How to Make a Good Sound on the Flute

Sep 18, 2015


How to Make a Good Sound on the Flute

In this short lesson, you're going to learn how to blow the flute correctly so that you can play with a good sound. Your aim when you are learning the flute is to get a good sound on just the head joint by itself. The sound that we are going to be working on today is with your flat hand and the end of the head joint. Producing a good clear sound by blowing with your lips shaped like in the video. There are only three things that you need to know to be able to play with a good sound on just the head joint. Three critical things, which I will take you through... There are a couple of tips as well. The first tip is that a mirror (any mirror, even a bathroom mirror) is your best friend. It will show you exactly what you're doing and you don't need to try and feel what you're doing. The other tip is actually to, like I just mentioned, use a flat hand on the end of the head joint because the sound that you will get is a little bit easier to get than if you don't use a hand on the end of the head joint at all. See the video for a quick demonstration. Straight into the three things that will let you get a good sound on the flute. The first point is where you actually put the flute on your mouth. Notice your chin, your lower lip and you'll see that where they join is the edge of your bottom lip. That join is going to be exactly where you place the edge of the embouchure hole which is closest to you. If I roll the flute out a little bit, just after I play you'll see (in the video) that the join matches exactly with the edge of the embouchure hole that I just mentioned. Even if I take the flute away from me, I can always put it back on the right spot. You just know the feel. This is why the mirror is going to be so good for you because it's going to teach you to always put the flute in the same spot until your body just automatically knows the feel of it and you can do it without the mirror. That's the first thing - where to put your flute. The second thing, is the size of the hole in your mouth when you blow across the flute. You don't want a big hole in your mouth. You will run out of air in about a half of a second. In fact it will pretty quickly make you dizzy. Aim for a small hole, the smaller the better. But truly, if you can get a tiny hole, you will get a good sound, and you will have heaps of air and be able to play for a really long time. The third thing that you need to know, is about how relaxed to have your mouth when you blow. You may be able to tell from the way that I blow across the flute that you don't really want to have your mouth in a tight or smiling position. Just think about keeping your mouth relaxed. In an "as normal as possible" shape. You don't want to smile. Even though smiling may get you a good sound to start with, you're not going to be able to play high notes if you smile. Try not to blow like it's a Coke bottle. Look in the mirror and get as normal as shape as possible. These are the 3 things that you need to be able to do to get a good sound on just the head joint of the flute. If you can get a good sound on the flute now, and use the mirror to help you remember where to put it just by feel. You are going to find that everything else is so much easier. As I mentioned earlier in this video, the mirror is your best friend. Here's an exercise for you. At the end of the video, go to your mirror and I want you to stand in front of it, and practice those 3 things that I talked about: Number 1 is putting the edge of the flute's embouchure hold closest to you on exactly the edge of your bottom lip. Number 2 is to have a small hole when you blow, and number 3 is to have a mouth that is pretty much normal in shape. Not smiling, and not round like a Coke bottle. Go to the mirror at the end of this video and look at those three things. The edge of the hole in the flute touching exactly the edge of your bottom lip. Blowing with a small hole and keeping your mouth as relaxed as possible is what will help you get a clear sound when playing the flute. There is one more thing that's going to help you. This is sort of like the the physics background of how you produce a good sound on the flute (although it's not complicated!): Spot the edge of the hole on the flute (the edge that is furthest away from you), what actually happens is that your air stream is going to hit that edge and the air is going to split in half. Half of it is going to go across the hold and out of the flute and half of it is going to go into the flute. That's actually what makes the sound on a flute! So if you aim directly for that opposite edge when you're blowing, you will get a sound. It's a guaranteed was of playing the flute with a good sound, because that's mechanically what is happening. At the mirror I want you to think of those things, fiddle around with your technique a little bit. Aim for that edge of the hole, and above all - listen to yourself so that you can produce a clear sound. Now here's the most important next step. If you can then take the flute (head joint) away from you, still in front of a mirror and put it back in the same spot you will get quicker at getting it in the right spot on your mouth. Do this a few times. You will find that it gets easier to put it back in the right spot. And what that means is that your mouth will be getting more used to playing in the right position to get a clear sound. When you have done that five times or so, turn away from the mirror and see if you can put it up to your mouth, and get the same sound. If it's the same sound, great! If not, turn back to the mirror and see where you went wrong. Keep using the mirror until you can put into the right spot and get a good sound on the flute's head joint without needing the mirror. You're aiming to be able to step away from the mirror and not use it at all. I can do it by feel. It's like holding a pen - you just know how to hold it because it feels right. Spend a few  moments every day doing this. Morning and night is good and as you can see it doesn't take very long. It probably takes 10 minutes at the most, that's including taking the head joint out of the case and putting it back. When your body knows this feel automatically, you will also automatically be able to play with a good, clear sound. When you are adjusting what you're doing in little ways to see if you can make the sound clearer, always be guided by the sound that you are getting. If it's a good clear sound (with less fluffy sounds than before), you're most likely doing the right thing. If you are getting a better sound on the flute head joint and you are remembering to stay relaxed, not smile, putting the flute in the right spot on your mouth AND aiming your air for the opposite edge of the flute's embouchure hole (phew!), then you are on the right track to becoming a very good flute player! It all starts with the tone on the flute. This is the fundamental of everything. Get a good tone on the flute now, and you'll get a good sound forever. In fact, in will get much much better as you keep playing into the future. Honestly. Good luck with it and see you in the next video. By the way, get your FREE flute fingering chart below. It's super easy to read and you'll be prepared for when you need it in the next video!

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