Lip piercings are one of the most popular ways to express yourself and make a fashion statement. But, when you want to play a woodwind instrument, like the flute, you may run into some problems.
So, can you play flute with a lip piercing? It’s not advisable to have a pierced lip during flute play. While it does largely depend on where the piercing is, there is still going to be problems with centering and preventing an airy quality to the tone. So, you should remove the piercing beforehand.
However, some people do attempt playing the flute with a lip piercing. But, ones that aren’t smack dab in the center see far more success in this endeavor than those that are off to the side. Even still, this creates problems with sound, albeit a little better than if it’s dead center.
Lip Piercing and Flute Playing
Lip piercings will affect your flute playing in less than desirable ways. The handful of videos featuring lip piercings with flute playing make the problems easy to see.
This is especially true if you have it in the center of your lip through the labret, either vertical or horizontal. The air will not flow into the instrument properly.
Plus, if your piecing is brand new, you’re going to have to wait at least three weeks for it to heal before you can play your flute again. During this time, any muscle memory you’ve developed in your lips will mitigate due to lack of practice.
Any hole in your lip won’t be good for embouchure because the air will escape and affect the tone. What’s more, the lack of muscle control will alter the sound and the piercing will force you to change your lip position.
You may even hit nerve endings on your teeth or gums with the metal, which won’t feel good at all.
Additionally, the piercing might slip and slide against the lip plate, which will cause your lips to shift in an awkward way.
Because you shouldn’t struggle with this aspect of playing and maintain relaxation, it can create a frustrating journey into how to produce a horrid sound.
Professional Opinions on Playing the Flute with Piercings
If you peruse the plethora of online flute forums and view a few videos on social media, the topic of lip piercings is quite common.
Most experienced hobbyists and professionals, across the board, do not recommend attempting to play a flute with a lip piercing.
Even those who admittedly have multiple piercings in their lips will remove them prior to play. It just seems as though there’s not one flute player on the planet that suggests having a lip piercing.
There’s too much potential for the piercing to affect the sound as well as the flautist’s general ability to play.
While it’s probably not a good thing to play a flute with a lip piercing, it doesn’t mean you can’t try. After all, some of the best things come from people told by others they can’t play due to an impediment.
Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder are world famous and fantastic pianists who just happened to be blind. Also, Tony Iommi, the guitar player for Black Sabbath, lost the top part of his fingers while working at a sheet metal factory. Indeed this was a tragedy, but it’s what created Black Sabbath’s signature sound.
Even though these examples revolve around a physical disability, these people worked around it and rose above the naysayers.
This means if you’re dedicated to playing the flute with a piercing in, you’re going to have to devise your own method. This will take time, patience and persistence.
If your piercing is on the side of your lip, you should be able to position the flute in such a way as to avoid most problems.
But, when the piercing is in the center, you’re going to have to get creative and resourceful, figuring out a way to bypass the lip plate and embouchure hole.
You could try putting in a post with a large gauge to seal the hole. This way, air won’t escape through the piercing aperture while giving you a flat surface to place over the lip plate. It is possible that you may have to roll the flute forward for this to be effective.
However, if you choose to remove the piercing altogether, it’s likely the hole will heal and close on you. So, you will have to think of some substance or material to put into the hole while you play.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do’s and Dont’s of Lip Piercings?
The brief checklist below contains suggestions for what to do and what not to do while playing a flute with a lip piercing:
- Always keep your lip piercing clean to keep it free of bacteria and other infections.
- When taking your piercing out, put it in a clean, dry place away from dirt and debris.
- Clean off your piercing aperture and jewelry with hydrogen peroxide before putting it back into your lip.
- Use rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab to clean off the lip plate and embouchure hole after playing
Does Lip Shape Affect Flute?
While almost any shape can play the flute, the shape of lips does affect the flute’s sound. The best kind that makes it easier is small upper lips with larger bottom lips.
On the outset, you shouldn’t play a flute with a piercing in your lip. It will affect the sound in detrimental ways that will force you to struggle while playing. Therefore, in most cases it’s just not going to be worth the trouble. Poor muscle control, sound quality and difficulty of play are too much to risk.
But, for those with a natural penchant toward defiance, there’s no reason why you can’t try. You’ll have to play around and tinker with what works and what doesn’t. Understand, however, chances of success are low and it might take a long time.