In 2007, the Anishinaabemowin teacher of WIES, Paul Stone, enlisted my help to teach Junior students how to play the Native American Flute. He ordered "Little Horse" flutes in A minor from Butch Hall, and our journey began. These flutes are great for beginners and are 6-hole flutes. Using Bruce A. Whitten's technique book, "Trailhead of the American Indian Courting Flute" (available through the Oregon Flute Store, or which includes an Instructional CD with samples of Jeff Ball's bestselling recordings, we learned the basics.

My biggest challenge has been finding music that is playable by a group of students who are not ready to venture into songs which use many tricky fingering and have not yet reached a level of comfort to create their own music. It takes time to develop the good ear and technique required to ensure proper tuning when playing. As such, it is easiest to avoid songs which use tricky fingerings, like half-holes, while learning the basics to ensure a strong basis on which to later build.

It is believed that as the instrument is supposed to be played from the heart, that written music detracts from the intrinsic beauty of the flute. In keeping with this idea, when we first learn songs in our group, we use fingering chart notation, as introduced by Bruce A. Whitten in the aforementioned book.

The songs here are represented in three ways:

  1. Fingering chart notation.
  2. Western notation for trained musicians.
  3. A recording for you to listen to and play along with.

It is my understanding that the included music is no longer protected by copyright. If I am mistaken, please contact me and I will remove the material in question.

In this site, I hope to provide additional information for teaching or learning the Native American Flute, as well as additional repertoire for beginners. Think of this as one more stepping stone on the path to learning the basics of how to play the flute. Ultimately, the goal is to move away from known songs, and to play from your heart. As Butch Hall mentions in the pamphlet included when you purchase your flute:

"I would suggest that you consider playing as the Native American has for centuries. The Native American Flute is an excellent instrument for the expression of feelings, and is often used in the courtship process. So my recommendation is to create your own music, from the heart, from feelings. The tempo can be fast or slow, happy or sad, it's all up to you!"

Until you are ready for that step in your journey, feel free to use the material in this site to learn some new music and strengthen your skills.


This site was inspired by the students of the

© Copyright 2008 by V. Redfern