By Taylor Hinnant

Playing a musical instrument can be a daunting prospect. It takes a lot of practice and perseverance and can be immensely frustrating if you don’t pick it up right off the bat. Fortunately, there are simple tips that anyone can follow that can make oneself a better flute player from the get-go. For those that don't know, the picture below is a flute. There are many different styles but this is the most common type of flute that you will come across.

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1. Posture is important! Make sure that when you are playing the flute you are holding yourself in the correct way. If sitting down, try to be in a straight backed chair so that your back is completely vertical and not hunched. Also, your legs may not be crossed at any time, though crossing your ankles is fine. Sitting straight up and down opens your airways and decreases the pressure on your diaphragm, allowing you to take in more air per breath.


2. Your embouchure: Making music with a flute is as easy as blowing over the top of a coke bottle. The embouchure is the position of the flute player’s mouth while they are playing their instrument. One can either relax or tighten their embouchure depending on the note they are attempting to reach. Doing exercises to help strengthen your embouchure is extremely helpful. The simplest exercise is simply playing a pitch and then loosening and tightening your embouchure to produce different sounds. The picture below is demonstrating the correct mouth position for the idea embouchure. Your mouth should form a sort of beak so that the air flows directly over the top of the hole in the mouthpiece of the flute instead of into the hole in the mouthpiece.
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3. Air flow: A big part of playing a woodwind instrument is keeping a steady flow of air. Your embouchure plays a major part here, as loosening and tightening your embouchure can affect how fast or slow your air stream is. When you have a fast air stream you will be able to play notes of a higher pitch. Likewise, the slower the stream the lower the pitch.

4. Fast fingers are a plus! Fingering is just as important as blowing when playing the flute. Fingering is band jargon for lifting and lowering your fingers onto the keys of your instrument to produce different notes. You should practice with finger exercises daily to make sure that you are able to play as fast or as slow as you need. The fingering chart below shows you which fingers to lift and depress to play every note the flute is capable of reaching. Flute fingerings are notated by numbers. On the left hand, the index, middle and ring fingers are the first three circles in flute notation. The second three circles are the index, middle and ring fingers of your right hand. Other notations include the bottom and top thumb keys and your pinkie keys.






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Now, young padowan, you have all the tools you'll need to begin playing the flute like_a_boss.jpg. I hope that, if in the near future you decide to start playing the majestic instrument that is the flute, you will look to this page for guidance and whatnot. If not, I hope that the above picture of a duck standing on top of another duck like a boss made you laugh.