The Flute Academy
How to improve flute attacked notes

Flute Q&A #30: How to improve flute attacked notes

Aug 29, 2022

Sylvia asks how to improve the clarity of the starts of her notes on the flute - in other words, the clarity of her tonguing. She says her notes sometimes start sounding "fuzzy". There is a specific solution (in the form of a little flute exercise) to improve the clarity of the starts of your notes! Watch this Flute Q&A for a demo...

How to improve flute attacked notes

Sylvia, the Tonguing exercises I mentioned are part of The 45 Day Transformation in The Flute Academy - you can find out more info about it here if you're interested. https://www.flute.school/academy
And to register for the free mini course to fix your embouchure and improve your tone, just go here

Feel free to ask your flute question for an upcoming Flute Q&A by clicking here


Improve attacked notes on the flute

Welcome to flute Q & A #29. This question comes from Sylvia. She says, how do I improve my attacks? Sometimes they are fuzzy. So by attacks, she obviously means her tonguing on the flute. So I'm going to answer that question, but first my name is Jane. I'm a flute teacher.

Proper flute playing techniques

I love teaching people like in this question, Sylvia, exact proper flute playing techniques so that they can get an instant change in their sound, an instant change in their playing, not just their sound. So I call it faster progress through proper technique.

The Flute Academy

All right, here we go with this question. So Sylvia, there's two parts to this answer for you. The first one is make sure that you're tonguing in the right spot and in the right way. In the Flute Academy, so this is where I teach the flute online. Day 38 is a tongue troubleshooting guide and it takes you through all these different ways that people tongue in different ways that are wrong. What it sounds like, what it looks like and what to do about it, to fix it, to get it back into proper tonguing.

Tonguing on the flute

So there's many aspects to tonguing. Basically I can say and this is what teachers generally teach you is make sure that you've got the tip of your tongue touching behind here, not quite your teeth and not so far back that it's the top of your mouth. But on that ridge. Sorry, you don't really wanna see me sticking my finger in my mouth. There's a ridge between the back of your top teeth and the roof of your mouth. That's where you tongue.

Correct flute embouchure

But there's more to it than that because if you have the wrong shaped embouchure and you're tonguing in the right spot, your tonguing won't work. So just as an aside for anyone who thinks they're in that position, come and do the free minicourse. 

Free flute mini course on tone

This free minicourse, it's called How to instantly improve your tone on the flute but what it's really doing is improving your embouchure. It's fixing your embouchure so that you get a better sound and you get the better sound instantly. It's at www.flute.school/free. So you can register there. That will set you up for a good embouchure to then be able to tongue in the right spot.

So Sylvia, think about doing that free course, if you haven't already. So make sure that you're tonguing in the right spot, in the right way with the right embouchure.

Clean start of flute notes

Okay so the second part to your answer, sometimes your tonguing can be in the right spot and in the right way and your embouchure is correct. You've got everything right, but you're still getting a fluffy sound in your tonguing. So for example, you might have a great sound great embouchure but when you tongue -  

Unclear flute tonguing

So that was me trying to get unclear tonguing. I think I can probably do a better job at getting unclear tonguing. So it really should sound like this. So have a crisp start to the start of your notes. If you have your tonguing in the right spot, your embouchure are good shape. And you know that for sure and you're still getting a fluffy sound on the start of your notes. So the tonguing part of your notes. 

Breakdown flute tonguing

Sometimes the problem is not your tonguing. It's the notes. It's the starts of the notes without tonguing. So take away your tongue. And I would suggest that you practice your tongue notes without tonguing. So start the notes without tonguing, just start the air.

Crystal Clear Tonguing on the flute

And if you find that the starts of the notes, there are really fuzzy, then it's not your tonguing. It's your notes. It's your embouchure. It's the way you're starting your notes. There is an exercise in the tonguing module, in the Flute Academy, and it's called Crystal Clear Tonguing. It's a specific exercise that takes you through the step. The steps of what I said then, but it's much more detailed about how to fix the starts of your notes so that then you can put the tongue back on. It's like a nice, nice little sparkle to the starts of your notes.

Free flute mini course

Okay. That's it. I will put a link for the free mini course to fix your tone and your embouchure below in case you Sylvia or anyone else would like to do it. See you in the next Q & A.

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