LFP 073 | How to Play the Flute With Braces or No Teeth

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LFP 073 | How to Play the Flute With Braces or No Teeth

Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:

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

This is the Learn Flute Podcast Episode 073.


You’ll learn:

What this podcast will be all about

  • Information on this podcast is supplemental to LearnFluteOnline.com
  • Tips to help you play the flute with braces
  • How playing the flute with braces or with no teeth is similar
  • How to get past these times in your flute playing
  • What you can look forward to learning from listening

Learn Flute Podcast 073

Press the Play Button to Listen Now:

Welcome to episode number seventy three! I’m Rebecca Fuller the flute expert at Learn Flute Online, today we’re going to take a detailed look at the answer to questions I get all the time. How to play flute with braces or no teeth at all? Sound like something you might want to know about? Well, I think you’re gonna like this- so stick around- be right back.

Hello and welcome back to another audio episode of the Learn Flute Podcast. There is so much knowledge to share with you online students. You can enjoy these audios and make the information about music learning part of your life in not only an educational way, but in other positive ways that impacts you, your family and friends. You’ll want to keep it around forever and ever. Nuf said. Let’s get going on today’s subject.

I have students in all stages of life. And, when I say all stages.. I really mean that. My youngest student I have ever taught was almost three years old. The bulk of my young studio begins around age four, and goes on up through the of the different ages all the way to the wisest of them who are in their nineties. Yes. I am serious. This instrument spans all ages and stages. It’s awesome!

Throughout these stages I have the opportunity of watching the students as they develop- right in front of my eyes – literally. There are parts of development that you possibly hadn’t even thought of. For example, the subject for today is all about those teeth and how they affect flute-playing.

When I begin a student at a very young age, they have all of their cute little baby teeth,.. Then as they turn about seven or eight years old- those teeth begin falling out, and we have to adjust our playing style just slightly to accommodate for having a lot of empty spaces in the mouth. It’s a whole new ball game for a few minutes when your tongue has no teeth to touch – especially those front ones.

Think about it- the lips literally lay on your face and mouth area depending on the position of those teeth, and especially the front ones. If they are gone, the embouchure and aperture that are so delicately vital to tone production are changed even moved just a little.

So, as the progression of teeth growing in and falling out happens, so does the evolving of the abilities of the player to adjust to what is happening every few weeks even.

Let me move on- once the child is around 9 years old, suddenly they have really large front teeth, and most of them time they aren’t even straight. They come in all crazy directions sometimes as well as the other teeth surrounding.

And, this stage spurs on the next one which is braces – or brackets as they are called in some countries. Think of what happens during the process of straightening one’s teeth with braces. It is really come now days.  The lips lay further out from the face than they used to, so that’s usually the biggest thought we take when we approach playing the flute. I have to teach the students to stretch their lips farther over to accommodate for the extra distance their teeth are out from their gums. Haha, I’ve actually had to get quite scientific about this.

Playing with braces is something many youngsters face in the beginning band years, and unless someone teaches them the tricks to still being able to sound good, then it can be a very frustrating process. But, no worries- it’s totally possible, and it’s all about the top lip and getting it all the way over that metal and down past the bottom of the front teeth. Then all is well. You just have to remember to do it, every time you play.

You might be wondering if once the braces come off if there are any of the same issues of fuzzy and hard to control tone. And, the answer is- usually not. I don’t think even once in the history of me teaching hundreds of students with braces have we ever had problems getting and keeping good tone the day the braces are removed. And, this is mostly because we’ve already been working so hard on learning good tone techniques and where exactly the lips must be etc. that once the smooth teeth return, all is well- and most of them time, even a smidge better!

So, adult-hood with big-kid teeth lasts a lot longer than these previous stages… but then the funny thing is that we get to go right back to the same stage as the youngest as teeth begin to shift in older age, and some of you listening can attest to the fact that you don’t always play with a whole deck of pearlies in your later years. And, sometimes you’re faced with learning how to play with false teeth or dentures even.

I have had quite a few people ask me if they should play with the dentures IN or with them out. Well… this all depends on which type you own. It’s really hard to play the flute with a false ‘roof’ of the mouth. It causes all sorts of tone issues. 

So back in the stage of braces, if you have an expander in your mouth I usually suggest we just kinda hang with it and don’t worry about  a lot of flute tone progression during that time because it’s usually very hard to control and usually a lot of drooling and spitting is happening during that time as well. But it doesn’t last forever and never more than three months. It causes all sorts of tone issues. We need that natural, high arch to get good tone, and if there’s too much going on that exceeds what used to be naturally grown in your mouth, then it’s going to be super hard to adjust. But, it is possible. 

Just as the seven year old has to learn how to play with even 8 of their front teeth missing, it’s also possible for an adult to slowly adjust and learn as well. It’s just that the adult isn’t quite as pliable and patient about it.

So goes the circle of teeth-life in the days of a flutist. I’m not quite sure if any other instrument matters as much in the way of tone production and teeth. I remember my brother complaining that playing the trumpet was killing him when he had braces — wax and more wax haha. But, the teeth, gums, mouth roof, and lips of a flutist are super-duper important, and will evolve in the lifetime.

So, what take away do we have here today in this quick discussion about teeth? Well, it’s that no matter what is going on inside your mouth, you can do it. You can learn how to play the flute. It takes continual effort, good instruction, and patience. Yup- that’s about it. We’re all different, and the flute doesn’t discriminate. It sits there all pretty just waiting for you to get it figured out so it can help be the tool that enhances your life.

It’s been a great day for Learn Flute Online. Thanks for being here. I hope that we’ll be able to see you inside the member’s area soon where you can take a lesson, learn, and enjoy!

If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me from the contact page on Learn Flute Online dot com up in the menu bar. I’m always on the other end cheering you on.

Until next time- I’m Rebecca Fuller signing off. Reminding you that Learn Flute Online helps you quickly learn how to play the flute easily and beautifully.
Bye now!


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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about the flute and get the answer to your question; “How to Play the Flute With Braces or 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.

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