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  • Writer's pictureRonald

Unboxing your Pan Flute


Yes, you get home and realize that the package you have been waiting for finally arrived: your brand new pan flute. You touch the smooth texture of the embouchures and stare at the shiny pipes…now, the million dollar question is…what do you do with it? In this post, I am going to list some first steps you should take after unboxing your pan flute so that you get ready to familiarize with it.


  1. Do not Alter your Pan Flute’s Structure


Some of the pan flutes that we sell are tunable, which means that each pipe has a small cork that you can push to adjust or change the tuning of the instrument. All of our pan flutes are tuned before we ship them. If you have not learned how to blow the pipes, it can be a bit difficult to readjust the corks and make sure that they are correctly positioned. So there is no need to push or take out the corks when you receive your instrument. Your pan flute is ready to be played.


Similarly, some of our pan flutes are South-American style, and one of the features of this style is that the pipes are not glued but tied together. Do not turn the pipes around or push them out of their axis, doing so might alter the knots and make them looser. This is an aesthetic aspect of the design and should not be modified.


  1. Be careful not to drop it, pan flutes are delicate instruments.


When you first unbox your new pan flute, it’s essential to handle it with care to avoid any damage. Pan flutes are crafted delicately, often from materials such as bamboo or wood, which can be fragile. A drop or hard knock can easily cause cracks or misalignment in the pipes, affecting the instrument’s sound quality and playability. Always hold the pan flute securely with both hands, and consider placing it on a soft, stable surface when not in use. By treating your pan flute gently from the start, you’ll ensure its longevity and maintain the beautiful, melodious tones it was designed to produce.


  1. Do not clean the embouchures with alcohol


When it comes to maintaining your bamboo pan flute, it’s important to avoid using alcohol or other harsh chemicals on the embouchures. Alcohol can dry out and damage the bamboo, leading to cracks and a deterioration in sound quality. Instead, opt for gentler cleaning methods that preserve the integrity of your instrument. Use a microfiber cloth to carefully remove dust and debris, and if necessary, a lightly dampened cloth with mild soap can help with deeper cleaning. Always ensure the pan flute is dried after any cleaning to prevent moisture damage.


  1. Understand your Pan Flute’s Configuration


An essential step towards mastering your instrument is to understand how it works. You should have received a handout that indicates what your pan flute tuning is and what note each pipe plays. I suggest that you become familiar with these notes so that you can mentally associate them with their corresponding pipes. As you learn how to play, it will be useful that you memorize what notes you are creating when you play a certain pipe. For example, if you are playing the longest pipe of your pan flute, try to keep in mind “that is G or A,” depending on your flute.


  1. Be Prepared to get Frustrated


This is a tough point to present, but if you have read my previous posts, I always aim to give honest information. Contrary to what some people might believe, pan flutes are not necessarily easy to play. I had some customers that wanted to immediately return their pan flutes because they believe “they didn’t work.” What often happens is that they don’t know that playing the pan flute requires technique. More clearly, there is a particular way to blow the pipes to make them sound properly. But, as any other technique, one cannot get it right without practice.


Your pan flute will not sound right the first time you play it. You will need to practice your embouchure technique, which might take weeks or even a couple of months. It is normal to get frustrated when learning to play an instrument, but I promise you that the payoff is worth it.


6. Start with Easy Songs


I mentioned before that it takes some time to develop the embouchure technique to get the proper sound from the pipes. I also encourage you to try to start with easy and simple songs. Do not expect to play The Lonely Shepherd in a couple of months. Start with very simple songs that will allow you to see progress and milestones as you start to play them fully. Playing Jingle Bells might not be exactly what you got your pan flute for, but it will be an important step in solidifying your technique and getting where you want.

   

7. Start slowly


Even though I encourage you to practice on the previous point, here I want to ask you to take it slowly. Not only because spending a lot of time trying to get the right sounds might increase your frustration as opposed to taking smaller steps towards improving, but also because it is crucial to keep an eye on your health.


Playing the pan flute requires a certain lung capacity, which varies depending on the type of flute you have. Therefore, as you start practicing, you might experience a little light-headedness if you play for more than 20 minutes or so. As you learn how to breath and increase your lung capacity, this dizziness will go away, but this is the reason why starting slowly is important.


I hope that these seven steps to consider after unboxing your pan flute are helpful in your journey to mastering this amazing instrument. More importantly, remember that journeys sometimes can be long, but keeping a steady motivation makes it easier and more enjoyable.



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