It’s definitely no fun when you’re trying to focus on sounding great, yet your flute won’t stay put. What can you do about sweaty, slippery lip when playing flute? There are a few easy fixes for this uncomfortable phenomenon.
First, is it hot? Then it’s totally normal to sweat a bit while you’re practicing or performing your instrument.
It’s so much easier to keep your lip plate in the perfect spot when the temperatures are below seventy degrees. If you have an air conditioner, use it, especially when it’s practice time, so the area just below your lip stays powdery dry.
Second, is it humid? Then it’s even more normal to get a slippery lip plate which causes all sorts of annoyances like … your flute won’t stay put!
Having some extra wetness on your skin is a real problem for flutists once we cover it with a silver lip plate. It makes for a slimy gross moment, and more importantly, stops you from being able to focus on all of the other skills you’re attempting.
So what should you do about this? What if you live in a climate where the humidity is regularly off the charts? Great news: I’ve got your back. You can try these lip plate patches. I’m guessing an awesome fellow flutist from Florida invented these? Thank You!
Third, are you new? If so, then it’s a real ‘thing’ to have occasional struggles keeping your head joint in place on your favorite place on your lip… your sweaty, slippery lip.
Having some extra wetness on your skin is a real problem
If you have a really good teacher (I hope you do!), then you will learn about how to properly balance your flute. This is especially important in the first stages of learning. Using bio-mechanics and good leverage makes holding the flute easy-peasy and therefore eliminates the need to put the death grip on it. A light touch with proper leverage is the BEST way to hold a flute.
Fourth, are you nervous? If the answer is ‘yes’, then expect some oily perspiration to taint your playing session. But, it doesn’t have to stay this way- not even for a minute.
The fix is very simple. Simply wipe your lip/chin area and your lip plate with your shirt (or something dry). Yes, even in public. We instrumentalists have to do all sorts of things to get our sweet sounds. Just imagine what the poor french hornists have to do with their wet fist… uh, yah nevermind, let’s not think about that.
If you can think of other reasons you’re having the slippery lip syndrome while playing the flute, such as you are slightly trembling, you can read more about it here.
Similarly, sweat, grime, and chemical reactions can make the slip-slide happen even more. Occasionally, you’ll even come up with a black lip or chin!
Is your lip hot and humid?
Above all, the number one tip I’ve given here is to wipe off your lip / chin area and your lip plate often before and during playing. Then afterwards you will need to make sure and clean your flute thoroughly inside and out. Pay special attention to the lip plate so that no oils from your skin are left on it.
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Instrumentalists such as flute players have to learn about all sorts of interesting subjects like this. A sweaty, slippery lip is a problem just as much as cold hands are! But no need to let it side track you! It’s normal, and something you can easily work through as you play the best instrument around, the flute.