Many people I know who have tried playing flute would say that the hardest thing about learning flute, is getting a sound to come out in the first place. Some have asked me, “hey Kayla, how do you get a sound to come out? How did you first start?” The answer to that second question, is that I had practiced long before I started on flute; the answer is…bottles. Any bottle with a hole of about two centimeters (i.e. plastic water bottles, soda bottles, sparkling cider bottles, etc.) is the perfect tool for getting started on flute.
The first thing to know is embouchure. Embouchure is a term musicians use to describe the formation of your mouth when playing an instrument. To create an embouchure for bottle playing, rest your lips on the edge of the hole. Your lips should feel relaxed in a pout like position. Now blow a gentle breeze, as if you were blowing on a lit candle without blowing it out or blowing the seeds off a dandelion. You should notice that your lips still feel relaxed, the corners of your lips are still sealed, and there is a small opening in the center of your lips. This is the embouchure you need.
Now take that bottle you have lying around. I would suggest starting with an empty two liter bottle, as that has the least resistance, but whatever bottle with a two centimeter opening is fine. Rest your lips on the edge of the opening (hole) of the bottle, as stated in the previous paragraph and blow across the hole. You should aim your air stream toward the back edge of the opening. You may need to use more air, but be sure to keep those lips feeling pretty relaxed. Still not working? Try playing with the positioning of your air stream. Aim further down into the bottle or near the very edge of the opening. Once you have created a resonate sound on the bottle, than voila, you can play a bottle and are well on your way to playing flute.
The only difference I have seen between bottle and flute is you have to focus your air stream more on flute because the opening you play into is smaller.
Here is a bonus. Once you have perfected getting a resonate sound on your bottle, you may have a little fun experimenting by grabbing a smaller bottle or filling it up. Both scenarios raise the pitch and create resistance. This is a great way to build up your embouchure for playing flute while having some fun.
I hope you had fun reading about this tip on playing flute. Keep following on more tips in the future. If you would like to suggest a tip, feel free to contact me.