My Top 5 Tips to Improve Your Flute Technique

Oct 11, 2021

Follow through in this short lesson on how to improve your flute technique. Learn the top 5 tips on how to improve your flute playing technique!


You were about to learn my top five techniques for improving your flute technique. My name is Jane Cavanagh and I teach how to improve your flute playing much more quickly by learning proper technique. And now by proper technique, I mean, all of these things of flute playing. Fingers speed, embouchure, tone production, breathing technique, vibrato posture, hand position, tonguing, you name it. Anything that is the technical aspect of playing the flute.

This is all flute technique. Sometimes people think that flute technique is finger speed only, but that's only part of it.

So here are my top five tips on how to improve your flute technique, Hands down the Number One technique to improve straightaway so that you can get some instant progress with your flute playing is your embouchure.

The reason for this is that your embouchure is the foundation of your whole flute playing.

If you get this wrong, the embouchure is the way you hold your mouth and your lips. If you get this wrong, you will never improve in the other areas of your flute playing. If it's seriously wrong, you're going to have problems forever. So fix this and you fix everything. You start to fix everything.

Here's some examples for you. So the two most common, problems that people have with embouchure is having two bigger hole in the mouth or having too tight embouchure. So this is an example of a good embouchure.

Now listen to the sound, not so much looking listen to the sound. This is an example of two bigger hole and have a listen to how different it sounds. Completely different, dizzy, too tight in embouchure would sound and look like this. You can hear that it's sharp. And it's also a fuzzy sound.

The Number Two technique to improve after you've improved your embouchure is high notes. Learn the real way to play high notes.

A lot of people squeeze when they play high notes, which is not great because you fatigue and you also can't get high notes out very well.

A really common way of playing high notes is to simply blow harder. Now that gets the notes out, but you'll be sharp. You run out of air, you'll be loud. And sometimes you get dizzy as well.

There's a whole module in the flute academy dedicated to the real way to play high notes. It sets you up to be able to play high notes with ease and softly and nicely. Here's a demonstration of high notes that are squeezy. So this is not good.

It's that squeezy. You can hear it sharp. And it wasn't particularly pleasant sounding. Now here's an example of not squeezy, but I'm just blowing harder. Loud, sharp, and I'm blowing hard so I'm going to run out of air.

Here's an example of the real way of playing high notes. It means you could play. It sounds nice and I don't run out of air because I'm not using very much air.

The Number Three thing to fix, well after getting the hair out of my mouth, is your posture. And the reason that posture is so important to fix when you're playing the flute is, if you hold tension in different parts of your bodies, for example, your shoulders, your neck, your leg, literally your legs, your torso, chest, everything.

This affects two things. Actually, it affects three things. It affects your breathing especially if you're holding tension in this upper part of your body. It affects your tone, like the quality of your tone and believe it or not affects the speed of your fingers. So it slows down your fingers.

The reason for that is if you have tension in this upper part of your body, the tension flows down into your hands and it slows down your fingers because you're a bit tight.

There's a whole module in the Flute Academy that isolates the tension in your body, like where it is and lets it go. Oh, the other thing that tension in your body affects is your comfort levels when you play. If you've got tension and you do something on repeat, it's like play the flute for hours, weeks, years on end, it causes pain.

So that's a little added bonus of getting rid of the tension in your body is that you feel more comfortable and pain-free

Okay, the Number Four thing to fix in your technique is balance of the flute when you're holding it. Now, this is really a subset of posture. It's like hand posture, specifically hand posture. Now balance of the flute is really important because if you don't have the balance right, your hands are going to be gripping on hard even if you don't realize it, to stop your flute from rolling in different directions.

And you probably guessed what happens when that happens, is that when your hands are gripping on, they become tight and that slows down your fingers. So that's a huge, that has a huge impact on the speed of your fingers is the balance of your flute when you're holding it. 

We go through your hand position in the Flute Academy and just check that you're actually holding the flute correctly because that sets you up for a later module, which is called lightning fast fingers, which that's, self-explanatory what that one teaches you.

Now the Fifth flute technique to fix is your tone. So improving your tone is not as simple as saying, well, just improve your tone. You've probably tried this already. And the reason that it hasn't worked right away, if you've just tried to improve your tone is because there's so many things beneath it.

Like the foundations that lead you to having a good tone. And I've just told you them in order. Specifically embouchure, high notes, the real way of playing high notes, tension in your body, and then there's a subset of that, which is hand position and then tone.

Once you've got all of those things in alignment, you can then actually go on to improve your tone and really, really improve it. I love teaching the magic tone exercise in the flute academy because it's a step-by-step breakdown of how to take all those things and then incorporated into your flute playing to really make your sound not only clearer, but much, much more resonant.

So there you go. They're my top five tips for improving your flute technique. Remember it all starts with a good embouchure.

If you'd like to learn more about getting faster progress on the flute by learning proper technique, come and have a look at what you're learning. The flute academy, www.flute.school/academy. I'll show you all the different modules, what you'll actually learn and how to get on board. All right, I'll see you later.

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