All Native American flutes will eventually “Water out” if played too long. This occurs when the condensation from your breath collects in little droplets in the air channel and disrupts the flow of air over the sound hole. You will notice that the flute simply stops making a sound as you blow into it, or the sound gradually or suddenly become very quiet, even though you are blowing through the flute. Depending upon how they were finished, some flutes may water out quicker than other.
Ways to prevent Watering Out
- Bring your flute as close to body temperature as possible before playing or a performance.
- Don’t drink hot drinks (like coffee or tea) before playing.
- Don’t play your flute too long. Use multiple flutes during a public performance to allow the flutes to dry out between songs or keep the flutes “dry” prior to playing them.
- Wax the air channel under the bird. (NOTE: use only wax designed for Wind Instruments)
- Brush your teeth immediately prior to playing, toothpaste is a drying agent and will dry alot of the moisture in your mouth. (this will only work for a while)
- Forcefully blow out through the flute with a finger partially covering the sound hole (to prevent sound)
- Shake the excess water from the mouthpiece of the flute (make sure that your bird/fipple is secure or hold on to it so that it doesn't go flying).
- Put it down and play another flute. It is especially important not to be embarrassed if your flute waters out during a public performance. You can end the song, and most of the audience won’t know any different. You can quickly apply technique #1 (away from the microphone) and continue with the song, or you can pick up another flute and continue the song. Just like breaking a string on a guitar, either the song goes on or it’s over, but don’t make a big deal about it!!
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