Euphoria Photography - Isle of Skye Wedding Photography, in the Highlands and Islands and throughout Scotland

Getting a Lot of Lip
23 October 2014

None of us really wants to get a lot of lip but, unfortunately, those of us with a teardrop lip have just that - too much lip! This causes a small bulge to protrude slightly into the aperture made by the lips, creates a double stream of air and makes it almost impossible to reach high notes on the flute with real clarity and purity - as you can imagine.

I didn’t want to give up flute playing and take up a new instrument. It really was too late to do that and gain any real proficiency. Besides, the level of breath required to play flute suited me well. I tried to play it out of the corner of my mouth, like a famous player did - that didn’t work for me. But, the tear drop lip remained and, it has taken years 1. To figure out what was wrong with me and why I could never reach those high notes properly and 2. In a lot less time, to figure out what to do about it. Once you understand the anatomy of your own individual mouth and the impossibility of creating the correct air stream naturally, you can then get to work to improve things.

The method I am currently using is the tape method which is really the equivalent of a corset on the inner upper lip - or, if you like, a lip tuck! No doubt, someone else will come up with a better idea. There is the possibility of using dermal fillers to fill either side of the bulge, thus smoothing out to a round aperture but, frightening thought - would you still be able to play at all? If not, then it could be a long wait for the filler to disperse. So, I am sticking to the tape! (Ah, forgive me for that one!)

Just another slight update on this method. I do find I have to repress the tape, from time-to-time, in practice. Sometimes, it will become loose and need to be replaced. If your upper notes start going a bit fluffy or breaking up, this is what’s happening. I also find, bizarrely that, my lips need to be moistened and being a female, that’s with some lipstick but not around the bulge area, of course.

I know it’s a nuisance, fiddly to get in the right place and maintain there but, for anyone who really wants to play flute with a teardrop lip, it really and truly is worth it. Today, I tackled my nemesis - Pergolesi’s Flute Concerto in G. No, it wasn’t absolutely perfect but this was a personal best. Roz very kindly said that it sounded beautiful and I was really delighted. So, if you have the teardrop, don’t give up - unless you want to change instruments - and, if you need any more help or info, please contact me.

Happy playing!

Norma x


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