How To Play The Flute For A to Z Complete Guideline
Flute is one of the oldest and highly valued musical instruments in world today, learning which is not that difficult (This site is dedicated to describing how to play the flute even to beginners). It is held with great respect among musicians, due to its elegance, historic value and its sonority. I first got a flute as a gift on my 11th birthday. And that was what flared my musical instincts. Ever since, I have been experimenting with the flute and dare to say that I have become quite a decent flautist.
Note that I never had a flute teacher to make me learn flute.Lucky Flute I had just a book of fingering charts and learnt the main part of playing the flute myself, with trial and error. What does it mean? Not that you must do it the hard way too, but that playing the flute is not as difficult as the cogs and wheels (the keys and holes) on it seemingly make it for any layman. You can do it too. And with proper guidance (I volunteer to be your flute training guide!), you can learn the flute basics within a week or two. Then it is up to you to scale it up and either become a professional flautist or keep it as an impressive musical hobby in your repertoire of skills. Not many people can play a flute skillfully; but with proper guidance and all the tools you will find on this site, you can. Go ahead, go through the guide.Click here to begin flute lessons
As you might know, a flute is a hollow tube of wood, or of some metal (in fact, most flutes, today, are made of precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, just to make them stand out in the hands of the flautist), that produces sound when the flute player makes the stationary air inside it vibrate by blowing across the hole provided at its mouth, making the blown air strike the opposite face of the hole to split the direct force of the air stream.
The sound range of every flute is 3½ octaves although you would usually not touch the extreme limits in most cases (trust me).
The flute belongs to a category of instruments termed as the “woodwind instruments”, a family that includes a kind of piccolo, three oboes, an English horn, three clarinets, a bass clarinet, three bassoons, and a contrabassoon. But, since it is the highest pitched of all the listed instruments, it is usually the king of all of them wherever you look for it (although it’s younger brother piccolo produces even higher notes, it has not become as popular: which makes me call it younger). The reason for this is that the flute is capable of producing almost every kind of music, from classical, to jazz, to rock, to even traditional Indian music. Flutes are of many types, namely:
- Western concert flutes (the C note or B note flutes, etc, made of metals and stuff)
- Indian flutes (made primarily of bamboo)
- Chinese flutes (made of bamboo, wood, jade and iron, usually)
- Japanese flutes (many end-blown and transverse varieties)
We will continue our practices with western concert flutes, which you will be using in case you ever plan upon making flutes your profession, or even your primary hobby.
How can you play the Flute right away?
Here on this site, I will teach you in minute detail, to play the flute with an expertise you did not know you possessed when you came here. We will begin with basic details about the flute, the materials and a basic guide for you to purchase a nice flute for yourself; the various parts of a flute and how you need to handle each one; the materials you will be needing before you begin your musical adventure in the world of flutes; the “personal” modifications you will possibly need to do to make yourself more competent and gain more in a less amount of time; your time schedule for practicing flute playing; breathing techniques for optimal flute tunes, along with your correct posture; and much more. We will start from the very basics.
This is a one-of-a-kind website for A to Z flute learning; something you will never find anywhere else for free. Stay with the schedule and you will be playing the beautiful glossy flute you plan to buy (or have bought) by the next week. You shall go by the sequence of this guide, for getting the best possible result from this guide.
Before beginning to play the flute
The required time and dedication
I know I need not point it out, and you are dedicated enough, but it is nice to have someone experienced tell you the basic things to learn. Here is the timing schedule you need to undertake for optimal learning results, and performance improvements, categorized by the level of learning, you consider yourself to be at:
- Beginner: You need to give it at least 30 to 45 minutes of time a day, and stick to it.
- Intermediate: You can spend around an hour to 1½ hours a day, every day. You can divide your day into various times when you practice, instead of doing it all in one single go.
The three mantras to begin playing flute
Categorizing the practice schedule is a good thing to do. Keeping points in your mind while practicing, makes you learn even faster, and you achieve results within weeks. Here are the three things you must focus on, while on your pursuit of flute playing:
- Notes and melodies: Listen to your own flute melodies, and record it if possible. Listen again. And again. Improve upon your notes. Learn the best force with which to blow into the headjoint at every note. Tune and tune. Achieve perfection. To do this, you shall begin with holding a note as long as possible without letting your breath out. Concentrate on your breathing pattern and the time till which you can keep playing the note at the required pitch (use the tuning gadget).
- Agility of fingers: You must learn precision in placing your fingers at the right key at the right time, for the right note. For this, you need to get highly familiar with your flute: get interlinked with the exact sound that every key produces (try this by using random combinations of keys at a time, to learn the pitch of every key). Review your musical notes, and make your fingers agile and eager to hop onto the correct key when needed, without your thinking twice (you need to think many times during practicing, to make this an instantaneous movement).
