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The Fast & Foolproof Way to Learn Flute Notes [Beginners’ Cheat Sheets]

the fast and foolproof way to learn flute notes

Looking for a quick and easy way to learn flute notes for beginners? As you start to become more familiar with the flute, you’ll naturally become curious about learning more notes.

In the beginning, it’s important to start to learn flute notes right away—the sooner you learn them, the sooner you can read sheet music and master different melodies.

Learning flute notes can also help you improve on specific elements of your technique that are crucial to getting off to a good start. You’ll start to see your posture, the way you hold the flute, and your embouchure all improve with practice.

Proper Posture for Learning Flute Notes

Speaking of posture, there are a few key things you should remember to help you learn how to play flute notes comfortably. First, let your fingers curve over the top of your keys using the least amount of tension you can manage, without feeling like you’ll drop the flute.

Don’t try to grip the keys or put your fingertip right on the key. Instead, let your whole hand hold the flute, and remember that your fingertip is simply an extension of your finger that originates near the wrist.

As you learn flute notes, try to release and relax your elbows and shoulders, which are two areas that often try to “help” as you play. Lastly, learn to keep your fingers close to the keys—don’t let them fly away with each change of note!

How to Learn Flutes Notes Quickly

learn flute notes properly

Here are the steps you can follow to learn flute notes for beginners, as easily and quickly as possible. We’ll then discuss ways you can put these notes into practice and start memorizing them.

Commit to One Note at a Time

Each note has specific keys that need to be pressed, and trying to learn all the notes at the same time can be overwhelming! Commit to one note at a time, and continue to review the ones you’ve already learned.

Create Associations for Each Note

In the beginning, each note configuration can seem random. Try to make a specific association for each note so you can easily recall it.

For example, for B flat, you can think of it as “pinchers” – you only press down your left index finger and thumb keys and your right index finger key (plus your right pinky finger key). This creates an image of pinching between your index fingers and thumbs.

Learn Flute Notes in a Logical Order

It’s a smart idea to start by learning the notes of a scale, such as the B flat major scale. This includes the notes B flat, C, D, E flat, F, G, A, and then an additional B flat.

For your very first notes, learning A, B flat, and C (all on the staff) can also be a good option. A has four keys depressed. To switch to B flat, lift up your left third finger and press down your right index finger. Then for C, lift up your left thumb and your right index finger.

Double Check the Fingering

Beginners often make errors in the fingering of notes. Sometimes, the difference in sound of pressing an extra key is very subtle. However, over time this makes a big difference, not just sound-wise but also technique-wise. To avoid learning the wrong fingerings, double check a fingering chart as you learn flute notes.

Tips for Memorizing & Practicing Flute Notes

how to learn flute notes

  • A large part of memorizing flute notes has to do with muscle memory. This is why it’s important to practice good posture habits as you learn notes, because you’re creating a habitual pattern in your muscles for how to play each note. Make it a good one!
  • Use your brain to solve the puzzle. Lots of musical learning can happen without your instrument. While it’s of course important to hold and play your flute, you can also practice notes when you’re on the go or away from your flute.

Print out some blank flute fingering charts and use a pencil to darken the keys you would depress for each note. This type of visual memory practice can cement what your muscles are already learning.

  • Once you feel comfortable with your memory of the notes, start to practice very simple melodies that you can find in a beginner method book. This will strengthen your memory even more, and train your ability to switch between notes smoothly and comfortably.

Practicing this way also improves your breathing and stamina. As you read the music, you’ll be reinforcing a trifecta of musical knowledge: the fingering for the note, its printed placement on the musical staff (what line or space it appears on), and its name (D, E flat, or F, for example).

  • Remember to set specific and realistic goals for yourself. Once you’ve learned all the notes in a specific scale, set a long term goal to learn all the flat or sharp notes. Then ultimately, you can try to master the chromatic scale.

