Begin with the head joint alone, even though you want to start making music immediately!
Hold the head joint with both hands. Place the wide side of the lip plate against your bottom lip. Cover about a quarter of the tone hole with your lower lip.
Blow gently across the hole towards the opposite edge. The head joint should make a sound.
If you can’t make a sound, try moving the head joint a little to the left or the right. Or try rolling it in towards you, or out away from you.
Sometimes it helps to look in a mirror while you are learning to make the sound.
Be very, very patient with this process. When I was learning it took me 3 days before I could play a note, and even then it wasn’t much.
Blow smoothly, and avoid huffing and puffing.
It is not necessary to swell up your cheeks.
Blow as if you are blowing into a straw, not as if you are trying to fill a balloon.
When you can make a sound, put the flute together.
At this stage you might run into a problem, which often happens to some of the children I teach.
What happens is that they are able to make a good note on the head joint alone, but when they put the flute together and blow, the sound is nowhere to be heard.
If this happens to you – read on.
The flute is an instrument designed for adults.
For a child, it can feel heavy.
When you make a sound with just the head joint, you are holding only part of the flute, which is much lighter.
Probably you are holding it with both hands.
So you are able to easily control its position near your mouth.
However, when you put all the pieces of the flute together, and you hold the flute with your fingers on the keys, your hands are further away from the mouthpiece. It’s harder to control the flute and keep the lip plate in the right position.
Also, because the whole flute is so much heavier than just the head joint, it’s harder to just hold it up.
The right hand end of your flute drops down, pulling it away from that one vital spot on your lips from where you need to blow to make the sound.
What you need to do is to make sure that when you have the flute put together, the head joint stays in the same spot next to your lips that it was in when you were blowing across the head joint alone.
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