How to Get Rid of Spit Bubbles

How to Get Rid of Spit Bubbles!

Jan 11, 2019

In this video, learn the fastest way to get rid of annoying leaky condensation in the keys of your flute.

* EDIT * Make sure to avoid the gluey part of the paper when using the technique in this video!

In this video, you are going to learn two really fast ways to get rid of spit bubbles in your flute. What are spit bubbles? You know, when you're playing along, there's heaps of condensation on the inside of your flute from playing a lot and it starts blocking off one of the keys and the note doesn't turn out right? Well, anyway, I'm gonna show you two really fast ways to fix that. Hang around at the end of the video, because there is a free flute course, that's a tongue twister, a free flute course on tone, improving your tone that you can do. So I'll tell you at the end,

As a woodwind player, welcome to the world of spit bubbles. It's when you go to play a C sharp say, and there's a nice little seal of condensation around here that makes your flute think that your C sharp here is closed and it comes out as a C. Terrible when this happens in a concert and you have no control over it. The worst spot that I can imagine right now it happening is at the start of Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Afternoon of a Faun. How was that for good French? Starts on a C sharp exposed. You really do not want that C sharp turning into a C.

So there are two ways of fixing this and there is a major, major rule to remember. This is something to pass on to your students. It's a rule that will stop your flute from being destroyed. Here are the keys that are the most affected and why I figured out why. It's the G sharp key that gets like dribble coming out of it and sealing the hole and the D sharp. And it's because those keys are on the underside of the flute, the side to the underside and the dribble runs down. No, the condensation runs down on the inside of your flute. The other keys that get affected a lot, C sharp, like I said, the two tool keys. And you probably guess the reason why it's cause they're tiny. 

Here's how to fix them. If you've ever sat next to an oboe player in an orchestra, you will see them playing away and then they go - they'll do this even in the middle of the concert. I think it's funny. And it works. If you get a spit bubble, the quickest fix is to do that. And people, the audience will just look at you strangely. But honestly, I think most of what musicians do on stage, they probably find a little bit strange anyway, so this will just, you know, add to the list. So don't be afraid, just blow it out, get rid of it very fast.

And the second way, which is very useful for students because this way it's not really for performing in a hardcore important concert. What's more, if you're practising and you have this annoying spit bubble form, you need cigarette paper. This is Tally-ho, which I have since learned when I was doing another video. Oh my gosh. It's actually made in Belgium. I was going to say that it is Australia's finest cigarette paper. I just learned that bats always turn left when exiting a cave, check that out. Can't believe anyone still smokes seriously. But luckily they do because it means that flute players like us can have access to this paper. I get it at a tobacconist not sure if that's an English European term for a little shop that sells all sorts of weird stuff. The only thing I ever buy is cigarette paper, but you can no doubt find it somewhere. People smoke everywhere. Never, ever, ever put the Tally-ho into the flute like this, push down on the key and then drag it out with force. Always. When you have a problem, little spitty dribbly key, put the paper in, push down on the key, and move it around a few times like this, the paper will get soaked with moisture.

Just move it around. Always have the key up. This is what you need to tell students before you pull the paper out. If you have the key down and it's so tempting for students to do this, I remember doing it as a small student, going out so much more effective if I drag the paper out. If your student drags the cigarette paper out, while the keys closed, they will rip the fibres underneath these yellow pads, in the yellow pads, they will rip the fibres and shred the pad and your flute will go kaput and need servicing. Hopefully, that should be enough deterrent for them. Oh, by the way, did you know that spit bubbles happen on your flute more when it is cold weather?

So I'm Jane, I'm a flute player, which you probably guessed. I created The Flute Teacher School. That's my business because I love showing flute players and teachers, that little tiny thing that makes a huge difference to their playing. I call them quick fixes, but they're real, real fixers, real technique fixers. If you wanna do the same thing to your tone or your student's tone, go and do the free course that I've made called How to Quickly Improve your Tone on the Flute. I would love to see you in that course in the meantime, have a great day.

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!

Find out more

The Flute Academy acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country and their connections and continuous care for the skies, lands and waterways of Australia.