MACKLEMORE FEAT KING DRAINO - HOW TO PLAY THE FLUTE (Official Music Video)
How to Play the Flute
The flute is a beautiful sounding woodwind instrument. It can be played as part of an orchestra, band, or enjoyed on its own. The flute is also the oldest known musical instrument. Flutes dating as far back as 43,000 years ago have been found in parts of Western Europe.If you want to become part of this great musical tradition and learn how to play the flute, start with Step 1 below.
Buy or rent a flute from a music store.If your school lets you use theirs, take that opportunity to try it and see if you like playing the flute before you spend money on one of your own. If that is not an option, consider renting one. This will give you the time to be certain that you enjoy the flute enough to purchase one.
- If you're sure you are going to enjoy it, rent-to-own or buying are 2 good options. If you are taking lessons, it's a good idea to consult with your teacher about the type of flute that would be good for you.
- Flutes can cost from 0 to over 00. Good quality student flutes cost from 0 to 0. Beginners should get an open-hole student flute that has removable plugs. Over time, they should remove the plugs. This will improve the sound. Research and then purchase or rent a reputable brand. Cheap flutes are poorly made and hard to play. You can also rent a flute from a music store recommended by your music teacher.
- Some flutes have an extra key at the end. This is called the B foot flute. It is slightly longer. More advanced players should think about purchasing a B foot flute.
- Expensive, professional flutes are for more experienced flute players. They can range from ,000 to ,000+. They are usually hand made from precious metals such as gold, platinum and the most common, silver. This is for players that want a career in music.
- Before you buy one, get some advice from other players and/or teachers to you help select an instrument that would be good for you (taking your level and your budget into account).
Consider taking lessons from a good private flute teacher.Ask your band director or a music shop employee for a recommendation. A good teacher will help you to progress from beginner to a more advanced level.
Assemble the flute.Before you can play your flute, you need to learn how to assemble it. You can do so as follows:
- The flute has 3 parts. The part that goes on the left side is the head joint and has the mouthpiece or lip-plate on it. The part with most of the keys is called the body. The left side of the body (where the head joint goes into) is called the barrel or tenon, and the end piece on the right is called the foot joint.
- When putting the parts together, do not grab the rods and keys of your flute. This can bend them out of shape.
- First put the foot joint on by holding the barrel of the flute. Hold the end of the foot joint and then do a twist and push motion, and the foot joint should slide right on! Now align the rods of of the foot joint with the middle of the keys on the body.
Align the head joint.Grab the barrel and the head joint. Use the same motion, twist and push. Now align the bore (or the mouth hole) with the first key of the body.
- For beginners: The top of the flute is called the cap - it holds and adjusts the cork and adjusts the tuning of the flute. Donotkeep twisting it anddo nottake the cap off and take cork out! If you feel the flute is out of tune, ask a teacher or someone who works at store that sells musical instruments to help you.
- For those who do not have a teacher and would like to check if the cork is in the correct position, take your cleaning rod and flip it around. The bottom of the rod should have an etched line, stick this into the head joint and look in the hole of the mouthpiece - the etched line should be right in the middle.
Learning to Play
Learn how to blow into your flute.At first, producing a sound from your flute can be a little tricky, so you should practice the correct blowing method before you attempt to play any notes.
- This is one of the most important part of playing the flute well! Keep your shoulders relaxed, head up and breathe from your stomach. In terms of your posture, just imagine a string pulling you up from your belly button. Your stomach is going to stick out, but this is the correct way to breathe.
- Take deep breaths, not just shallow ones!
- Don't just blow, you must have the correct embouchure (or position of your lips) to play correctly. Think of spitting out a sunflower seed! Try it! Try it again and freeze after you spit the seed out. That is how small the hole of your mouth needs to be while you blow.
- Next, here is how to make a sound. Blow across the mouthpiece like blowing across a bottle. Sound is produced by the breaking of your airstream on the edge of the embouchure hole. Half your breath should travel above the hole, and half should travel down through the flute.
- Try to keep the corner of your lips firm but not tight!! You will know when they are too tight, because the corners of your mouth will become tired and sore.
Learn how to hold the flute.Hold the flute with your mouth on the embouchure (lip hole) and the remainder of the instrument pointing to your right hand side, in a horizontal fashion.
