How NOT to hold the flute!May 04, 2021
Did you know that there are 6 tweaks you can make to the way you hold the flute that will do a whole lot of good for your playing?
How NOT to hold the flute!
Just by tweaking your way of holding the flute can do all of this:
- Reduce discomfort when you play.
- Speed up your fingers
- Improve your tone
- Massively improve your intonation
So I made you a short video to demonstrate how. Watch it right here!
It's a pretty fun video (well, I had fun making it!) so come and see which of the 6 tweaks you think you need to make to improve your playing.
Funny examples of flute playing
If you're like me, you've probably seen some pretty funny examples of people in the background in movies playing the flute completely wrong. So instead of like this, they might be like this, or they might be holding it like this, or they might be blowing into it. Clearly, they don't know what they're doing.
Little detailed shifts to the way you play your flute
In this video, you're going to learn how NOT to hold the flute. And that means that in that process, you're going to learn little detailed shifts to the way that you hold the flute that make big differences to the way you feel and the way you sound.
So I've got six examples for you of what you might be doing slightly wrong with the way you hold your flute, change this and you're going to change your playing. And as a little bonus for you at the end of this video, I'm going to show you how you can instantly also improve your sound on the flute.
Faster flute progress through proper technique
So my name is Jane, and as you probably guessed, I'm a flute teacher. You might've also guessed that I'm Australian. I love showing flute players tiny adjustments to make to their flute playing which give them instant improvement. I call it faster progress through proper technique because it's absolutely true. Learn the proper technique of how to play the flute. And you will get faster progress, noticeably, faster progress.
So here we go. The six demos of how not to hold the flute, see which one of these you think you're doing.
Don't stick your neck forward when playing the flute
Number 1 is a biggie. It's sticking your neck forward when you play. Tell you why it's a biggie is because lots of people think they're not doing this, but they are. So this is how not to hold the flute. I'm going to turn side on so that you can actually see my neck.
People think that they're doing this, but they're actually doing this. Did you see that little, that little poke forward with my head that I did? That is going to cause you neck pain. And as soon as you get neck pain, you're going to get tension down your arms and slower fingers.
So think of bringing a flute right up to you all the way up to you, don't go halfway and then join it with your head. Bring the flute all the way up to you.
You can even think of a string coming out of the top of your head to pull you up. That helps you keep yourself up.
How to avoid tension when playing the flute
Number 2 of how not to hold the flute. If your keys, if they are tipped in towards you, this is terrible for your hand position, you're going to get shoulder pain. You're going to get wrist pain and your fingers are going to be slow because of all that tension.
Place right hand thumb underneath the flute
Number 3 way of how not hot to not hold the flute. See your right hand thumb here. If that is sticking too far forward like this, this is bad for your hand position. You'll be getting hand pain and you know what it does? It makes you want to tip your flute, roll your flute in toward you. And you already know that that's bad.
So get this thumb back. At the very least, it needs to be under the flute. Ideally, as you get more experienced, it's going to be a little bit back out of the way and pushing more forward. But that comes later when you're more experienced.
That's the sort of thing that I cover in my flute academy.
Curve fingers when playing the flute
Number 4 way of how not to hold the flute. Have a look at your hands and your fingers. If they are flat on the keys like this and poking over the tops of the keys, you're not going to get great finger speed out of that. You're going to be a little bit stiff.
Now the opposite of that, if you're using the very, very, very, very tips of your fingers, that's going to feel a little bit uncomfortable. So you want to be somewhere in between. You want gently curved fingers using the tips of your fingers, but not the absolute tips. More like the pads of your fingers.
If you have an open hole flute like me, you've probably got good hand position because open holes like this, they actually force you to put your correct part of your fingers on the holes.
Sit or stand correctly when playing the flute
Number 5 way of how not to hold the flute. I'm already sitting in the perfect spot to demonstrate how not to hold the flute. See how my body is facing towards you?
If I then put my flute up, you will see that my shoulder, my right shoulder goes back and my arms get squashed against my body. Right shoulder back. This arm is squashed against my body.
This is terrible because you're going to get shoulder pain, both shoulders. You're going to get arm pain. You're not going to be able to breathe fully because you're squashed and there’s tension going through your body.
So whenever you play your flute, turn your body or your chair to the right. If you're standing, turn your feet to the right. See how all of a sudden my body is facing that way and it's opened up this space. This is great. It means you can breathe more fully and you have less tension in your body. And that means speeding up your fingers.
Keep chin up when playing the flute
Number 6 way of how not to hold the flute. If your head is down like this, you're going to sound really squashed like this. Compare that to this. You'll also notice that down like this, you sound flat. Very, very different sound. So instead of just saying, keep your chin up, it's actually a lot of it is to do - all of it is to do with the alignment that you've got up here.
Instantly improve your flute tone
That's why I've made a whole mini course on how to instantly improve your sound. It's about embouchure tweaks and the way that you place the flute on your mouth, the position, the direction of blowing the shape of your mouth, the shape of the hole.
Come and join me for that free mini course, www.flute.school/free and I'll show you there how to instantly improve your sound. I'd love to see you there because that is going to get you well on track to having a great sound and moving forward with your flute playing. See you there.