Learn Flute Podcast SHOW NOTES:
What this podcast will be all about:
- What happens when we play in the heat
- How to fix any issues you may have with heat, humidity, and your flute
- The importance of keeping your instruments out of extreme heat
- Rebeccas hottest performance
Learn Flute Podcast 100
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Can You Feel It?
If you haven’t felt it yet, it’s coming… and today I’m giving tips on playing the flute in the heat. So what did one pig say to another while they were at the beach? .. I’m bacon! Just a dad-joke to get us started today.
Well hey there and welcome to this episode of the Learn Flute Podcast. I’m Rebecca Fuller and today we’re going to talk about what is coming to your area sometime… maybe soon, and that is the hot weather.
So, I’ll have to admit that in the Month of May where I live, things are still pretty sweet. I mean, the mountains are getting all green and furry with the tips still being white with snow, and down in the valleys it’s just gorgeous and about the most perfect weather anyone could ask for.
With this perfect weather in my area comes a lot of pollen allergies- so that’s something I never enjoy because I do have hay fever allergies pretty good. But, I still love the sunshine and nice temperatures.
Now I know that some places who are south of my latitude are already dying of heat and humidity. It seems every year I start getting a lot of emails asking me what to do about the sweaty chin and lip they’re having as they try to play their flutes.
Well actually, have some pretty good answers for you, and I thought it might be fun to take a little walk around this idea today. It might save you some frustration and hopefully keep your music learning cool this year.
Playing the flute in the heat isn’t a very fun experience if you get sweaty skin. I live in Northern Utah where it’s really dry, so I don’t usually have this issue when I’m in my house with the air conditioner on anyway, but this hasn’t always been the case.
I remember when I was in college I had to keep a handkerchief with me to wipe my chin as I practiced.. And especially when I was on stage performing. My goodness, those stage lights combined with the adrenaline of an audience really made the flute slip all over the place, and my fingers always felt wet.
I always kind of toughed it out, but one day I was having a conversation with one of my colleagues who moved back East where it’s pretty humid. I asked her what she does about the heat and humidity, while playing the flute. Her answer surprised me.
She actually said it didn’t really affect her too much once she started using two sided tape. Two-sided tape?!
She said she puts a piece of it right on her lip plate when it’s hot and humid. This keeps her flute from slipping around with the mixture of skin, metal, and humidity.
Another friend I know said she uses clear fingernail polish as a gripper. Haha, anything that can help the lip plate grip onto your skin as you play is awesome. We don’t need these things in non-humid weather, but apparently it’s a real thing for many others.
I’ve seen people fingernail polish little grippy dots on the lip plate or even just a nice fat stripe.
There are some flute lip plate patches you can purchase as well which are like little stickers that you place on your lip plate or even other parts of your flute where your skin has to touch the metal.. They’re like a little thin, little see through piece of light sandpaper if you will, that help you catch hold onto your instrument… but not enough to irritate your skin. Very inventive!
Have you ever been super sweaty while playing the flute and had it feel hard to hold onto or keep in place on your face? I’m sorry, but the good news is that you can try some of these remedies I’ve just mentioned and find out what works best for you.
There are some flute manufacturers who have a service called lip engraving. If you’ve followed my learn flute online page on facebook, or are a member here at Learn Flute Online then you will have hopefully seen some of the pictures I’ve posted about this.
It’s not just someone taking an engraver tool and scratching the lip plate… although that might do the trick for you, but instead it’s like real artwork right on the instrument. It’s beautiful! I have seen an artist work on a flute before, doing this. It’s very high level work. Ornamental and oh, so elegant.
Look it up if you haven’t ever seen this before. You’ll be surprised, I’m sure. And if you have seen it before you may have thought it was done for looks and to add some aesthetic beauty or individual charm to the instrument, but in actuality, many people get their lip plates ornamentally engraved so it will help with this slipping issue.
Like I mentioned earlier, when I used to have to play under the stage lights a lot, it was just brutal for my skin. My fingers would sweat also and since you’re a flute player too, you know that having slippery hands, fingers, and chin is like having a perfect storm brewing for a possibility of dropping the flute right then and there, right in front of everyone watching.
Yep- so I live in a dry climate. It does get really hot in July and August. Like really hot. We get up to one hundred degrees often, but I don’t have to take my flute outside and play in it for sure. So, it’s not really an issue for me. If I had a swamp cooler instead of central air, I think I would have more humidity issues while playing flute though.
So, anyway I wanted to bring this up today because the heat is coming.. If it hasn’t yet for you, and you may want to know that you don’t have to spend the summer holding a greased pole for a flute.
