Getting Started with Flute

What's the Best Age to Learn Flute?

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Rose Park

4/1/24 • 4 min read

The best age to start flute:

Before parents begin their search for a flute teacher, it’s important to consider the right age to introduce flute lessons. Generally, the ideal starting age for flute lessons is between 9 and 11 years old. At around 9 years old, children can comfortably begin learning to play the flute or piccolo.

But remember that many individuals find their passion for the flute later in life. Whether you’re a teenager, in your thirties, or even older, learning to play the flute can bring joy and fulfillment, no matter your age.

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3 things to consider when starting flute

Is the student interested in flute specifically?

Learning to play the flute takes time, dedication, and money, especially for beginners. If your child doesn’t show any interest in playing the flute or participating in the school orchestra, pushing them to take lessons can potentially do more harm than good. Besides, they won’t be motivated enough to practice the flute, which will slow down the learning process and frustrate both the child and the teacher.

Try to confirm your child’s interest in the flute first. There are plenty of other engaging activities that your child might actually love to try and learn. And if they do express an interest in music but are unsure about choosing the flute, consider other instruments like piano or violin.

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Does the student have an instrument?

To take flute lessons, either online or in-person, you need an instrument to begin with. If the student doesn’t have a flute, consider starting with an affordable option, typically priced between $300 to $600 for beginners. As they progress and show continued interest, you can explore upgrading to a higher-quality instrument over time.

Other things you’ll need for flute lessons are a reliable internet connection for online options and a flute method book.

Is the flute lesson affordable?

Based on our article on flute lesson costs, the average price for flute lesson is $60 per hour. That being said, it’s important to find a qualified teacher who charges a reasonable cost and provides your child a great flute instruction.

You can find exceptional flute instructors with reasonable pricing online. At Lesson With You, we offer half-hour flute lessons for $35 with teachers who hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in flute from renowned music schools with extensive performance and teaching experience.

When is my child ready to start flute lessons?

1. Your child likes classical music

If your child enjoys listening to classical music, especially orchestral repertoire, it’s a great sign that they may be interested in playing the flute. Many young beginners are drawn to the flute because of its unique, beautiful sound and outstanding techniques.

The flute is suitable for various genres, including classical, church music, and contemporary music. Ask your child about their preferred styles of music and choose flute repertoire based on their interests.

2. Your child can hold the flute and breathe for a long time

If your child has the strength to hold the flute and breathe properly, it’s a positive sign that they are ready for flute lessons. But if your child has weak forearms and struggles with breathing, starting with instruments like piano or singing can be great alternatives for developing a sense of harmony and rhythms. 

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3. Your child can understand and follow directions

Learning the flute is an exciting journey for your child to learn mouth control (embouchure), rhythm, and tone production. Flute lessons typically include instruction on note reading, musical structure, and music theory, with the teacher offering guidance on techniques and breath control. If your child can follow instructions and show readiness, they are prepared to start their flute journey! For children under 9 years old, parents can also join the lessons to provide extra support.

4. Your child can stay focused at least 15 minutes

Any music lessons typically last around 30 minutes, and during that time, your child will need to stay focused for about 15 to 20 minutes. Keeping good focus is great for improving your child’s musical skills and absorbing the details they learn during lessons. If you’re not sure if your child can do it, you can help them practice focusing by engaging in activities they enjoy, like reading books, doing arts and crafts, or solving puzzles together.

What are the benefits of starting flute at a young age?

Starting flute early has many educational benefits! In general, taking flute lessons gives children a sense of accomplishment and boost their confidence, but it also teaches them problem-solving skills. Unlike other fields, music lessons also helps them develop problem-solving skills. They learn to think critically and creatively as they work on fixing mistakes and improving their playing.

As young students mature, the flute opens doors to various musical avenues, including orchestra, concert bands, recitals, and opportunities for solo performances. Regular practice also fosters commitment, self-discipline, and patience, valuable skills that can be applied to all aspects of life.

Overall, starting flute at a young age fosters excellent flute technique, continuously improvable throughout life, and, most importantly, brings great happiness through music!

I'm 50 years old - can I still learn flute?

Absolutely! Age is no barrier to learning the flute. Starting flute later in life has numerous benefits for anyone older than 40. It’s great for memory and finger strength. Plus, playing regularly is a great way to stay mentally sharp and fulfilled through musical happiness.

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How to find the best flute teacher

Finding the ideal, experienced flute teacher can be a challenge when starting lessons. So, what are some common mistakes made by beginners?

