ONLINE LESSONS

PLAYERS

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LESSONS

Lesson #1
The first playing lesson in this series is to find your inner self and your inner song. To do this it could be best to start just with you learning from the instrument and yourself. This should be the base for anyone’s playing.

The Native American flute is not a European instrument!!! At some point it was influenced by Europeans and today it is very much the case (the European music system). Today’s flute music reflects that influence so; remember that 500-900yrs ago there was no European base music here in North America. There was though plenty of flute music throughout North America and was done by Native People of North America. Their flutes were played from the player’s inner self, no written music or pentatonic scale to work from just the inner self and what life brought.

Lesson #2
Each time you are picking up your flute to play you are learning something new about yourself and your flute. This is a big plus if you ever start to get frustrated about progressing. The fact that just holding the flute could help you play is hard for some to realize but it can do that.

Lesson #3
Try playing at different times of the day and/or conditions. This can give you a better understanding of such things as your feelings, breathing, or finger placement.

Lesson #4
Trying different fingering scales can help improve your finger placement. This is something that I do to this day. You should not worry about mistakes in the scales or even if is a real scale. You are just trying to get to the subconscious of your brain. It’s the repeating the scale that is the key!!!!

Lesson #5
Breathing the notes of the flute loud, soft, fast or slow could give you away to bring life into you songs.

Lesson #6
Try not to pay for lessons or workshops that help you play from the heart, play out of the box or teach you scared breath through the Native American Flute. These types of workshops and lessons are very popular with Non-Native Americans and even more popular in being taught by Non-Native Americans. Somehow they become a scholar, authority or historian on a culture or subject they know little about.

Lesson #7
Playing the flute as a sole instrument you should be free to arrange notes and techniques anyway you choose. You will find in time the right combinations! So, remember the Native American Flute of today has been very influenced by the European music system and thinking.

Lesson #8
There is a lot of miss information that can be argued amongst the Native American Flute and Non-Native people are great at it. Pay closer attention to information from Native Americans because you’re trying to play their flutes not the European Recorder.  Native Americans will share but, self centered, ego based behavior wont get you far.

Here's some examples.
All flutes need a sharp edge on the sound hole to split the air stream to work. False
A slow air chamber is needed for the flute to work. False
Any world note tuning can be applied to the basic construction of the Native American flutes as well as the European Recorder. True
Native American Flutes use the pentatonic scale. Today-True : 600yrs ago-False
Native American Flutes were used by man to court women. True for some Nations-False for other Nations
Native American Flutes can heal people. False: Its just wood with no powers at all.
Non-Native people saved the Native American flute from being lost. FALSE : Native American Nations always had flutes be part of their great culture.

Lesson # 9
When buying a flute pay more attention to the body language, tone of voice and words used by the maker. Watch for claims that can’t be proved. The more the maker brags, talks down other makers, pressure you to buy or play there flutes the more your RED FLAG should go up. I buy very few flutes any more because of how some of the Non-Native makers behave.

Lesson #10
When I first started I listened to many different players but did not try to sound like them. They had their way of playing and I needed mine. This is what you will find is the most fun about playing Native Flutes. You should not expect to do it over night but as you play and learn your style will start to emerge. You can get aids like song books; play along CDs, and CDs with Lessons, DVDs and You Tube videos. These can be helpful to some in the learning process. I found few of these types of teaching aids worth it but the best kinds are the ones were techniques are explained. Than again your just doing someone else's thing, to sound like them. So, watch out for the DVDs and You Tubes videos where the person demonstrating adds more techniques to the technique they are demonstrating (so they sound good). Mean while you're trying to still figure out what the technique is (so you sound like doggy doo). How good of a teaching add is that?
Try sounding like yourself when you play, play your songs. Again this seems to be so hard for Non-Native American people to do and to grasp.

FLUTE CARE
The best care for you flute is to ask the maker, if that’s not possible I lean toward doing nothing. That’s because it may be hard to figure out what was finished used by the maker. Let’s say the finish is polyurethane, putting oil, wax or both will do nothing to help.  Its like putting Polyurethane on your deck then throwing down some wood oil to help just because someone had deck oil to sell.  Be careful of products made just for flute care, the more you ask questions the better educated you are but just don’t ask the person selling the product ask other flute makers what they use, what they feel is good care. I do the standard stuff like no flutes in the direct sun that sort of thing (common sense).

Redbelly Lives,
David Martinka