How To Play Your Pan Flute

Pan flute playing tips for beginners

Playing Techniques...

First you should know how to hold the instrument. 

The Panflute should be placed against the lips so that the pipes are in a vertical position with the long pipes on the right and the short ones on the left. 

You should hold the lower part of the longer pipes with your right hand and your left hand should support and lightly hold the panpipes at the end of the short pipes. 

Always remind yourself to stay relaxed. Any pipe you wish to blow across should be lightly touching just below your lower lip only, so that no unnecessary friction is caused while the instrument is moved.  Try to mostly move the instrument rather than just your head, actually it is combination of head and instrument. 

To be able to produce a clear sound you need to learn how to position your lips. 

The panflute should now be positioned below the lower lip. It is vitally important to feel that the lower lip is really above the tube. 

Now stretch your mouth a little, as if slightly smiling, then form a little nozzle and just let out some air and try to play a tone. 

Use the syllable Tu, to begin each note. As you can see, if the pan flute is positioned too low there is no tone. Most students make the mistake of positioning the panflute too high… this is also bad. 

Different techniques are used to produce high pitch sounds and low pitch sounds. 

So blowing is the first stage in learning how to play the panpipes. When this is mastered you can start learning intervals, i.e. differences in pitch between two tones or pipes. 

Beginners often find it difficult to choose the right pipe, especially if the difference between two tones is large. Repeating two or three tones with considerable differences between them for a quarter of an hour or so is a good exercise to learn intervals. 

This exercise should not be ignored as the ability to quickly change your pitch is a basic require- meant for success in playing the panpipes. 

Learn how to modulate sounds, that is, how to change their volume and timbre. 

The vibrato effect is most useful here, where the pitch is pulsating and which can be obtained if you move your left hand in a gentle waving fashion, similar to a violinist. 

This is a more advanced technique that you will probably work on after your have played for a while. 

Even though your instrument is tuned to a particular scale, you may, on occasion, need to play a sharp or a flat. 

Each musical pitch can be lowered by a semitone (on the piano, a white to a black key). In order to do that during playing, you need to tilt the lower part of the instrument away from you by about 30 degrees. The upper part of the panpipes remains at your lips. 

All of these techniques will take time to master so don’t be too hard on yourself. 

Take your time and enjoy playing whatever melodies you truly want to play. In time you will be amazed at the progress you have made. 

Good luck on your new endeavor. I hope you have as much fun as I have had with the panflute. 

Aloha - Brad White
Tel & Txt: (808) 237-9452 

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