LFP 011 | How to Avoid Unwanted Flute Sounds

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LFP 011 | How to Avoid Unwanted Flute Sounds

Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:

In this episode, I will teach how to avoid unwanted flute sounds while playing and practicing.

This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 011.


You’ll learn:

What this podcast will be all about

  • Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
  • What sounds you don’t want while you play the flute
  • How to rid your tone of unwanted “sounds”
  • Why you should record and listen to yourself playing
  • How to sign up for more flute learning videos and podcasts

Learn Flute Podcast 011

Press the Play Button to Listen Now:

Welcome to the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 11!

Well Hi, I’m Rebecca Fuller the expert over at Learn Flute Online, and in this podcast today I’m going to answer a student’s question of “what is that voice I hear in my throat while I’m playing?”

I’ve had this question more than a few times which is really quite awesome because this issue of the sound in the throat is usually not something people can detect on their own. This will be quick and easy.

Let me explain further.

There are two different types of sounds we sometimes hear when a flutist is playing – the first being a throaty – guh guh, and the other being more of a pitched singing type of a sound.

In this episode we’re going to quickly explore both and I’ll give the solution to eliminate them both since we really don’t want to have sound coming from our voice box while we are playing the flute.

The reason we don’t want any extra sounds is because the whole purpose of playing the instrument to start with is to allow the flute to carry the melody itself.. we don’t really want any new pitches coming from our body to interfere and clash with what we’re playing.

Okay, to start with let’s talk about that low throaty sound. This oftentimes happens when a player is tonguing – in fact, it’ll happen usually simultaneously with each tongue movement. 

Now, if you suspect this is an issue for you then I want you to play along with me here – using your tongue as if you’re playing the flute here give about 43 tongues and purposefully let your vocal chords touch with each one like this; th-gu, th-gu, th-gu. Now let’s try it again without letting the vocal chords touch. thu-thu-thu

I’m sure you can feel the difference. The interesting thing is that while we are actually holding our instrument and focusing on all of the other things we have to do to make it play well, we tend to not be able to pay attention to a small ‘internal’ detail like this. But, it is something that affects the quality of our sound, so we should eliminate it.

The good thing is that taking care of this little issue is really, really easy. I’ve found over the years of working with hundreds of students, that all I have to do is point it out to them. 

Once we do the little exercise we just did without our flute – of tonguing with the sound and then tonguing without the sound… the flutists are able to identify it themselves and that’s pretty much all it takes to stop doing it. It really is that easy. It’s just a matter of ‘awareness’ .

Now let’s talk about the other type of vocal sound flute players can have occasionally while practicing or performing.. and that is of basically a ‘singing’ sound in their throat. This type of sound usually comes from newer students who are really trying hard. 

Basically, they are trying so hard that they are over-trying to get the tone out to the point where they are unaware that they are singing the note.  It’s a little bizarre, but it happens. And, if you’re a flute player who is learning on his or her own most of the time, then this is something you’ll need to pay attention to.  It generally happens during slurred passages.

So, here’s how to identify this issue and how to resolve it as well; get your little smart phone out or whatever you have that records audio well, and play a tune on your flute. Now, listen back to it focusing on any ‘extra’ sounds or singing. You’ll probably have to listen a couple of times before you’ll be able to train your ear to not hear the actual sound coming from your instrument.

As the other throat sound, it’s easy to fix. We just need to be ‘aware’ that it is happening. Then, listening for it carefully while we play every single time for the next few weeks, it’ll go away.

If this doesn’t do it, then go back to the idea of doing it on purpose first – actually, I guess I should mention that there is an advanced technique where players will actually ‘sing’ harmony with themselves while they play the flute.. I’ve heard it before. 

I once had a masterclass with a lady from France who gave a concert where she sang opera while she played the flute also. It wasn’t really my favorite sound, but I can’t decide for you. If you’re a well versed singer, then you could try it and see if you can make it sound good or not.

Anyway, back to fixing the accidental singing; if you try to sing on purpose while you’re playing a slurred passage, then play it again without the singing, you’ll definitely notice the difference. That throat needs to be nice and open instead of pinched off – which makes it easier for those vocal chords to accidentally touch.

So, keep your head high, your neck straight, and blow easy.

Now to recap how to eliminate throat noises while playing the flute you just need to first identify that it is indeed happening, and then purposefully play with the sound – while focusing on the feeling and sound coming from your throat, you can then play again without it. You’ll find it goes away in just a matter of weeks with this type of intentionally practicing.

Don’t forget to come join the conversation on the show notes from this episode which will be over at: Learn Flute online dot com forward slash 011 because this is episode eleven.

And, if you’re ready for even more flute-learning information, don’t forget to option with your name and email in the box on the website where you’ll then be able to get information about how to become a subscribed member and receive access to hundreds of video lessons in a step-by-step fashion in the easy and comfort of your own home, on your own time. You can learn from me twenty four seven!
See you next time!


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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about the flute! Now you know how to avoid unwanted flute sounds.  Join us for the next episode.

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

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

2 thoughts on “LFP 011 | How to Avoid Unwanted Flute Sounds”

  1. Thnxs for the info rebecca i understand what u r saying i sometimes hear the humming sound when playing the high notes i then record it on smartphone but i hear it but unfortunately i still can’t stop it don’t know how sometimes it goes away by itself i will c if that happens my instructor says when playing 4 awhile the jaws become stronger maybe that will help

    1. Rose, you’ll want to think of ‘inflating’ your throat a bit while you play. This will help those vocal chords not to touch. Keep trying. 🙂 ~Rebecca

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