The Flute Academy
How to play the HIGHEST NOTE on the flute

How to play the HIGHEST NOTE on the flute

Sep 22, 2020

Well, spring has definitely sprung in Sydney, and there's no better way to celebrate the extra daylight hours than annoying my neighbours with high note practice!

How to play the HIGHEST NOTE on the flute

(Just kidding - they tend to comment that the flute playing sounds lovely, so that's good...)

Today I'm showing you how to play the "highest note on the flute". Officially that's a C, but unofficially, it's common to play up to a C# and D.

Watch your 4-minute mini-lesson to learn how!

Keep your cats away from this one!

Jane xx


The highest note on the flute

Today in this video, I'm going to show you how to play the highest note on the flute. But this comes with a word of warning. Being able to play the highest note on the flute is not a measure of your ability. The best measure of your ability is whether you can play high-ish notes, like much, much, much lower than this with proper technique. I'll tell you more about that at the end of this video.

I've got a free mini-course for you on how to play high notes, not this high, but with proper technique. That is the real measure of your ability and your success on the flute.

Fingering charts for flute

Okay. So if you're looking any, or I should say most fingering charts, or if you look up online, the highest note of the flute, normally they will show you that it's a C. So this is a C and the fingering is on the screen for you now. The way I explain this to my students, put your entire left hand on including your little finger, but take your thumb off. And then on your right hand, the only thing down is your F finger.

If you've got a B foot and that's where you have, not 2 of these keys, but three, you need to put down, what's literally officially called the Gizmo key. So B foot, B feet, have a Gizmo key. That is the technical name. It's hilarious, but if you have a C foot like mine with just two of these here, you just need your F key.

Professional flute players

Now officially that's the highest note on the flute, a high C, but professionals, or let's say really, really, really, really good amateurs or semi-professionals actually know and play higher than that. They play up to C-sharp, which is this one. And you have your middle finger on here and no thumb. Then your F key again, and then your low C. So the low C and C sharp push together with a flat finger. This is high C sharp.

You can also go up the next note and some composers write for this up to D so thumb on and ring finger on your left hand. First finger, second finger and low C again, that's high D. So the only composers that I know that regularly have written for up to C sharp and D is Prokofiev. If you have a look at his classical symphony, there's a nice little flute bit that goes up all the way to high D.

Modern flutes

It's very rare for compositions to be written up this high, purely because when they were written, normally the flutes weren't able to go up that high. They weren't quite as Ferrari as they are now. I had a flute teacher explain that to me once. She called these flutes,  modern flutes Ferrari's back in the old days, they couldn't do nearly as much as what they can do now.

And for that reason, contemporary classical composers, you know, like in the last sort of 50 years or so, they're much more likely to write up that high for flute. Most of the flute repertoire was written before 50 or so years ago so they generally don't go up that high. So that's why technically the highest note on the flute is just a C, just to see. Now I haven't introduced myself.

Faster progress on the flute

My name is Jane and I love teaching people how to get faster progress on the flute, through learning proper technique. And so the proper technique for high notes, if you're struggling with these, and honestly, even if you're not struggling with these, come and learn the proper technique for high notes, which is anything from this E up.

That's what I consider a high note, because you need to use the proper embouchure technique to get that note properly, which will then let you play higher with ease.

Real way to play high notes easily on the flute

So come and join me at www.flute.school/high notes. And I will show you the real way to play high notes easily. I'd love to see you there. See you later.

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