Basic Whistling 101

Before there were any instruments there was whistling. It is the music of the soul. With a little effort and practice anyone can whistle. The following are some methods to help you teach yourself to whistle.

First, place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. This is your upper palate. The air flowing between the roof of your mouth and the top of your tongue is what dictates the note that will exit your pucker.

Next, say "eee" and feel the sides of the top of your tongue touch the inside edges of the upper molars on both sides so a flat air channel is left open. The top of your tongue should almost touch the roof of your mouth and the tip of your tongue should curve slightly downward so it is just behind and parallel with your top front teeth. At no time is the tongue ever touching the front teeth.

Say "poo" with lips held in a tight pursed position (known as fish lips). This is the basic whistling pucker position. Next say "pah, tuka, dada, ladle, loo, oodle, you-you-you, oy-oy-oy, oy-you". All of these mouth movements are used in whistling. While saying them observe the tongue and lips. The lip opening should be fairly round rather than oval shaped.

Blow air through your pucker softly. Use your tongue to direct the air whether out or in.

Continue this until you are able to produce a single note. Once the first note is produced, continue practicing to perfect the note. You will soon realize that moving the tongue forward and backward will control the note produced. Also, increasing or decreasing the area inside the mouth will control the note as well. For lower tones the tongue will be down and back as when saying a low "oooh" and the jaw will be lower as well, creating a larger mouth area. For higher tones the tongue will be further forward and closer to the roof of the mouth and the lips will be tighter. It is advantageous to observe the lips in a mirror. Hissing sounds may indicate that the tongue is too close to the roof of the mouth.

Depth and character to a whistled note may be added with a vibrato. To produce a rapid vibrato, flutter the tongue up and down while executing the note. this will break the air stream to cause the whistle to vibrate, hence the term vibrato. To produce a slow vibrato the diaphragm is used as in singing.

To produce crisply detached and pure notes, a staccato technique needs to be used. This is achieved by touching the tip of the tongue to the front part of the palate as if saying "to-to-to" while whistling a note. It is also achieved by the same throat motion as in saying "kew".

Happy whistling to you. For whistling consultation you may contact me at:
WhistlingTom@gmail.com.

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