The Flute Academy
Should You PUFF Out Your Cheeks When You Play the Flute

Should You PUFF Out Your Cheeks When You Play the Flute?

Jul 16, 2019

Hello to you!

Should You PUFF Out Your Cheeks When You Play the Flute?

The other day, I got an email that said "Jane, should I be puffing my cheeks out when I play?"

And my first reaction was "No! Definitely no!".

But then I realised they were talking about something else. A kind of strange cheek flapping that you often see in good players.


I explain in this short video for you.

Jane xx

Should You PUFF Out Your Cheeks When You Play the Flute?

Should you puff out your cheeks when you play the flute? That's a question I sometimes get asked. So I'm going to answer it in this video, stay around to the end of the video and I'll show you how you can Quickly Improve Your Tone on the Flute. Actually more like instantly improve your tone on the flute with a free masterclass that I'm going to be offering very soon. So should you puff out your cheeks when you play the flute? The short answer is no. I'll give you a demo in a sec about what not to do. The more comprehensive answer is in three parts.

Flute playing is opposite of clarinet

Okay? Number one, you definitely don't wanna puff out your cheeks when you play, but you also do not want to be tight like this, so you don't wanna be smiling and you don't wanna be really, really tight in your face. It's the complete opposite of clarinet. You do not wanna have anything smiley going on. So none of this.

Relax cheeks when playing flute

Obviously, that sounds terrible, cuz that's not how I play. You wanna have all of this business so this part of your face is relaxed as possible. Sometimes people ask, Yeah, but if you don't have any tension whatsoever, where does your control come from? How do you actually get the sound to focus or the air to focus?

Focus of the air when playing flute

So number two is the focus of the air doesn't come from this tension. It comes from having a tiny hole in your mouth. So number three helps you get there. So go for relaxation, no smiling, a tiny hole in your mouth. And number three is having a bit of pressure here. What that does is let you keep all of this side of your face,  I call it like Joly bit. Keep it relaxed.

Small flute embouchure

Let's you get a tiny hole by having a bit of pressure here. It means that your lips can relax and it gives you the flexibility in your lips to play softly over the whole range, including up high because with that tiny hole and some pressure comes control.

Relax throat when playing flute

See, here's an observation that you might have had sometimes when you see flute players play and wind instruments in general, you'll see something going on around here, kind of like flapping. See if you can spot it sort of in my throat and sort of in here when I play in a relaxed way, small hole, a bit of pressure here. I should probably move my hair.  

Do not puff out your cheeks when playing flute

Can you see that going on here? The only reason that can happen is because of the relaxation happening in this part of your face. That movement is good. It just shows that it's relaxed. It shows that there's air coming through and being really resonant in your entire section. And lastly, a demo of what not to do, do not puff out your cheeks when you play the flute like this, this is bad. I don't even know -  honestly, I've never tried to play like this. Let's see what happens.

Improve flute embouchure

So clearly that doesn't work. Don't puff out your cheeks.  That was a really good demo because that just showed you what not to do. If you want really detailed descriptions of how to arrange your embouchure, the shape of your mouth, the shape of your lips, your face in general, to really improve your tone very quickly, come and do a free masterclass that I do online. It will be happening shortly. Go to to grab your place. And I will see you there.

Flute School

And I haven't told you who I am. I'm Jane. My business is called the Flute Teacher School and I really, really, really love showing people the tiny changes to make to their flute playing that makes a really big difference to how they sound. a really big difference to how much air they have.

Faster flute progress

A really big difference to how clear their sound is. A really big difference to how easy they can get high notes with the good sound, all of that good stuff. So come and join me in a masterclass and I'll hopefully see you there.

Faster Progress Through Proper Technique ™

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Come and join Jane in The Flute Academy to transform your flute playing - one clever tweak at a time!

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