Linda whistling

Linda Parker Hamilton
Whistling Lessons

Here are some lessons that may help you with your whistling. If you'd like to learn more, you may want to join the Orawhistle Global Whistlers' Forum, an online whistling community which has extensive databases on whistling technique and other whistling-related information as well as an archive with over 12,000 message posts.

How to Pucker Whistle

There are several ways to whistle. However, pucker whistling is one of the most common methods.

  1. Place your lips in the same position you would use to say "oooh."
  2. Keep your lips gently in that shape.
  3. Your tongue should curve gently in your mouth: the sides of the back of your tongue should touch the inside edges of your molars; the top of your tongue should almost touch the roof of your mouth; and the tip of your tongue should curve gently downward so that it is just behind and parallel (but not touching) with your top front teeth.
  4. Blow gently, using your tongue to direct the air out through the hole in your lips. It may take time, but keep trying and you should hear a note before long.
  5. Once you can produce a steady note, you can raise and lower the pitch by changing the position and shape of your tongue. By moving your tongue forward, you can make higher notes, and by moving it back, you can make lower notes. By moving your tongue low in your mouth and dropping your jaw so as to make the inside of your mouth as large as possible, you can make very low notes.

Make sure that your mouth is moist, but not too moist. You may want to use some lip balm, especially in the winter. Chapped lips are a hindrance to whistling.

It is important to be polite when you whistle. Don't do it when you believe it will disturb or distract someone. You should also never whistle around someone who is using a guide dog or riding a horse.

How to do Vibrato

Vibrato is that lovely vibration that can add warmth and depth to a whistled note. However, use this technique carefully: if done too often or if the vibrato is too deep, it can sometimes make the whistling sound wobbly and uncertain.

  1. Whistle either out or in.
  2. Move your middle top portion of your tongue gently near the roof of your mouth where the hard palate behind your front teeth meets the soft palate.
  3. As you blow gently, allow the front part of your tongue to move quickly up and down, almost as if it's shivering. The movement of your tongue will break up the airstream enough to cause your whistle to vibrate.
  4. Adjust the vibration of your tongue to control the strength and depth of your vibrato.

How to do Stacatto Whistling

Stacatto is a way of separating the whistled notes so they sound crisp and separate. Of course, never do this in someone's face!

  1. Whistle out (or in).
  2. As you blow on an fairly high note, break up your whistle by touching the back of your top front teeth with the tip of your tongue and then pulling the tongue away as if you were saying "tuh, tuh, tuh." The trick to this is to draw your tongue away from your teeth (almost as if your teeth are hot and you need to pull your tongue quickly away from it) rather than pushing it toward your teeth as you'd normally do when you make the letter "T".
  3. This works fine for high notes, but as you blow lower notes, you'll have to do it from a spot on the top of your mouth farther away from your teeth. The lower you go, the farther back your tongue will have to go to make that "tuh, tuh, tuh" movement.
  4. Practice to smooth it out. Try to avoid adding any "w" to the sound. Do scales and then songs such as the Sailor's Hornpipe.

How to Whistle Loudly using Two Fingers

I find the easiest two-fingered loud whistle to do is to use my index finger and thumb of my right hand. Of course, this method works best if your nails are short. Here's how to do it:
  1. Loosely touch the tip of your bent index finger to the tip of your thumb.
  2. Curl your bottom lip over your bottom teeth
  3. Rest the bottom of your joined fingers (if you're using your right hand, the thumb is to the right) on your lower lip that is covering your bottom teeth. The tips of your loosely joined fingers should push against the bottom part of your tongue (which pushes back).
  4. Your lips should be pressed down against your fingers. The joined fingers make the "V" into which you blow (you should blow slightly down).

It definitely makes a shrill sound that gets louder as you blow harder. Please don't do this in anybody's ear!