- Rhythm and combination of notes: Once you have become familiar with blowing and fingering, you can move onto advanced stuff like making proper music, with successive notes played dynamically. Pay deep attention to the sequences of notes, and memorize a few sequences. It helps when you are bragging about your abilities in front of guests J
Breathing the right way
Of course, you have ben breathing throughout your life without a break, and you might not like me teaching you “how to do it”. But believe me, I just wish to tell you “how to do it better: from the perspective of playing a flute”. You will be thankful you did so, when your first performance is in near sight. Breathing well increases oxygen supply in your mind, and provides you more confidence to do it the right way.
The main part of breathing during playing a flute is actually exhaling well, which directly affects the force and consistency with which you blow into the flute. You need to exhale slowly and in a consistent manner to get the best experience during a long note. It also gives you the ability to play softly or loudly whenever required. Of course, exhaling hard is something that all can do. But exhaling slowly over a longer time is something that we do not do very often. You need to learn doing this. Try the following exercise a few times a day (preferably in the morning):
- Lie flat on your back and lay your hands on your sides. Relax and listen to the sound of your breath. Listen to your heart beating.
- Inhale. As deep as possible. Inhale. Hold the breath for 5 seconds.
- Exhale from your mouth, producing a deep hissing sound to resist the air flow, and not till your chests get to normal pressure, but exhale as much air as you voluntarily can without causing much ache in your chest. Make your lungs as empty as possible. Don’t overdo it.
- Feel your lungs vibrate softly all along the way.
Posture: standing tall and straight
Standing tall has many benefits, which includes better capacity to attract the opposite sex, warding off the caricature of yourself as the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and staying healthy throughout your life. People think that standing straight and tall means tense your back and pull your chest in and up and pulling your head back into your chest. This is not so. Standing straight means to weigh evenly on both your feet, and not lean in any direction. Just that. Keep your feet flat on the floor, and get used to sitting on an office chair. It naturally maintains your posture, without you doing anything!
Stand with your weight mostly on the balls of your feet, and not much on your heels. Tuck your chin a little to keep your head level. That shall be it. I know you are intelligent enough to know for yourself, what standing straight is like.
Finally, you are ready to take off with your flute playing. I will begin with a simple experiment to check how it works out.
Begin producing flute sounds
Oh yes, you have made the flute sound before. The glass bottle!
You surely have the glass bottle you used to drink cola from, the last night? No? Well, get one, because for starters, it is an amazing tool to make flute-like sounds and get a knack of it. Besides, you can also try making different pitched sounds, by filling the bottle to various levels with liquid (water, maybe). Do the following:
Place your lower lip at the edge of the bottle’s opening. Keep the lips opened slightly with a small rounded air hole in between them; now blow air across the bottle’s neck to make sound. This is nearly similar to the flute sound you will be making soon. Keep your lips moistened, and try making the sound with different lip positions and air blowing directions. Also try with different levels of liquid in the bottle. It is fun to start with. And it makes your ears tuned to the sound of the real flute that you are going to play.
Assemble your flute
Now that you are down to it, you can begin assembling your flute carefully. Read the following guide before beginning to assemble it right away. It will make you cautious at places you should actually be so.
- Open your flute case, taking care that the flute does not fall out. Preferably, keep it on a flat surface and then open it by unlocking the latches, and opening the box.
- Take out the headjoint first, carefully. You do not want to drop it, nor want to damage or even bruise any part of it. Take care not to rub it against the flute’s box.
- Now take out the body of your flute. Take special care not to hold the body by the rods, keys and posts. Just hold it by its barrel, to ensure it comes out safely without any damage.
- Connect the headjoint to the barrel of your flute’s body. Twist it gently to secure its position on your flute. Make sure again, that you are connecting two pieces of solid metal, so do not bruise any of the parts. Slide the headjoint as deep as it goes, then pull it back a bit (by about a quarter of an inch), since flutes produce the best notes in tune, with the headjoint pulled out slightly. The best place to position the headjoint can usually vary, and you have to check for the mark made on the headjoint to keep it in the proper position. If there is no mark, you have to go the trial and error method. Once you connect it to the body, do not hold the heavy flute by the headjoint, or you will find a bend and that will be the end (didn’t intend to make it poetic).
- Now take out the footjoint. Once more, care should be taken not to hold it by the bells and whistles on it. The keys and knobs should not be touched. Hold the footjoint by the body. Again, connect the footjoint to the body securely, by twisting it onto the barrel of the flute’s body.
