LFP 069 | How to Play the Flute With No Teeth

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LFP 069 | How to Play the Flute With No Teeth

Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:

In this episode, you will learn how to play the flute with no teeth.

This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 069.


You’ll learn:

What this podcast will be all about

  • Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
  • The different stages of a flute player
  • How Rebecca has taught students of all different ages and stages
  • How you can play the flute with no teeth or missing teeth
  • What you can look forward to learning from listening

Learn Flute Podcast 069

Press the Play Button to Listen Now:

Hello and welcome to the Learn Flute Podcast. This is episode number sixty nine and today we’re going to talk about how to play the flute with no teeth! Interesting subject? I thought so too. I’m Rebecca Fuller the expert here at Learn Flute Online – let’s get started.

Hi, Rebecca Fuller here with another interesting subject to discuss all about learning how to play the flute. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, and I’m so glad you’re here to share in the conversation.

Today you might be wondering what in the world the title I gave this episode even means haha.

Well, the reason I named it “How to play the flute with no teeth” is because of a couple of different reasons.

I have good people of all ages going through my membership area at Learn Flute online dot com, and I often get this question – (usually when they’re anticipating starting into the lessons) and that goes something like either one of these:

“Hi Rebecca I wanted to let you know that my daughter is a bit of a late-bloomer, and is going to be learning how to play the flute in grade school, and she has recently started to lose her baby teeth at a fast rate” Is it a problem to learn how to play the flute while losing and gaining new teeth often?

So, that’s the first type of question I get, and the next is this one:

“Hi Rebecca, I’ve been dreaming of my goal to learn how to play the flute all my life, and am just about ready to dive into your lesson modules, but thought I’d better ask first if it’s okay to play with dentures or without teeth?”

Tada! Now you know why the title for today.

Well, first of all, I’m excited for both of these types of people who write in to me. The youngster and the not-so youngster. It’s awesome! AND, you need to know that YES, they can both learn how to play the flute.

So, I have been teaching young, and I mean very young students for closing in on thirty years now, and so I have been through every age and stage – including every scenario of lost and gained teeth. Here’s how the cycle goes for these young ones.

They usually come to me around age four or maybe five, although I have started a select few of three year olds before. They have baby teeth, and we learn how to position our lips and get the tongue moving just right so they can have good nice, big tone even at that young age. Their cute little fingers reach just barely even on the smallest size of flutes. It’s about the cutest thing ever. 

Then after working on it for a couple of years and getting their sound just right, suddenly they start losing those teeth. And, it’s usually the ones right in the very front first! Haha, so we have to learn what to do when suddenly there’s a big old gap right there.

We adjust and move on, and then sometimes just weeks later there’s another lost tooth or two and a couple of new little ones budding in. It seems to be a never ending cycle until the age ten or so for the front part of their mouth.

Ha, I should mention here that two of my own children have lost teeth right during flute recitals! Yup. I have boys, and one of them kind of turned around fast while sitting in the pew of a fancy church we were performing in and his elbow hit my other son’s face just in the right spot so that his front tooth went flying out and landed a couple of rows back. Chink chink right on the floor. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he told me whispered it to me before taking his place up on the stand for performance.

It gave the whole audience a chuckle when he announced his name, his piece, and then told everyone that he had just lost his tooth – then he opened his mouth wide so everyone could see. They applauded for him before he had even played his number! Haha, it was pretty funny actually.

Well, anyway you may be wondering if there was a change or difference in tone during these times when the teeth were missing. And the answer is Yes and No.

I say Yes and No because Yes, there was a drop in tone quality on the first day of the lost tooth or teeth, but also NO because after the student got used to how it felt to have no tooth there, life just moved on and there was an easy adjustment. It is always no problem at all. AFTER the adjustment days.

And, it’s a really good thing that it doesn’t make a very big difference in playing the flute because the cycle seems to just continue – this little student who has come to me with baby teeth, then no teeth, and then big kid teeth, will almost always end up in braces before the age of thirteen or so. And the saga will continue. Haha, I call it a saga, but really it’s not because we just adjust.

I show the students how to get their top lip over to the place it needs to be. So, if you (for example) are in one of ones in this stages you need to know that you have to stretch your top lip over those braces and down past the front teeth in order to have good tone on the flute. It only takes a few days to get used to it. Although it’s kind of bad the first day or two… don’t ever give up because once you know this trick, you’ll be just fine. I promise! I’ve helped hundreds and hundreds through it. They can all do it.

So, now let’s go a few years past and see what happens when a person suddenly loses all of their teeth- perhaps because of an accident or some other reason. The key to remember here is that it’s the adjusting period that is difficult. If you end up with dentures or a bunch of fake teeth, I suggest wearing them as you play the flute and getting used to that because- all of the tone directions I give you have to do with the tongue and relation to lips and teeth. So, yes- wear your dentures, and then remember that you need to give it time and practice. And, you’ll be okay!

What a fun subject today, eh? I hope you’ve had time to come into the member’s area and take a lesson. My online flute lessons are here for you, and will help you through pretty much every stage of playing. If you have any questions for me or want to know more, be sure to get ahold of me at Learn Flute Online dot com.

I’m here for you, and thrilled that you are too, on the adventure of learning how to play the flute. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, and I am leading and cheering you on!

We’ll see you next time!


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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about the flute and how to play the flute with no teeth.  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.

4 thoughts on “LFP 069 | How to Play the Flute With No Teeth”

  1. Thanks Rebecca

    I did end up purchasing an old sterling silver Selmer off an Ebay auction. The silver in the flute is worth more than I what I paid. It needed about $150 in repairs. It’s open holed with a B foot. I have been back playing for three days now.

    As far as I can tell the lack of teeth has not caused any problems at all. I am relearning very quickly. I am having a few problems with the low notes on the foot joint getting a full tone on the low C and B but I think it is just that I need to get used to the more free blowing Selmer. In the past I played an Armstrong that had a lot of resistance. On the high notes I am up to high A. The only problem is I find it hard to put the flute down. I have been at for hours each day.

    Thank you again!

    1. Hi John, haha love it. Putting down the flute is an issue for many. So much fun to explore! Sounds like you’re finding the right path. Come in to the member’s area for a lesson soon. It’ll be fun learning even more skills you can ‘play’ with. 🙂 ~Rebecca

  2. I am 57 years old and have lost my upper and lower front teeth. In my youth I played French Horn and Flute. I am now retired early after a diagnoses of heart failure. I always dreamed of being able to play both horn and flute again in my retirement years. I recently began attempting to play horn again. It’s very difficult but I am making some progress. Picking up horn again was easier because I still had my old horn. It just needed some valve oil and slide grease. I will need to buy a flute. I hate to spend the money on one if I won’t be able to play it. Do you think it may be possible that I could play again? Dentures are not an option at least for now so I am stuck with missing teeth.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi John, yes yes- I have many students in similar situations. The key is to be ‘consistent’ with what is in your mouth. Remember my 7 year old students… they have basically no teeth in the front of their mouths for a few months, and we still play great! You can do it. ~Rebecca

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