It is a common belief that we flutists can play piccolo just because of the nature of the flute and piccolo are from the same family. This usually occurs in high school where the band director needs someone on piccolo, and points to you.

So, you just pick up the piccolo (the barely functional high school piccolo) and begin to play. And you know what?

You discover that you can play the piccolo!

But if you just pick up the piccolo in high school or college without any instruction from a piccolo teacher, then you’re probably making the one mistake that everyone makes.

The mistake is embouchure placement.

With the C flute, you play with a much larger embouchure hole. The lip can cover (generally) two thirds of the hole. So, when we put the piccolo up, we want it to feel the same way. You put it up to your lip and think “Yep, that’s where it is, and so I’m going to play it right there.”

But that’s a mistake. The embouchure hole on the piccolo is so much smaller, that your lip will cover way too much of that embouchure hole.

Experiment with moving it up on your lip.

Move it up so that it might even feel weird and awkward. At first it will feel this way because you’re used to where your flute feels. After a bit of experimenting you will hear and feel how much better the sound comes out without the tightness that is produced with too much coverage.

Move it up and see if that expands your tone and just allows freedom for that piccolo sound to come out.

Try it, you’ll like it!

DoctorFlute

Watch me demonstrate this: FluteTips 24 Piccolo Embouchure Placement