeavors...
1) Can anyone (preferably maybe some teachers) comment on whether its realistic to expect to teach myself?
2) Is it normal to struggle more to play higher notes than lower notes? Sometimes it seems like I'll have a perfect embouchure, I'll play a few notes and then suddenly I can't make a sound!
It's nice that you want to teach yourself, but I recommend some professional (unbiased) direction along the way. Playing is not always straightforward. It's tough in the beginning until you get past the basics, then it's smooth sailing for a while once you know what you've got to do, and then it gets difficult again.
If I explain myself here, I'll have to write a book, but I'm sure there are professional people on the net that can guide you here and there without trying to own your checkbook. Jennifer Cluff is one such resource, whom you found already. Not to burden anyone else by namedropping, but if you look you'll find there are others. After listening to a handfull or more of reputable pros, you'll quickly realize, if your sharp (no pun intended), what's important, what's opinion or preference, and what's sheer BS.
IMHO, the adult total newbie should probably successfully complete Howard Harrison's ten dollar book "How to Play the Flute" before moving onto the real task of playing the flute. You need to practice developing good tone from the very beginning, and there are a myriad of more difficult method books out there that won't try to teach you how you go about making sound in the different registers.
Oh, me again. I forgot to mention. You may have no idea whether it's you or the flute since you don't play. So someone (a teacher, a pro, or one of us responding to you) needs to play the instrument to validate whether it's suitable for you to learn on. Example, many years ago now I played a flute for 2 years, thinking at the time that I could tell a good flute from a flute that needed attention. The flute tech wanted me to send it in, to at least be checked out and cleaned, oiled, and adjusted. So against my better judgement (trying to save money) I greed to do it. Wouldn't you know there was a minor leak that I didn't realize which made my low notes not quite as full as they could be. All that time I though the flute didn't have a deep vibrant low end, or that my embouchure could not support the tone on that headjoint. I felt pretty dumb about it back then, but I learned a big lesson. Professional help is just that, ...a big help !
What's wrong with expertvillage? Some of the videos seemed a little vague, but it was just fine for learning how to hold the flute properly, how to sit, etc.
I guess its probably good to get it checked... I just get a little leery of going to someone with something & saying "Here, see if you can find a problem." -- When they have something to gain by finding a problem - usually they will! (I don't know if flute repair-people are like that, but that's just been my experience with other areas of life)
Please at the very least, go and watch James Galway teach how to correctly blow into the flute.
Some people don't care for his playing, but there is a reason he is one of the best flute players in the world.
Please go and get some lessons.
I am an adult and I just took up the flute again after a 25 year break. I am taking lessons and it is amazing how much progress that I am making from having a fabulous teacher.
She has really helped with my tone, posture and tuning. I learned from her that my embouchre that I had been using was wrong. It has taken quite some time for me to correct it.
After several hours of 'practicing' ('playing around' is probably more apt) I am convinced. This is much more complicated than I thought. Particularly with the statements about expertvillage...
I guess I will have to look into some lessons after I move. I'm moving to Columbus, OH which is a fairly 'well-equipped' city... There I should be able to find lots of music stores & 'shop around' for someone who maybe will be good with an adult beginner!
i would be careful, i self taught myself the basics and i had to brek a couple of bad habits (like flying fingers and incorrect breathing), but if you are dead set on teaching yourself for a bit i'd get a couple of good books and work through the first 2 or 3 pages (that way when you do get lessons you haven't accumulated any bad habits)
the internet is good place for sheet music, fingering charts and learning to put togather/ care for an instrument
but is not the best place to get lessons, just be careful what you do teach yourself, and make sure you use a couple of well know and recommended books, bu be careful of bad habits(make sure you keep your fingers close from the start, i still haven't broken that habit of mine)
Maybe you can take a lesson or two before you move to get you started, then find something more regular after you move? I had a period of time (about 2 years) between teachers where I did not take lessons. I developed a few bad habits during that time that were less than fun to correct. =)