Online flute lessons: worth it or not?
Online flute lessons - or any lessons for that matter - are a thing of the present. They seem to be here to stay as more people enjoy not having to travel to and from lessons, build an independent learning attitude, record classes to review later, and even avoid catching the ongoing plague!
There are as many advantages to learning the flute online as there are disadvantages. If you were forced to go virtual during the pandemic you probably already know all about some of the advantages and disadvantages to online learning! What is important to remember is that online learning is a personal preference. And depending on your preferences, there are always options for the willing student, because, in the end, your interest in learning the flute is what counts the most.
To help you figure out what works for you, we’ve put together a quick overview of the advantages and disadvantages of learning the flute online.
Learn from anywhere: you can learn from almost anywhere you might find yourself in the world. All you need is to have access to a flute, smartphone, and a stable internet connection. As your interest grows, you can always upgrade to better equipment later on, but for now, our phones and iPads have pretty great cameras and microphones built-in.
Learn from anyone: you can learn from any teacher in the world. The world of music and kinds of music teachers truly opens up when you can learn from them online. Not only will it be easier in terms of regular classes and less travel, but the teacher might also teach you something more than just music: their culture and the way music is experienced in their region.
Recording and review: lessons, practice videos, homework recordings become a repository of your knowledge, musical progress, and style development over time.
Develop independence: you are free to study independently of the teacher and even learn beyond what you are currently being taught. The online world is full of resources, and you can ask your flute teacher to point you in the right direction when you encounter something unknown and interesting or even bring your new knowledge to classes to engage in stimulating discussions about music with your teacher.
Develop self-awareness: posture, finger placement among other things are often corrected with a gentle nudge by your teacher during traditional, in-person classes. Online classes help you develop an intuition for how to stand, sit, position fingers, and breathe in a way that feels natural to you. The teacher is often forced to teach you in a way that allows you to feel it yourself rather than just correcting it for you.
Limited angles: the teacher has a limited view of the student and cannot move around them to support their posture while playing the flute. Experienced online teachers learn how to work around this but it remains frustrating.
The magic touch: While online classes build up the student’s independence and intuition, the teacher is not able to physically touch or reposition the student's hands or instrument. Although an experienced teacher can verbally instruct the student on how to hold themselves and the instrument, there is a lot of trial and error that occurs before the student is (and looks) physically comfortable while playing the flute.
Can you hear me?: Unclear, lagged audio is the biggest frustration of learning or teaching online. Music requires a precise and clear sound quality during in-person lessons, and this is not something either the student or teacher can compromise on for online lessons. Again, an experienced teacher can hear past this. Good teachers can tell a student what to do by just listening to them!
It’s easy to ignore the virtual: you can lose track of reminders to practice, multiple tabs of online flute resources, hundreds of YouTube videos, and sometimes even the online lesson itself. It becomes easy to ignore the need for physical flute practice when there are just online classes, internet resources, and virtual communities. You can often lose yourself exploring social media, especially when there are thousands of posts about music in general.
We’d love to know what you think
Now that we’ve shared some of the pros and cons of online learning in the general sense, we pass the question off to you. What do you find are advantages to learning music online? Do you want to return to in-person classes? Do the disadvantages make your decision to learn flute online more difficult to stick through? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.
Look out for our next article in this series about what The Flute Practice students think about their online learning experiences. Until then, keep practicing and enjoying the flute!
Looking for an online flute teacher?
We have partnered with Lessonface, * a wonderful platform that helps connect aspiring musicians with the right teacher. There are loads of different teachers to choose from and each teacher has their profile as well as ratings so that you can find the best teacher to suit your needs. Lessonface even has a student-teacher matching system so that you can get connected with a teacher right away. You can get $15 USD discount when you sign up for your first lesson by using our coupon code theflutepractice15.
About the online learning blog series:
In this series of articles, we’ll be looking into different perspectives about online learning, and what teachers and students think it takes to build a level of comfort learning the flute in a virtual space. Keep an eye out for the rest of this upcoming series on The Flute Practice blog!
* Please note that these links are affiliate links. When you make a purchase using these links, I earn a small commission on the sale.