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Flute/Will switching effect my playing?


Dear Holly,

I've been playing the flute and piccolo for almost three years, and I would like to learn a new instrument. I've been looking at playing a reed instrument, like the clarinet or the sax. I'd like to know whether or not playing a reed will effect my embrouchure (for better or for worse). If you have any suggestions on what new instrument I should play, please tell me.

         Thank you,

Hey Margaret,

Playing a reed instrument shouldn't affect your embouchure at all.  There are many musicians out there who play multiple instruments (especially the ones you listed - flute/clarinet/sax is a common combination of instruments for a single musician to play), so it's commonly done and is an excellent idea.  Your lips and facial muscles will easily adapt to switching from one instrument to the other, especially because you already have a firm basis and understanding of the flute.  What new instrument you play is entirely up to you - go for whatever one you want to learn the most. :)

Enjoy playing both the flute and whatever new instrument you add!



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I can answer questions about learning to play the flute, reading music, problems encountered when playing, flute repertoire, practicing tips, and performing, as well as information about classical composers and their works. Please note that I am no longer accepting any questions about what kind of flute to buy, upgrading, flute brands, reselling, what a flute is worth, etc. I have answered many of these questions in the past, so please either view my answers in the the previously asked questions section or visit my website, which has a page about buying flutes: Thanks!


I've played the flute since fourth grade, graduating with my master's degree in flute performance. I have taught at local music schools, given flute lessons for over ten years, have played in and soloed with several orchestras, chamber groups, and various other ensembles. For more information about me, visit my website at I love the flute, and I love helping people, so I welcome your questions!

Bachelor's and master's degrees in flute performance from Carnegie Mellon University.

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