Flute RANT, Beeeee-ware!!!!

Actually, it’s really a child “prodigy” rant or maybe a “parenting” rant but it was prompted by a poster on one of the flute list-serves I subscribe to, known to some as the floot-loop groups. This guy, the father of an 11-year-old flute player, is definitely a floot-loop. (Hey, isn’t that a cereal?) And here’s what he has to say:

11 is no longer considered young in music or flute especially these days. In Violin, there is a saying, if you cannot become a violin-master by the age of 16, then your violin career is over. [snip out some stuff where he quotes a well-known flutist, probably not in context] So my son has got only 5 to 6 years left to become somebody in flute. I have to devote my time, life and money for him to becoming somebody before 17.

Say WHAT? Excuse me. Can I go and PUKE while this character finds a LIFE?

Does your kid WANT to play the flute? Because if he does, he will definitely practice. He’ll do it because he LIKES to practice, not because you FORCE him to practice. Which it sounds like you are doing. Even the “boring” stuff like warm-ups, long notes, scales, tone development studies, and exercises. That’s because he won’t think that stuff IS boring. He will LOVE every minute of it.

Now, listen up! Here are SOME of the things you should be doing for your kid IF he is REALLY serious about becoming “somebody in flute” before he is seventeen:

  • Make sure his flute is in good working condition at all times. Kids get discouraged very quickly when they have to use crappy instruments that won’t make a decent sound. And it is NOT OK if only a few notes don’t sound good! He needs ’em ALL!
  • Buy him as much music as he wants. It’s kinda like food to him and he’s hungry for it.
  • Find him a teacher — a good one — if at all possible. I mean possible in terms of distance, not price. I KNOW what it’s like to not live within a few hundred miles of a flute teacher. Do NOT make him take regular lessons from two different people and then override anything they tell him that you happen to disagree with, whether or not you know anything about playing the flute. Like you are apparently doing.
  • Competitions? Sure, he should enter them if he wants to. But it is your job and responsibility to help him learn to lose gracefully and learn from the experience. He won’t always win the top prize, no matter how good he is. Shit happens. Life can suck. I know. Do NOT harangue the judges or the teacher if shit does happen.
  • Encourage him to pursue some OTHER interests besides the flute, including to MAKE SURE he has enough free time to run around like a hooligan sometimes. Yeah, that’s what I said. Unstructured time!

Will he become “somebody?” KEE-REIST! He already IS somebody! Will he become a successful professional flutist? Maybe. Maybe not. He’s only 11, fer kee-reissake! There are an uncountable number of things to “be” in this world. Maybe he’ll decide he doesn’t WANT to be a flutist. I hope you have something constructive to do with YOUR life so you are not too devastated if he DOESN’T become a flute “somebody” by the age of seventeen or whenever!

Okay, I think I am done for today. I *think* I feel better…. :-/

4 Responses to “Flute RANT, Beeeee-ware!!!!”

  1. Webmomster Says:

    sounds like that guy is a pro at “How to Discourage a Love for Music in 3 Easy Steps”…

  2. Jane Says:

    ohmygod. oh my god. OH MY GOD! that father is a loser! and I feel badly for the kid – what are the chances he’ll ‘make his father proud’ in this lifetime. sheesh. that’s it! as a form of protest I’m going to the beach for a week to get over this. 😉 starting tomorrow.

  3. kayak woman Says:

    Yay!!! Me and Mouse’ll be there too! Kayak kayak kayak. Beach beach beach.

  4. frooogy Says:

    Squeegrok! squeegrok! Me too! Green Guy Green Guy Green Guy! Squeegrok squeegrok!