Breathing Secrets for Flutists Part 2

Home » Breathing Secrets for Flutists Part 2
Breathing Secrets for Flutists Part 2

Let’s add to that great posture we already talked about in a previous article here on breathing secrets for flutists (this is part 2).

Effective breathing

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.  

Learning to use our airstream in a super effective way is:

1. One of the easiest ways to immediately sound better on the flute

2. Keeps us from getting dizzy!

If we’re spraying air out all over the room when attempting to blow into the flute, we’re going to run out of breath very quickly.. we inhale to fill-up, and blow it all out just as fast. This cycle is going to cause some hyperventilation (too much oxygen for the brain).

So, learning how to streamline this process is THE most important trick we can learn- especially in the beginning stages.

  • Learn how to close the lip hole more (aperture)

Check out my video demonstrating a super easy, and very effective way to blow into the flute AND create a super clear sound

Learn how to fill more than just the top of your lungs

 One of the tricks great players use is to learn to fill all parts of their long lungs.   Most flute 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.

Exhale before inhaling

 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 exploding if you don’t find a time to exhale all of that air!

Filling your lungs AND effectively using the airstream is what holds your clear tone together for all to enjoy.

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

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller
Get Flutie with us! Learn and enjoy every musical minute.

24 thoughts on “Breathing Secrets for Flutists Part 2”

  1. Pingback: Flute sounds flat? No worries.. - Learn Flute Online: Flute Lessons for Learning Beautifully and Fast.

  2. 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

    1. 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

    1. 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

  3. 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.

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

  4. 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.

    1. 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

  5. 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

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

  6. 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

    1. 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

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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.

    1. 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

  10. 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).

    1. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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?

    1. 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

    2. 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

      1. 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

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Step 1 of 3

Choose which best describes your flute level:

Step 2 of 3

Where should I send your lesson info?

*Step 2 of 3

Where should I send your lesson info?