I have slowly, over time, begun to teach myself the flute. I play the piano and the recorder (sort of), so learning the note positions and how to read music is not a big issue for me. The biggest difficulty I am facing is how to learn to breathe correctly. I can produce sound- and it sounds pretty- but I'm pretty sure that I'm breathing incorrectly (I don't make the "pph" sound when I breathe) and I'm worried my incorrect technique will hamper my skills when I get to a more advanced level.

So, what is the best way to teach myself how to breathe correctly while playing the flute?

Thank you for your help!


3 Answers 3


You're right to be aware of your breathing, it really is the core of flute playing and so much depends on it.

Firstly, I wouldn't worry too much about the sound. Most people would agree it is preferable to not make a sound whilst breathing, simply because it sounds nicer.

The thing I would encourage you to check is that you are "tummy breathing". Place your palm over your belly button and breath in. Hopefully you find your hand moves away from you. And hopefully your shoulders aren't be moving when you breath.

If you find that doesn't happen, you need to make it do so! This means breathing deeper. I struggled to do this, without thinking very hard about it! I sorted it out by just placing my hand on my belly, and breathing in and out, say fifteen times, and repeating this exercise while out and about.


I agree with @fluteflute, tummy breathing is very important. Another way that I learned to hear yourself breathing, if you feel better knowing that there is a sound, is to put your hand against the middle of your mouth, so the side of one finger is at the middle of your lips pointing to your nose. When you breathe in, you'll hear the sound.

Also, if you bend at your hips at a 90 degree angle, your body automatically breathes "properly", so doing that will help you get a good feel for it.

I hope this helps.


Look at what singers say about breath support -- same thing for flute. You need to balance tension in the muscles in your abdomen used for expiration with that in those used for inspiration, to get more control of just how fast the air is moving up through your mouth (since that has to change going from one note to another and going from soft to loud). Here is a good discussion: http://www.starmountpres.org/sva-breath-support/

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