How to FLUTTER TONGUE on the flute!

Sep 07, 2020

Have you heard of "flutter tonguing" on the flute??

It's pretty cool but actually isn't used in classical music very often at all.

You'll normally hear it in jazz flute, rock flute, or modern classical flute compositions...

Here's a 5 minute that shows you what flutter tonguing sounds like, and of course, how to do it!

Jane xx


Hi there in this video today, I'm going to show you how to flutter tongue on the flute.

It's easier than you think once you get used to doing one of the two underlying mechanisms in your mouth that cause or produce flutter tonguing. So my name is Jane. I'm a flute teacher in Sydney, in Australia. I love teaching people, the tiny little techniques that get them faster progress on the flute. That's by learning proper flute technique. So the proper flute technique today is a bit of a weird one called flutter tonguing. If by the end of this video, you find that you still can't get a clear sound when you flutter tonguing, I'll teach you about how to quickly improve your tone, how to instantly improve your tone. So hang around to the end of the video for this.

So back to flutter tonguing, there's two ways, two mechanisms in your throat and your mouth that produce flutter tonguing. The first one is the one that I do and I find the easiest and it is rolling your tounge like this. Now I distinctly remember being about 12 sitting in the back of the car, backseat of the car and having someone teach me how to do this. This is not a natural skill. What I mean is you can learn to do it. I used to think I'd heard that rolling your tongue was genetic, but it's not this. Rolling your tongue that's genetic is this, that's genetic. This is totally learnable cause I remember learning it as a kid. It takes a bit of practice. You start by having a tongue really light in your mouth and letting it sort of flap around. And then it catches the breeze and starts to flap like that. When you flutter tongue on your flute using this technique, which is technically in a linguistics and phonetics sense is called an uvular trill. When you use this technique, you don't use your vocal chords, so you'll be going and not. So you're just blowing air. So once you can do that, the next step is to put it onto your flute. It's easier. I find it easier at height than down low. So I can do it but it's you got to really open up your mouth for the flutter tonguing to actually work down low. So this is a really, really clear and effective way to flutter tonguing, especially up high.

The second way of flutter tounging on the flute is using your throat more like a growling or gurgling sound, which I'm not very good at which doesn't matter because I can do the other way. I'm really bad at this one. Oh, there we go. I have a theory about this one. I have a theory that if you speak a language where you have this sound and it's called a uvula trill, that's the phonetics name for it. You have this sound in your language. For example, in French, I have a feeling that this would be your preferred mechanism for flutter tounging, but being an English speaker, this sound is not in our language which is why I found the ‘rrr’ much easier. So see what you think, whether you're an English speaker or you just find the growling version easier. It doesn't matter. You only need one of them. It’s easier down low. That was a pretty terrible demonstration. But like I said, it doesn't matter because I can do the other one.

So choose whichever one you prefer and run with it. You need to practice it without the flute for a little bit of time to get used to it. If you can't already or that one. Once you're done, if you find that you still can't get a clear sound when you're flutter tounging, say it sounds like this. So you've got the mechanism going, but you can't get a clear sound with it, come and do a free mini-course, www.flute.school/free. And I'll teach you how to instantly improve your sound on the flute and that will help your flutter tonguing dramatically.

Now, if you're wondering where flutter tonguing is used, it's used in jazz flute. Have you seen the Anchorman jazz flute scene? There’s heaps of flutter tonguing in that. Have you heard of Jethro Tull? This is a rock band from the way back in the seventies. I think Jethro Tull, which is the band, the flute player, Ian Anderson uses flutter tonguing all the time in his playing. And the other place that you will come across flooded tonguing is in contemporary classical music. There's an amazing example of this, a piece called The Great Train Race by Ian Clark. Look it up. It's incredible.

Now in all of those examples that I just mentioned, the Anchorman scene for jazz flute, Jethro Tull for rock flute and contemporary classical flute playing. In all of those examples, if you look up any of those, you will see more than just flutter tonguing. There's another technique which is singing into the flute. In the next video next week, I'm going to show you how to sing into your float as well. So that's it from me today. If you want to come and instantly improve your tone on the flute, join me at www.flute.school/free. I'll either see you there or see you next week or both by.

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