Back Pain While Playing The Flute

Thwarting aches and pains is key to thriving in a new skill. Learning how to play the flute is no exception. Do you have back pain while playing flute? The fix is pretty simple.

Good bio-mechanics are something to learn about when playing an instrument because if we can position our body in a way that uses our muscles and bones in the natural way that they are designed to, we can avoid all sorts of issues including a hurting back.

Ahhh, that feels better, doesn’t it?

When we hold the flute we bring it up to the right side of our body and hold it with both arms above our waist. This causes a phenomenon called ‘cross-body positioning’. Think about it; your left arm crosses over the entire body and has to stay there for the duration of the playing session. This pulls on the muscles in our back.

In order to take the strain off of the (especially mid-lower right) we simply need to keep our left leg in front of the right leg. Try this exercise; stand with your feet planted firmly on the ground evenly and at shoulder width. This means you shouldn’t have your feet together or straddled wide.

Next, take your right foot and slide it out (away from your body) and back about 4-5 inches. The last idea is to point your right foot toe a bit on a diagonal (away from your body). Here’s a picture to demonstrate:

Believe it or not, this body position will take the twisting motion from your back (when you hold your flute) and set it to neutral again. Ahhh, that feels better, doesn’t it?

Combine this standing (or sitting) position with good playing posture and you’re in business!

One more teacher-to-student note I’ll put here is that by fixing posture and standing/sitting position you’ll find a much improvement in your tone also. Yes, it’s true!

I’m so glad you stopped by today. Have you ever had back pain while playing the flute? Let’s continue the conversation in the comment section here. Any other fixes you’ve found that help?

Have any questions? Comment below and I will help you out.

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller



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  • Helen Gräper

    Reply Reply February 15, 2019

    Hi Rebecca,
    I started learning flute a week ago, and enjoy it very much.
    I now already can play the b, a and g, but I really feel it in my shoulders and upper arms, haha.
    I think I must learn to hold my shoulders in a relaxing way, and in time this will work, I hope.
    For now I must keep my practising time a little shorter.
    But I will go on, your modules are great! Thank you…
    Love, Helen

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply February 19, 2019

      Hi Helen, yes yes the arms and shoulders really do feel it with each new ‘level’. It’s just a matter of growing some new muscles and getting a bit stronger. Yes, definitely shorten your practice sessions. You can do 2 shorter ones in a day and find a lot of benefit. Good luck, you’re doing so great. 🙂 ~Rebecca

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