Breathing Secrets for Flutists Part 2

This quick article is right to the point for what you need to add to that great posture we already talked about in ‘Breathing Secrets for Flutists”.

Stand/sit up straight so the proper breathing will come naturally to you.

"It usually comes from over-trying!"

I know it seems funny to have to even talk about how to breathe, but you’d be surprised at how many people breathe funny when they are trying to learn an instrument.  It usually comes from “over-trying”.

Yes, I’m trying to tell you that you’ll need to relax and work on these hints:

One of the tricks great players use is to learn to fill all parts of their long lungs.   Most students tend to think of filling their upper chest with air and forget that there is 3 times that much space reserved for air lower down towards the belly.  A really good yawn will do the job.   You can make a goal of taking in a large yawn-breath where you create much expansion in your upper body including much of your belly.  This will teach you the proper “filling” sensation you should have when taking a breath before playing your instrument.Oxygen for Flutists

One interesting note is that flute players should remember to exhale before inhaling.  Fresh oxygen means many things to your body.  It provides your brain with what it needs to function properly.  It lets blood back into areas of your body that are being used while playing (lips, arms, etc).  There are many, many times when you do not need to use all of the air you have just breathed in for a certain passage while playing music.   Strategic exhaling will keep you inhaling fresh oxygen often.  You’ll feel like you are choking if you don’t find a time to exhale all of that air!

But, taking in large breaths is what holds your clear tone together for all to enjoy.

Questions? Leave a comment below.

Rebecca Fuller Flute TeacherRebecca Fuller



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  • Susan

    Reply Reply October 25, 2015

    Hi, Rebecca, after playing the horn for many years, I am really enjoying this new adventure with the flute. Clearly, this is proving to be a very humbling experience! However, your beginners’s course is making the journey fun. One observation and question: possibly because the embouchure hole offers so little resistance compared with a horn mouthpiece, I tend to make a very unattractive throat noise as I blow, unless I make a conscious effort to stop it, which then distracts me from the other things I have to remember. Is there a way to get rid of this forever?

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply October 26, 2015

      Hey Susan, this is common for many players. I have always felt it was an ‘over-trying’ type of thing because when I point it out to students who are making a slight ‘guh’ or some even sing a little while playing.. they are able to stop with these instructions: 1. yawn breathe instead of just suck a little in and go for it… you have to open that throat and relax the muscles so they won’t touch (which produces the sound you are experiencing), and 2. listen carefully for it – record yourself daily for a while. It does go away for everyone once they make a conscious effort. I’m glad you’ve noticed this – great question! ~Rebecca

    • Jennifer Lee

      Reply Reply July 7, 2016

      I was wondering if you could help me link to the breathing secrets exercizes that you have listed. I can’t find them. Thank you

      • RebeccaFuller

        Reply Reply July 8, 2016

        Sure Jennifer – the lessons are all in progressive order so breathing lessons are often and connected to specific flute skills that foster the right muscle growth (and many other things). You can go to this page to get signed up for the membership: See you soon! Rebecca

  • Joan Clayton

    Reply Reply January 16, 2016

    Hi Rebecca, your lessons are really interesting but I’m still at the beginners stage of having embouchure and breathing problems. Although I’ve been a singer all my life and certainly know how to breathe I seem to be taking a new breath for every note I play, and can hardly play one whole br without needing a new one. Have you any suggestions please to get me out of this annoying habit? Thanks Joan

  • Randall Ainsworth

    Reply Reply February 26, 2016

    I played sax as a kid, so fortunately the fingering is almost the same. Working on embouchure and consistent tone, but frequently get light headed. I just need to pace myself like when I’m playing the melodica (I’m basically a guitar player and a little keys).

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply February 27, 2016

      Yup, it takes a while to get your body adjusted to blowing all that wind.. but, as you learn more and more proper technique for flute you’ll find that you actually use less and less air to get the job done. 🙂 ~Rebecca

  • Gautam

    Reply Reply May 8, 2016

    Hi Rebecca,
    You have been really providing a great help to the beginners like me, recently I bought western flute your tricks and tips are extremely helpful.

