How to play the flute

One of my favourite Monty Python sketches called “How to do it” told viewers that in this week’s episode they would learn to play the flute, split an atom, build a box girder bridge and irrigate the Sahara.

Holding a flute and pointing to the mouth piece, the host explained, “You blow in there


and you move your fingers up and down here.”


Having struggled through five years at high school to play the flute even reasonably well, I can still laugh at that sketch.  Today, it speaks to me of the new social media reality where we take complex issues and boil them into 140-character tweets.

I Googled the other “How to do it” tasks and found Youtube or Wikipedia hits for each one.  (Did you know that scientists have concocted a 2-trillion dollar-a-year plan to geoengineer the Sahara Dessert?)

Starting out on this social media journey has me both excited and daunted by the ever-expanding size of the medium but, fortunately, this is not my first scary ride.  When faced with a challenge, I usually get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  After a while, I find a way to shrink the problem into a manageable size, then I look for humour and then I get to work.

I know where I am in this trajectory.  Time to play the flute.

Enjoy Moe Koffman on me.

3 thoughts on “How to play the flute

  1. Thank you, Anne, for expressing so well what I’m feeling about this blogging on WordPress stuff! Your words are a comfort, and I hope getting me closer to being ready to hit the ‘Publish’ button!

  2. Hello Anne, your post made me laugh, and brought back some wonderful memories, thank you for that.

    Many years ago (decades actually) I dated a musician, a beautiful and talented young woman who one day presented me with the gift of a flute. She did this because it was one of my favourite instruments, I loved the sound, so pure.

    I bought us season tickets to the Toronto Symphony with the little money I had at the time and off we would go to revel in the performances.

    I have no musical talent, there is no instrument I can play, maybe that is why I love seeing others do it so much.

    As you know, the flute is damn hard to play, like really hard. The pursing of the lips, blowing over the hole, not into it, the dexterity required of the fingers. I never got that flute to produce two notes in a row. I still have it and I love to look at it and I love the memories it brings back of a beautiful young woman and beautiful music.

    I never learned to play that flute, and Jill and I never learned how to stay together, yet I still find joy in those memories.

    I really like your comparison of social media to music. Some of us will learn to play it with virtuosity, some of us not at all and there is lots of room in between.Some of us will create posts akin to beautiful music and others will post as though tone-deaf. Any instrument always provides an opportunity to fail as well as succeed, that flute taught me that.

    Your analogue really works for me, maybe each of us in this class will learn to play complimentary instruments and together we’ll form some kind of symphony. The flute escapes me, but I have had my eye on the cello for sometime now…

    Thanks for the great post,

    Doug MacNair

  3. Thank you for the tutorial on how to play the flute! Back in high school the instrument that was assigned to me was the baritone, i enjoyed playing the instrument, very big and easy.

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