If you are thinking about learning to play the Irish flute, there’s a few things you should do beforehand.

  • I would advise that you talk to a traditional Irish flute teacher or a professional flute player. They will be able to provide you with some vital info and they may help you choose a flute which is best suited for you.
  • Once you have decided that you want to become a flute player, you should do some research on Irish flutes and purchase am Irish flute which meets your needs and is within your price budget.

When people begin to play the flute, or any instrument it can be intimidating.

Master the Basics

The first thing you should do is try to master a few basic steps, this will be a good starting point.

  • You should listen to other flute players and develop a good music ear.
  • Once you start practicing and playing on a daily basis, your skills will improve and playing the flute won’t be a difficult task.
  • It’s very important that when you start learning to play the flute that you become familiar with your new flute. Flutes consist of 3 main parts, the head joint, the longer body joint and the short foot joint.

Ready to Play

Once you have completed the above, you will be in a good place and you are now ready to start playing your flute.

  • When learning to play the flute, you need to ensure the instrument is kept in a horizontal line.
  • When practicing, you should do it in front of a mirror, as this will help you maintain the correct position.
  • You need to hold the head joint with your left hand and place your lower lip on the wide side of the embouchure.
  • Put your right hand on the open end of the head joint and cover it.
  • Tuck the corners of your mouth in a little and gently blow across the hole.
  • When blowing, avoid puffing your cheeks, as the air should rise from your diaphragm. You should practice this for at least a week.

Tips For Playing

When you start playing, you will feel awkward, but don’t worry this is only temporary.

The main things you should keep in mind when playing, is that you must keep your mouth, throat and fingers as relaxed as possible. Some beginners hold body tension and this results in them not being able to produce a smooth and rich sound. When playing, place the flute to your lips to blow, depending upon how much air is used, the note produced is either a low D or a high D.

You should purchase a beginner lesson book and use a fingering chart, this will allow you to slowly work your way down the scale of the flute.

Once you start playing and practicing on a daily basis, you will see your skills improve immensely. Like with any instrument at the beginning, it can be frustrating but with practice and patience you will get there!

Best of luck! Go n-éirí leat!

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  1. This is probably a really stupid question…My newly purchased rosewood wooden flute has 6 holes for the notes and two holes at the very end. The tutorial book assumes there are 6 holes, so my Q is – what are the last two holes for? Polite response please !

    1. There’s no such thing as a stupid question Richard! Those holes at the bottom are typically so that low C and C# keys can be added to the flute should the player wish to do so. I keep them on my instruments for a combination of aesthetic and tuning reasons. If it makes you feel any better I once observed someone who had confused them for the embouchure hole trying to blow into them, so you’re not alone in feeling a little perplexed.

  2. I recently bought a polymer practice irish flute and seem to be doing pretty good with embouchure however i have fairly small hands so i'm struggling to be able to cover all the holes and change notes quickly. any tips? thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Ellen. You can get hole plugs for open notes which may help. As for the note changing that will come with practice!

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