It's easy to play the Native American Flute.
The Native American Flutes (NAF) I am performing on are build by Odell Borg, who founded High Spirits in 1990. His work-shop is located in the beautiful South Arizona town of Patagonia.
Which Flute size do I recommend?:
For Beginners I am recommending to buy the A-minor Native American Flute. The main reason is, that the distance between the holes is not too big and can be manged by most people. The sound is brighter than the F#m-NAF, but still warm and soothing. There ware a view students who's hands are to small for the A-minor NAF, but that is rare. The A-minor NAF and higher pitches like Dm and Em are great for the outdoors and easy to pack. The A-minor NAF has a sound that carries further. The tone "A" is the tone of the 5th chakra, the throat-chakra, the chakra of communication.
For Advanced students with pre-knowledge in wind-instruments, or you have big hands/long-fingers, try out the traditional pitch F#-minor NAF. I would not recommend to start with a lower key, because most lower keyed flutes have problems with the over-blown tones. The F#-minor NAF has a really beautiful warm alto sound and F# is the tone of the 4th chakra, the heart-chakra.
A C D E G A
F# A B C# E F#
A minor Pentatonic Scale
F# minor Pentatonic Scale
How to play the Native American Flute?
1. To make covering the holes easier, fatten your fingers and use the finger pads rather than the tips to cover the holes. With either hand, cover the top two finger holes with your index and middle fingers. Use the index, middle and ring fingers from the other hand to cover the bottom three holes. Use the ring-finger from the top hand and your little fingers and thumbs to support the flute, all fingers are touching the flute body.
2. Creating Music:
If you are new to playing flute, start with just one tone: Close only the upper 3 holes (3rd hole is covered by leather band) with the left hand and the 3 right hand holes keep open. Play some long tones and some rhythms just with this one note. EASY IS RIGHT! Now ad just one tone by closing the highest hole of the right hand. And again just play around with this 2 tones for a while. Keep on adding tones until you can play the whole scale, but remember just adding one tone a time and playing different combinations before moving to the next tone. Before you know it you will have a song. Songs can be created with very few notes & keeping it simple and repeating 3-4 tone patterns and ending a phrase with a long tone helps to create haunting melodies of your own. There are no right or wrong ways to create music.
3. Techniques: Breathe – Beyond closing all the holes, playing a flute is about applying the correct amount of air pressure rather than air volume. On smaller flutes like this one, you will need to generate more air pressure than on larger deeper toned flutes.
4. Fingering: Sliding the finger off the hole slowly will draw the note out (bending the note). Covering only half of the hole will create a different note.
5. Rhythm: Every song has a rhythm. With the flute the rhythm is created with the tongue by simulating the letter “T”. Repeat the letter “T” with your tongue into the flute & then slowly back off & be become more subtle with it.
For more details - Downloads:
Here are a view free songs with sheet music including Native American Flute Tabulature and a VIDEO link to High Spirits or other Friends of the Native American Flute. The PDF-TABULATUR can be played on all kind of pitched flutes, while the video has to be played along with the right pitch. Hope that helps to get started:
4. Death Song - Traditional Cherokee Song - PDF - No-Video
7. Jingle Bells - Traditional Christmas Song - PDF - No Video
A very helpful tool for learning the Native American Flute is a tuner. I found ModTuner, a WINDOW based FREE APP Tuner at Microsoft.Com. See the video for more details and how to use is for the NAF's intonation and pitch control: