So you have been playing pieces on the flute using the first octave notes and are ready to move on to the second octave sounds. Firstly, I will label all first octave notes with a 1 after, all second octave notes with a 2 after and all third octave notes with a 3 after. Eg G1 and E2 and C3
To begin with the second octave notes from E2 to C#3 are fingered exactly the same as the first octave notes from E1 to C#2. All D’s and D#’s have different fingering throughout the flute register.
To produce those second octave sounds you need to increase the speed of the air that you are blowing by making the size of your embouchure smaller. Imagine a hose with water flowing out. If you squeeze the hose to make a smaller diameter where the water can flow out, what happens? Yes, the water comes out faster.
You need to do the same with your lips so that the air comes out faster.
How Do You Do This?
All you need to do is move your jaw forward to direct the air more outwards and squeeze the sides of your lips together to get a smaller lip hole.
Let’s do a little exercise to get the feel of your jaw moving forward.
1. Place your hand about 5 cm away from your lips such that when you blow straight across then the air is in the middle of your palm.
2. Now blow onto your palm as if you were playing lower octave sounds.
The air should be felt below the middle of your palm.
3. Now move your jaw or lower lip forward and blow onto the palm of your hand.
Where does the air land on your hand?
To get second octave sounds the air needs to be directed higher on the far side of the flute embouchure hole. If you can feel the air on your hand above the middle then you are on the right track.
The distance between the middle of the palm and the point at where you produced the lower octave sounds is the same as the distance between the middle of the palm and the point where you get the second octave sounds.
So the movement of moving the jaw forward and squeezing the lips together is what you need to produce the second octave sounds. As you move up the octave from E2, then you will need to make the lips smaller. Producing E2, F2 are fairly similar. Then from G2 upwards just do subtle movements to produce the sound.
Now that you know what to do, it is a matter taking action with the three P’s.
PLAY PLAY PLAY
It is a good idea to play some exercises slowly to get the feel of your new note.
Firstly play 2 note exercises, like D2 to E2. You can make it like a siren sound where you repeat the pairs of notes. D2 E2 D2 E2 etc.
Then you can play notes around and on D. Just make up your own tunes.
Secondly you will want to play pieces with your new note E. You can pull out the note before the E2 in the piece and do siren sounds with that note and E2. And you can pull out the note after the E2 and do siren sounds with that note and E2. And then this makes it relevant.
You can move on to higher notes as each second octave sound gets easier to produce.Here is a Flute Book which has pieces using notes spanning 2 octaves.
Here is one tune from the book.
Just remember to keep on PLAYING on different days of the week and you will be racing towards the third octave sounds in no time.
You are 7 and your class is having a soiree at the end of term where everyone is expected
to do an ‘item’ whether it be individually or in small groups. It can be anything like
reading a poem, telling a story, performing a musical instrument, talking about your
craft and so on. You have been learning the flute and have decided to learn and play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as your performance.
So how do you learn and play this?
You need to:
1. Know Your Instrument:
~ putting the flute together
~ making a sound on the flute
I gather if you want to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star then you can already make some
~ knowing the fingering to the notes required in the piece
~ caring for your instrument so it is in top form for your performance
2. Know everything that is required to read the sheet music:
This would be:
~ the range of note names
this piece uses the notes F G A B flat C and D second octave.
~ the range of note lengths
this piece uses 1 and 2 count notes
~ time signatures:
a time signature is the 2 numbers at the start of each piece telling you how many counts there
are in the bar and what type of note gets the count.
this piece has a time signature of 4
- meaning 4 crotchet beats in the bar.
~ how to count correctly to keep in good timing with a steady beat:
So in this piece you would count 1 2 3 4 l 1 2 3 4 I 1 2 3 4letc
~ dynamic signs:
these are the signs to tell you how soft and loud the notes are to be played
You start off learning
p: piano: soft
mp: mezzo piano: moderately soft
mf: mezzo forte: moderately loud
f: forte: loud
This piece is to be played mf ie moderately loud
At this stage of learning you will aware of what a stave, treble clef, bars and barlines are.