It won’t cost you much to try the two-sided tape or to order some of the flute patches… and always keep an extra cloth handy to wipe your hands on because we don’t want you to have an accident for sure.
Speaking of Accidents – I Have a Warning for You
If you ever travel with your flute or have it with you as you’re out and about, be sure not to store it in the vehicle. The reason being that inside a car during a hot sunshiny day, the temperature can climb to almost two hundred degrees, or more! Did you know that?
We hear the dangers of leaving a child or a pet in the car, but no one talks about the instruments and what happens to them.
Well okay, here at our house we have names for many of our instruments like blondie, brownie, Miya, Taylor, and Crackie. Yes, I said Crackie… and the reason is because we have a guitar we’ve named after the long crack it has all the way down it.
We did a bad thing one year as I was taking my kids to a gig they had in Salt Lake one scorching hot summer. In fact, I believe we were shooting a commercial for the public library system and the popular cartoon show called “Arthur”. Yah, I don’t know if you remember that. I guess one day I should mention all of the fun things we’ve done with our music skills.
Well anyway we had to take our truck to this gig instead of the van for some reason.. And if I remember right, it had to do with the fact that we had to take more equipment than we could fit in the van.
I worried all the way to Salt Lake which is a pretty decent drive.. So I remember telling my husband that I was worried about the flutes and the violin especially so we brought those into the cab with us and kept the air conditioning on… but we couldn’t fit the guitars or the bass and still fit the kids in. So, in the back they went with all of the other sound equipment.
Well, as you’ve probably already guessed, by the time we arrived a couple of hours later, one of our nice guitars had a swollen crack all the way down it from the heat. I’ve kicked myself several times about that one. I took it to a guitar repair shop and they did their best with it, but we’ll always have a guitar named Crackie around here. I’m so glad I listened to my smarter-inner self and saved the flutes and the violin from the temperature though.
So do you know what keeps the pads sitting underneath your keys? Well, it’s a type of glue. And guess what can happen to it if it’s exposed to extreme heat? Yep – you’re thinking right. It melts.. And the pads can slip and fall right off. It’s a mighty expensive fix on a flute, folks so take heed and plan your outings in the heat without your instrument.
IF you do have to transport it on a hot day, make sure and treat it like your baby and take it with you wherever you go instead of leaving it under the seat of the car.
Let’s keep our instruments not only intact, but also in primo condition, folks. Learn from me today that we can play in the warm and even decently hot but we do need to protect our instruments from extreme heat.. And cold for that matter. I guess we’ll tell cold stories another day.
My Hottest Performance
I do think the hottest performance I ever remember though was playing my flute for a group of fifteen or twenty in a teepee- yep like a Native American teepee- at a dude ranch in the mountains.. It was so stuffy in there it was really quite something. I don’t especially love the acoustics inside a teepee either. Oh my goodness, oh taking a walk down memory lane today I guess.
I’m wondering what hot or sweaty stories you have to tell me? Leave a comment and let us know. It could be that a combination of heat, humidity, and nerves got the best of you one time or something else. We’d love to know! It makes this journey towards musicianship even more fun as we ride together.
I just love hearing from you Learn Flute Online members. You know Pat sent this in the other day that she had been trying to learn to play the flute for a number of years, but that “I’ve learned so much in such a short time here at Learn Flute Online that it feels like a miracle”. Well, thanks for sending that in Pat, and you’re very welcome.
You know, one of the reasons I started this program is because I know what it feels like to feel the music inside of me and be so enthusiastic about this instrument flute that I’m hungry for more knowledge every day… when I was learning years ago, I didn’t have access to good, proper information that would lead me down the right path. I really had to scrape hard to get what I could. And, it was just so much slower than I wanted.
I want you all to have a good experience with music and be able to take your enthusiasm and use it every single day.
It doesn’t need to take the rest of your life to learn how to play the flute beautifully. It just doesn’t.
You can learn here in my program at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule. In just months you’ll be doing what most people only accomplish in years with a lot of slow learning and the high cost that comes with higher, proper education. That’s why I’m here.
I honestly felt the urge to take what I have spent the last thirty four or so years learning, teaching, performing, and experiencing and putting it into consumable content for good people like you.
So thank you for being here. I really do love our time together. You know, the flute seems to draw the cream of the crop of the world. It’s true!
Consider yourself part of the family.
Thanks for being here today as we explored playing the flute in the heat. I’ll play you out now with an appropriate tune about the sunshine. See you again soon. Bye now!
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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about playing your flute in the heat. Join us for the next episode!