NATIVE AMERICAN FLUTES

Sound recordings are to be listened to with a good quality stereo or head phones else they are misguiding!

 

- Oriented from highest to deepest tone -

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How to play the Native American Flute

The initial advice given to me was: "Just close you eyes open you heart and play." And it worked for me. 

Here are some further clues-both text and video plus some extra links. (Videos and links will be added)

Holding The Flute

Use three fingers of each hand, does not matter which hand is where just follow what's natural to you

Try to hold the flute in a relaxed manner. It is beneficial to not grasp the flute too tight. 

You should place the pads of the fingers flat over the holes rather than use the end of your fingers. That also helps you relax. Each hole must be covered completely otherwise the air escape creates creates ‘wrong’ sounds (squeaking and so)

 

With your fingers just placed laying on the holes it is possible to feel the air vibrations through the fingertips. Becoming more relaxed will also help the flow of your music

 

Mouth and tongue, air

Place your mouth on the end of the flute as if you were using a straw. Try to partially cover the hole with your top lip. This will give you better control over the amount of air/breath which is entering the flute. In doing so you will be able to slow down the rate of air which is entering the flute.

Tongue should be kept at the bottom of mouth. Later on the tongue can be used to help articulate.

 

You can do a lot just by playing with the intensity of blowing-blow harder and softer, rhythmically and arhythmically, moving your mouth like saying: the, the, the.. Infinite combinations.

 

Finger holes

Covering different combinations of finger holes produces different notes. The easiest thing to do at the beginning is to always keep the third hole from the top covered. Some people put a leather strap over the hole. This will let you play six notes which have very easy finger positions. 

There is normally a need to increase the blow pressure when coming to the higher notes-you will notice they sound week/flat if you won’t. 

 

 

 

 

Basic fingering for the basic scale

 

 

Common problems

Squeaking  -usually occurs if you are not covering the holes completely or you are blowing way too hard. It is possible to make the flute jump up in pitch (by and octave) by blowing harder while covering all the holes. Sometimes this is desirable but usually not while learning.

Flat notes - are caused by blowing too softly. Sharp notes are caused by blowing too hard.

Deteriorated quality of play after a short/long time, maybe fifteen minutes plus. This is usually caused by the flute wetting out. This is caused by the air condensation. To remove the moisture easily place one finger over the sound hole in front of the block and make a short, sharp blow into the mouthpiece. This will dislodge the moisture and allow you to continue playing for a while. 

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