The Flute Academy
How to Get a CLEARER TONE on the flute

Instant Fix #3: The 7 causes of a fluffy flute sound

Jan 08, 2024

Instant Fix #3 is: The 7 things that you might be doing that stop you from getting a clear tone on the flute!

Instant Fix #3: How to Get a CLEARER TONE on the flute

I'm pretty sure this is my favourite Instant Fix so far. Why?

Because it's just so TO THE POINT! 7 things to adjust, and off you go - you should start to get a better sound right away. 

My suggestion: Watch the video and see if there is at least ONE in there that you haven't thought about before, and try it out.

Jane xx


Improve flute tone

In this video, I'm going to show you how to improve your tone on the flute very quickly. There are seven reasons why you'll have a fluffy sound on the flute, and I'm going to take you through all of those seven.

The Flute Academy

Now, my name is Jane and my business is now called The Flute Academy (it used to be called The Flute Teacher's School). And it shows you a different way of getting better on the flute. So instead of saying, just you need to practice more, it's all about showing you instant fixes. Like if you've got a particular problem, then I love just hitting the nail on the head and working out what that problem is and giving you the fix straight away.

Faster improvement on the flute

I'm all about instant improvement. It's good because it feels good to be instantly better. And you sound better, which is the whole aim, right? of improving at the flute. Stick around to the end of this video. And I'll show you how to get access to the mini course, How to Quickly Improve your Tone on the Flute. And it goes into more depth than what this video does.

Flute embouchure

Okay. The 1st thing that makes your sound fluffy or fuzzy or not clear is if the hole in your mouth, your embouchure is too big. This is the same thing that makes you dizzy by the way. So instead of playing with a fairly small hole like that, you play with a large hole, have a listen to the difference in the sound. It's a huge difference.

So close your mouth, make that hole smaller, and you'll get a better sound straight away.

Shape of your lips when playing flute

The 2nd thing that can make or that will make your sound fuzzy is if the shape of your embouchure, your mouth is not the right shape. This again is also what will make you dizzy. So if you've seen the How to Stop Getting Dizzy on the Flute video, this is the same thing.

Fluffy flute tone

You might have it too tight like this, it's going to make you sound fluffy. You might be too, Ooh, fluffy sound. You might be too eating your lips like this - fluffy sound, or you might have your lips too pouty. All of those things too wide, too round lips too far in lips, too far out. All of that makes a fluffy sound.

Air stream on the flute

Number 3, if you're blowing in the wrong direction, if you are not hitting that edge of the embouchure hole, getting your airstream to hit that edge. If you are not hitting that edge, your sound is gonna be fluffy. That's just physics. What makes the sound is your airstream hitting that edge and splitting half out and half in.

Edge of the flute embouchure hole

If you miss that edge, even just by a little bit, your sound will be fluffy because it's not the most efficient, like from a physics point of view, or an acoustics point of view. It's not the most efficient way of producing a vibration, which is the sound. So if you miss it, it could be - but if you hit the edge, it's what produces that sound. That clear sound.

Softer air stream when playing flute

Number 4 thing for getting a clearer sound is don't blow too hard. If you blow too hard, whew, you're just wasting heaps of air and you'll run out of air and you'll get dizzy. So blow softer with that smaller hole like I said, in the first point and it's the first step to getting a clear, resonant sound on the flute. 

Hand position of the flute

Number 5 is a good one because I just taught someone last week, an adult flute student who had exactly this problem. It is not really, really, really common, but I've seen it a number of times over the years so it's common enough. If your flute is way too light on your chin and your hands are kind of a bit floppy well, the flute is feeling floppy and the result is that it's too light on your chin.

Lip position on the flute

What's gonna happen is your lips are going to be reaching for the flute like this. And as soon as they're reaching forward because the flute is so light on your chin, you're going to suffer from the point that I just said about when your lips are too far like that, that's what causes your lips being too far forward is if it's too light here. So you want this hand pushing back and giving you some kind of stability here so that your embouchure can be fairly relaxed, but not too tight to produce a good sound.

Fluffy sound on the flute 

The sixth reason for having a fluffy sound. This is a bizarre one because you probably don't think this is you. When you learn the flute, it's pretty overwhelming. You probably remember. You've got so many things to think about. You've got music to read. You've got fingers to move combinations of fingerings for fingerings, how to blow, how to stand.

Listen to your flute sound

The thing that gets lost in all of that is actually listening to how you sound. So if you take away your music and you just play a few notes, maybe a scale that you know really well and listen to your tone and just try to improve the sound. You might do this already, but if you've never spent time listening to your sound, try it. And see if you can make it clearer as you go up the scale.

Tone exercises on the flute

And the seventh cause of having a fluffy sound on the flute is that you don't know what to practice. You don't know what exercises to practice. There are definitely tone exercises, one in particular to practice, but it takes about half an hour to show you. So I am not going to show you here, which leads me to you getting access to the free course.

Instantly get a clearer sound on the flute with this free course!

The tiny-course called How to Quickly Improve your Tone on the Flute, there is a video called the Magic Tone Exercise, and I take you through more of this exercise. It's not the full thing, but it gives you an idea about how to start getting your sound to become resonant. There's a link below in the description for this video. 

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