Just in case you have forgotten then they are:
Stave: the 5 horizontal lines the music is written on
Treble Clef: This is the sign at the very start of every line of music.
Flute music is written using the treble clef.
Barlines: The vertical lines seen at regular interval throughout the music
Double Barline: This is seen at the end of every piece of music.
Bars: The music ( notes and rests) seen between 2 barlines.
3. Learn The Piece:
When you learn any piece of music you
~ play the notes accurately with correct fingering
~ get the correct timing and feel of the beat
~ add the extras like dynamics
In order to get the piece up to performance standard then you need to practice.
This involves lots of repeated playing on different days of the week.
Any difficult parts, if you have them, need to be pulled out separately and repeated to
make as easy as the other parts.
For example in Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, you may find going from C to D second
octave to C difficult. Just pull those 3 notes out, C D C and repeat 3 times daily. You can
of course play it more times as necessary.
Look Here for more details on practising techniques.
It is the end of term and Soiree Time Classroom Style.
So you have hired, borrowed orpurchased a flute and you want to learn how to make
a sound and play beautiful tunes. The first step is to make a sound. So how is this done?
Let’s have a look at five points.
I ask students, especially the younger ones, “what happens to your tummy when you breathe in?”
Most students will reply…….actually, what do you think they say?
…They usually say, “the tummy goes in.”
Then I ask them what happens to a balloon when you blow into it?
They reply,” It gets bigger.”
I then tell them that when you breathe in, air goes into your lungs and they get bigger, just like the balloon, and so your tummy goes out.
Let us understand this further.
The diaphragm is the dome shaped muscle at the base of the abdomen. When you breathe
in, the diaphragm goes down, the lungs fill with air and the abdominal muscles move
out. The arrow is pointed to the diaphragm in the picture blow.
When people say “breath from the diaphragm”, you breathe deep and you need to be aware
of the tummy moving out and then moving in when you breathe out.
It is important be aware of your breathing in order to produce a good sound on the flute.
To Enhance Your Awareness:
i.Place one hand on your tummy and one hand on your back about the same position.
Then breathe in and out and focus on the movement of your tummy.
Does it go out and in, out and in? I hope so. Even your back goes out a little when you breathe in.
ii. Lie on the your back on the ground. Place some books on your tummy. Breathe in. Do the books rise? Well they should. Breathe out. Do the books come down? Yes they do. Good.
2. Lip Hole Size:
The size of your hole should be no wider than the width of the flute hole and not too big.
After blowing and practising you will get the feel of a suitable size because you will
hear your sound improving. If the hole size is too big then you lose too much air and the sound
will be weak. And you will not be able to blow so many notes in a breath.
To find a hole in your lip, firstly say MMMMM, then P and purse your lips such that the
corners feel like they are going down, kind of like the opposite to smiling.
Alternatively you can put a straw in your mouth and squeeze it. Feel the lips surrounding
the straw completely. Then remove the straw keeping the oval hole shape within the lips.
Then position your lips on the flute hole, headpiece alone to begin with and then the whole
flute, and blow.
3. Positioning of Lips on the Flute Hole:
The lower lip needs to cover the flute hole about a third. To get a feel for this, place a finger
underneath your lip such that the lip goes over a little. Then pick up the headpiece of the flute
and place the hole underneath then lip. Have a look in the mirror view your placement.
The far away edge of the flute hole should be slightly towards you so that when you blow
across the hole, the air splits and some goes down the flute and some goes out of the flute away
4. Angle of Air Into Flute:
When you start off learning the flute you play lower sounds.
To feel the angle of air into the flute firstly blow on your hand, which is placed in front of
your lips. Then blow straight across. Now move your lower lip in towards you such that the air
is now going lower on your hand about 2 cm. This is the angle you are aiming for when
blowing across the flute hole.
