Yes, You Can Play A Flute!

Try out a few fun exercises, and you’ll be amazed at how easy the flute is to play and sound awesome!

Like the origins of flute playing, Native American Style Flutes are still played to depict the natural surroundings, in ritual and ceremonies, to heal, and to woo and enchant, not to mention just for the sheer joy of it.

Fun Flute Exercises

Let's try a few fun exercises to illustrate some of the ways your flute can be played

  • It can be said music started by imitating the natural world. Flutes too are able to acoustically paint pictures of the flora and fauna – from flitting hummingbirds to soaring eagles to meandering streams or canyons and deserts.

    Practice (let’s try it)


    Look at a horizon; for example a mountain or hill range. Start with a low point and play a low note: as the hill ascends, start playing higher pitched notes. The higher you get up the hill, the higher the note you play. And as the hill line descends, start playing lower notes again. Congratulations! You have just created a song that reflects your environment.


    Pick a bird or insect and listen to its sounds of communication. Is it quick staccato sounds? Long drawn out vibrations? Trills? Swoops? Warbles? All these sounds can be practiced on your flute. Start bringing these sounds into a simple melody. Experiment!

    For more technical guidance on making these sounds, be sure to check out Enchanted Journeys – The Essential Guide for the Native American Style Flute.

  • For those of you who have practiced Mindfulness but find it difficult to anchor yourself, you might find playing your flute can settle and focus your mind with greater ease. Like Mindfulness, flute playing can lead you to develop more coordination, intuition, and intelligence. One of the main reasons for this is because playing the flute encourages one to sit and ‘be with the breath’.

    Practice (let’s try it)


    Sit in a peaceful place, rest with your breath while leaving your flute on the floor. After a few minutes, pick up your flute and begin with long soft low notes.

    Do this for a while, until your mind is absorbed in the sound. Explore more notes on your flute, but do it consciously so that you can hear each note being played fully. Keep your attention on your breath and your flute playing.

    After some time, let the consciousness go and allow your playing to take you on a journey, play what comes up and let your fingers dance where they want to dance.

    Playing like this for at least 15 minutes will allow your state to slip into alpha, and you’ll notice it because the corners of your eyes will soften, any frown on your face will disappear, and you’ll feel calm and relaxed.

    Keep playing, if you like, or make this simple 15-20 minute practice part of your daily routine.

  • Historically, Native American cultures used flutes as social and religious instruments, during ceremonies and rituals, played mainly by priests or shamans of the day. Today, laypeople use flutes for healing ceremonies, shamanic work, meditation circles and deep inner work. It’s useful to cultivate your own inner stillness (see Mindfulness section) before supporting other people in their journeying. That said; here are a few fun ways to support inner growth and well-being for yourself and others.

    Practice (let’s try it)

    # 1 JAM

    Start out by playing along to steady drone background music, such a Gaga Moondoon (Clint Goss – Jam Tracks in A minor).


    Use only a few notes on your flute and witness your exposure to the duration and prolonged resonance. One of the most impactful ways to develop a relaxed and calm presence is by focusing on your breath.


    Comfort a friend by playing a soft and slow melody.


    Join a meditation group and offer to play your flute – soft and long slow notes, and see if you can draw out the melody for about 10 minutes. Meditators are having their own inner experience and the music you play is helping to facilitate to bring them into an Alpha brainwave state -a state during which your brain is pulsing at a lower rate than your mental and emotional fluctuations.


    Offer to play at friends’ wedding or funeral (I’ve played at both and the feedback from those listening is heartfelt and profound)
    When you feel comfortable and accomplished enough, contact your local elderly care home and request a visit to play for an audience.

  • Sound healing can be a very subtle experience, but for the basics, there are some tangible practices that can be tried and felt when we focus on the chakra centres.

    Below is a little exercise you can play and build on.

    Practice (let’s try it)


    There are seven main chakra energy centres in your body. These centres are:

    1. Root
    2. Sacral
    3. Solar plexus
    4. Heart
    5. Throat
    6. Third-eye
    7. Crown

    Using the seven notes on your flutes, we can start creating awareness and bring balance to each energy centre. Here’s how.

    1. Get seated comfortably with your flute. Relax and breathe easy for a few minutes.
    2. This practice progresses from you playing with all the finger holes covered, and working note by note, up the extended minor pentatonic scale, and thus up the seven chakra points from base to crown.
    3. At each note you play, for the duration of one or two full breaths, focus your awareness on the corresponding chakra. Going through the levels of awareness, notice:
      • Physical sensations
      • Impulses
      • Any emotions
      • Thoughts, memories
    4. There’s no right or wrong feeling. It’s just information for you to be aware of. And see if it changes as you move from one chakra centre to the next. Or even over-time if you choose to continue this practice for a week or a month. Just notice.
    5. Once you’ve played up to the top note; the crown chakra, reverse by playing down to the base note, the base chakra, again, one note at a time with long full exhalations.
    6. Sit quietly at the end.

    You can read more on this website, or google ‘chakra centres in body’ for a greater understanding.

  • As the flute became more secularised, there are stories that tell of the flute being an instrument of romantic intention. Here are a couple of fun exercises to try out.

    Practice (let’s try it)


    There is a famous myth of a brave but shy boy, who is too timid to confront the girl that he loves…

    Feeling ashamed and downhearted, the boy sets off on a journey by following an arrow that he shoots into the air. Magically the arrow hovers above his head and he is able to follow its path over four days. On the fourth night he is visited in his dreams by two Elk Men – half man, half elk – who gift him a flute. The Elk Men tell the boy he can use this flute to communicate the love that he feels for the girl. Feeling confident, the boy practises the flute and heads back to the village. When the boy arrives close to his village, he finds a place on top of a nearby hill, where he’ll most certainly be heard playing his flute. He lifts his flutes to mouth and lets it sing his love song to the girl in the village. Upon hearing the flute playing from her tent, his beloved feels it was the song of her heart, and so she sets out to meet the boy. Needless to say, they fall in love. (See Goble, 1992 for more).

    Retell this beautiful myth in your own words, adding in flute accompaniment as the story progresses.

    I’ve done this a few times, to both children and adults alike, and it’s a real joy to share this tale.


    Find a cave or a canyon or a chapel, an atrium or even a tiled bathroom. A space that echos. Take your beloved with you and play a melody.

    Play it slowly and let the notes resonate and echo. Tune each note into a message of love.


Many of the exercises above are from Learn to play with Enchanted Journeys – The Essential Guide for the Native American Style Flute. This comprehensive book brings together all the tools the beginning or the advancing player requires in one package, with multiple additional e-features to optimize learning on your tablet, e-reader or laptop – whatever is easiest for you.

Let's Begin

Native American Flute Resources

There is an absolutely wonderful website – Flutopedia by Clint Goss – that details the origins of flutes – right back to the beginning of human cultural development – and forward to the present day Native American Flute as we now know it. Flutopedia has the most comprehensive information you could ever need on how to play your flute, song sheets, flute selection advice and much more.

Check Out Flutopia

Join our email list

Sign up to our seasonal newsletter to receive hot deals, playing tips and see the latest flutes from our workshop.