Now that you have connected your flute’s parts, it is time to make them aligned. Line the tip of your footjoint (the bottom edge of the “embouchure hole”), with the end of the flute’s last keys, tenderly, so as not to make it slide inside much. Now twist the footjoint rod in line with the keys on the body. Do not sync the footjoint keys with the body keys. That would make it difficult for you to reach the keys on your footjoint. Instead, make them as I have described. That is the most efficient way to connect your footjoint (the image is not a very sharp one, but I have placed it to give you a good idea of the angle of the footjoint. See the image closely).
Again, a final note: do not touch the keys while assembling your flute. Hold all the parts by the barrel.
Make your first flute music. Play it.
Make the real flute sound melodiously
Now that you have gone through the basics (or jumped straight to this?) you can begin hitting the real moolah. Hold the flute as you see the flautists holding it (I am sure you know the way. Consult the image, for better knowledge of it). Check yourself out in the mirror you set for yourself, before even touching the flute for the main purpose. See the hole in the headjoint. It’s called the embouchure hole. You will notice that one lip plate is larger than the other in it. That is for resting your lower lip, and that is the side you are to use for blowing into the flute.
Put your lower lip on the “lip plate”, and slightly part your lips to get ready to blow into the hole. Your lip shall cover about a third to half of the hole. Try not to put your full mouth into the hole, as that does not give the best air flow into the flute, making it bray (you wouldn’t like it; I know). Take full breath, and blow some air softly into the hole to make a sound. You want to make sure that your blow hits the opposite edge of the embouchure hole, to make it split and the half goes smoothly into the barrel of your flute. Get a good idea of what is the optimal force with which you need to blow into the hole, to get the best tune. This is very important to learn, before you begin learning fingering positions. You need to think of it the way you try to make a soap bubble fly high, instead of directing such force in your air blow that it gets broken (blop!). Try the following:
- Try blowing more or less air by adjusting your force through the pressure in your lungs. You don’t have to be an athelete to play a flute (most flautists are not, see!). You just need better air management.
- See if opening your lips wider or narrower works better for you. Try to make the best possible sound with the most optimal air flow into your flute. You need not let a narrow jet of air inside. Nor do you need to mist your flute like you mist your windows in winters. You need the blend, the blend I say, always. Find your favourite aperture in this way.
Once that you have found the optimal air flow and pressure, it is time to find the best angle in which you are to blow into the flute. Try out various directions, and notice how the air gets split in the embouchure hole every time that you change your angle of blowing. Get the best placement with trial and error method. Do this in the following way:
- Try different ways in which your lips cover the embouchure hole. Twist your whole flute to do this. Look into your mirror.
- Move your head according to the desirability of the aperture in the embouchure and your lips.
- Use your jaws to adjust air angle. This is the most precise way to do that.
- Move the lip plate of the headjoint up and down on your chin in small changes to find the best position.
Now you have learnt blowing perfectly into the flute. It is finally time to learn that which you thought was the only step in playing the flute. Learn notes. Follow my guide to learn how the notes change. I will also provide you the fingering charts and common mis-fingered positions while playing a flute. You have got to be a perfectionist like myself. You can try with some random positions right now, but you will play it properly only once you learn to play it properly.
Learn the flute notes
Change your notes
It is easy to learn how to change notes once you have learnt all of the things I told before (counter-intuitive? You thought that this was the most difficult part? Not exactly. You have already become quite honed with flute playing methods, once you have mastered the techniques I listed before. This is just the final topping on your pizza!).
Minutely observe your flute. You will find rectangular keys on the footjoint. You also have a couple of cylindrical devices (they’re called “rollers”). They don’t have holes under them unlike the keys. They are provided to operate the round keys covering the holes. You will notice a few on the top side of your footjoint, and one on the opposite side, alone. When you have assembled the flute completely, you are to operate these bells and whistles with your right hand’s little finger (your pinky). Yes right; all the keys and rollers of the footjoint, by one finger. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Here must be your fingering positions at the start:
- Hold the headjoint with your left hand below the lip plate, with the palm in your direction.
- Put your right hand index finger on the first rectangular key on the footjoint.
- Place the right hand ring finger on first round key.
- Finally, place the right hand little finger on the second round key (in a C footjoint. For a B footjoint, there is a third round key, which shall be abandoned for the moment).
- Put your right hand’s thumb below the tube of your flute, to hold the footjoint firmly.
- Now place your lower lip on the lip plate in the embouchure, and begin to play notes!
You will note that closing the holes with keys increases the pitch of your flute by shortening it’s length. Opening them decreases the pitch. Now you are ready to consult fingering charts.