Cheat Sheets for Learning Flute Notes

The best way to learn flute notes is by reinforcing your knowledge in a variety of ways. Check out the following five sites that offer cheat sheets and helpful charts on mastering flute notes for beginners. Get ready to increase your learning speed, while making flute practice more fun!

  1. Flute for Dummies – This page covers learning which hand goes where, as well as finger placement. It also includes a complete fingering chart. In the beginning, you’ll learn the middle range of notes and over time, you can learn the lowest and highest notes.learn flute notes - cheat sheet
  2. Flute Fingering Trainer – Test your flute note knowledge here! You can select your desired level (easy, medium, or hard) and then identify each note by clicking on the keys of the flute. This will help you learn and reinforce the knowledge you already have.learn flute notes - flute trainer
  3. JenniferCluff.com – This is a complete fingering chart, in order from lowest to highest notes. You can start by learning the first A listed (in the low octave) and continue upwards to the A that is one octave higher.learn flute notes - fingering chart
  4. 8notes – This website covers learning a note from start to finish. It features a color-coded guide for putting each finger on the right key. Check it out as a precursor to learning your first flute notes and then advance to “Part 8.”learn flute notes - illustration
  5. The Flute Teachers’ School – Watch this two-minute video to see a visual description of how to read a fingering chart. Then read the tips on how to learn flute notes for beginners, too!learn flute notes - video

Now you know how to learn flute notes! Follow the suggestions above and it will be an enriching process to increase your knowledge and flute abilities. As you gain more knowledge, the best way to advance your skills is to take private flute lessons.

An experienced flute teacher can observe your progress, correct mistakes, and provide personalized suggestions for what to learn next. Remember to enjoy the journey, and before you know it – you’ll know all the notes!

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Beginner Flute Lessons: How to Make the Most of Your Lessons

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As you learn to play the flute, attending regular private lessons are integral to your success. Here, Chicago, IL flute teacher Jillian D. shares her tips for making the most of those lessons…

 

Growing up, flute lessons were, and still are, an important part of my life. They instilled me with discipline, integrity, and pride, while also allowing me to grow and mature artistically. The moments you spend with your teacher are filled with helpful information and wise insight. The hard part is getting it all to stick. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your beginner flute lessons:

Before your lesson:

  1. Eat. Nothing is more distracting than a growling stomach. Eat a good meal before your lesson, so you’ll be fueled and ready to play.
  2. Be prepared. Show up to each lesson prepared and ready to learn. Working hard in the days leading up to your lesson will allow you to make progress each week.
  3. Review your lesson material without your flute. Going over fingerings, pieces, and other lesson material away from your flute is a good way to warm up your brain before a lesson. You’ll be surprised at how much you remember when you come back to your flute.

During your lesson:

  1. Be engaged and stay focused. It’s easy to let your mind wander when your teacher rattles on about alternate fingerings, harmonic overtones, and melodic minor scales. But stay focused! Be as attentive as possible, and try to absorb everything your teacher says like a sponge.
  2. Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, do not be afraid to say so. Your teacher only wants to help you get better, so if something is unclear, ask!
  3. Record it. Recording your lessons is a great way to easily review your teacher’s feedback later. However, it’s always important to ask for permission before you hit record.

After your lesson:

  1. Take notes in your flute journal. You’ll be given a LOT of useful information during your lessons. Write them down in a notebook or journal as you go along. That way, you won’t forget when you’re practicing during the week.
  2. Review. Keep your lesson notes organized and detailed. Even something as simple as reviewing your notes on the car ride home will help your flute playing immensely.
  3. Practice as soon as you get home. Practicing after your lesson is a great way to make sure everything sticks. Go over what your teacher helped you with during the lesson. Take what he or she said a step further, and see what kind of progress you can make on your own.

Concentration, hard work, and preparation are the keys to getting the most from your beginner flute lessons. Have fun, stay focused, and discover something new while playing your flute every day.

JillianDJillian D. teaches flute in Chicago, IL. She is currently working on her degree in Flute Performance at DePaul University School of Music. Learn more about Jillian here!

