Frequently Asked Questions

Read our FAQ’s below, or ask Brad

Brad White, Flutist. Musician, Teacher and Founder of the Pan Flute Shop

1. How long does it take to get good on the pan flute?

It depends so much on the individual. What are your past experiences? Do you play or have you played other musical instruments?  Do you enjoy the learning process?  To get “good”  on an instrument takes time,  it takes practice, but think of the learning process itself as an adventure.  Learning a musical instrument is a very satisfying endeavor. 

You should see results fairly quickly and when you look back in a month or six months you will be surprised at how far you’ve come. Let the learning be the journey. There is that old saying practice makes perfect… don’t stress about being perfect and enjoy the music making/learning experience. 

2. I am a beginner what size Pan Flute should I start with?

Again that is something that can really vary by past experience and your confidence in learning something new. Sometimes bigger is not better and you might be a little more comfortable starting on a smaller pan-flute (like our 15 pipe starting package) and then later progressing to something larger.

When I speak with people on the phone I usually try to find out what they feel comfortable with, what their musical goals are…. so feel free to give us a call (our phone number is at the top of the page) and we can go over your best options.


3. Is it important that I cannot read music I only played by ear?

Actually many of the best players in the world only play by ear, some very famous musicians. However learning to read music is not that difficult but it does not have to be your main focus especially when you are starting out on a new instrument. 

I can help you with that I’ve taught many many people to read music and you can get the basics in just a few weeks. 

4. Do I need to oil one of your pan flutes? 

You do not need to oil our pan flutes because our wood has been cured for more than a year and treated in oils and waxes. So it will be perfectly fine for many many years without further oiling.

5. How much time should I practice every day?

At the very beginning it is probably better to have smaller practice sessions and perhaps more often rather than one long session. Especially at the beginning there’s many new things to learn and muscles that are adapting and you don’t want to tire yourself out. 

You might start out with just 10 minutes sessions work your way to 15 minutes then perhaps 30 minutes. As long as you are enjoying yourself let that be your guide. 

6. Am I too old to learn music and the pan flute?

I get asked that question all the time and I have to chuckle because we have many players in their late 90s and 80s and so many retirees who now have the time to take up music which might be something they wanted to do for many years. 

So if you have the desire you are definitely not too old. You do not have to be a virtuoso to enjoy making music. It can be a very enjoyable hobby and bring so many health benefits like mind stimulation and deep breathing. Actually many doctors recommend learning an instrument at older ages.

7. Does it take a lot of wind to play the pan Flute?

It really doesn’t take a lot of breath to play the Panflute. It’s more in the focus of the air rather than the quantity of air. At the very beginning it will seem like your breath does not last very long because most of your air is going off to the side or over the top and not directly hitting the sweet spot. 

I actually made a video on that so take a look in my video lesson section and see what you think. Again I will be available to answer your questions so always feel welcome to give us a call.

8. I’m not sure if I should play a pan flute with the big pipes on the right or the big pipes on the left?

Many woodwinds have a low notes to the right such as flutes and clarinet and so forth. However harmonica players, and sometimes pianists (because they’re more used to their low notes being in the left-hand), have a preference for the big pipes to be in the left instead of the right. 

Also, certain areas of the world have a preference for one side of the other. For instance almost everybody in Europe plays with the big pipes in the right hand, and that’s the way I started as well and even though I play other instruments I never get confused between them. 

In other countries like South American their tradition has been for the big pipes in the left hand also some asian countries also prefer left-sided. 

We mostly make right sided instruments but we can make a left sided version if you prefer so just let us know. We try to make them available in both directions. The truth is whichever way you start is the way that it will feel comfortable for you.  

9. Do you tune your instruments or will I have to tune them? I’m not sure I know how

Don’t worry about tuning we tune them before they go out and they are also very easily adjustable as every pipe has its own tuning stopper that can be moved up or down to make small adjustments in the pitch. Watch my video.