Check out this chart (maybe print this; and this) to learn the basic finger positions to start off with:
Also check out this chart to find out positions that are often mis-fingered while playing a flute. You don’t want funny sounds while playing it, do you?
Once you have had your day’s practice schedule fulfilled, you can begin cleaning and dismantling your flute using the following page (I need to be thorough, don’t I?).
How to dismantle and clean your flute
As I told you before, you need to keep cleaning your flute constantly (almost every hour), to keep off dirt and grime buildup, apart from moisture, which hampers good air flow and also stifles the melody produced in your flute. Do it thoroughly before keeping it off after practicing. Follow these simple steps:
- As while assembling, take care to hold the flute only by its barrel, and not touch the keys while dismantling (they are highly delicate, and even a slight twist can render your flute sonorously maimed forever. Take out the footjoint of the flute, twisting it out gently (like you twisted it in while assembling).
- Still holding it by the barrel, take the headjoint off in a similar way.
- Take your cleaning rod which you got with your flute (it looks like an extra-long sewing needle). If you didn’t get one, buy a wooden or plastic rod as opposed to a metallic one. You do not wish to scratch the innards of your flute, do you? Do not listen to the statements by others about metallic rods being sturdy and persistent. It is your flute rather than your cleaning rod that you wish to preserve forever.
- Put the cleaning cloth as I told you in requirements (a silk cloth, to recap), in the hole. Put just enough cloth that doesn’t bunch up while moving your cleaning rod inside and out.
- First, take your footjoint and push the cleaning cloth into it, and move it back and forth to clean out any moisture which might have accumulated due to your breath. It your cleaning cloth sticks into any part of the flute, push it all the way through and take it out from the other end.
- Now, clean the body in the same way. Remember to avoid touching the rods and keys while cleaning any6 part of the flute.
- Now wrap the cleaning cloth and tie it on the sides of the cleaning rod (to get a cloth covered cleaning rod). Now push it into the headjoint, and work around in the headjoint, to clean all the moisture. Mainly pay attention to the cork end of the headjoint. When you’re thoroughly satisfied, put the headjoint back in its place (on the flute body if cleaning while practicing, or in the flute case after practicing).
- Use the second silk cloth and wipe off all the fingerprints on the flute’s outside, taking care to hold the flute’s barrel securely.
- Finally fit all the parts and accessories of your flute into the case snugly. Close the case, and let the flute rest till the next practicing session.
Learning how to play the flute with basic knowledge
The world is loaded with music and truly astonishing musical instruments everywhere. A number of these instruments have a rich history to back them up and they have been utilized by our progenitors and afterward gone down to the eras.
Woodwind is one of the most established musical instruments and in this manner has an extremely solid history at its support. The music that it makes is one of its kind and near most music significant others.
When one figures out how to play the flute, one is proceeding with an old convention and additionally taking up a present day music enthusiasm in the meantime. After some time,numerous assortments of this instrument have been made, similar to alto and base.
A classical instrument
Distinctive musical instruments have their own significance in a large number of the way of life around the world and they are extremely enjoyable to learn too. Given the history of the flute, in the woodwind class, a standout amongst the most famous instruments is the flute that everybody enjoys a considerable measure.
Easy and economic
Notwithstanding the way that it is an incredible instrument to learn, it is entirely simple to learn too. The control of the notes is simple and matches that of a voice recorder. A little distinction in the blowing empowers you to create a fluctuated note.
Another advantage here is this is an economical instrument to learn, not at all like the saxophone. So with incredible music, you are likewise sparing a considerable measure of cash that one needs to spend on the other reed instruments.
Generally, there is almost no upkeep required to keep your woodwind fit as a fiddle. It is recommended that you have the flute cleaned and the keys and poles cleaned and evacuated once per year to keep rust from shaping on the bars.
There are no reeds to purchase for the flute which is essential for the various woodwinds. This alone can spare you a few hundred dollars a year in cost.
Woodwinds are exceptionally delicate. They can go out of modification effortlessly in the event that they are not treated with adoring consideration. This can turn out to be very costly.
On-line lessons are an advantageous approach to figure out how to play the flute. Fire them up at whatever point you’re prepared!
Is it accurate to say that you are concerned that these pre-recorded lessons won’t cover the themes you have questions about? Figuring out how to play the flute is really essential and there is a decent probability that all that you have to know has as of now been tended to. If not, email the instructor or site proprietor and request another lesson on that inconvenience spot.
Hey, don’t surrender that fantasy! In the event that you need to figure out how to play the flute, despite everything you can! Turn on your PC and get out your woodwind – it’s your lesson time!