Mistakes while playing the flute: Eight “Death Traps” for a budding flautist
During my long experience with teaching flute playing to students, I have come across some common problems that they usually face while playing the flute. I will list some of them for the sake of caution on your part as a flute learner. These are the eight Death Traps for a budding flautist, and must be avoided at all costs. The solution for most of them is singular. So you just need to focus on some points to make sure you do not fall into the trap. Here are the things you need to keep in mind:
- Playing the flute in wrong posture: Shortening or lengthening your body while playing the flute harms the air flow in your lungs, and you have some trouble while playing the flute with perfect synchronization of breathing. Time and again, I have observed a student’s flute playing capabilities improve dramatically if he/she adopted proper positioning and posture. So, check out the proper posture while playing the flute, stay comfortable, composed, and straight: you will play the flute great.
- Holding your flute perpendicular to your body posture while playing (Do not droop the flute of you will face the dire consequences by the decrease in quality of your flute sound): Do not droop your flute’s tail while playing it. Hold it firmly. But do not over-do it. You need to stay composed, and not stressed out while you are holding your flute. Else you will heave your chest high and mess up with the required posture while playing the flute.
- Blowing into the headjoint like blowing into a balloon: Most people face the problem of covering the entire embouchure with their lips while playing the flute. See yourself playing the flute in the mirror. If you find that you are covering more than half the embouchure hole with your lips, you need to reconsider your positioning again. You must not cover more than one-third to one-half of the embouchure with your lips. That ensures proper airflow into the flute and makes the best possible sound. In fact, you need not even see yourself in the mirror while playing the flute. If you find your sound too muffled or “pinched”, you can be sure that you need to roll the flute the other side, to make the proper amount of air get into it. One thing might be that you are tilting your head forward as you play. Often, excess pressure or fatigue might result in this posture, and you need to avoid this as much as possible. Make this your alerting alarm when you notice that something like this is happening, and take some rest. Do not stress, as I say always.
- Stop blowing constantly: Most flautists do not realize that they need to keep blowing into the flute all the time. They get involved in other things like keeping track of what knobs and cogs they are pressing and forget to blow! And this happens normally. Once you begin to get into flow by flying your fingers on the instrument, sometimes your breathing gaps increase and there are pauses in your airflow, because you get more involved in thinking about the keys you are to press and not the wind blowing into the embouchure. You know that in woodwind instruments, without air, the sound totally stops. So, you need to get composed. Here, it is all the way more important that you stay composed and hold the right posture while playing your flute. Always make sure that you are exhaling the right way, and are calm while breathing. Do not sweat it. With our awesome guide to play the flute, you will surely be doing great while playing the flute. We bet it.
- Not tuning the flute right: This is a fact that many budding flautists ignore: flutes need to be tuned the way guitars are! Well, not that much, but they need to be tuned still. Many flautists and pianists dream of performing on the big stage but are afraid (or rather, unnerved) of tuning their instruments. You must use out flute tuning gadgets to tune your flute. By all your means, tune your flute well! You must be able to “hear” your sound while playing the flute, for constantly tracking your flute sounds.
- Improper grip and pressing the keys too tight so you are unable to move your fingers swiftly when needed: You need to make your fingers move very fast on your flute keys, but you also need to press the keys with enough just to make them do their work of making different tunes. You need not press them so hard as to get your fingers stuck at one place when you want it on another one. Often, an improperly tight grip on your flute creates such problems. As I say, relax, relax, and relax. You will do well. Don’t stress a lot.
- Faulty fingerings: You can make sure that you are playing it right if you hear it right. Unless you are playing a very fast tune, you have to use correct fingering (you do not notice much difference when you are playing it very fast).
- Letting the vibration come into your tune: A vibration comes in as a distraction rather than as a melody. Although vibration in your flute playing becomes a common thing if you play a lot, you need to practice your fingers and your blowing so that vibration comes in the least amount possible. For some reason, vibration is hard to hear yourself, and you need to record yourself and listen to the recording if you want to track your vibration. Keep your vibration low and subtle, by breathing well, and avoid inducing wobble in your flute playing.
So, as I have stressed always, you need to maintain your posture, and breathing to play the flute well. Refer to our guide for correct posture and breathing, and do it right, always. You will love the way you play your flute.