I've been playing concert flute (with a teacher) for a year, and I still cannot always get clear sonorous sound. Instead, it would often hiss.

I speculate that the reason may be in the airflow -- a wrong angle, or maybe too wide a stream -- but I cannot easily catch it. Are there any techniques to learn to hit the right sound?

The discussion in Blow low notes on the transverse flute is a little more specific than I need now.

4 Answers 4


Practice. Specifically, practice long tones so you can concentrate on nothing but the sound quality. At least for a while, don't worry about the attack (start of the note) either, as that's a tricky thing all its own. Make small adjustments to your embouchure and mouthpiece "roll" to see what leads to the cleanest sound. Then keep doing long tones to help "remember" your physical setup. You probably also should make sure you're not trying to play excessively loudly or softly :-)

Getting a 'pro' tone on any instrument takes years of practice, so be patient.


I think that you might need to reassess your embouchure. When playing, try to pay attention to the shape of your mouth and the direction of your airflow. Lower notes should have a steeper, downward direction and your mouth should be in the shape of an oval. The corners of your mouth should be directed down like a frown. For higher notes, your breath should still be directed downwards, but try stretching out your upper lip a bit more. This could give your airflow more strength. Your mouth doesn't need an ovular shape for higher notes, but more round.

I think that the best way to fix issues like yours is to go back to the basics and work on your technique. It may be frustrating in the beginning, but mastering the simple techniques is the key to mastering the more difficult ones later. The further you go along with the flute, the more challenging the pieces you play will become. Try to fix your technique earlier on so that you don't develop bad habits in your later playing.

To practice your embouchure and tone quality, play two-octave scales by holding out each note, and pay special attention to your embouchure and sound quality. You need to develop better tone, so play around with it on each note. Experiment with your embouchure, and take note of what sounds better for each note. You should notice that you'll need to change your embouchure when moving from lower to higher, and then higher to lower notes. Once you feel like you've had enough of scales, try practicing simple pieces. Don't be afraid to stop and hold out a note that you have trouble with, or to slow down the tempo to work on your tone quality and technique. A metronome could really help you out here.

Good luck!


Fiona Wilkinson in "The Physical flute" p25 starts the explanation about dynamics.That's what she states for Forte "For forte, the jaw must be dropped and relaxed, the lips are loose and flat against the embouchure plate. The oral cavity must be large. Two mental orders: 1)Arch the roof of the mouth, keeping the tongue low. 2)Say teh vowel "O" or "AH".

(I just give the piano too, 1) Let the roof of the mouthfall toward the tongue. 2) Say the vowel "E") I hope this starts helping. Mic


When I hear a student with a fuzzy tone, it's usually because they haven't formed their embouchure very well yet. It took me a couple of years to get a clear tone on the flute.

Don't get discouraged! Practice in front of the mirror. Keep doing long tone exercises with just your headjoint. Try to experiment with the aperture, pressure (not too much), and the position of your head related to the flute. The idea is to discover what size opening and position is right for you.

One thing that helped me was watching professional flute player's embouchures on youtube or concert videos from the library.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.