How To Play Better High Notes On The Flute

How to play better high notes on the flute?

You’ve come to the right place.  I’ll get right to it.

When playing high notes on a flute, you first have to be committed to playing them! It’s very similar to an athlete going over the pole vault bar. It just wouldn’t work to give half-an-effort. Like the athlete, flutists fall short of the goal, have fuzzy tone and accidentally play an undertone. The athlete would definitely have bumps and bruises.

pole vault for flute

Playing high notes on flute require really going for it!

You can become a pro in no time!

Here are some tips to help your high flute notes come out ever so clear and crisp without falling short:

Having strong airspeed behind that awesome tongue of yours will do the trick.  To do this, learn how to give yourself an imaginary heimlich maneuver.  Yes, that is what I said.  Shoving your diaphragm in and having a strong stomach WITHOUT moving your shoulders or body will create the “POW!” you need to punch out those high notes.

You may try this and find that you over0-did-it the first time.  Haha, I imagine you got quite the squeak the first time you punched your note with your gut.  That’s actually okay.  No worries.  It is this thought and body movement that you need. You just adjust the force depending on the note and what is needed at the moment.

Here is another thought:

"Feel the resistance first before letting it Pop"


Have you ever tried to blow up a water balloon?  It’s pretty tough at first.  But, once the balloon allows itself to stretch enough to allow some air in it feels better but you still have to keep blowing hard.  The resistance is great, and it’s exactly what I’m talking about here.  When attempting to pop out a perfect third octave G you have to ‘feel the resistance first’ before allowing your tongue to pop- then use that tummy shove and you’ll be in business.

Resistance makes fast air.

Fast air makes brilliance in your tone.

It’s sounds like magic but it’s really science!


Okay. Now that you have the air part, let’s get the right lip and face position.

High Eyebrows for High Flute Notes

High Eyebrows for High Flute Notes

High notes require a downward angle. Blow down while keeping your eyes and head level. Strreettcchh that top lip over just a tiny bit further than usual.  You may feel you look a little silly at first- maybe like you have a longer nose just as a horse does.  Or for you women who put mascara on … you’ve seen the face (image to the right). You get raised eyebrows and flared nostrils so that your nasal passages are open, open. 

Have you noticed that when you have a cold your flute also sounds like it has a cold?  Opening those nasal cavities helps with tone and brilliance A LOT.

Don’t be afraid to try these tips.  They work. I know they do because I have been helping others find their excellence in flute playing for over 25 years.

This intermediate flute lessons site is chuck full of helpful hints and tips just for you!


Please come join us in the Intermediate Flute Lessons Studio. We love new flute friends!