Unlike virtually all other wind instruments, the flute does not have a separate mouthpiece. It is built into the body of the flute and is referred to as the headjoint.
This is where the sound begins so it is one of the most important parts of your flute. For this lesson we will concentrate on producing a good tone from the headjoint. Before trying this, spend some time with the posture and breathing exercises in lesson 1.
First we need to form our lips into the right shape for making a good tone. This shape is referred to as the embouchure. To create a good flute embouchure, start with shaping your mouth as if you’ve just bitten into something sour. While holding this position, try to smile a little. You will feel the corners of your mouth tighten.
If your lower lip isn’t pulled back, move it back a bit by pulling your jaw back as in lesson 1. The opening between your lips should be small. Test by blowing downwards into the palm of your hand.
Before we begin blowing, a bit about tonguing. Luckily, tonguing on the flute is relatively easy.
All notes should begin with the tongue. Think about whispering the word “too” but without any adding and “s” sound. You don’t want “tssoo,” you want a silent “tooooo” when you blow. Without the tongue your flute playing will sound like an owl going “whoooo,” and, your note will start below pitch then bend upwards. The tongue is used to make good rhythm.
Now to make our first sound. Look at the lip plate around the hole in the headjoint. The wider side is for your lower lip. Starting from a good playing posture, tuck the lower, wider half of the lip plate into the recess under your lower lip. You should barely feel the hole in the plate touch your lip. Now roll the headjoint up a little. Your lower lip should slightly cover the lower edge of the mouthpiece hole. Make sure the headjoint is at a right angle, not slanting upwards or downwards. Playing in front of a mirror will help a lot here.
You will focus your air downwards to hit the edge of the back side of the mouthpiece hole (also called the tone hole). This will be tricky at first. Take a deep breath, aim your air towards the back edge and tongue a long “toooooo” sound.
If all goes well you will hear a satisfying but slightly hollow flute tone.
If you got it right off the bat, congratulations! Most people won’t get it the first time. If you are not getting the results you anticipate, be patient and keep practicing. Experiment with rolling the headjoint slightly in or out and vary the angle of your blowing. Take breaks if you find yourself getting short of breath. Work towards getting a full, clear tone, relatively free of breathiness.
Don’t forget to always use the tongue!
Consistently getting a good, solid tone out of your headjoint is crucial before going on to the next lesson.Source: hocsao.com
Very first lessons for Flute, including setting up the flute, playing your first note, an introduction to reading music and your first real tune.
Beginner Flute Lesson 1 : Breathing and Posture
Like all wind instruments, playing the flute requires good breath control. It is easy to run out of air when playing the flute because it does not have a reed or a cup shaped mouthpiece to offer blowing resistance. Flutes use a lot of air so we will start with posture and breathing.
Good posture is important to allow your lungs a chance to fill to capacity. Though many play standing, for now we will concentrate on sitting.
- Use a plain straight back chair, try to avoid cushions.
- Sit half-way off the edge of the chair with your knees bent at a right angle, your feet flat on the floor and your back straight.
- Your feet should be directly under your knees.
Now, tilt your pelvis forward a bit until you feel your upper torso rise slightly.
Although this may seem a bit uncomfortable at first, this position will allow your diaphragm (the big dome-shaped muscle that controls your breathing) extra room to expand.
Practice sitting like this for a while. If it gets too uncomfortable, it’s okay to take a break and go back to a more relaxed sitting position, but whenever you are working on breathing or playing your flute, it is important to return to this position.
We will now try a simple breathing exercise.
From playing position, draw in a full breath through your mouth. Do this rapidly but silently, and imagine the air going all the way into your feet, not your lungs.
Draw the air as deeply into your body as you can. Hold the air in your lungs for a few seconds with your mouth open, not closed like a balloon. Raise one of your hands to place the palm about an inch from your mouth, form a tight “O” with your lips, and slowly, quietly blow all the air out into your hand, feeling the small spot of air as it hits your palm.
Concentrate upon keeping the air stream steady, and try to stretch the breath out for as long as you can.
Don’t let your cheeks puff out! Time yourself to see how long you can last and work towards increasing your time to at least 30 seconds. If you feel yourself becoming dizzy, stop and take a break!Source: How to Play the Flute