  • Starting with an ordinary flute instructor and then switching to a better one later
  • Failing to thoroughly review the teacher’s educational background
  • Learning from a teacher who also teaches other instruments like clarinet
  • Taking lessons that charge significantly less than the average rate
  • Taking lessons that charge above the average cost in your area

Here are a few tips to use when finding a flute teacher. First, your flute teacher should have at least a Bachelor’s degree in flute performance. They should also have more than two years of teaching experience. Lastly, check the teacher’s performance recordings and personal website. Ask questions about their teaching background, lesson policies, and curriculum style

5 simple tips for beginning flute lessons

1. Take care of the flute

Taking care of your first instrument is a big responsibility, especially for young beginners. Remember to spend a few minutes after playing to clean the flute and remove any moisture. Here are some easy maintenance tips for flute players:

  • Clean your flute regularly – use a soft cloth and a cleaning rod to remove moisture from your flute after each practice session.
  • Oil your flute by applying a small amount of key oil to the moving parts of your flute to keep them lubricated and prevent rust.
  • Make sure to brush your teeth before playing
  • Keep two hand on your flute while playing to avoid any accidental drops.
  • When you’re done playing, always store your flute in a dry and safe case to protect it.

2. Place the flute where you can easily access

The more accessible the flute is, the more likely you or your child will play and practice regularly. Instead of hiding the instrument away in a small room or attic, try placing it in one of the main bedrooms or study rooms. That way, you can easily play a few tunes whenever you have time.

3. Participate in musical events

With the flute, your child can become a part of various musical ensembles such as school orchestras, concert bands, woodwind orchestras, and church bands.

As a parent, you can inspire your child to engage in these musical communities after they have been taking lessons for approximately a year or two. It presents a wonderful opportunity for your child to develop and flourish by collaborating with musicians in group practice sessions and public performances.

4. Help your child build a good practice routine

Helping your child find the right practice routine is important, especially when the child is new to everything. For beginners under 10, try a short and effective schedule that fits their school days. Start with 10 minutes of practice daily for a few weeks, and adjust as they get comfortable. This doesn’t include time for setting up the flute.

Children aged 9 to 11 can aim for around 20 minutes of practice. Starting with three times a week is a good start, and they can increase gradually. Remember, talking to the instructor can provide great guidance and support along the way!

What's the best age to learn flute? - Lesson With You Guide for Flute Beginners

5. Talk about lesson progress regularly

After taking about 3 months of flute lessons, check in with your child and ask how they’re doing it. Make sure they’re not just learning the skills, but also enjoying the process and staying motivated. Ask if they need any help with techniques or music theory, so you can discuss it with their instructor. Take the time to listen to their stories and be there to provide support throughout their flute journey.

Common questions about beginning flute

Q. How long does it actually take to learn flute?

Learning the flute takes time and works differently for everyone. Typically, it takes several years of consistent practice and professional guidance to develop a solid foundation in flute playing.

If your child wants to learn flute just for fun or join the school orchestra, a daily practice routine of around 20 minutes is recommended. Keep in mind that this time doesn’t include the assembly and cleaning of the instrument. If your child is interested in participating in competitions or auditions, more intensive practice, averaging one to two hours a day is recommended.

Q. What are affordable flute options for beginners?

The best way to find an affordable flute is to consult with a professional instructor or local music store salesperson. Here are some options that are great match for beginners:

  1. Yamaha YFL-222 Intermediate Flute: Costs around $600. Yamaha is a well-known brand for producing high-quality musical instruments at various price points. The YFL-222 is a popular choice for beginners due to its durability.

  2.  Jean Paul FL-220 Student Flute: Costs around $250. The Jean Paul FL-220 is a great beginner flute known for its affordability and decent quality.

Q. How much do flute lessons cost?

The average price for a one-hour flute lesson is $60, based on our lesson pricing guide. Online flute lessons between $20-40 for a half hour lesson, and local private lessons averages $40 for a half hour session. There may be additional expenses, such as purchasing or renting a flute, buying accessories like cleaning kits, lesson book, and maintenance costs for the instrument.

Is it ever too late to start flute?

When it comes to learning flute, age doesn’t really matter, and the time it takes to master it varies from person to person. What matters is to get a high-quality instruction. At Lesson With You, our expert instructors create personalized lesson plans suited to the musical needs and lifestyles of any flutists. With their guidance, anyone can elevate their skills at competitive prices.

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Rose Park

Rose Park is a graduate of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where she studied Piano Performance and Arts Administration, receiving both Bachelor's and Master's degrees before co-founding Lesson With You. As a pianist, Rose was a prizewinner in many international piano competitions and performed at various summer programs and festivals across the United States, Italy, and Japan.