How To Whistle: A Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide

To whistle means to make a high pitched sound by forcing air through the mouth. The sound is produced by restricting the flow of air using the teeth, tongue, and lips.

According to a New Yorker article, whistling is the native language of people in a town in Northern Turkey. It is used as a means of communication instead of words.

Whistling can also be used to get someone’s attention instead of screaming at the top of your lungs. No one is born knowing how to whistle, it is a skill that is learned with constant and consistent practice. This article gives you a beginner’s step by step guide on how to whistle.

1. Whistling With Your Lips

Learn how to whistle with your lips with the following steps.

  • Act like you’re about to blow a kiss and form your lips into a puckered shape. The opening in your lips should be small and round. Saying the word “two” can also help to get your lips in the right position. Lick your lips if they are dry before you pucker them.
    Your lips should be stretched forward and not rest against your teeth.
  • The edges of your tongue should be curled slightly upward and you can change the shape to produce different notes as you start to whistle. If you are a beginner, your tongue should rest against your bottom row of teeth and with time you could learn to change the shape of your tongue to form different tones.
  • Start by blowing air over your tongue and through your lips. Blow gently, slightly changing the shape of your lips and the curve of your tongue until you produce a clear note.

This will require a few minutes to get it, so don’t be discouraged.

  • Blow softly at first and you will be able to whistle loudly once you find the right form for your tongue and lips.
  • To whistle loudly and produce higher notes, try to push your tongue slightly forward.
  • Once you find a note, keep on practicing and blowing harder in order to sustain the note.
  • Your lips will be slightly tighter and your head lifted up when you’re producing higher notes.
  • Hissing instead of whistling means your tongue might be too close against the roof of your mouth.
  • With the proper technique and blowing harder, the loud, intense whistling sound you are looking for should be created.

2. Whistling With Your Fingers

You can whistle with your fingers by using one hand or both hands. Your fingers help to keep your tongue pushed back and also keep your lips tucked back over your teeth. These actions will create an angle that will, in turn, produce sound when you blow air.

Whistling With Two Hands

  • Extend the middle and index fingers of both hands, keeping them close together, while your thumbs hold down your ring and little fingers. Place your two middle fingers together, forming letter A.
  • Wet your lips by licking them. Then tuck them back over your teeth like you are an old man without teeth. Your lips have to be covered by your teeth so the sound of your whistle can be smooth.
  • Push the tip of your tongue back with your fingers so that a quarter of your tongue folds back on itself. Push your tongue back into your mouth until your first knuckle reaches your lower lips.
  • Close your mouth around your fingers making sure you have a perfect seal.
  • Then blow gently from your mouth. The air should only go out over your bottom lip and not the sides. Also, make sure your tongue does not appear in the hole between your fingers as this will block the air from coming out.

Whistling With One Hand

  • Wet your top and bottom lip with your tongue. Moisturizing your lips is important to the sound of your whistle and also prevents it from drying out while you practice.
  • Form an “OK” sign by bringing the tips your thumb and index finger together while keeping your other three fingers relaxed.
  • Place the tips of your index finger and thumb on the back of your tongue and gently press your fingers to roll about a quarter of your tongue back on itself. Do not press too firmly and ensure to wash your hands before putting your fingers in your mouth.
  • Close your lips over your index finger and thumb with no room for air to escape through the sides of your mouth. The small hole left between your lower lip and the inside of the ring created by your fingers is where the air flows through to produce the loud whistling sound.
  • Blow air through the space created by your fingers and lower lip consistently till you hear a clear and loud whistle.
  • Make sure you direct the air into the hole made by your fingers or seal your lips around your fingers to prevent the escape of air and wheezing sounds. Blow hard enough to make loud sounds.

For beginners, there are four stages involved when learning how to whistle loudly:

  1. At first, air will be flowing through your lips without an actual sound.
  2. Later, the sound you will hear is similar to that of a jet engine. Re-adjust your fingers to get a clearer sound.
  3. Soon a sound is heard but the sound will be soft and airy and this is because air is leaking from the space between your fingers. At this point, tighten the seal made by your tongue and lips.
  4. Eventually, you will hear a full-powered, clear whistle. At this point, you are officially a whistle champion!

3. Whistling With Your Tongue


Whistling with tongue
This gives a softer tone when compared to whistling with the fingers or lips.

  • Wet your lips and pucker them slightly.
  • Open your mouth slightly and place your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth. You should hear a high-pitched sound when you blow air.
  • For a louder tone, pucker your lips more and blow harder.
  • You can produce different tones by puckering and widening your mouth.


Though whistling may not be an inborn trait, if you follow the above-listed steps and with constant practice, you should be whistling away in no time.

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