Techniques On How To Whistle: A Beginners Guide

Kara Richards —  October 30, 2018

Whistling is kind of a funny skill. Those who know how to whistle wonder how anyone could have a problem doing it. On the other hand, folks who can’t just have no idea how anyone could produce such sounds. Many of the non-whistlers believe that whistling is an ability that one is born with – kind of like having blue eyes or attached earlobes. That’s not the case at all because as mentioned, whistling is a skill and you can teach yourself how to do it, even at a relatively advanced age.

Techniques On How To Whistle

How to whistle

There are several techniques that you can use for whistling. The technique that you use can also depend on your purpose such as getting someone’s attention or whistling your favorite tunes. Regardless of the technique that you use, you should not be discouraged if you can’t do it the first time. This is about practicing over and over again until you can do it properly.

Technique #1: Whistling With Your Lips

Whistling using your lips is the way to go if you want to whistle your favorite tunes. Below are the steps to do it:

  • 1
     Start with wetting your lips and puckering them.
  • 2
     Blow some air through your lips, you can try this softly at first. If you did it right, you should be able to
    produce a tone.
  • 3
    Next, you can try blowing harder but the key is to keep your tongue relaxed.
  • 4
     To produce different sounds and tones, try adjusting your lips, jaw, and tongue.

Technique #2: Whistling With Your Fingers

This technique is good for catching someone’s attention or catching a cab since this type of whistling can be loud. Here are the steps:

  • 1
    Have your thumbs face you and hold down the rest of your other fingers, then position the tips of your two pinkies together in order to form the shape of an A. Alternatively, instead of your pinkies, you may use your index fingers, whatever works for you.
  • 2
    Wet your lips and tuck them inward and over the teeth. This will look like you’re a baby who has yet to grow a tooth.
  • 3
    Push the tongue backwards over itself using your pinky fingers until the knuckles touch the lip.
  • 4
    Next, tightly close your mouth while keeping the tongue folded, fingers in mouth, and lips tucked. The idea here is that the opening should only be between the pinky fingers.
  • 5
    Gently blow air through the opening between your pinkies. Should you feel the air blowing out from elsewhere, this indicates that your mouth isn’t closed properly.
  • 6
    Once you have it all in place, blow the air harder and you should be able to produce a high-pitched sound.

Technique #3: Whistling With Your Tongue

This technique is more on the softer side but still a worthy addition to your whistling arsenal.

  • 1
    Start by licking and wetting your lips, and do some slight puckering.
  • 2
     Slightly open your mouth and position the tongue on the roof of your mouth, it should be very close to your two front teeth. This should produce a high-pitched tone.
  • 3
    To produce a louder tone, blow harder and do more puckering.
  • 4
    In order to create many different tones, pucker and widen your mouth. These techniques should be more than enough to abandon your status as a non-whistler. Again, it’s all about practicing over and over again.

What If I Still Can’t Whistle?


So you followed all the steps above but still can’t whistle, what’s going on?
Well, there may be some medical reasons why you are unable to make the right sounds. According to Seattle Children’s Foundation, you may have a condition called velopharyngeal dysfunction (VPD). It’s a condition in which parts of the throat and roof of the mouth do not function properly during speech.


Examples of VPD are:

  • Motor speech disorder
  •  Certain conditions, like the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome
  • Cleft palate
  • Too much space between the palate and the throat
  •  Weak throat muscles

Practice, Practice, And Practice


Either of the techniques on how to whistle should be good enough as a starting point. However, it certainly won’t hurt to learn them all so you can use different whistles for a variety of purpose. As we have liked to stress out, you just have to keep practicing until you get it. Most people spend about 40 minutes of dedicated practice before they can reliably whistle, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t do it properly at first.


Once you figure it out, it’s just a matter of doing it over and over again until you can whistle like a master.


Kara Richards

Posts