For thousands of years the flute has been used to play the most melancholy of melodies to the most joyful of tunes. But every single one of those musicians all started from somewhere, and this is the perfect guide to get started so that one day that could be you. Before you play anything you’re going to need a flute. Either buy or rent a flute and make sure it has a rod and cloth to clean the flute after you use it. After you acquire your flute the first step is to understand the different parts of the flute. The three parts of the flute are the head, body, and foot joint. The head joint is the part of the flute where you blow into and make the sound. On the top of the head there is an oval shaped piece of metal sticking out with a little hole in it. This is called the embouchure hole. The next part is the body which is the longest part of the flute with little circle shaped levers. These are called keys and are what allow you to control what notes you play. The last part is the foot joint. This is the shortest of the three parts of the flute. The foot also has some keys that allow you to play the lower register. After you understand the different parts of the flute, you are ready to assemble.
- To attach the head to the body you connect the opening of the head joint to the barrel in the body. The barrel of the body looks similar to a real barrel and should have the maker of the flute engraved on it. Twist and push the head and the body together until they feel secure.
- To connect the body to the foot joint, first find the part of the foot where there are the most keys. After that, connect that side of the foot with the rest of the body.
- Finally to align the flute make sure the embouchure hole is in line with the first key of the body. To align the foot to the rest of the flute make sure the metal rod of the foot joint and the embouchure hole are in line.
After you have assembled your flute you need to learn how to hold it correctly. To start you must have a good posture. If you’re sitting, sit straight and have both feet on the floor. If you’re standing however, start with a strong stance with your left leg a little in front of your right. To hold the flute either sitting down or standing up, hold the flute parallel to the floor. Your left hand should be at the top of the body with your thumb positioned on the long metal part at the bottom of the flute. The rest of the fingers go directly above. The index finger goes in the second closest key to the embouchure hole. After that you skip a key and the middle and ring finger go in the next two keys. Finally your pinky should be on the little metal part sticking out of the flute right next to the ring finger. Your right hand is pretty simple. The thumb goes below keys as support and the index, middle, and ring finger go in the last 3 keys of the body. The pinky should go on the flappy thing at the very beginning of the foot joint.
The last step is the actual blowing to make a sound. If you have your hands positioned correctly then it shouldn’t be much of a problem to position your lips as the embouchure hole should already be aligned to you. Place the bottom of your lip at the bottom of the hole. Smile a little bit and round your lips and blow. Your blowing should be precise. Think of blowing into a straw. To separate different notes, say “ta” as you’re blowing into the flute. This is called tonguing. As you practice and improve you will learn the fingerings for different notes. This is just a starter guide in order to start off playing the flute. After you’re done practicing make sure to always clean your flute. Make sure you have a cloth and rod for cleaning the flute. The rod should have a little opening on the top of it. Insert the cloth in that hole then stick into the different part of the flute and twist in order to clean it. This makes sure your flute stays healthy and always able to produce a beautiful sound. Always remember to practice if you want to improve. Make sure to always have your fundamentals down and eventually you’ll be able to produce beautiful melodies and tunes. Have fun in your fluting!
Kevin Fernandez – Walter Payton College Prep – DMSF Class of 2027