#15 -Angles and The Position

Good Posture for Playing Wooden Flute

This tip will be my idea of what optimum posture is and why it is essential to think of your body position in relation to the flute.

Sit up straight in a straight-backed chair. Keep your head pointed straight ahead and shoulders squared and parallel to your hips. Your neck is straight and your head is in its most natural position.

In this position, your neck is loose. Your lungs have room to expand and your diaphragm can flex in and out. Basically, your body is in its best position for processing air.

Hang your arms down by your sides. While keeping the right elbow loose and at your side, raise your right arm to a natural playing position. Don't pull your arm all the way back. Just make believe you’re holding your flute. The trick is to keep your right wrist parallel to your shoulders.

Now just let your right hand fall forward while keeping your fingers and forearm relaxed. Move your playing fingers around as fast as you like. Concentrate on keeping your forearm relaxed while you do this. Now stop wiggling your fingers. You look silly. (just kidding...).

Now raise your left arm so it crosses your chest with the palm facing toward you. Your wrist should, again, be parallel with your shoulders. Without changing the position of your wrist, relax your fingers so they fall forward. Now move the fingers on both of your hands as fast or slow as you like. Now you really look stupid! But hey, this is what it should feel like when you play the flute.

Right now, you're asking yourself why I'm making you do this. Aside from getting my own personal chuckles, it really does help you to play flute, and here's how. Remember that an essential part of playing the flute well is to maximize every breath you take, every move you make (I'll be watching you...just kidding!). No really. By keeping your body in a relaxed position, you are primarily using the muscle groups needed to play the flute. By devoting less energy and oxygen to tensing muscles you don't need, you will gain that oxygen for your tunes. You will also find that it's less tiring to play and you won't be constantly shaking cramps out of your hands and forearms. Of course, proper hydration is also essential...

Now, try incorporating these ideas into playing the flute. First, without actually trying to play, just pick up your flute and assume the position...

Remember to keep your forearms loose and your wrists in line with both the flute and your shoulders. If this is too uncomfortable for you, the most important thing is to keep your wrists in line with the flute. This will make it much easier for you to reach the two most problematic tone holes which are the third and sixth. When you've practiced this for while, then move on to trying to play notes, then scales, and lastly tunes. Remember to look into a mirror to make sure you're not changing your hand position.

Remember, when you master relaxing your body, tensing only the muscles you need, and finding and holding the proper angles, your fluting pleasures will increase exponentially.

For many of you, this is your first Skip's Tip (there are now 196 of you out there). To answer the question that I know is on your lips: Yes, I'm always like this...