The value of having a mentor or teacher when learning the ocarina

There is an idea that has become pervasive recently that the ocarina is 'easy to play' and that you don't need guidance to learn to play it. But this is not entirely correct.

Learning alone, it is difficult to know how well you are doing. Books or video tutorials cannot give feedback, and the lack of external feedback means that mistakes can go unnoticed for months, if not years.

  • It is extremely easy to develop bad habits when you are new to an instrument, as there are so many things to learn.
  • Technique errors can cause hand pain, or make playing much more difficult than it should be, and can be fixed in a few minutes with guidance.
  • You may know that your playing style could be better, but not know how to develop it.

How a mentor or teacher can help you

Many people learn the ocarina by themselves, and are self driven, but that does not mean that you cannot benefit from some guidance.

Technique errors can be corrected in a few minutes, instead of months. A teacher or mentor can also support you by playing accompaniment, or encouraging you to keep going.

Additionally, a mentor can guide you towards more effective learning approaches, and will expose you to new kinds of music you may not have found otherwise.

Whether you are playing the ocarina for fun, or have more serious intentions, finding an ocarina mentor or teacher is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your enjoyment of the instrument. And save yourself a huge amount of time.

Don't be scared of reaching out for advice even if you are playing for your own enjoyment. Having good fundamental skills will make everything else you do so much easier, and increase your enjoyment long term.

The difference between mentors and teachers

Ocarina teacher

An ocarina teacher will guide your entire learning process, with a curriculum designed to ensure that you cover every aspect. They will give you music and exercises to learn, and may or may not be willing to help you with your own music.

Ocarina mentor

An ocarina mentor will watch you play, and make suggestions about how you can improve. They may give you some exercises to work on, but ultimately you have control of your progression.

How can I find an ocarina mentor or teacher?

Your best bet for finding an ocarina mentor or teacher as of writing is to look online. There are people who can work with you remotely over the internet, using Skype, Facebook video chat, Zoom or similar.

Due to the geographic dispersion of serious ocarina players, you would be lucky to find someone who is close to you physically, and even if you could, your choice would be very limited.

Here are some suggestions for finding a mentor or teacher:

  • Search for terms like 'ocarina mentor'. There are some people who actively promote themselves as ocarina mentors online. To get a sense of their skill, look for reviews.
  • Reach out to players you admire. Even if they do not actively promote themselves as such, many ocarina players are willing to help students if asked.
  • Look for teachers of similar instruments. While they won't understand the specifics of the ocarina, they will be able to help you with things like music theory, sight reading, and ear training.

Do take care who you listen to. As ocarinas don't have a strongly established playing tradition, it is really easy to find bad advice.

People being people, you may find that you don't get along with the first person you contact.

Different people also specialise in different genres of music, and play music for different reasons. So don't get discouraged.


While the ocarina has recently been viewed as an instrument one can self teach, I hope that you can now see the value of having a mentor.

Having a mentor will help you progress much faster. If you are a beginner, it will help you play more interesting and diverse music sooner, increasing your enjoyment of the instrument.

And for intermediate or advanced players, it will help you develop more depth in your technique.