Why is it so hard to learn to play the ocarina well? How difficult can it be to learn just one skill? If you've ever found yourself making such questions, here's the answer!
Basically, you are trying to learn two different languages simultaneously:
When you try to learn your first musical instrument, you can't really separate mastering the instrument and mastering the rules of music from each other, you have to learn both of them simultaneously. The need to learn both makes it more difficult. But it's really important to know both of them to play well.
If you already know how to play any musical instrument, you will already know something about the 'language of music'. That makes mastering the second or third instrument way easier, because you have a half of a knowledge in your pocket. It's even easier if a previous instrument was a woodwind too.
I can say through my own experience. I didn't have to learn how to read music for the ocarina, because I have previous experience with piano and guitar. And when I picked up a tin whistle after the ocarina, it took me only couple of minutes to play some simple tunes, because I was familiar with breath pressure control.
What makes the ocarina especially difficult to pick up as a first instrument, is that there's not so many sources that would explain musicality and music theory specifically for ocarina players. So those who are just starting their way in the ocarina, have to figure out this information by themselves.
Another problem is that people are often not so serious about the ocarina. In the meaning that they think that if they aren't going to perform professionally there's no need to practice basic skills deliberately and consistently to play well enough, and no need to look for a mentor.
However, being stuck on their own, with no way to find out if they are doing well or not, leaves people stuck at a basic level for longer than if they had a mentor. It often leads to frustration as they are not progressing as fast as they would want to. Frustration leads to low motivation, low motivation leads to the point where people are afraid to play anything, knowing that they'll make lots of mistakes. (Depression, death...)
And thus, sadly, people quit the instrument, considering themselves untalented, when they just needed someone to help them to pass through this initial difficult point.
I can't make it easy for you to learn the ocarina, but I can offer some advice to make it easier.
It's hard to learn both 'languages' simultaneously. So try separating them from each other, simplifying the problem. Clap and sing without the ocarina in your hands. Practice basic ocarina techniques separate from a melody, by playing just scales and intervals (Interval Book may help you with it). That'll make your learning process easier.
Music theory may look intimidating and big but it isn't so hard to learn anything, including this, if you'll just split it up on smaller sections and start doing them one at a time.
The ocarina world is currently missing a lot of resources to help people learn, and if you feel inspired, you can help in the following ways:
People often write about the ocarina on Facebook where an information tends to get lost. I would like it to be more available for people. If you want to have your article about the ocarina on this site contact me at email@example.com.