Visualize breathing for flutists

We flutists have a different job to do in the world of music.  We have to inhale and exhale like an elephant!

While it can appear easy, once you try it you’ll have a whole new respect for the flute-learner/player/performer.

Within the walls of this website are many, many strategies and tips that are very valuable. This page is going to give you a visual.  Visualization is AWESOME for musicians because many times we can’t exactly see what is going on with out bodies while we play.

 Picture your chest and tummy area expanding and contracting fully.

I found this 27 second video that I feel gives a great visual for your lungs for inhaling and then exhaling fully.

Watch it here I think it’ll give you a giggle:


Just remember that inhaling to FILL your lungs fully is the best practice – even when you are only needing to play one note.  (re-read that)

When exhaling, you need to press from the tummy area (bellybutton) so that you get the best chance at “pressurized air”.

HINT: We need all of the above for clear tone.

Clear tone is what EVERY flutist on this green and blue planet is striving for.  Ask them, you’ll see.

The bellows are a lot like our bodies.  Picture your chest and tummy area expanding and contracting fully just like you see the bellows.

Next time you are practicing you will find being able to visualize breathing for flutists a helpful tool, and maybe you just might learn to breathe like an elephant, but not exactly have to sound like one.  haha

Any questions? Leave a comment below.

Rebecca Fuller Flute TeacherRebecca Fuller



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  • WilliamMurphy

    Reply Reply July 18, 2014

    Hi Rebecca
    Yes I get the idea and it helps to see it


    • Pixie

      Reply Reply August 18, 2014

      Yes a bit like singing Ty. X

      • RebeccaFuller

        Reply Reply August 18, 2014

        Pixie, I have some vocal coach friends – and we have often compared notes. It’s very much like singing. Thanks for pointing that out. ~ Rebecca

    • Jerome

      Reply Reply February 16, 2015

      Hello Rebecca

      I think this illustration will help me greatly

      Thank you

  • Trece

    Reply Reply July 23, 2015

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you so much for this visual. Think it will help greatly. NOW to work on my pitch and get that right.:-))

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply July 23, 2015

      Great, Trece! Pitch gets better as your air-flow improves also. 🙂

  • Kevin

    Reply Reply September 29, 2015

    Hi Rebecca,

    Good day. Which is better, to breath through nose, or through mouth while playing the flute?


  • Diane Muir

    Reply Reply January 12, 2016

    January 11, 2016😊


    I use a tuner when I do long tones. It help me with pitch. If I over blow or roll the flute in or out is what tend to do.

    How do I correct rolling the flute in or out? It is very slight I don feel it it does affect the tone.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply January 13, 2016

      Hi Diane, I’m glad you use a tuner. The best way to play is to use your mouth position and air direction to ‘tune’ your notes as opposed to rolling in and out. Rolling in creates a ‘pulling’ in your face which causes all sorts of issues including sounding kind of thin and shrill in the higher register. I hope you’re able to go through the Gold Level lessons so I can ‘show’ you exactly what I mean in the video lessons as we learn to play higher and higher studies. There’s definitely a best method for sure. 🙂 Rebecca p.s. this is a great question!

      • Clare Vining

        Reply Reply March 14, 2016

        How can I get a tuner? Do the apps work

  • Clare Vining

    Reply Reply March 14, 2016

    Thanks that is very interesting.

  • jorge alminaza,Jr.

    Reply Reply December 7, 2016

    wow! that’s great.i think i have to do breathing exercises first before practicing cause when i don’t do i felt dizzy.thanks rebecca

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply December 8, 2016

      Hi Jorge, I know what you mean. I was very dizzy when I first started – but I kept learning and growing and understanding, and it definitely went away. Good luck. ~Rebecca

  • Carol Bender

    Reply Reply May 3, 2017

    Thank you for these lessons about breathing. They are very helpful. I loved the video also.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply May 8, 2017

      Great Carol, thanks for paying attention and seeing the little details we need to be good flutists. See you again soon! ~Rebecca

  • Anne-Marie

    Reply Reply August 21, 2017

    Thank you, Rebecca, for your great tips. It also helps to look at a picture of the lungs and how they are placed in the body as they go all the way up to the collar bone and down and around the spine. A good yawn will fill them up:)

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