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 Learning flute, play clarinet? Need tips!
Author: aloutris 
Date:   2010-04-17 13:05

I play the clarinet as my main woodwind instrument, though I am taking on the flute. I have been told to pull back my lips more than I do(in person).

I find it much more different and difficult than the clarinet, and I would appreciate tips for playing longer times, and embouchure!



(piano, clarinet, learning flute)

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 Re: Learning flute, play clarinet? Need tips!
Author: blue street 
Date:   2010-05-06 09:28

I play both woodwind and brass instruments. Playing flute is quite different compared to clarinet, but a good advice is to practice in front of a mirror. Also try to find some video clips on youtube, cause one will learn a lot just watching the breathing and fingering. One of my favourites on flute/clarinet and sax is Swedish jazz musician Magnus Lindgren. Surf on to his website and enjoy his videoclips. He´s a real master of woodwinds. Especially I like his performance "Flutish". Good luck!

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 Re: Learning flute, play clarinet? Need tips!
Author: blue street 
Date:   2010-05-06 09:30

Sorry, forgot to write Magnus Lindgren´s url:

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 Re: Learning flute, play clarinet? Need tips!
Author: Jaysne 
Date:   2010-09-14 02:38

One way to think of the flute embouchure is to think of blowing off hot soup.

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 Re: Learning flute, play clarinet? Need tips!
Author: Buster Brown 
Date:   2010-10-29 13:07

I'm a clarinet/sax player and have been working on learning the flute for a couple of months now. I'd suggest you look at some of the youtube videos on flute embouchure. Pulling the corners back into a smile appears to be "old school". The newer thinking says you should hold your mouth as if you're pouting... loose bottom lip, almost a frown. Even Gallaway does it. Be ready to use lots of air. Much more than the clarinet. It's not a particularly difficult instrument ( my apologizes to all flute players). The hardest parts for me is getting the headjoint (hole) in the right position (for me) consistently, and holding the flute when playing C. Incidentally, blowing hot soup is a great analogy.

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 Re: Learning flute, play clarinet? Need tips!
Author: Wes 
Date:   2010-11-01 07:52

Try the Galway Yahoo Flute Chat for ideas. Also, take some lessons from a fine teacher.

The lips should be quite relaxed, not smiling, and the corners down in a professional frown, necessary to play in tune. Wet the lips as air moves over wet lips better. Try at first starting the sound with lips closed, saying "puh". Later, you can start the sound with the tongue as in "tee".

Use a fingering chart to get the correct fingerings. Blow air at your toes and hold the flute in your left hand like a waiter holding a tray of drinks.
Try the Rubank elementary books to start as they cost very little. Later, you can buy the Taffanel and Gaubert Complete Method, the Bible, and the M. Moyse De La Sonorite(for sound development). Good luck!!

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 Re: Learning flute, play clarinet? Need tips!
Author: DrewSorensenMusic 
Date:   2011-12-08 02:11

If you're going to use the "hot soup" method, pretend you have a really skinny bowl. Maybe blowing off a spoon of hot soup is better. You don't want to loose too much unused air out the sides.

In the days when I didn't have an engraved headjoint, a triangle of condensation would form from the two ends of the embrouchure hole to the outward side of the lip plate when I played in a mirror. This should show you where your air is going.

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 Re: Learning flute, play clarinet? Need tips!
Author: Trevor M 
Date:   2011-12-12 04:36

I started the flute last month. It is quite different from clarinet in that there's no real resistance except what you create by narrowing the aperture created by your lips. The first week or two are pretty tough, as even if your ideas are correct, I think your face muscles need to learn what to do through trial and error (at least that was my experience). I'm getting pretty good tone and volume now, though (although I might postpone any symphony auditions till next month) and making much better progress. I *highly* recommend the two Trevor Wye beginner books, which take a different approach than Rubank in that they keep you in the bottom register for a great deal of time to force you to develop tone. I like 'em.

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 Re: Learning flute, play clarinet? Need tips!
Author: Paula S 
Date:   2012-08-19 19:08

I agree with the hot soup analogy too. I also think it is almost like pouting and your lower lip should be resting on the lip plate. Try just playing the headpiece and rotating it nearer to your lips and away from them and see what sort of pitch and quality of sound you get. Also the concept of 'edge tone' is very different from using a reed like on the clarinet. Try blowing over bottles with different apertures and pen tops etc.......... because you get a feel for different types of resistance which you will encounter with different fingerings/registers on the flute. I personally think the clarinet is much harder to blow than the flute but I play wide bore clarinets and use a lot of diaphragmatic breathing. My main instrument is clarinet but I learned the flute first.

Post Edited (2012-08-19 19:08)

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 Re: Learning flute, play clarinet? Need tips!
Author: Oboe Craig 
Date:   2012-08-19 23:01

As a doubler myself, I find this site a useful wealth of info , articles and links.

If you are relatively new to flute, pay very close attention to the articles on posture, hand position and embouchure formation.

Also google Nina Perlove. She does some great things, although I have to disagree with her flute position info... I go for the roll it slightly forward and move the head joint backwards a few degrees. ( I like the modified Rockstro alignment...)

All depends on lips, teeth, jaw etc., so no one size fits all.

Anyway, it is good to become familiar with all the philosophies and understand where and why they work better or worse under specific conditions. Any student we have might benefit from those distinctions, after all.


Post Edited (2012-08-19 23:03)

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 Re: Learning flute, play clarinet? Need tips!
Author: luvtheclarinet 
Date:   2012-08-27 19:24


FLute player for three months. Clarinet player for 10 years.

I am a clarinet playing also learning the flute. I find that as long as the head joint is tilted just right then i get better tone, so it definitely depends on how you tilt the head joint. I also noticed that if the flute is angled slightly down when I play and not straight across than I get a better sound. Playing the low C is a struggle and I am getting better at the high notes though at times it sounds pretty rough. The hardest part of the flute for me is getting the breathing under control. I can blow the clarinet forever with out breathing, the flute is a different story. I guess long tones will really help with that. What I have noticed is if I practice every day i do get better and the sounds come out easier. All in all, I find the difficult thing with the flute to be the breathing. When I first started playing I used to almost drop it because I had a hard time figuring out how to hold it. So, it is definitley getting better each day.


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 Re: Learning flute, play clarinet? Need tips!
Author: Paula S 
Date:   2012-08-31 11:00

I sometimes find when I play the flute after the clarinet, I can make too much effort and can tire myself unnecessarily. Very carefully, get someone to hold the foot of your flute whilst you blow over the mouthpiece. Put your free hand in front of the mouthpiece. If you are 'blowing a gale' you are blowing too hard. Try blowing more gently and direct more into the flute itself. The sound is generally better and you feel less tired and can play for longer. Also you will find that this more gentle directed approach helps you achieve the lower notes, especially the low c.

Post Edited (2012-08-31 11:01)

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