- Let's start with the right hand. Shake your hand out and let it relax naturally by your side. Bring it up it so it's naturally curved. Notice where your thumb rests naturally on your hand. Some thumbs are comfortable resting between the pointer finger and the middle finger, or under the pointer finger, or under just under the middle finger. Just make note of where your thumb lands. Now, open the "mouth" and put it on your flute. Remember where your thumb landed naturally? Well place it on your flute and your fingers should hover above it. Now place your pointer finger down on the first key; this will be called 1, the next key is where your middle finger is placed, this is 2, your ring finger is the next key, this is 3, and your pinky should rest on the flat half circle key. 9 times out of 10 the pinky will be pressed down as you learn different notes and fingerings.
- The left hand is a little harder. Same as the right hand, shake it out and let it drop naturally to the side. Then bring it up to face you. Open the "mouth" and bring the flute to your hand. Rest your thumb on the circle thumb key (for now, the rectangle key is also a thumb key - it is the B natural key, you will learn this as you get a fingering chart). Skip the top key and place you pointer finger on the second key, this is called 1 as well. Skip the next key and then place you middle finger down on 2. Your ring finger goes on the key next to your middle finger called 3. Now you pinky will hover over the key sticking out of you flute.
- Keep your LH pinky hovering over the key! Get into this habit, don't let it hang below or press down. As you learn fingerings you will press this key for certain notes.
- Keep in mind that this finger placement will feel awkward and unnatural at first. This is completely normal. With practice, it will begin to feel more comfortable.
Consult a fingering chart to help you learn the notes.In order to learn how to play specific notes, you should consult a flute fingering chart, which will guide you through the proper placement of your fingers for each note.
- Fingering charts make use of pictures and diagrams, which make it easier to visualize the finger placement for each individual note. Most instruction books for the flute will contain a fingering chart, but you can also find these charts online.
- Practice playing each note until you get it sounding just right. When playing a note on the flute it should not sound like you're just blowing or whistling - it should be a full, steady tone.
- Once you have mastered playing each note individually, you can practice playing multiple notes in a row. It doesn't matter if it doesn't sound musical - the point of this exercise is to learn how to transition smoothly from one note to the next.
Maintain the correct posture while playing.It is essential that you maintain the correct posture while playing the flute, as this will allow you to improve your air capacity and produce more consistent tones.
- Stand or sit up as straight as possible, with your chin raised and your eyes looking straight ahead. This opens your body up and allows you to produce clearer, longer notes.
- Stand with your two feet planted on the ground and the left foot slightly in front of the right. Your body should be at an angle, this is a more natural position than keeping your body facing straight ahead. Also your shoulders will not be in a awkward position when you're reading music. Keep most of your weight on the right foot/back foot. Try not to stick your hip out too much or keep your neck and back in odd positions.This will only lead to tension and pain, which will interfere with your playing.
- Remember to keep your body relaxed and avoid tensing up as you play so you will produce a smoother, richer sound.
- If you're using a music stand, make sure that you keep it at eye level. If the stand is too low, it will cause you to bend your neck and tuck your chin, which will restrict your airway and cause neck pain.
Practice for 20 minutes everyday.Practice makes perfect. But keep in mind that it's much better to practice for short periods everyday especially at the beginning. It takes stamina to play the flute and you can build up your stamina over time. As you get more advanced, start to increase your practice time.
- Make your practice goal-oriented, as this will help you to remain focused. Keep these goals small but concrete. For example, aim to perfect the transition from a B to an A note.
- If you practice for long periods of time and infrequently, your body will be overtaxed and feel stiff. You will definitely feel frustrated. Your body will feel better if you practice everyday and slowly increase your time.
Stretch after practicing.You should always stretch after your practice session as it will relieve tension and prevent stiffness after playing, leaving you in better shape for your next practice session. Some good exercises are as follows:
- Bend your knees slightly and crouch down with your arms extended behind you, as if you're skiing. Then swing your arms upwards. Repeat 5-10 times to stretch out your arms and shoulders.
- Inhale and draw your shoulders upwards towards your ears and stay in this position for several seconds. Release your shoulders downwards as you exhale. Repeat several times to release tension and pain in the shoulders and neck.
