Practice 1

Sitting / Timing / Do Re Mi

Sitting and holding the bansuri:
The first thing to practice is sitting correctly. Sit tall and straight, do not let your body twist. Look straight ahead or slightly upwards and hold the flute with relaxed shoulders. For most players, the flute will extend to the right side, but this is your choice. The hand playing the first three notes will be the hand that is not near the flute end. Most people play with the flute extending to their right, so it is their left hand that will play the first three holes. This hand should hold the flute from the outer side of the flute, fingers pointing towards you. You opposite hand should be on the inside of the flute, fingers pointing away from you.

Your first Sound:
To first make a sound, purse your lips comfortably and blow across the mouth hole. If you have trouble, make sure that the bottom lip is just touching the rim of the hole, and then blow and roll the flute towards and then away from your mouth. You should be able to find the sound this way. Do not blow into the mouth hole, the sound is made in the same way a bottle can be made to whistle, with the air being blown across the opening. Work on first making a sound with no fingers on the holes. Ensure that all the holes are totally open. Once a sound can be made, work on making it more and more clearly.

Next, it is a good idea to work on timing. Timing is one of the key tools of any musicians tool palette. Timing is everything. The poetry of music is in the silent moments between notes. Use a metronome, a clock or anything else that can keep a beat (perhaps your own body movement, such as your hand patting alternate knees or your fingers clicking) to find a four count.

Exercises in timing: (Using a four count.)

Timing 1:

    1              2              3              4               1              2             3              4
Blow            X              X             X            Blow           X            X              X

Timing 2:

     1              2              3              4               1              2             3              4
 Blow------Keep-----Keep-----Keep           X             X             X              X

Timing 3:

    1              2              3              4               1              2             3              4
Blow            X           Blow          X             Blow          X          Blow          X

Timing 4:

     1              2              3              4               1              2             3              4
Blow x2        X             X              X          Blow x2        X             X             X

Timing 5:

       1              2              3              4               1              2             3              4
Blow x2          X              X             X               X              X             X             X

Taking these examples, invent your own. If you are in a group, with friends or handy with a recording device, experiment with different patterns overlaid on top of each other.

Making the first Notes:
Once you can play the open flute (Ma) easily enough, try placing your left index finger (for most players) over the first hole. Reach from the outside of the bansuri.
Hold the flute with all holes closed (Pa).
Lift the 3 end fingers off and blow 'Sa'.
Replace the 3 end fingers (Pa).

Repeat until Sa is clear and resonant. The quality of the air going into the flute will determine the quality of the sound. Be sure to keep the holes properly closed.

Practice until each note can be made clearly, holding but not blowing Pa between each note.

(Pa) Sa, (Pa) Re, (Pa) Ga, (Pa) Ma, (Pa) Pa1, (Pa) Dha1, (Pa) Ni1, (Pa) Sa1.

Now play Do Re Mi and build speed.

S, R, G, M, P1, D1, N1, S1
S1, N1, D1, P1, M, G, R, S 


  1. I love this instrument..but I am just learning to play the bansuri...please help me by uploading more lessons...

  2. I have been regularly playing movie songs on the straight flute on my own fairly easily for a few years now. But try as i might, i am unable to do so on the side bansuri. Does it require enormous lung power to do this ? After much struggle over the past three months, I am just able to produce sounds on the top 3 notes for short periods ! Can somebody guide me? I must add I am now 73 years old.

  3. Hello thankx for an interesting post.
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