To get a good sound on the flute you need to have a suitable air speed to match the note you
are playing along with any dynamic, accents, articulations you are putting into the note and
suitable angle of air into the flute.
To start with you can try and make a sound from a plastic or glass bottle. Fizzy, wine and
beer bottles work really well. In fact if you get a number of these bottles together and fill them
up to varying levels , then you can play a tune!!
If you haven’t got a bottle on hand, go out and get one. You don’t have to drink all the contents.
But the less liquid you have in your bottle the lower the sound.
So place your lips at the edge of the bottle top, feel a hole in your lips and blow gently across
with a suitable angle of air as indicated above. You may have to adjust something to get the
sound eg you may have to blow more or less. Once you have a sound you can have a blow on
Get a sound out of your headpiece first and then put it together for some sounds.
Place your lips on the flute hole, get a hole in your lips and blow across with an angle of air like
in the hand exercise above.
You may get a sound straight way. Or it may take you weeks to get a sound. If the sound isn’t
coming or is weak, work at changing something like your hole size, placement of lips on flute
hole, angle of air into the flute and speed of air. Another point to check is to whether your lips
are placed in the centre of the flute hole. If they are slightly to one side then that will stop
the sound from being produced.
Just keep playing, looking in the mirror if you can
and you will get a sound in no time.
P.S While you are working on your sound it is a good idea to learn how to play some notes using a flute tutor book.
In order to play in time when playing a musical instrument the musician needs to know several factors.
1. how long each note is to be sounded for .
2. how to play all the required notes in the piece on their instrument eg which key to press on the piano, what fingering to use on a wind or brass instrument, where you fingers should be on a string instrument.
3. if reading sheet music ( as opposed to playing by ear )
~ how to read the notes from sheet music
~ what the musical terminology means eg bars, barlines and time signatures.
If you don't know something from the above, then you need to find out. This can be done by asking your teacher, referring back to the relevant sections in your tutor book or online through places like google or THIS and THIS
Once you have found out the information it is a good idea to play exercises and pieces around this information just found.
A musician also needs to Count Steadily. Sometimes people understand how long the notes are they a playing but their counting is uneven. It is common to rush the counting on long notes and to play slurs too quickly. Sometimes people don't count at all and just guess!!!
Beginners learn to count the notes by note length
During their learning process they get to know counting per bar. And to do this they need to know what the time signature is, and what bars and barlines are.
eg 4 is 4 counts per bar.
You count through the piece with repetitions of 1 2 3 4 ie 1 2 3 4 l 1 2 3 4 l etc
Musicians need to practise to remember
To help keep in time when you are playing through a piece you can have an external beat being sounded. You can:
1. clap and count out loud, the piece or section
2. for non wind instruments , play and count out loud.
3. play and move a foot or big toe in a steady beat
When you learn an instrument you are taught (either from a teacher or yourself) to read and play musical notes. It is important to know what a note actually is in order to learn and read them.
What Is A Note?
A note is a sign in music to tell a musician how long to play a sound for and which sound
to play on their instrument.
As a beginner you learn the 1, 2, 4, 3 count note lengths first and then branch out to other
They look like this:
1 count 2 counts 4 counts 3 counts
Notes are given names to tell the musician to what pitch to play. The musician will learn how
to play or find this pitch on their particular instrument. The notes are given names from the
first 7 letters of the alphabet, A B C D E F G. We call this the Musical Alphabet. And
then they are written on a set of 5 lines called a stave.
Pianists have 2 staves joined together by a long line, because they play notes with their right
and left hand at same time.
The position of the note on the stave tells the musician exactly which pitch of sound to play.
A C C A
Now we have the background on The Note let’s have a look at what helps you learn
to read and play these musical notes.
1. You learn note lengths and note pitch names slowly in a step by step fashion. When you are presented with a new note or note length you will have exercise(s) and pieces to play around this. Look Here at How To Catch A Musical Note and Keep It Correct
Follow the sayings for line notes and space notes
3. Playing games and more can help in your memory of learning and playing these Musical