Why Play A Native American Flute?
There are several things about the Native American style flute which make it an ideal instrument for someone who has limited (or no) musical experience:
- Unlike conventional symphony and band instruments the Native American style flute does not demand any difficult mouthing techniques (called embouchure) to play. You simply blow with a gentle breath into the mouth hole of the flute. From the very beginning a clear sound comes out of the flute.
- The Native American flute is tuned to play what is called a minor pentatonic scale. With this flute you have five (pentatonic) not eight (diatonic) notes in a scale. With a pentatonic scale all the notes and combinations of notes played on your flute sound good together. You don’t have to worry about hitting a ‘sour’ note. From the moment you start playing the Native American style flute you are making music. In this respect the Native American flute is even easier to play than a recorder (which is a diatonic instrument).
- The tonal quality of the Native American style flute is quite soft or mellow. When you play the sound is not loud like that of a conventional instrument such as a trumpet or clarinet. To me this meant that I could play my flute in my living room without fear of waking the dead or disturbing others. This softer sound got me over a kind of psychological barrier of being afraid of what others might think of my playing.
- People who play the Native American style flute often have the opportunity to join Flute Circles. Flute Circles have evolved into very sympathetic and supportive groups of individuals. Flute circle members are happy (if you wish) to encourage and support you on your journey with your Love flute.
- Because it is such a simple and forgiving instrument the Native American flute it does not take hours of practice to develop and maintain your playing technique. This flute is an instrument that you can feel relaxed about playing (or not playing).
- In spite of the comparative simplicity of the Native American style flute it offers great potential for artistic and expressive growth. Two different pentatonic scales are available on each of my flutes. These are called the Mode One or Aeolian scale and the Mode Four or Dorian scale. As you gain in experience you can learn to use other notes (called chromatic notes) to expand the range of your Love flute. This increases the creative range of the flute. If you work at your technique you can even play a full twelve note chromatic scale. The Native American flute is sometimes called a simple or folk instrument. But, I have been playing this type of flute for more than ten years and I am still discovering new things every day
The term Native American Flute is reserved - legally - for flutes made by enrolled members of Federally recognized tribes. I am not a Native American. Therefore, the flutes that I make are called a Native American style flutes. I consider myself to be a contemporary not a traditional flute maker. I use state of the art fabrication techniques and tune my flutes to a modern pentatonic scale such as can be played on a piano. It is my intention that the Native American style flute be available to everyone who wants to have the opportunity to experience the satisfaction of making their own music.