How To Tune Your Flute

Tuning is too often overlooked as a beginning technique for when first learning how to play any instrument. The flute can be one of the trickiest instruments to tune. This is for two main reasons.

1.) The flute is one of the smallest woodwind instruments. Pushing in or pulling out to even the slightest degree will affect the intonation to a noticable degree (this is not true in bigger instruments such as the baritone sax or tuba, where larger changes are required to make changes to intonation).

2.) When a flute student is first starting out, getting their lips to land in the same place on the lip plate each time they begin to play may be a difficult task.

In order to combat both of these hinderences, during practice sessions, practicing tuning is just as important as any etude you could play. Being able to play the most techincal of passages serves no purpose in an orchestra if you can not play in tune with the other performers.

NOTE: After warming up, tune your flute to an A=440 (this is for US performers, other countries have different standards). If you're sharp, you need to pull out. If you're flat, you need to push in. DO NOT roll out or in to get in tune. (Make sure your tone hole is parallel to the ceiling, you will get the best tone this way.)

Make an effort to (after initial warm up) always have your tuner on and be aware of what you are playing in tune and what you aren't. Long tone exercises are great for things like this.

Also, during this period of your practice session, practice bringing down your flute and bringing it back up to practice getting a consistent lip placement. This is essential not only for tuning, but also for tone color. For this, also keep your tuner up and on for assessment.