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tuning question

Hi guys. I'm new to this forum and to playing the flute. I've been taking lessons for about 3 or 4 weeks now and I'm loving it. I have a question about tuning my flute. I bought a tuner to help me keep it in tune. It seems that when I get it in tune in one register, its out of tune in another. I'm pushing the head joint in and pulling it out but I can't seem to find the sweet spot where the whole thing is in tune. I'm also rolling the flute in and out to try and find a spot where it sounds better but I just can't seem to find it. Is there anything else I can try? Could it be my flute itself? I bought a really cheap, new Hisonic flute (around $110)... Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!


Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I taught many beginning flute students over the years and what you are experiencing is very common. Until the embouchure sensitivity develops to the point that you have good control of the tone produced, the intonation will suffer.

I would recommend putting the tuner aside for a while and work on developing your tone quality. Once the tone is full and well focused, the intonation will take care of itself (mostly). Have your teacher help you with this. Some techniques that I found effective in my teaching were:

- Blowing the airstream with a small aperture in the lips and bringing the headjoint to your lips to catch the "sweet spot" and then holding a long tone when you hit the target.

- Long tones on the head joint using a clock second hand to measure how long you can sustain the tone with a full rich sound.

- Long tones on the flute similar to the headjoint.

- Practicing octave slurs slowly going up by half steps.

- Practicing in front of a mirror.

The obstacles beginning flutists have to overcome which are related are making the aperture in the lips too large, and blowing harder to play the upper register. This in itself causes the octaves to be too wide and results in an airy tone. Hope this helps.

Hang in there, learning the flute tone production takes time and effort, but when mastered its all downhill from there. :)


Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Can you explain this more?

Is it like this but going the other way?

http://web.me.com/kristingrant/1/OBU_Flutists_files/Octave Slurs.pdf
Yes exactly. For an inexperienced player a good note to start on is G. Once the G to G octave is solid then move up a half step to Ab and so on. Starting on a C and going to high C can be a bit daunting at first. I had better luck with students starting on a lower tone and then working up to the higher notes. The most important thing to remember is to push the lips forward slightly to form a smaller aperture for the higher octave and NOT to just blow harder.
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