A Native American flute is but a simple hollowed out wooden tube with a hole to blow into, 6 holes to cover and a little wooden block sitting atop the flute. With your fingers and your breath, you can create magical sounds releasing the music that comes from your own soul.
Just the feeling of a beautiful flute in your hand inspires you to want to play wonderful sounds with it. And if you are like me, you want to do that right away. Slow down for a minute. Playing the flute involves connecting with your breath while mastering the art of covering and uncovering the holes producing sound that you find pleasing.
A first-time flute player with no other wind instrument playing experience (and even a few who have played other types of wind instruments) pick up the flute and randomly cover and uncover the holes trying to find out how the flute makes sound. This produces wildly random and often dissonant sounds. Anytime you pick up a flute, cover holes and blow into it you are playing the flute. The flute is making the sounds you are asking it to make with your finger movements and your breath. They are just not the melodious sounds that you want to hear yet. These are the sounds that you can learn to control with practice, once you have spent time getting to know your flute.
To breathe in!
To animate or take action.
Your breath inspires the flute to sound. Your breathe inspires you to be present and aware of how it impacts the sounds you and the flute will create.
In approaching your flute, remember your breath.
Before playing, breathe in and breathe out a few times to slow yourself down and release the tension of the moment. Let the breathing open you to your inner spirit.
Move your fingers slowly over the holes, letting the sounds you are producing with your breath catch up to the fingering the holes of the flute, so the sound can be heard.
Take your time and get to know how your breath, covering the holes and producing the sounds feels. Let yourself connect to that process and soon your will find your way into your own beautiful sound through the flute.
One of the best ways to create good sounds on your flute is to simply go slowly and play each note for at least a count of ten. This lets you begin to hear the subtleties and variations that can happen in playing each note and how your breathing can impact the sound.
A hand crafted Native American Flute is a wonderful combination of the spirit of the tree, the spirit of the maker and your spirit as the player. The tree has taken time to grow. The flute maker honors the wood and the tree taking time to carefully construct the flute. And now you as a flute player, can honor the flute with your breath, creating and sending forth a beautifully interconnected exhalation of sounds --- the breath of life. I love to think of it as capturing the mysterious.
Terry Mack, Copyright, 2018