I have noticed that when I play higher octave notes on the flute my lips start to hurt. This has happened before but I dealt with it just by ignoring the pain.

I would like to know whether there is anything I could adjust to make playing less painful? Also, could this indicate my way of blowing the flute is wrong?

2 Answers 2


There is no doubt that you don't have sufficient breath control here. I have experienced similar problems (clarinet, sax) as have friends on brass instruments while learning and improving our breathing & diaphragm control.
When your lips or jaw get fatigued, stop and rest.

But above all, my oft-used directive on Music.SE applies: Get Thee To A Teacher.


If it hurts, it's wrong. Many players can play higher octaves all evening without pain. But to diagnose what exactly is wrong, someone would need to see and hear you playing. If you're lucky, posting a video would work. But more likely, you need a teacher or a more experienced colleague in the room with you to ask you to try different things and observe the result.

  • this, unfortunately, is the right answer.
    – Some_Guy
    Jun 18, 2019 at 16:36
  • 3
    Stack Exchange started with computer programming questions. Those are much more easily posed and answered than these. ("Learn Flute By Mail" is a classic punch line...) Jun 18, 2019 at 16:39
  • 1
    I'd just add, it depends on how far along the player is, and what counts as "pain". I remember in my first year a lot of aching lip muscles. Intense pain is a sign of something wrong, but there is a certain amount of sufferning involved in getting a good flute embouchure. Jun 19, 2019 at 12:56
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    @ScottWallace Dang! I thought you only had to suffer if you want to play the Blues :-) Jun 19, 2019 at 15:08
  • @CamilleGoudeseune Thank you for your input. I am not sure what your remark about learning the flute by mail is about though, as I don't intend to rely on the internet alone. And if there is an SE for music, why not use it?
    – guogogo
    Jun 19, 2019 at 19:22

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