 

 

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6 Websites for Finding Free Flute Sheet Music

free flute sheet music resources

Looking for free flute sheet music? If you’re a flute player looking for more music to learn, you’re in luck! There are many places to find free flute sheet music on the web. There’s more music out there than you’ll ever have time to explore, ranging from solos to duets to etudes and scales. You can find music in genres from Classical to Pop/Rock, Folk, and Holiday.

Whether you’re looking for your next solo to study or want to practice your sight reading, the six sites below are excellent options for finding free flute sheet music.

Where to Find Free Flute Sheet Music

International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)

The IMSLP database is one of the best places to go for free flute sheet music. If you look at the page of scores featuring the flute, you’ll find thousands of scores available for free. These are classical, public domain works with varying instrumentation. Go to this site for flute solos, duets, trios, sonatas, concertos, and etudes, as well as small and large ensembles including the flute.

This site can be overwhelming since there are so many pieces available. Try out some etudes, including popular ones by Anderson or Gariboldi, or play some duets, including ones by Quantz and Kuhlau. If you’re really into Bach, try out some of the sonatas, partitas, and concertos.

FluteTunes.com

FluteTunes.com posts free flute sheet music for a new song every day. Each piece is labeled by difficulty level from “easy” through “advanced.” The genres represented are mostly classical and folk music from a wide variety of cultures. Instrumentations represented include flute solos, flute duets, flute with piano, flute with organ, flute with strings, and flute with guitar.

MP3 and MIDI tracks allow you to play along with the accompaniment while you learn the song. The site also has pages of flute scales and fingerings.

8notes.com

8notes.com has over 450 free flute sheet music pieces from various genres, including Classical, Rock, Pop, Jazz, Traditional, World, and Film. Songs are labeled by difficulty level from “beginning” through “hard.” Play-along tracks and sheet music accompaniments are available as well.

Fluters Music

Fluters Music is a blog run by a high school flute player who writes out the notes for the melodies of pop songs you hear on the radio. The notes are written as letter names above the lyrics so there’s no need to know how to read music! This is a great site if you’re a beginning flutist and you want to play the pop songs you already know and enjoy.

Herbert Lindholm

Herbert Lindholm has made many of his flute compositions available for free. These include technique studies, flute solos, duets and trios, flute ensembles, and flute with piano or guitar. Most pieces are labeled by difficulty level (1-9) and also include the approximate duration of the piece. You should definitely add this to your list of sites that offer free flute sheet music.

Lark In the Morning

Lark In The Morning has a number of large collections of folk songs from all around the world. Collections of free flute sheet music include folk dance melodies from a variety of countries, including Armenia, Austria, Bolivia, Bosnia, Germany, Greece, and Yugoslavia!

Now that you know the variety of free flute sheet music that is available, enjoy picking some new pieces you’d like to learn. There are a few pieces you may be able to learn on your own, but most will require the help of a teacher. Check out TakeLessons for an experienced flute teacher in your area.

JuliePJulie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

 

 

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Learn to Play the Flute: Your Top Challenges, Resolved!

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Want to learn to play the flute or improve your existing skills? Check out these helpful tips from New York flute teacher Nadia B...

As you learn to play the flute, you may encounter some challenges as you grow, learn, and improve. Read on to discover the most common issues I see my flute students facing, and tips to overcome them so you can play at your best.

“I don’t have enough air to play that passage!”

While you may feel that you don’t have enough air, you usually have enough, or even too much. As you play a long phrase and feel the air being used up, your mind usually takes over and reminds you that you still have to make it to the end, so you had better start squeezing out the air… that’s where the problem comes in. If you try to squeeze out the air, you are contracting lots of large, powerful muscles, which actually prevents you from using up the rest of the air inside the body. Then, you may gasp a breath of air at the end of that long phrase without having used up all the air you already had, creating an issue for the next phrase.

