Flute/Throat Flutter


I am trying to throat flutter, since I sadly can't roll my r's, but I don't know the proper way of throat fluttering. I researched about it, and what I can gather and understand, I am suppose to "growl"...Can you please help me understand how to throat flutter?

Hello, Sheetal!
Thank you for the interesting question.  I have been thinking about how to describe what you need to do in order to successfully "flutter tongue."  It is not easy for me to explain.

It seems that you are very refined, and well-mannered.  When I was growing up, I had a bit less decorum, and often did what we call a "raspberry" when I didn't like the way things were going.  So when I tried to flutter tongue, I just automatically did it. In case you don't know what a "raspberry" is, here is a great example.


To flutter tongue on flute, you need to do the same thing, but keep your tongue inside your mouth, behind your top teeth, near the roof of your mouth.  Try a really hard attack on it by doing a D sound, like saying "D" really hard, and pushing a lot of air behind it.  The air will make your tongue vibrate and flap back and forth.  That's the best I can describe it.  My suggestion is to do this without your flute till you figure it out, and can do it with "not so much spit." Also, try to find someplace where nobody can see or hear you.  That way, you maintain your dignity.

Here is a young man whose video shows the technique quite well in the first 30 seconds.

Growling in your throat, as you suggest, to flutter tongue might actually be harder.  I can growl really well, but I can't seem to get that fluttering sound on my flute.  Plus, I need a mop for the excess saliva.

Here is my favorite example of weird tonguing and various unusual techniques.  Note at least 2 times flutter tonguing in the first 30 seconds.  And it gets weirder as it goes on.  Here's Ian Andersen from the 1970s.  He is still playing, and is even better now!  You can look up lots of his YouTube performances if that might help.

That's about all I can say on the topic, sweetie.  I hope you do find a way to get the sound that you are looking for.  I wish you the best.  


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Denise J. Sipe


These are the topics I CAN answer... How to play, from beginner to professional. Tips and tricks, breathing, auxilliary fingering techniques Tone Quality Listening--Developing your ears Technique --Bringing the notes up and off of the page, and making them "your own music". Playing solo, small groups, bands, orchestras Digitally reproduced, vs live accompaniment Accompanying vocalists, dancers, other instrumentals.


Soloist, small groups, large marching bands, symphony orchestras, stage bands and orchestras, theater, church music, jazz, classical, folk music

I'm independent. But professionals have often hired me to play in their groups. Giving back to the community where I played in the High School Band, I am a former member of Williamsport, MD Community Band, a current member of New Horizons Band in Hagerstown, MD, and Bass Flute Player for the TOOT UNCOMMON FLUTES flute choir of Williamsport, MD. I often perform solo as "Toot Uncommon" and had a web-based business where I sold flutes of all sizes, shapes, and colors. The show is uncommon. The locations are often uncommon. And the variety of musical instruments is definitely uncommon! I am a member of NFA, the National Flute Association.

I didn't write for any publications. I leave that up to the more elite musicians.

This should have been my career. I am an engineer,and a trained professional clown. But my music is my passion. Flute is my favorite, though I also play many woodwinds and some brass. I am currently playing percussion in a volunteer concert band, and have drum corps experience, where I often played marching bass drum. I am totally self-taught. But I have often played in groups made up mostly of professionals. All in all I am still the area's best-kept secret.

Awards and Honors
Biggest honor of my career was playing an emotional piece, and looking out over the audience. Two big, tough construction workers had tears rolling down their cheeks.

Past/Present Clients
I've been teaching beginning and intermediate flute/piccolo students of all ages in MD and PA since the early 1970s.

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