- Stand with your hands down by your sides and shake your arms and hands as if they were made out of rubber. This will help to loosen the joints in the arms and hands.
- There are many other stretches you can do to relieve tension or body aches - just do what feels right for you!
Don't give up!Learning to play the flute takes a while. Don't get discouraged if you can't make a sound when you first get it. Be patient, keep practicing, and get the assistance of a good teacher. Soon you'll be making beautiful music!
Caring for Your Flute
Clean your flute.Your flute should have come with a wood/metal/or plastic rod that looks like an oversized threading needle. Thread a silky swab through the top or purchase a cleaning flute flag, this will remove condensation from the inside of your flute. Occasionally, polish it with a cloth but don't use silver polish. A simple microfiber cloth is all you need.
- Never leave your cleaning swab inside your flute, this will cause the moisture to ruin the pads of your flute.
- Take your flute apart the same way you put it together. Grab the tenon and twist and pull out the head joint. Then grab the tenon and the bottom of the foot joint and twist and pull. Now take your cleaning rod/flag and swab the inside of each piece and it place back into the case. Finally, put each piece back into the flute case where they belong and will be protected!
QuestionWhy is it difficult for me to blow?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou need to find you 'spot' first. Your spot is the place you put your mouth to blow into your flute. It can take about one week (or even more) of daily practice to learn where you put your mouth exactly, it is different for everyone. After a couple of lessons, you won't even have to think about it when playing. Also, make sure that you are blowing towards the hole -- if you can't quite blow at it exactly, try moving your mouth's positioning.Thanks!
QuestionWhere can you get a flute book?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can get them online, but a good book to start with is the Essential Elements Book 2000. It's really easy to learn from.Thanks!
QuestionWhich is the easiest type of flute to learn?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you know how to play recorder, learning the flute is easier. A typical student flute (no holes in the keys) is probably best for learning.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I know what hole stands for which note?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHoles do not stand for specific notes on their own. Notes are made by pressing down a specific combination of holes. Use a fingering chart to help you learn where to place your fingers for each note.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I study for a test?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPractice the piece of music you'll be tested on, focusing on parts that confuse you. Also, make sure you have all the basics down. Spend some time going over counting beats, playing specific notes, tuning your instrument, and so on.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I can't get a sound out of the flute after trying many times?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPractice your embouchure like this: Take only the head-joint and put your palm over the open end to block the air. Press the embouchure hole against the center of your lips and roll it down until it's between your chin and top lip. Then frown, shape your mouth as if saying "pooh," and blow air hard across the mouthpiece. Your top lip will be slightly over your bottom lip. Once you can make a sound this way, add the rest of the flute. Get a teacher to help if it is still not working.Thanks!
QuestionHow often do I need to clean my flute (inside and outside)?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerClean the inside your flute after every practice or performance to keep your flute in good condition. If moisture is often left inside when the flute is put away, it can damage the pads over time. Cleaning the outside is less critical, but wiping fingerprints off with a polishing cloth after you play will keep your flute looking shiny for longer.Thanks!
QuestionHow much variety do I need in my flute playing? Do I practice one piece one day, and then a different piece the next, or lots of variety in the one practice session?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDo one piece until you learn it, or at most learn 2-3 pieces at a time. Learn a certain number of measures each day and continually practice the ones you "know" until you can play the whole piece perfectly.Thanks!
QuestionHow long should I practice my flute?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhen you are a beginner and just starting out, you should practise for a minimum of 10 minutes a day. If you are planning on doing an exam, set aside a minimum of 20 minutes a day, (ask you tutor about how many minutes a week/day you should be doing).Thanks!
QuestionDoes the shape of my mouth and teeth affect the difficulty level of playing?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAbsolutely not! The shape of your mouth and teeth will only mean you will have to adjust the position of your head joint, and everyone's mouth shape is different, so everyone has their own position that is comfortable for them.Thanks!
To play the flute, start by holding it so the lip hole is resting on your bottom lip and the rest of the flute is sticking out to your right horizontally. Then, place your right-hand fingers on the bottom keys and your left-hand fingers on the top keys. Sit up straight and look straight ahead. When you're ready, blow into the lip hole like you're spitting out a sunflower seed. To play different notes, lift your fingers off the keys while you blow!
