T.J. Thompson, a Native American living in Phoenix Arizona made your flute.
It is made in such a way that all the notes sound good together,
making the flute an easy instrument to play. It has five major
notes that make up what is called the
pentatonic scale. As you learn the basics you will be surprised at how beautiful
music will flow from your flute. You will have your own special music that
comes right from your heart.
Here are some important things to remember while playing.
The fetish is the animal or bird that sits on top of your flute. If it gets knocked
about and is moved off that special spot your flute will sound bad. Make sure
your fetish is in the right place and tight when you start to play. You may
experiment a little loosening of the strap. If the fetish moves back and forth
tighten it. The fetish is sitting on what is called the bird’s nest. The hole in front
of the fetish is called the fipple. When they are in the proper place your flute
will sound good. The proper place is called the “sweet spot”.
Close your lips and place the mouthpiece of your flute in the middle of your
mouth. Create an opening in you mouth large enough for air to escape. Blow
your breath into the flute as though you were trying to make a feather move
with your breath. There is no need to wrap your lips around the flute. This
only creates more moisture and your flute will wet out.
When a flute “wets out” the sound is distorted and you will need to clear out the
moisture before you can continue playing. You can remove the fetish and set
your flute aside until it dries out, pull the fetish back and blow into the flute or
use a can of pressurized air. If you place you finger over half of the hole under
the fetish and blow hard this will remove some of the moisture. Sometimes I carry
a can of compressed air to help push out the condensation that forms.
When you place your fingers on the flute use the pads and not the tips.
It is important that the hole is covered completely. The most difficult
note to play on the flute is with all fingers down. When you master this
you will be able to play anything! If you get a squeaky sound your fingers
are probably not covering the holes all the way. When you hear this adjust
your fingers don’t press harder.
Breath control is very important in playing the flute.If you blow too hard
the notes will break and screech, too soft and they will sound flat. Each
f lute has it’s own feel for your breath and as you play you will begin to
notice just how you flute handles your breath and you will adjust.
The third hole down from the top (for right now) should remain covered.
This note is not in harmony with the others. Later when you have played
a while you can start to use this note but not now.
While playing the top notes make sure that the fingers below them are up.
When you play the bottom notes the fingers on top should be down. Later
you may break this rule but not until you know your flute very well.
Don’t be in a hurry. Remember this is your music, play slowly then speed
it up, slow it down, and play with ease.
Breathe when you need a breath. The more you play the easier it will be
for you to remember to stop and take a breath.
Experiment with different speeds, patterns and rhythms.
Play up and down the scale.
Change the breath by moving your tongue in different ways.
T T T or whisper too in to the flute (staccato)
TL TLTL Close your eyes and feel the notes as you go up and down on
Moving your fingers on the flute in different ways makes the sound come
out in different ways.
Slide you finger slowly over the hole. Move your finger fast on and off
Breath and fast movement of the finger off the hole makes a burst of sound.
Lifting the finger half off the hole gives a different sound.
Using the tongue to stop the air (tonguing) gives your music staccato sound.
Movement in the back of the throat makes the your music sound like it is
Make up a rhythm pattern, repeat it, and make up another one. Feel the notes
as you play. Make your own kind of music. There are no rules as long as it
sounds good to you. Try many different things. Experiment!
Enjoy! Find a quiet place and practice playing. The more you play the better
your music will sound. Just let the sounds come from the flute as you blow and
move your fingers. Listen to your own music as it comes from the flute.
The notes will sound wonderful because they all sound good together as
long as you play remembering the things you have learned.
Check out my web site: www.arizonaflutes.com
Instruction sheet was written by Carol Buckley owner of Arizona Flutes