How to Stop Getting Dizzy When Playing the Flute

Aug 10, 2015

So many beginner flute students have the issue of a fuzzy sound. You might be surprised however to learn the an unclear sound goes hand in hand with getting dizzy when you play! When you manage to overcome this issue, you will be delighted to discover that not only do you have a clearer, more beautiful sound, but you don't get dizzy, and here's the best bit: you will be able to play for much much longer in a single breath. You'll feel like your lungs have doubled in size. Here's some tips that will help address the issue of dizziness and fuzziness!

How do I stop getting dizzy?

If you get dizzy when you play, it’s because you’re breathing too much and getting too much air (oxygen), so it's important to take a break for a moment or two until you recover. If you’re really dizzy, make sure you sit or lay down so that you don’t fall over! The reason you're getting dizzy is because your brain is getting TOO much oxygen. This is most likely because the hole in your mouth is too big and let's out too much air at one. To be able to play your music, you'll be breathing in a LOT so that you can keep playing. This is what is making you dizzy.

How do I play with a clearer sound?

Getting dizzy when you play is actually linked to having a fluffy sound. If the hole in your mouth is too big, when you blow out, the air stream will not be "directed" enough - you'll be missing the mark of the flute's embouchure hole, causing a fuzzy sound and also wasting lots of air as it misses where your air is aiming for. There are many elements which make up a good, clear sound. As you adjust the way you play to help your sound, bit by bit it will improve and become clearer, more resonant and more beautiful. Firstly, make sure your embouchure (the shape of your mouth) is relaxed and not in a smiling shape. Additionally, as I mentioned, if the hole in your mouth is too big, too much air is escaping and this produces the fluffy, airy sound. Close your mouth more to produce a tinier hole - your sound will instantly improve slightly.

How do I stop running out of air?

If the hole in your mouth is not small enough, you will run out of air really quickly. Look in the mirror when you play a long note and see if you can close the hole off so that it’s tiny. It's important to close your mouth carefully to get a smaller hole and avoid squeezing your mouth shut. Listen for slight improvements to your sound. Aim for progress (a slightly better sound week by week) instead of instant perfection. This is actually a warning! If you try for instant perfectly clear sound and get it, it's because you are squeezing your mouth. If you squeeze now, you will tire and lose the ability to develop the right muscles (in your mouth) which will produce a good quality sound later. You’ll be super pleased to know of course that once you make this hole smaller, you will tremendously improve your tone and you will also get less dizzy.

How do I breathe properly?

Breathing properly is really good to learn now, as it will benefit you later when you're no longer a beginner. When taking a big breath, the tendency is for the shoulders to rise up. Instead, keep your shoulders relaxed, when you breathe in, feel your lungs filling front, back and sides of your whole body and imagine the air filling deep into your body. Think of the air filling the mid and lower part of your torso, not the upper part. If your shoulders are rising up, think lower, a bit like how you breathe if you meditate. All these tips above will help you stop getting dizzy when you play the flute, and as a bonus, you'll get a much clearer sound and be able to play a long note (or phrase) for longer!

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