- Buy a beginner's book. If you have a band director or a flute teacher, they will be able to recommend one. Try to play some easy music from the book.
- If your head joint and body don't fit together easily, clean the area where they will overlap with gentle soap and water.
- Learn how to read sheet music. Most beginner's books will start out showing you names of the notes on the staff. However, in order to progress, you will have to learn how to read music if you do not know how already.
- Clean the flute thoroughly before and after practice to get all the saliva and condensation out! It will keep the flute sounding good.
- To play the higher notes, blow into your flute at a slightly higher angle with a smaller embouchure hole and faster air. with a slightly lower angle and larger embouchure hole.
- Make practicing part of your daily schedule along with all of your other activities.
- Become familiar with playing major, minor, and chromatic scales. These should be printed in your flute book. Music is usually made up of patterns which consist of scales, so if you are familiar with your scales you will be better equipped to play the music. Also, practice playing arpeggios, thirds, fourths to help you with the music.
- If your flute is consistently out of tune, ask your flute teacher to adjust your tuning cork for you.
- It's helpful to keep a in your music folder.
- Use strong breaths when you blow! If you don't, it will make a breathy sound.
- Try rolling the head joint either way to get a better tone.
- When learning a piece for the first time, go through the piece without playing and just practice the fingering instead. Pay attention to STARS - style, tempo, articulation, rhythm, and signature (key/time). Also watch out for flats or sharps that are not in the key signature.
- If when tuning your A it is flat, you can push the head joint in and roll it out. If the A is sharp, you can pull the head joint out and roll it in. It can take some adjustments to get the note in tune.
- Have someone monitor your posture for awhile. Later it will be easier to keep you back straight, feet flat on the floor, and your flute up.
- Practice making a sound without blowing too hard.
- Most music stores sell Essential Elements for band. They have a book for every instrument. They are not expensive, and they are very helpful.
- Try not to rest the flute on your shoulder or tilt your head. These habits become very hard to break later on.
- Try to hold your flute parallel to the ground.
- Find a place where you can practice without bothering anyone.
- Start off with blowing through just the head joint. It helps you figure out how you should position your mouth when playing.
- If you want to fix the pads by yourself, please allow up to ten hours for beginners, as this is a daunting task (for both French openings and non French openings). Take the metal rods out first. Place them in groups and lubricate them so this will save you time and money. Place them on a soft cloth to prevent dents and scratches. Be careful with those thin stick-like rods on the body joint because they can cut your skin.
- Keep your neck up when you play. Also, keep your back straight; it helps you to produce sound easier.
- If you can't get a sound at first, its okay. Try pulling off the head joint and covering the bottom. If you can make a sound that way, then try adding the rest of the flute.
- Never give up.
- NEVER clean the flute in water. Use a cleaning swab.
- Do not grab your flute by the keys. Always lift it by cradling the round part of it's body in your hands. Flutes are delicate. This will save you from expensive repairs. Also, never roll a flute in your lap when you're sitting.
- Be careful that your fingers are in the middle of the keys when you're playing. If you don't and then try to play faster music, it will be very hard.
- Don't put your cleaning cloth on top of your flute's keys while it is in the case.
- Don't let you flute get wet!! If you are in marching band consider getting a beat up flute for marching and a keep your good flute for concert band or other uses.
- Never take the cap of your flute off and take the cork out to swab your flute!!
- Don't leave your flute in extremely warm or cold temperatures for too long. That can be especially bad for the pads under the keys.
- If the pads do fall out, do not try to glue them back in again. Take the flute to a shop or a repair center.
- When you first start sitting up straight (if you don't already) your back will hurt for the first several times you do it.
- Don't drink sugary drinks or eat while playing the flute. Rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking before you play the flute.
- Never leave your flute on a stand, it may roll off and get damaged.
- Never use cork grease to help your flute slide on together more easily if you are having trouble putting it together. **Instead** take a clean cloth and wipe down the ends, be gentle!! If you still find it difficult to put your flute together, take a pencil and color around the end of the areas to be put together, then slide and twist to assemble the pieces of your flute.
Things You'll Need
Fingering chart/music book
Swab or soft cloth
Music stand (optional)
Private lesson teacher (optional)
Flute stand (optional)
Sources and Citations
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