Friday, October 14, 2005

NAFFAQ: The flute won’t make a sound when I blow into it. What’s wrong?

There may be several causes.

  1. Always check the position of the Bird/fipple to make sure that it is properly positioned (see my earlier post on positioning the fipple).
  2. Make sure that the flute has not watered out.
  3. Make sure that there is no foreign material in the compression chamber of the flute (i.e. lint, spiders, etc…). You may need to disassemble the flute by taking off the bird to be able to look up through the compression chamber.
  4. Last, but not least, make sure that the bird/fipple is on facing in the correct direction, especially if you've just removed/replaced the bird/fipple.

A funny story here. I had a student in one of my classes who brought her own flute to class. If was flute that was gifted to her several years earlier. She was having difficultly making a good sound out of the flute, so I asked if I could play her flute. When I attempted to blow through the flute, I immediately noticed the flute was very difficult to blow through. Upon further inspection, I found that the flute had the egg sack from a prior "litter" of spiders in the breathing end (slow air chamber) of the flute. (The spiders were long ago hatched....). It turns out that the flute had been displayed on her fireplace mantel and not played for many years. We solved the problem by removing the spider egg case with a pencil (which happened to be the right diameter). Her flute played fine after that.

By the way - if you have a question that you'd like me to answer here, send an email to: ncfc AT naflute DOT com

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