The Peruvian flute is a woodwind instrument that's easy to learn. The Peruvian flute generally comes in a row of several flutes of differing sizes, commonly called pan flutes. Each individual pan flute can only produce one note, so several are required if you wish to play a song. The Peruvian flute is a simple instrument that produces sound when you blow air into the opening at the top of the flute. Learning to play the instrument requires correctly holding and blowing into the instrument.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Hold the pan flutes so that the top edge is horizontal in relation to your face. Grip the longer pan flutes with your right hand. Extend your index finger and your thumb so they are at right angles to each other. Grip the pointed end of the pan flutes with your remaining three fingers, and rest your index finger on the upper side of the curved block at the bottom of the pan flutes. Your thumb should grip the longest flute at the side. Use your left hand to support the other end of the pan flutes. Ideally, the left hand should hold the smallest flutes, but you can move your hand closer to the centre if this makes the flutes easier to hold steady.
Make a "t" sound with your lips without pronouncing the letter with your voice. Blow a steady amount of air out whilst making a "t" sound with your lips. Blow into the top of the Peruvian flute using this technique. Don't lean over and blow directly down into the flute. Position the flute in front of your face and angle your lips so you're blowing down across the top of the flute. Practice this until you can produce a note.
Use other sounds to produce different effects on the flute. Experiment with other, breathy letter sounds, such as "b," "p" and "d." Try to make a note whilst pronouncing these letters in the same breath-heavy way you did with the "t." Choose a sound you like, and note the subtle differences between the effects these produce. You may prefer to play some melodies with a "t" sound and some with a "p" sound.
Play a simple exercise. Start at the lowest notes on the pan flutes (the longest flutes) and work up to the higher notes. Play each note up the entire length of the pan flute. When you reach the highest note, work back down to the lowest note.
Practice some simple songs. See Resources for some sheet music. As you become accustomed to playing the pan flutes, you can move on to harder pieces of music. Remember that the lines (from top to bottom) on the treble clef music staff represent E, G, B, D and F and the spaces represent F, A, C and E.
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