The head should rest naturally on the neck. If the head is improperly balanced, it will cause the spine to shorten up(7). The center of the head is slightly below the ears, it is a point that should line up with the front of the spine(8). The place where the head connects with the spine is called the Atalanto-Occipital joint, or the A.O. joint. A flexible and relaxed A.O. joint will greatly improve pitch and tone(9). If the flutist’s head is pushed out, or thrust forward, the air stream will be forced too far down to produce a good tone(10). The A.O. joint can also be affected by psychological considerations; when a flutist concentrates too hard on playing in a range or dynamic level that is considered extreme this joint tends to tighten up(11).
Flutists who feel they need to show emotion through movement with the flute, will have more physical problems. The flutist should never have to move his head or neck when performing; as soon as he has moved his head or lips, he has damaged his embouchure. If a flutist must move your instrument to show beats, the movement should be so slight that it does not disrupt his embouchure(12). The musician and his instrument should be come one in a Zen-like fluidity.
Next Section: Neck
This section is part of an article that can be found here: Arm Pain while playing the Flute.