Playing traverse flute or an instrument while unicycling

I’ve always had a musical side and decided I want to learn to play traverse flute(I’ve already learned guitar, clarinet, saxophone, but at a basic level many years ago and I’m out of practice), mostly while sitting or standing, but occasionally while idling on the unicycle. I’m currently able to juggle 3 balls while idling for several minutes without much difficulty, sometimes even one-footed, so I figure it wouldn’t be that much more difficult to play flute while idling.

I realize I could fall or drop the flute and damage it, so I won’t get an expensive one. I’ll make sure I’m at least semi-competent with the flute before I combine it with idling though I may practice some scales while idling depending on how things go. Does anyone have any experience with this, any tips?

Once you manage it, be sure to post it on youtube. I’d like to see that. You will have to keep your upperbody very still I suppose to keep the flute to your mouth. Playing a guitar might be easier if it isn’t too heavy.

the big problem is to manage your lips position while on the uni. could be very difficult (I tried playing the trumpet and didn’t succeed … this said at the Stanford Marching Band there is a picture of a lady playing sousaphone while riding … Ouch!)

I used to play a Hohner melodeon while riding my old 20. I no longer play the melodeon, and I wouldn’t risk it with any of my valuable concertinas.

I can play harmonica while riding the UW.

Will definitely post videos if I get that far. I’ve thought about playing guitar while unicycling, but I think ukulele may be even better since it’s smaller and lighter and easier to learn to play a few tunes on it. May consider ukulele if flute doesn’t work out. In fact, still considering ukulele — maybe I’ll just learn to play flute as a totally separate activity from unicycling, while ukulele will be my unicycling instrument.

One concern I have is losing my breath due to the combination of blowing into a flute while idling — many flutists run out of breath just playing flute. Also, the strange almost twisted kind of posture flutists have to make to properly play flute may literally throw me off the unicycle. On the other hand, there are violinist-unicyclists, and that’s even more involved. But considering that I can juggle while unicycling and juggle while running long distances, these issues probably won’t be a big deal once I adapt.

Do you feel any any air hitting your head as a result of the idling? If so, you won’t be able to play transverse flute while doing that. As a player of this instrument, I was originally anticipating music-making while riding forward. I can say now that I was overlooking the obvious. Moving air will defeat your airstream.

When idling, your head should stay more or less stationary and your body and the unicycle move beneath it, as if you were a pendulum hanging from your helmet.

I definitely wouldn’t risk any of my guitars to do this! :astonished: OK maybe my 6-string bass, that thing would probably break the road if I dropped it :sunglasses:

I’ve considered playing harmonica while idling. How long can you do it for on the UW? Before I practice with flute I may play pretend flute with a long stick while idling just to get used to the body movements just so I don’t risk damaging the real flute.

Have you tried riding forward very slowly? I don’t think air hitting me should be a serious problem since I’m more or less proficient at idling and can even juggle while doing it. As Mikefule already pointed out, you’re not supposed to move your head while idling. I may experiment with riding forward while playing flute, but will have to take it very slowly, though we’ll see how it goes.

I think I’ve seen someone play a flute while riding. I don’t think moving at a basic riding speed will inhibit your ability to make good notes.

I’ve just been trying to help. People are welcome to try and prove me wrong, though. I wish I was wrong about it, because I was originally hoping to play the flute while riding.

I used it as a training technique. I was practising riding the UW indoors in a village hall, weaving around chairs in figures of 8 and other shapes. I found that by concentrating on playing the harmonica, I took my conscious mind away from the UW leaving my brain to get on with the UW unhindered. I was able to ride and weave between chairs while playing for a minute or two at a time.

Alright, it works. Theoretically, wind can prevent it. A much bigger problem is turning the uni while playing. Even if that can be achieved, I foresee some severe back and shoulder strain.

Alright, unicycle-fluting is my new favorite hobby. And you all said it couldn’t be done! :slight_smile: :evil:

I’ve played trumpet and trombone whilst riding - trumpet is easier as I can play that one handed. Not good enough at idling to play whilst idling - apart from balance issues it takes more effort and I get out of breath very quickly. I’d like a sousaphone and would definitely try to play it whilst riding (though apart from them being quite expensive I now live on a boat and not sure I have the space!) Though the current target is to play trombone whilst riding my giraffe which I reckon should look quite good - just off out to practice as I’ve got a gig on Friday and thinking of trying it then.

Five instrument playing UW’ers. I kind of wonder if this is as it looks.

It looks like a promotional photo, to help sell the act. My guess is that it was done in a studio-type setting, with everyone leaning against the wall or some other support, to get a clear, crisp shot with everybody’s pedals in about the same orientation. The guy in the back looks like he’s been touched up, which would have been done in this sort of photo to make it clearer to see, and look better when reproduced. I have no doubt of these performers’ ability to ride those things, as I’ve seen other images of UWs like that, and it’s probably the same people.

Couple of additional notes:

  • For readers of the "Learning to ride Ultimate Wheel" thread, notice that [I]everybody[/I] is riding on the balls of their feet, including the women with the heels
  • This photo is probably about 100 years old, or at least no more recent than the 1930s [/LIST]
  • Just a quick report back - played trombone whilst riding my giraffe this evening - it was a bit ropey as there were far too many people around and I had to concentrate far too much on riding to be able to play well, but it still seemed to be a hit with the audience. In practice I can actually play fairly well whilst riding, but that’s with lots of space to play with.

    Really need to do a lot of work on my idling - I can idle really well on the giraffe, but nowhere near well enough to do it without having to think so I can concentrate on playing trombone.

    Re: The Circus performing UW riders in the photo, above…They are pictured holding the instruments with both hands. I wonder how much harder UWs are without the use of flailing hands. It is possible to play the trumpet and the alto and baritone horns one handed, though it’s not ideal technique. With the baritone, holding the weight of the instrument with one hand could be challenging for extended periods of time. Bell-front baritones or alto horns would be better for an outdoor setting; otherwise, a lot of the sound is being directed into the sky. The slide on the trombone in the photo looks unnaturally short. A trombonist could tell me if short slide trombones were ever a thing. It doesn’t look like he can get seven positions out of that trombone. I wonder if separate photos were taken of each performer, then overlapped for the final photo…hence the shortened trombone slide, which would otherwise extend over the shoulder of the next performer.

    Many of my friends have suggested I play the bassoon while unicycling (I received my musical training on the bassoon). The bassoon is already quite awkward to hold. Combining it with unicycling would be dangerous for my face and for the instrument.

    Not long after learning to unicycle, I rode around the neighborhood while playing the guitar. I found that it took almost no effort to integrate the two skills. The neck of the guitar worked well as ballast. With a guitar, the performer can play and sing while unicycling, giving you more bang for your buck.

    And taking it to the level of Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art)…the beat of the music has to line up with the beat of the idling. My idling doesn’t have much of a steady beat. Combining music to my lopsided idling has comic potential.

    Then, there may be others who think playing an instrument while riding diminishes the seriousness of unicycling…