The flute is one of the most unique instruments that exists in the band setting. Known for its high-pitched shrill yet singable sound and virtuosity, it has captured the attention of many aspiring flutists alike. Whether you are a student or just interested in taking up the flute as a hobby, this easy-to-follow guide is a great thing that will get you started in no time!
PART ONE: THE PARTS OF A FLUTE
The flute is made up of three parts. Part A designates the headjoint, which includes the embouchure hole and lip plate which contains it. Next, we have part B, which is the main body of the instrument. Last of all, we have part C, which is also known as the footjoint.
To assemble, gently twist the headjoint into the body, and the body into the footjoint. Be careful not to put too much pressure on the keys;this may damage or break them. You want to make sure that the embouchure hole lines up with the keys for a most natural feel (see below).
PART TWO:: POSTURE
When seated, you want to ensure that you have proper posture BEFORE you even play the instrument. Sit up tall on the edge of a chair, and imagine that you have a string attached to the top of your head. This sting can not loosen and it can not pull so tight that you feel tense. The goal is to elongate your spine and keep your body open at the ribs.
Picture one is the correct posture.
Now, with the flute. Your back remains straight, and your knees together. Your arms should now go up, almost or exactly parallel to the floor. Make sure the elbows don’t stick out too much. Your chin is also parallel to the floor, and not looking up.
Your hands should comfortably hold the flute without too much tension and awkward positioning. The left hand supports most of the flute’s weight and is located at the top portion of the flute. The fingers are not too straight, and should curve against the barrel. With the right hand, the top part of the thumb rests on the bottom, in return allowing for the flute to rest on top of it. This hand is located near the bottom half of the body and footjoint. Then, your fingers rest on the keys in a manner that they would be easily able to press them. Refer to the image below…
Tips about posture:
- Always keep your feet flat.
- Don’t allow for any tension in your upper half. This could lead to physical problems and a weaker and strained sound.
- Make sure that you are not leaning or swaying away from the correct posture. This also can harm sound.
- Do not grip the flute too tight.
PART THREE: EMBOUCHURE
Now it’s time to learn the proper flute embouchure for performance.
If you were to look back at the headjoint, you would be able to relocate the lip plate. This is where the forming of embouchure happens. It is a “point of contact” for your mouth (lip) to the instrument.
Making sure that the flute extends out toward the right, bring the lip plate up to your bottom lip. The edge of the lip plate should touch your lip as if the lip has the ability to fuse to it. This may also be called “melting” the lip to the lip plate. Make sure the blow hole isn’t completely covered (the area where you expend air with your mouth is called the “aperture”); covering it would prohibit sound from coming out the instrument when air is expelled. Also, make sure that the blow hole is centered.
As for forming the aperture, make sure your oral cavity is open, while leaving the area where you push the air out the size of a straw.
Tips for Embouchure:
- Using a mirror is extremely useful in making sure everything looks okay.
- If there is still uncertainty about where exactly the lip melts onto the lip plate, you can roll the flute barrel until the ideal position is reached.
- Avoid having too much tension in the aperture; this can strain the air or prevent it from coming out.