with Jane

February 2021

The Flute Academy

Faster Progress Through Proper Technique

Join Jane in The Flute Academy to transform your flute playing - one clever tweak at a time!

Find out more

Flute Questions

👉🏼 2:44 John asks: I want to know if refinement of embouchure can get rid of the wind/breath sound that can accompany notes, especially in the upper registers?

👉🏼 4:21 Zwanie asks: Hi Jane. I manage to play the low C but not tongued. My tonguing goes quite well for the other notes. How do I tongue the low C?

👉🏼 6:31 Shelly asks: Thank you Jane for these Flute Q and As. I'm interested - how long does it take you to prepare each one? I'm sure I speak for everyone that we really appreciate your time and expertise?

👉🏼 7:49 John asks: My biggest bugbear in flute playing over many years has been the 2nd octave F# and how best to tackle it!

Here's the video on why high E and high F# are difficult

👉🏼 12:48 James asks: I have two questions, possibly related. Air direction as one moves to higher registers: from down to more across the lip plate?

👉🏼 15:55 James also asks: Does the size/shape of the mouth cavity affect tonality?

👉🏼 18:55 Glen asks: I'm primarily a saxophone player and new to the flute. I have questions about the D# key usage and the F# alternate fingering.

Here's the right hand pinky video Glen!

👉🏼 27:25 Leslie asks: In this virtual world we are in, music for virtual church has to be recorded, often with a CD accompaniment.  When I play, to my ear it sounds clear and true, but the mic seems to pick up breath.  I am using iPad and SHURE round mic.  Any suggestions for those of doing home recordings?

👉🏼 29:20 Raelene asks:  I play alto flute. Are there any special techniques for this instrument, or do your techniques pretty much translate?

👉🏼 30:06 YunChi asks: I have been struggling playing F notes (both high and low), I looked around and it doesn't seem like anyone else mention this. I saw your video for "Why high E and F# are hard" (I can play those fairly easy on my flute), and learning that my flute doesn't have the split mechanism. I wonder if this is possible the cause and how should I overcome this problem?

👉🏼 32:52 Eduardo asks: My question is not so much about the technique of flute playing, but more about the expression:  Quantz, in his "Treatise", mentions that the purpose of music is to "awake the passions of the soul", and he has a long digression about the fact that different keys give rise to different moods. However, equal temperament was already in place (!). But what confuses me is that even keyboard players still talk about the various moods that the different tonalities provide, ...and this leaves me at a loss, feeling that there is something there that I am not understanding. As a professional player and a teacher, what is your position on this?

Here's the fantastic book: How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony

👉🏼 40:12 Carol asks: When I practice my major scales, I don't look at the music.  As I am playing  a scale, I'm always thinking about the particular note I am playing.  But when I try to speed it up,  I sometimes can successfully play the scale, but in my mind, I lose track of the particular notes I was playing.  So then that kind of upsets me because in a way, I'm not sure of what I just played (even though it sounded correct).  Am I approaching this incorrectly?

👉🏼 42:02 Sally asks: What am I doing wrong that causes my upper outer left arm to fatigue quickly and give me such pain that I can't play more that 20 minutes?  The fatigue starts within 5 minutes and gets progressively worse.

👉🏼 43:43 Sue asks: I still can not play a good sound above D even having listened to your tips, videos etc. I have had to re learn to blow the way you have said but it is so easy just to go back to my old way to breath harder.  Do other people still have problems after 2 months?

👉🏼 47:02 Gerard asks: Do you re-adjust your flute length when you play? After playing for a few minutes, my flute warms up and the sound changes making me be out of tune. I usually extend the headjoint a little bit. When you play with a group, and you play for a while, then stop, then play again, the flute warms up and cools off again and again, how do you manage to stay in tune?

👉🏼 49:56 Sean asks: How often do you service your flute?

Here is the amazing flute repairer (Angus) I use in Sydney

👉🏼 51:40 Carol asks: Some recommend ALWAYS placing the head joint so that the lip plate aligns with the B and A keys.   didn't quite understand your discussion about eventually turning the head joint and lip plate in a little. Could you further elucidate?

👉🏼 54:18 Jim had asked: Why is it harder to get a sound out of the flute when the air temperature is very cold?

