Hi and welcome to this whistling tutorial! Today we’re going to be learning how to make a whistle sound – one of the most iconic sounds in pop music. And while it might seem like anything goes when you’re whistling, there are actually a few tricks that can help you sound amazing.
Here are 10 getting-started tips so that you can feel confident in your next audition or performance!
Have you ever been asked to “whistle the melody” from a song? If you have, you know that the melody is usually played between your mouth and your hand, with the tip of your tongue producing the highest pitches and your lips around your hand producing softer notes.
At first, it can be uncomfortable to sing loud while making a whistling sound, but it’s one of the most effective ways to produce power in your whistle. If you feel the need to add vibrato to your whistle, we’ve included a video for you at the end of this article.
While whistling is mostly associated with music, it’s also very effective in all kinds of other sounds, such as accents and sound effects.
But first… let’s get started!
Your Tongue is Important!
The tongue helps keep your lips from getting stuck to the roof of your mouth when you’re whistling. You need to be able to adjust the tension of your tongue as you change pitches.
Start by putting your tongue between your lips, then make a long “eee” sound. Is there any scraping sound? If so, then it means that you have too much tension in the front of your tongue.
You should feel like you’re letting breath out through a narrow space between the top of your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
How to Whistle: Finger Placement
Your finger placement is always going to depend on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re hanging out with your friends and just want to sound cool, then any position between your mouth and your hand will work fine.
However, if you’re learning how to whistle for an audition or performance, then it’s best to have a specific goal in mind when it comes time to place your fingers in your mouth. For example…
If you want to sound more powerful, then place your second finger in the center of your lips and sing with your hand in a relaxed position. The third finger should go right on top of the other two fingers and slightly off to the side.
If you want to sound softer, then place your third finger on top of the others and try to keep it as close to your mouth as possible (So that it’s almost touching).
How to Whistle: Vibrato
When you want a more powerful whistle, add vibrato to your whistle. The vibrato can be added by singing into your hand or with a visible pluck of air in front of your hand.
To make the vibrato more obvious, you can also use a vibrato pick to add vibration to your pitch.
Be sure not to push the whistle too hard. Too much pressure will make your whistle sound too sharp or brittle. You’ll want to make sure that your tongue is relaxed and that your lips are loose and soft.
How to Whistle: The Different Pitches
The tip of your tongue should be close enough to the top of your mouth so that you can feel some vibrations when you sing.
The “eee” sound that you make when you’re trying to whistle is the high pitch. The tongue is able to vibrate in this range of very high frequencies, which is why it’s the best place to choose when you start out.
When your tongue starts high and low frequencies, it’s called a “trill”. The trill is one of the most common whistling techniques.
When you’re using this technique, make sure that you don’t raise or lower your hand very much. This will help keep your pitch consistent and your sound smooth.
How to Make a Whistle Sound: Step 5 – The Bottom Note
If you’ve managed to master these simple steps and can produce a whistle, then it’s time to add a bottom note! This will give your whistle more depth and power.
The bottom note can be added by either putting your tongue in the back or middle of your mouth.
Either way, it helps to think of it as a “pad” sound. You’re basically making a small square pad to hold down your high pitch and provide depth to the sound.
What’s the best way to add a bottom note? Some people use their third finger, while others like to use their tongue. Experiment to see what’s easiest for you. And make sure that your fingers don’t get in the way of your voice or scrape against the roof of your mouth!
How to Make a Whistle Sound: Step 6 – The Mid-Range
So, we’ve added a bottom note, but it’s still not as strong or full as we could make it. This is where the mid-range comes in!
The mid-range is basically everything that’s not your high or low pitches.
Again, it’s all about matching your vocal with the pitch of your whistle. If you’re having a hard time finding it, try humming until you hit the right sound. It should be between low and high notes (but higher than your hightest note).
How to Make a Whistle Sound: Step 7 – The High Note
Finally, we’re up to the high notes. And this is where that extra practice comes into play.
The high sounds will require a bit more strength in your whistle and a lot more coordination with your mouth, tongue and chest cavity.
If you want it to sound better, then don’t just hold the whistle in your mouth. Try switching around between different positions for different pitches.
For example… you can try your high pitch in your hand, with the trill on your fingers and the bottom note on your tongue or the “short pad” position that we talked about earlier.
Practice these positions until they come naturally to you. Your muscles will start to remember which position works best for each whistle.
How to Make a Whistle Sound: Step 8 – Practice Tips for Whistling Success
Whistling is easier to learn when you have a goal in mind. That way, you’re always trying to get closer and closer to your “perfect pitch” each time that you practice.
But the best way to learn how to whistle is by playing along with other musicians and learning from them as much as possible.
Until you get good at finding the right position for your mouth, tongue and fingers, it can be tough to produce a reasonable whistle out of thin air.
But there are a few tips that you can use to get the most out of your practice sessions. First of all…
Set aside some time every day where you can carefully focus on practicing your whistle skills. Without enough time for practice everyday, it’s easy just to get stuck when you’re trying to become a better whistler.
Plus, it takes time to build up the muscle memory that you need to make a great whistle. If you’re not practicing at least once a day, then you’re going to forget what works and what doesn’t over time.
Find the right place to practice your whistling. Find a quiet place in the house so that you can practice without too much distraction around you.
Or practice outside if you’re not worried about noise. The important thing is that you can dedicate as much time as possible to practicing your whistling technique.
When you whistle, put a lot of thought into how much air you’re putting into the whistle. The more air that you use, the louder and brighter your whistle will sound!
The trick is to get a balance between a loud yet controlled whistle. The more air you use, the louder your whistle will sound. But the more air that’s used, the harder it is to control and keep your pitch consistent.
It can be tough to find this sweet spot between loud and quiet. So it’s usually a good idea to start by covering the normal range of your whistle and only add extra air when you need it.
When you’re starting out, try to keep the pitch of your whistle consistent.
Again, this can be tough for a beginner, but it’s a skill that you’ll pick up over time. You might want to practice with other musicians who have good whistling technique so that you can get some tips on how to keep your pitch consistent.
How to Make a Whistle Sound: Final Tips for Better Whistling
Being able to whistle is a great skill that you can use in all kinds of musical situations. It’s especially useful if you’re learning to play an instrument, such as an acoustic guitar or ukulele.
But you can use whistling in other ways too.
The easiest way to make a whistle sound is to whistle over the top of piano or guitar notes. But whistling with your voice is also very common and it’s a useful trick to learn!
Finally, if you want to practice your whistle sound, don’t just try to copy other musicians. Like we already said, find someone who has a good whistle technique and practice with them as often as possible.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Try to get as much feedback from them as possible – both on your pitch and on your overall technique.
If you keep practicing everyday and constantly work on improving your whistling, then you should notice some big improvements very soon!
Now over to you…
Which of these tips would you like to work on the most? Which technique will you focus on first? Leave a comment and let us know!
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