The Flute Academy
How your embouchure affects your lung capacity

How your flute embouchure affects your lung capacity

Dec 31, 2019

How your flute embouchure affects your lung capacity

I hope you're ready for a great year of learning how to improve your flute playing!

Because I've just recorded your first little lesson for 2020... on the surprising connection between your embouchure and your lung capacity.

It's a good one. In fact, it's turned out to be my favourite weekly video yet!


It highlights how knowing certain connections between seemingly unrelated things (like your embouchure and your lungs) are the key to totally sky-rocketing your ability to play the flute well.

(Plus I like that my new plants have a cameo 🌱)

And happy new year from Sydney!

Jane xx

How to increase your air when playing flute

Hey there today! I wanna tell you about the surprising connection between your embouchure and your lungs. I could have also called this video, how to increase your air, the amount of air that you have without improving your lung capacity. I'll tell you why in a second. I dunno about you but many of my students think that they need to improve their lung capacity because they're always feeling out of breath or they're always running out of air too soon, or they can't get through a phrase that they wanna get through. But in actual fact, it's never about their lungs.

Flute School

My name is Jane Cavanagh and my flute school is about teaching people how to make tiny little changes to their playing that make a huge difference in how good they sound. A lot of that is about making surprising connections like what I'm about to tell you between embouchure and lungs that make understanding things so much easier and make playing so much better.

Wasted air when playing flute

So the most common reason people run out of air when they play the flute, is that they feel like they're out of breath all the time or not getting through long phrases. I can sum this up in two words, wasted air. When I learned that I was wasting air, I literally doubled the length of phrases that I could get through overnight, not even overnight. It was like in the same lesson, it's such a simple concept that it'll knock your socks off. So let's drill down.

Embouchure hole too big for flute

There is only one place that you can waste air from when you play the flute that is here, your embouchure. And there is only one way that you can waste air from your embouchure hole and that is if the hole is too big. But there are multiple ways how this hole can be too big. Here are some examples. Let me first play a few notes so that you know that I can actually play the flute cause I'm gonna give you these examples of how it sounds bad, but I can actually- so there you go. That's a real flute sound.

Fix flute embouchure

All right. You can waste air because your embouchure is too round like this and the hole was too big. You can waste air because the hole can be too wide like this and the hole is too big. Your lips can be too pouty like this and you will waste air. Your lips can be too pulled in like this and you will waste air. Your lips can be too tight like this, too smiley and you will waste air. 

Your lip plate can be too high or low on your mouth and you will waste air because of the direction that you're blowing. You can be aiming too high like this and sort of missing that edge and you will waste air because of that direction. And of course, it can be a combination of any of those things.

Free flute mini course 

So you might have noticed if you've seen any of my other weekly videos or you've done a free minicourse or you are in my flute academy that I concentrate on embouchure so much. And there's a very good reason for this. It affects so much more than just your sound.  So much more. It's like the concrete foundations of your playing today.

Embouchure affects high notes on flute

Today I've shown you how it affects your air and how much air you have to play a long phrase, but it also affects how well you can play high notes or how well you can control your playing in general. It affects your intonation. That's your tuning. And most importantly, it affects your ability to express yourself on the flute.

Express yourself when playing flute

If you don't have these skills in place, you actually aren't free to be able to express yourself. Most people want to play the flute or what most people wanna play an instrument because it gives them an outlet to be able to express something. Brilliant reason to be playing. And I love teaching you these connections like today, between embouchure and lungs, because it makes you understand how things are connected and that when you make a simple change or a small change to something, it actually impacts your playing more than you ever thought possible if you make the right little change.

The Flute Academy

If this is how you like to learn, then come and check out my flute academy, which is about to open for enrollment., come and see what you'll learn and if it's right for you. And in the meantime today, you've learned that increasing your air is about not wasting the air that you've got. It's these simple skills that I love teaching because it stops people from going down the wrong path. For example, trying to increase their lung capacity when it's actually nothing to do with their lungs. So see you next week.

Faster Progress Through Proper Technique ™

Learn how making the right tiny adjustments to your flute playing accelerates your progress.

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

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