👉🏼 56:36 Rod asks: I do have a question for you Team Jane. I have covid and don’t feel sick but I have not played my flute for over a week ( I’m in quarantine right now). When I do start playing again, how would you suggest I begin, I’m afraid to play now because of covid. Any tips on covid cleaning?

👉🏼 59:12 Perfect Celery (via YouTube) wants to know more about vibrato (for non Flute Academy students).

👉🏼 1:02:42 Wolfgang asks: You talked about your Muramatsu flute and the Williams head joint. Can you tell us the story of this head joint? How did you get to know the Williams company? What made you decide for this head joint?

This is the excellent flute shop (The Flute Tree) in Sydney where I bought my flute

👉🏼 1:06:28 Anna asks: How can I get the lowest note? Maybe my flute needs adjusting, or do I need to buy a new flute, I have an Armstrong open hole flute. I once took it in for adjustment to make sure that I can get the low c, but I am still having difficulty getting the low C. Help please! Do I need to take it to another place for fixing my flute, or is it me?

Here's the video Anna on why you can't play Low C

👉🏼 1:07:18 Karen asks: My pinky fingers are short and after playing a while my right pinky just locks up, and I have a difficult time playing low or mid D to E. I’ve tried keeping it bent a bit but it doesn’t seem to help.

👉🏼 1:10:09 Chris asks: What level do you have to be to start to learn how to play vibrato? It is hard to get a sense of what level other students are when they start to learn this technique as listening to recordings of 2nd/3rd grade level pieces on youtube are done by much more skilled flute players.

👉🏼 1:11:51 Douglas asks: I have a Gemeinhardt 30B when I play a note I can not hear any difference when I hold the little finger down on my right hand or not I've even tested it on a tuner and there is no difference why do we hold it down

Here's the right hand pinky video for you Douglas

👉🏼 1:12:39 Lianne asks: One teacher years ago told me to let the wind enter my mouth before exiting to play on the flute head. She said it would enrich my tone. What is your opinion?

👉🏼 1:13:20 Paco asks: I have many doubts about how much to press the flute against my lower lip and the amount of air needed to play in the bass, middle and high registers. (Paco - the rest of your answer is after Bernadine!)

Here's the free high note mini course!

👉🏼 1:14:59 Bernadine asks: I would like to know how I could change the embouchure I played with for over 25 years. I think it’s too tight in the corners of my mouth, which limits my sound.

👉🏼 1:18:30 Naomi asks: I recently started the flute. I'm having a problem with the air. I don’t know if I’m blowing too hard or what but i run out of air very easily. My question is, how can i work on the air and which is the right way to blow air on the flute?

Here is Pavane by Fauré that I played in this answer (just click on PDF SHEET MUSIC to see the sheet music)

And here's the free mini course to instantly improve your tone

👉🏼 1:20:13 Rozalynn asks: How do you tongue correctly?

Here's the demo piece, Badinerie by Bach (just click on PDF SHEET MUSIC to see the sheet music)

And the free tone mini course

👉🏼 1:22:41 Sheila asks: The flute feels quite unbalanced at times and my left first finger has some pain when I play for 20 mins - could it be the setting up of the flute or tension possibly?

👉🏼 1:24:50 Anna asks: I seem to produce huge mounts is saliva and it I think it affects my sound. So every few pieces I have to take off the head joint and dry it. Does it really affect my sound or is it my imagination and how can I resolve it?

Here's the video called "Why Does My Flute Dribble?"

And the video on "spit bubbles"!

👉🏼 1:27:20 Bonnie asks: High F # is difficult and ugly on my flute!  Help!

The video on why high E and high F# is difficult

And the free mini course that makes higher notes easy!

And the free mini course to fix your embouchure (if needed)

👉🏼 1:28:51 Kay asks: My issues are with breath control...how to make it to the end of a long phrase without dying :)  Also breathing quickly, deeply, quietly.  Anything re. breathing I'd like to hear your tips.

👉🏼 1:30:44 Aria asks: I know how to double tongue but I can't get it to sound as clear/crisp as I would like, any tips?

Here is the piece I used to demonstrate double tonguing (just click on PDF SHEET MUSIC to see the sheet music)

👉🏼 1:33:43 Lilly asks: How to get the best sound out for beginners like me?  I'm in 6th grade and just started playing in September.

