With over 60 years playing the piano, when I decided to learn to play the flute it was going to be without a teacher and just using a first tutor book (I knew music, had no problem reading treble clef, and it was only one note at a time - what could be easier?
). This worked for all of three months, then I found I could not get any more new notes, particularly those in the middle or higher register. I even bought a second tutor book, since I suspected my breathing and embouchure were not quite what was required. During the purchase of this second book, the kind assistant asked me if I had a teacher, and when I said no she printed out a list of those in our area.
I narrowed it down to three in my town using post codes and telephone numbers, and casually mentioned to my wife that I was going to have to find a teacher. She told me that her friend's daughter was having lessons with a lady in our town and it turned out that she thought she was very good. So good in fact that when she had to stop having the teacher for school music, she said she did not want anyone else for private flute lessons.
So I telephoned this lady, mentioned the young girl that I knew she taught and asked if she thought she could teach a 67 year old pianist how to play the flute properly. She giggled (which I was not too sure about
) but suggested a trial lesson. She was so nice and friendly, asked me about my music experience to date, and asked me what my objective was in taking up the flute at such a mature age. My reply was that I was very keen to play music with an orchestra. I did not expect either the orchestra or me to be any good at it, but I just had this desire to experience what it was all about after so many years of solo piano. After playing her a couple of simple pieces (Merrily We Roll Along comes to mind
) I asked her to be honest and tell me if she thought I had any chance, taking into account that I had no idea now many years it might take to become that proficient. Her reply was "would you like to come at the same time next week?".
The results are in my signature, plus playing in an orchestra and a concert band for over a year. I find every rehearsal and concert a wonderful experience, and consider myself very fortunate to have found such a lovely teacher. She has certainly pushed me at times, she has a terrific knowledge of flute repertoire, she seems to always have a trick up her sleeve for ironing out difficulties in technique when they occur, she usually plays for me in each lesson to show me what it should sound like, she very often asks me what I would like to do in the lesson, and she is always interested in any performances that I give, such as at one of the Forum Adult Learner concerts, helping me to prepare fully for each piece. She has also managed to get me through Grade 5 theory, so all in all I have been very lucky.