How to easily play HIGH NOTES on the Flute

How to easily play HIGH NOTES on the Flute

Jul 01, 2016

Struggling to play high notes on the flute? 

Getting dizzy?


Or perhaps, no matter how hard you blow, you seem to just get a loud screechy sound?

Not pleasant right!

In this short lesson I'm going to show you how to play mid and high range notes much more easily, by teaching you the correct embouchure.

It makes the world of difference to your or your students playing.

In fact, a colleague of mine, Catherine Liebel, text me this message after I taught some of her students for her:

“What you did to Demi’s playing is absolutely amazing! When I started teaching her last year, she couldn’t play above a G above the stave - we’ve been working on her tone and high notes for about 3 terms, and in 1 lesson you’ve fixed her!! Thank you so much!!”

Wanna know the secret?

The secret is that it's not really a secret! It's just proper technique. And it's all in the video below...

And if you like what you watch, remember to come and do the free 3 day mini-course to instantly improve your tone on the flute!

"Proper flute technique, explained clearly, is like a magical quick fix!"

I've just gotten off a Skype call with a clarinet player who's had problems playing high without squeezing their mouth and yesterday I had a call with a, that's a Skype call, with a clarinet who was getting tight, especially up high. And she also had trouble with her tuning. I'm gonna show you three ways of, sorry, this is all like reversed three ways of playing the flute embouchure wise.

The first way is a crappy way that student, that generally students learn with, which is, you know, just the way you start as a kid. The second way is the way that most people play  and it can get better from here. The third way is the way that you wanna play. And it's the way that pro flute players would play.

Here's the crappy way, it's blowing harder to get higher. That makes me dizzy to do that because you use so much air to be able to get those high notes. You probably don't sound like that. You probably sound like this. This is the second way. This is where you squeeze your mouth to get the higher notes like this.

I have to really think about this, cuz this is not the normal way of playing. That was actually good. I looked down in it at my mouth and you can see that my mouth is squeezing or tightening. Some people tighten that way. That was a good demonstration of how not to do it.

This is the third way of playing. This is the pro way. And instead of squeezing your mouth to get the high notes, your lips go instead of squeezing, they move forward like this. So you'll see this as well when I'm playing. Did you see that? I should look, yes, you can see it. So the way to do that is to think, Ooh, or corners forward or the other way is pouting like an air kiss, bit pouty.

The reason this is so awesome is because you have total and utter control over your octaves. Not just octaves over your whole playing. So for example, this is total control. Try and do that with the squeezing way and you'll get. You might lose a good sound at the top, but you also won't have control over when the act octaves and the jumps down actually happen.

Try that the beginner way and you'll get something terrible, sounding like this. That's the blowing harder way. Oh, which makes me dizzy. I don't like that way.

The other benefit. Well, it's the same benefit that I just said, you sound better over the whole range of your flute. If you play with your lips, doing this. Once you get it for an octave by the way you implement it into your whole range, you will sound like this. And as you go higher, your lips go forward and they come back as you go lower. As you jump around your lips, do that with it.

If you tried that doing the, the second way, which is the squeezing way, you won't sound bad, but you won't sound as good as what you can sound. So this is me brain switched on, cuz it actually is hard work to play like this. This is the squeezing way. So it'll still sound okay, but not as good as the other way.

The sound up high is not as good. I'm going a bit dizzy because I'm using more air. The reason I'm using more air is cuz my air stream isn't as focused as in the good way. When the air stream is not focused, you'll have a bit of a fuzzy sound or a thin sound. And because of that thin sound, the cause of that I should say is because air is being lost.

When air is being lost, it means you need to breathe in more to compensate for that, which makes you go dizzy because you're getting too much oxygen to your brain. There you go. In a nutshell, the three ways of playing the flute. Three ways of - Oh, now this is sounding terrible. Three ways of embouchure playing, 3 embouchure sort of. Three ways of controlling notes when you play the flute.

There's the crappy way, the student way. There's the kind of does the job way, which lots of people play like even good flute players, but not totally pro flute players. And then there is the pro way, the magic way.

So there are exercises on things that you can use to get this into your playing, but I'm trying to keep this video under five minutes. How did I go by the way, the first time I recorded this video this morning, it was 20 minutes long cuz I just put too much information into it. Good information, but like exercises and stuff. I'm gonna save that. So this is your in a nutshell video.

The reason I'm doing these videos and posting these questions and stuff on Facebook is because I want to do a course. I'm gonna be creating a course for read players on how to play the flute better, which means also how to teach the flute player better.

So if you want to find out when that becomes available, I'm gonna put a link somewhere on this video. I don't know where it goes yet, cuz I've never tried putting a link on a video. Click on that link and you get to put in your email address and tell me your problems - flute, not life problems. Tell me your flute problems. And I wanna put those problems that people enter into the course as well. And I will let you know when the course is available.

I didn't introduce myself. My name is Jane Cavanagh. I live in Australia. You can probably tell from the way I speak, which sounds normal to me, but probably not normal to most people watching this video. I'm a flute player. I love making difficult concepts easy for teachers and for players. And so I hope this helped you. Bye.

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