Here's the tone mini course for you Lilly!

👉🏼 1:34:40 Gabriel asks: I have been playing the recorder for 5 years and recently (like four days ago hahahahaha) decided to change for the flute. I'm having a good time learning the fingerings, embouchure and posture, but I'm kinda confused about what I should do after that. Should i start studying scales? Or there is like a middle ground? 

Here is a whole lot of awesome baroque flute music for you Gabriel!

👉🏼 1:36:24 Gabriel also asks: In these 5 years I never tongued notes because I never felt a difference in the sound. So my question is about the purpose of this technique. Should I tongue every note that I play?

👉🏼 1:37:30 Mike asks: I can also play harmonics softly, slurred to the 3rd or 4th harmonic, without any problem once I have warmed up.  However, if I play more loudly on my Yamaha I often find some mid-range notes 'crack' and jump to a higher harmonic. This never happens with my Altus and I wonder why? My best guess is that the cut or the composition of the headjoint on the Altus is just 'better'. So, any idea why I get the 'cracked' notes and how to avoid them?  Do you think it would be better if I just put the Yamaha away and kept it as a 'spare' as the Altus now seems to work much better for me?

👉🏼 1:39:54 Lori asks: Many studies end with a high note and then a low note. Mostly this note is marked forté. For me this is always difficult to play. Are there any tips to play and end a piece like this better?

👉🏼 1:42:00 Lennart asks: My embouchure continues to be unstable and changes even on a 30 minutes practice. Do you think, with your experience, that it will improve with practice or should I try to change the position of the hole? When I whistle the hole is formed on the left side but whistling and flute playing is rather different, isn’t it? Maybe should I try to use the same position of the lip plate and tone hole as Sir James Galway?  Maybe I should increase and practice two or more sessions each day?

👉🏼 1:44:52 Ashley asks: How long should it take for a beginner to learn to actually play the flute?

👉🏼 1:45:46 Marilyn asks: One of my issues is getting the low C to come out when I am moving from a higher note down to that low C and back to a higher note.

Here's the Low C video for you Marilyn

👉🏼 1:46:23 Martin asks: My question is to do with articulation in the 3rd octave. I have always found it very difficult (nigh on impossible) to maintain an embouchure when tonguing “up there”, as I think of it. It’s worst on notes like E (my flute doesn’t have a split E). My tongue seems to disturb my embouchure somehow.

👉🏼 1:48:45 Paula asks: Of late I have started to have terrible embouchure days to the point where my notes disappear and I can't even make a sound!  I am trying to understand why this has happened since before this I was doing so well, but I seem to be having more and more days like this,  I feel like I am struggling with the notes now and really having to push them, have you heard of this happening before?

👉🏼 1:50:49 Stephen asks: I bought a new Yamaha 222 flute 2 months ago and while I was carefully cleaning the flute my trill rod came lose and the culprit was a loose pivot screw. I was able to carefully put the rod back into place and with a jewellers screwdriver carefully screwing it back in not too tightly being mindful not to bind the mechanism. My question is if this is a common occurrence as a flutist owning a new flute or flute in general throughout the time of having the instrument. It happened only once and the flute still plays beautifully with no visible damage to the flute or its mechanism. I'm a 38 year old patient and careful gentle flute owner that has OCD literally and figuratively when it comes to taking care of the things I own.

👉🏼 1:53:58 Candi asks: I need the Ian Anderson sound, which calls for a silent singing approach by using my falsetto voice, perfecting the fundamental single  tonguing action. Can you please explain how to do this technique of singing while playing the flute?

Candi, here's the video on how to sing into the flute!

👉🏼 1:54:59 Joely asks: I can't produce a consistently good tone on my flute. I have spent time looking at my embouchure in the mirror and tried lots of adjustments but no improvement. Could my bargain price flute be adding to my difficulties with tone?

Here's the mini course to instantly improve your tone

👉🏼 1:55:50 Dilys asks: My embouchure slightly to the left of my mouth, but I've noticed if I look in the mirror that I naturally hold the hole to the left as well, that is, directly in front of the embouchure.  Is that correct?  It seems to make a better sound.