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Old 01-21-2013, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 772
Why can't I whistle?

Many years ago when I was a child my mom, my siblings and my friends all tried to teach me how to whistle. Yeah, I know, "just pucker your lips and blow." Despite all their efforts, I never learned. Eventually everyone decided I was a hopeless case who somehow couldn't manage to learn a simple skill.

About fifteen years ago a dentist happened to mention that I have a palate torus. Despite the name, mine like most isn't donut shaped. Mine is larger than the one pictured in the link, extending most of the way to my gums on either side of my mouth. Until the dentist pointed it out I had no idea that everyone's mouth wasn't shaped the same way.

Does the palate torus have anything to do with my inability to whistle? Am I a hopeless case who somehow can't manage to learn a simple skill as well as being someone with a palate torus, or am I someone who can't whistle because I have a palate torus?

On the same topic, kind of, how come we refer to the roof of the mouth instead of the ceiling?
Old 01-21-2013, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 22,660
Is your name Steve?
Old 01-21-2013, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 772
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
Is your name Steve?
Old 01-21-2013, 10:59 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12,056
maybe try while working.

try changing the amount of pucker as you blow. try changing the force with which you blow.

you may hit a point at which you hear air and get close to a whistle.
Old 01-21-2013, 11:35 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,830
Try whistling while sucking air in. I've seen kids do that first when learning.
Old 01-21-2013, 11:46 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: North of 8 Mile
Posts: 3,930
You know how to whistle, just put your lips together and blow. No puckering required.

Last edited by Si Amigo; 01-21-2013 at 11:47 AM.
Old 01-21-2013, 01:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 77
FWIW, I can't whistle either and I don't have that palate deformity (that I know of). I can whistle somewhat sucking air in, but not at all blowing out.
Old 01-21-2013, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 81,559
Originally Posted by campp View Post
Try whistling while sucking air in. I've seen kids do that first when learning.
That's the only way I was able to whistle as a kid. It's still my best sounding whistle although I can come up with a passable result the conventional way. Not as clear, and not as flexible in terms of tone, but better than nothing.
Old 01-21-2013, 11:26 PM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 39,413
Back when I was in grade school, not being able to whistle meant you were gay. But I know how to whistle . . . so that theory goes down in flames.
Old 01-21-2013, 11:33 PM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Bagram Airfield
Posts: 2,074
My palate is shaped the same way, and I can't whistle, either.
Old 01-21-2013, 11:36 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Chicago, Far Northsider
Posts: 7,810
I don't think the roof of your mouth has anything to do with whether you can whistle. The position of your tongue, however, does. To practice a basic whistle, your tongue should be basically flattened with the tip pulled back from the lower teeth just a bit. To change tones of your whistle, raise and lower the center of the tongue by moving the center up or down and/or the tip back and forth. Don't even worry about all that though, until you can blow a single note. And, practice.

I wasn't able to whistle in front of people when I was learning, I just couldn't do it. But I stored the helpful hints they gave me while trying and managed to practice alone until I figured it out.
Old 01-22-2013, 08:19 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 8,867
I don't know about my palate, but don't even bothering offering suggestions. I can't whistle either. It isn't for lack of trying. It's like people think I spend hours failing to whistle for the hell of it.
Old 01-24-2013, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 28
I can't whistle either...

The roof of the mouth? Yeah ceiling makes more sense.
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