But that is not something you would not even have to think about until later when you are quite good and you feel comfortable on the instrument. If you feel your instrument needs adjusting we can speak and perhaps make very slight adjustments. 

Once your pan flute is set in the way that you like it you will probably never need to make adjustments again.

10. After I play for a while I get dizzy will that go away?

Yes, it is not uncommon to feel a little dizzy when learning a new wind instrument such as the Panflute. Remember you are doing a lot of deep breathing.

Also at the beginning your airstream is not very efficient and so you are wasting air and you might be taking breaths more frequently than you will need to do in the future.

Don’t worry that dizziness does not last. I always remember as a kid when I took my first flute lesson I felt like I was going to fall off the stool. That feeling quickly went away

11. Do I need to buy a pan flute for each key or can I learn to play in different keys on one  instrument?

With our pan flutes you can play in all keys because every pipe can play more than one pitch. By slightly tilting in or dropping your jaw ( like ooh to ah) you can reach the black and white notes like on the piano. 

Watch my video lesson how to play the sharps and flats. With practice you can become proficient in many different keys.

12. How do you play the sharps and flats on a pan flute? 

Watch my video lesson on how to play sharps and flats on the pan flute. It’s a matter of tilting in or covering a bit more of the top of the pipe.

13. Will my instrument go out of tune overtime and how does weather and temperature affect it? 

Once your instrument is set the way you like it you will probably never have to retune it again. Temperature can affect the pitch of most instruments a little bit. When it is warm out woodwinds tend to go Sharpe and when it’s cold they tend to go a little flat. 

This is the same whether it is the church organ or the flute in the symphony orchestra. This change is only a small amount and can be compensated when playing in different conditions.

14. How do I clean my pan-flute? 

It is best to play with clean hands and after you’ve been playing a while and you’ve finished for the day just lay it down on a soft cloth and let it dry naturally in the air.

You don’t really need to try to swab out every pipe on our pan-flutes because the wood has been treated with oils and waxes and is not affected by the moisture. I have spoken to many professional players and most rarely swab the pipes after playing.

Do you have Further Questions?

If you have any further questions or need help I’m just a phone call away. Please feel comfortable giving me a call during daytime hours here in Florida (US East Coast time). - Brad White

Webcam Interview with Brad White

Brad answers questions form a Music Major for a research paper.

Questions in this video

Message: Hi Brad,

This is Paul Roberts Music Major at Naropa University in Boulder. I am doing a research project on the Panpipes. I think your website is great! So much good information not to mention your beautiful playing and the lovely instruments you have to offer. I am a guitar player and teacher who tried wind instruments -clarinet and penny whistle as a kid. I always have loved the sound of the panpipes and I am excited to try them as a beginner maybe I can ask for them as a Christmas present. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.

Q1 How did you become interested in the Panpipes?

Q2 I know that you play many types of Panpipes and flutes- Do you have a particular favorite and why ?

Q3 Are you self taught or did you train with a master panflutist?

Q4. Who are your influences as a muscian? Are there any that are outside the panpipes?

Q5 Can you describe how you feel inside when yuo are playing a piece that you love? 

Q6 What is your favorite accompanying instrument to the panpipes and why do you think so?

Q7 Are there any special acoustic requirements for recording the panpipes? 

Q8 What material do you favor when having a panpipe made? i.e. type of wood or bamboo/crystal, and why?

Q9. Could you explain the different tunings and methods of tuning for the pipes you use?

Q10 Do you use a particular pipe to evoke a different situation i.e. wedding ,funeral, banquet for dignitaries?

Q11. I know of bamboo pipes in the Philippines but is thereany history of the Panpipes in Hawaiian Music?

Q13. Can you briefly describe the contribution that you feel you have brought to the world of Panpipes?

Q14. Who, in your opinion besides yourself have made a significant contribution to the world and why?

Q15 What do you see for the future of the Panpipes in the 21st Century?

That was the last question! 

Thank you so much again and it is my hope that the questions were interesting 


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