I've played Irish whistles for fun for several years and had been wanting to try picking up the flute. I finally got one (Powell Sonare PS505) as a surprise gift and have been self-teaching for the last month with Suzuki and Wye and a lot of technical tips from Jen Cluff's website but am planning on taking private lessons as soon as possible, I think I'm in love. I really, really wish I had started as a child but since that's not an option, I'm wondering realistically how far I can go with this instrument starting at age 33, and what the best opportunities might be ensemble-wise once I've been playing seriously for a few years.
I'm aware that playing professionally is probably out of the question given my age and the fact that it's an extremely competitive instrument, but I'm wondering if it would even be an option to someday play in an amateur community orchestra. (I live in a huge metro area in the U.S. and there are several of them around...but probably not made up of people who didn't pick up a concert flute until their 30s.) Just looking for a little encouragement here. I do have a musical background (clarinet and handbells) so at least I already know how to read music. Any input is appreciated but try not to discourage me too much
More important of all, in my opinion, is having somebody to observe you and coach you. It's mandatory that at the beginning, in spite of the fact that you have excelent references currently, you have a teacher to lead you into the right path.
If you take the wrong way, and believe me it's easy to do that alone, it will be more difficult in the future to make corrections.
There is absolutely no problem in being an adult beginner. Just that your development as a flutist will be slower than a child or a teen, of course. But the important thing is that there is no such thing as the perfect age to begin. And even most important is that improvement is for all :-)
Thanks, as I stated in my initial post I do plan on taking private lessons as soon as possible. I'm just looking for a good instructor in my area and regrouping a bit after the holidays. My question was more in regards to whether it's possible to, over time, acquire the skill level required to play in a community (amateur) orchestra or other ensemble setting when starting this late in life...I'd just hate to put so much time and effort in only to find my playing opportunities limited to my living room.
As you already has a flute, I think it's just a matter of trying. It's clear to me that every person has an individual learning capacity. But as I said, I believe that the most important is perceiving your constant improvement through time, not the velocity with which you are learning.
Take your time and give it a try! :-)
Let your flute be a part of you...
I see no problem with you reaching your goal. I am 48. I have played flute since I was 8 and fife before that. I started clarinet 5 months ago and Alto sax 5 weeks ago. I aspire to double in an amateur musical pit. It's going to take a lot of work. I suspect flute is easier to pick up than clarinet. Go for it!
Get to play with other people. Playing on your own is great - but playing in a group or a band is so much more rewarding.
Also, please have a look at my App - improving the basics can give you more confidence playing.
If you're not getting lessons, this App actually listens and gives you feedback on your scales and arpeggios.
If you are having lessons, then your teach will be impressed on your practicing - it will show.
Really, there are no shortcuts on learning and practicing an instrument. A computer (or cell phone) program would never be able to actually seeing what you're doing and giving you advises on what you should correct based on your own experience. Every student is unique and therefore that's the reason a flesh and bone teacher will never be out of date.
I plan to study with a live teacher. The app spamming is a little annoying, not super helpful and not an answer to the question I actually asked (and still haven't really had anyone answer...)
Maybe I should rephrase. For those of you who play in amateur ensembles, have you found those opportunities difficult to find as a flutist, and are they so competitive that someone who did not start playing as a child or teen would have a very difficult time joining one? Or are they out there if you're willing to put in the time and effort to developing your skill?
I play in a local community symphony, and we have several members who started on their instruments later in life. I don't see any reason, with your drive and musical background, why you shouldn't be able to achieve your goals in a few years, as long as you keep practicing. It may take you a little longer, but honestly, as a teacher I have found that adult students often keep right up with their younger counterparts.
The only difference between a beginner and a professional is 3000-5000 hours.
It really doesn't matter what it is in life. It takes 1-2 years doing something all day long to get to that level. (or 3-4 years practicing for 3-4 hours a day). Some people can cut that time in half due to previous experience(s) or natural talents, and some take a bit longer. But there's really no trick to it.
I've seen 60+ year old people pick up new instruments and play professionally after a few years.