    Thank you so much for your great work.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply May 12, 2016

      Hi Guatam, we’re so happy you are here learning. I’m happy you have the flute now. This is exciting! See you again soon. Rebecca

  • latrice howard

    Reply Reply January 12, 2017

    I’m on module 10… A little challenging … I’m also working on posture and breathing. … I’mean moving along!!!

  • Carol

    Reply Reply February 4, 2017

    Thank you for these helpful tips about breathing. Relaxing is very helpful. I am a distance swimmer. In a pool I sometimes pause at the wall and take a couple of deep breaths. It really helps me keep going without getting tired. This seems similar.

  • Martin Sheriff

    Reply Reply March 31, 2017

    Hi Rebecca, this is currently my major sticking point! Being very impatient, I am up to lesson 36 of your Intermediate course, but in truth, I am only at about lesson 30 of your Gold course in my breathing. Not too much time left at my age! But following your advice, and enjoying the journey – thanks for all of your terrific teaching. Martin

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply March 31, 2017

      Hi Martin, I completely understand. I just worked with one of you online students (yesterday) and tweaked 2 things that really, really helped her. And, she now sounds clear and clean in her tone too. Everyone has tweaking to do. The more you work on your tone, the easier it gets to last longer and longer through the phrases… and it’s best to always learn how to ‘fill-up’ properly. Sounds like you’re working on it. Good job! ~Rebecca

  • adel sami

    Reply Reply May 16, 2017

    You have a right because the most important step for beginners is how to breathe correctly thank you and waiting for more of your useful secrets ..
    you are a wonderful person

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply May 23, 2017

      You’re welcome, Adel. Thanks for being here and learning how to play the flute. See you again soon! ~Rebecca

  • Isaiah

    Reply Reply November 14, 2017

    Hi Rebecca, I was wondering what things I could do to increase my lung capacity, and how to play the highest notes better. Thanks in advance.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply November 15, 2017

      Hi Isaiah, great question. The interesting thing is that it’s more about ‘managing’ your air stream as much as lung capacity etc. The higher your skill level of ‘technique’- especially the embouchure and aperture, the easier it is to hit all of the notes (especially the high ones). For example, new players tend to play with too big of an aperture (hole in lips), so there is a lot of wasted air spread around the room instead of a pinpointed laser focused air stream. Slowly teaching the muscles to close in where they should be clears up tone and allows you to last longer and longer. The highest notes take a few extra steps from this. Sounds like you’re working on it. Cool! ~Rebecca

  • Donna Davis

    Reply Reply February 15, 2018

    Hi Rebecca. Your lessons are awesome! You are right about letting out the breath so you have fresh air. My question is how do you have the time to let out the air when you are playing a piece? Thanks a million.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply February 16, 2018

      Hi Donna, great question! Actually we are letting out breath the whole time we are playing/blowing into our flute… right? 🙂 ~Rebecca

  • Lisa Lovely LPA

    Reply Reply April 10, 2018


    Love the emails , perfect reading while sitting outside have breakfast before a busy day.


    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply April 17, 2018

      I like to sit out on my porch at breakfast as well (in the summer/fall) and communicate with you students as well. The birds are a lovely addition to the music we’re already making. 🙂 ~Rebecca

  • Heidi Hooper

    Reply Reply August 15, 2018

    Rebecca I am enjoying these blogs. Do you have any recordings like on youtube or your site that have you playing not teaching? Bless you hh

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply August 23, 2018

      Hi Heidi, I guess I should make sure some ‘just playing’ videos are uploaded to YouTube. I’ll let you know that all of the learning videos and modules all the way up to the Advanced Level here at Learn Flute Online are played by me (on video, teaching, performing, slow, fast, etc) Thanks for being here. Have a great week! ~Rebecca

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