How to Hold a Flute: An Essential Guide for Beginners

Beginner Flute

To learn how to hold a flute, study the proper posture, hand position, and angle for the instrument. By mastering these techniques, you’ll be able to play the flute in no time. Learning how to hold a flute is one of the first concepts you’ll be taught when you start flute lessons. Once you can hold a flute, you can begin to enjoy the beauty of playing this timeless instrument.

A member of the woodwind family, the flute is one of the oldest modern instruments in western civilization. Flutes are common in orchestras, marching bands, jazz, swing, and other popular genres of music. For an aspiring musician, the flute is a great place to begin learning how to read music and music theory. As with any instrument, playing the flute starts with understanding how to hold a flute.

To learn how to hold a flute, your flute instructor will focus on four key points. The following techniques will be emphasized:

  • Proper Posture
  • Position Your Left Hand
  • Position Your Right Hand
  • Hold the Flute Parallel

How to Hold a Flute

1. Proper Posture

Proper posture is important for playing any musical instrument, especially woodwinds. When you’re learning to play the flute, your posture will help you with your breathing and enable you to create clear, strong, resonant tones. Because of the importance of posture, this is one of the first points to address when learning how to hold a flute.

Whether standing or sitting, make sure your spine is held straight and upright. Position your head squarely over your shoulders so you’re not hunched forward or leaning back. However, don’t hold your body too rigidly. Make sure you remain comfortable enough to take full, deep breaths and move your hands as you play. Being too stiff can impede your playing. 

2. Left Hand Position

After you’ve learned the best posture for playing the flute, it’s time to learn hand positions. You’ll start with the left hand, which controls the keys closest to the head joint near the mouthpiece (also known as the embouchure). Rest your left thumb on the first key of the bottom of the flute body, then curve your fingers around the other side.

Your left index finger, middle finger, and ring finger, and rest on the 2nd, 4th, and 5th keys of the flute. Allow your pinky finger to gently touch the side key. You’ll hold the weight of the instrument in your left hand by supporting the flute on the palm between your thumb and index finger.

3. Right Hand Position

With your right hand fingers, you’ll hold the end of the flute near the foot joint. Tuck your thumb under the instrument to support its weight, making sure that your right palm faces away from you. As with your posture, you’ll want to hold the flute firmly yet always give yourself the comfort and flexibility to play with ease. Focus on making a loose “C” shape with your right hand.

Near the foot joint, you will see three bottom keys on the body of the flute. Your right index finger, right middle finger, and right ring finger will rest on these keys individually while your right little finger plays the first key on the foot joint.

4. Holding the Flute Parallel

Finally, as you learn how to hold a flute, it’s important to make sure you hold the instrument parallel to the floor. This creates optimal air flow as you play, allowing you to produce bright, clear tones without squeaking. 

Letting your flute “droop” is a common mistake made by new players. Always make sure the instrument is held horizontally, directly parallel to the floor, instead of playing at an angle. Focus on making a 45 degree angle with your elbows to help you maintain the proper position.


Learn How to Hold a Flute at Music and Arts

Whether you’ve been playing the flute for years or you’re a total beginner, Music and Arts has flute lessons for players of all ages and skill levels. Learn everything you need to know about this beautiful instrument with private lessons from Music and Arts. Call us today or send us an email for more information.

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