How to Play the Panflute

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In Greek mythology, Pan tried to seduce Syrinx, a beautiful nymph. He overtook her on the banks of the River Ladon banks and, as she called to the other nymphs for aid, she was turned to river reed. Pan realized these reeds made a beautiful sound when he blew into them and so plucked them to make the panflute. You can learn to play this ancient instrument, too.

  • Hold the flute so the top is horizontal and parallel with your mouth. When you play the panflute, also known as panpipes, keep it in parallel position in relationship to your head, no matter how you move your head. Hold the large tubes with the palm of your hand against the edge, thumb on one side, index finger above the bottom and the rest of the hand folded underneath. Adjust the position of your other hand until the flute is balanced. Cup your hand and allow the bottom to sit in the cup.

  • Form your mouth as though you are saying "wh." The mouth shape you make with this sound is much like blowing into the flute.

  • Place one pipe of the panflute directly against your lower lip with your upper lip over the opening. Blow evenly to play a note. As a child, you may have made a sound by blowing into a coke bottle. You use the same approach to play the panflute.

  • Practice scales when you play the panflute or panpipe. Notice that the shorter the reed, the higher the note.

  • Assign the number 1 to the largest pipe and give 2 to the next. Three is the next pipe and so on until you reached the shortest pipe which is the highest number. If you want to learn to play simple songs on the panflute, or panpipes you can go by the numbers. Learn to play some simple songs at The Pan Flute of Douglas Bishop website.

  • Practice different types of songs. The mournful cry of the panpipes or panflute can bring an extra dimension and authenticity to all types of songs, from blues to Celtic jigs.

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