Here’s the way out of this vicious cycle: We actually don’t need as much air as we think we do. So when you’re getting ready to start a phrase, don’t gasp in air, or try to tank up. Just let some air naturally flow in (after all, when we have finished up the air inside of us, our bodies automatically respond to make room for air and bring it into the body) and then begin playing the phrase. Your body-mind knows how to manage the air based on the length of the phrase. If you feel like you’re starting to run out, sense the ground underneath you and see if you can allow your body to expand rather than contracting and collapsing in your body to squeeze the air out.

“The flute feels like it’s slipping” or “My pinky finger or thumb hurts from gripping to hold onto the flute.”

Finding a hand position that is effective, comfortable, and sustainable is the key. Too often I see students clenching the flute for fear of dropping it and developing hand pain or fatigue as a result.

It’s important to know that the flute is not just supported by the fingers. (Even if it were, our fingers are longer than most people realize—they start at the base of the hand.) To find a more supportive position, we can visualize a connection between our hands and our back, with our arms as the conduit. You can imagine your arms growing out of your back, and letting the fingers lengthen as the hand touches the flute. This gives you much more support for the flute, so that your back is doing the ‘heavy lifting’ rather than the hands.

Next, find a book and hold it with the fingers stretching out across the front or back cover of the book, and the thumb stretching out across onto the opposite cover. Imagine the fingers connecting to the thumb through the book. This relationship of the fingers and the thumb when holding a book is similar to how we should hold the flute. When the lines of the fingers and thumb in each hand are roughly parallel (but not held straight, simply curving and arched naturally) as we hold our flutes, this eliminates a lot of extra contorting and tightening of the fingers.

These two fundamental ideas should help you find a hand position that feels, looks, and ‘sounds’ better!

“My sound is fuzzy/thin/airy.”

Developing good tone is crucial since a clear, rich, and flexible sound allows us to have a wide range of tone color for expression. Most flute students try to manipulate tone quality by making changes to their embouchure.

While the embouchure is undoubtedly important, sometimes we can become preoccupied with it and forget that the sound depends on the quality of the whole body. When the body is free and open, there’s more room for the sound to resonate through us, which is infinitely better than a sound that is produced in the throat, cut off from the rest of the body by excessive tension and manipulated by too many changes in the embouchure. As you learn to relax your body, your embouchure will naturally respond to make the changes needed to facilitate a change in color, dynamic, or range.

To try this out, play a long tone and see if you can imagine the sound traveling all the way through your body. Mentally scan your body to see if there is muscular gripping anywhere in the body that is blocking the passage of the sound. After all, sound is vibration, and vibration needs space to occur.

With these ideas, your practice will be easier and more enjoyable!

nadiaBNadia B. teaches flute and piano in New York, NY, as well as through online lessons. She acted as principal flutist of the orchestra and wind ensemble at California State University, Sacramento, and then went on to receive her degree in Music Performance from New York University. Learn more about Nadia here!

 

 

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TakeLessons Rock Star Teacher of the Week: Samantha D.

Samantha DOur latest Rock Star Teacher of the Week has been a musician since the age of three when she started taking piano lessons from her mother, and now plays nearly a dozen instruments ranging from the violin to the tuba!  Meet Samantha D. from Macungie, Pennsylvania, who has been an instructor with TakeLessons since April 2009 and has seven continuing students.  In addition to studying piano, Samantha learned to play clarinet, flute, trumpet and saxophone, often playing different instruments in her school’s band. She also learned the violin and cello, all before graduating high school; she now teaches in the Allentown, Pennsylvania area, and is even planning to hold several half-day music camps for her students this summer.  Her students absolutely love working with her, praising her creativity and patience and saying they would “recommend her in a heartbeat” to anyone looking to take music lessons!

Samantha believes in teaching the fundamentals of music first, which makes the following lessons easy and fun for her students. She sets short and long term goals with each of her students, and works toward helping them achieve these goals with every lesson.  When not teaching music, Samantha is also passionate about horses; she is a certified riding instructor, and trains and shows Hunter/Jumper horses.  Outstanding work, Samantha – we are so happy to count you as one of our many talented TakeLessons teachers!

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