The Flute Academy
How to align flute HEAD JOINT correctly!

How to align flute HEAD JOINT correctly!

Mar 09, 2021

You might be thinking "Oh yes, I know how to align the head joint on my flute - I just line up the little engraved lines..."

How to align flute HEAD JOINT correctly!

But, did you know that those little lines are not the most accurate way to line up your flute!

They can be deceiving!

Getting this simple alignment correct sets you up to be able to get a clearer sound (and to have easier playing all round!)

Jane xx

How to align flute HEAD JOINT

Here is how to align a flute head joint correctly. You might think that I'm about to say, just line it up with those engravings that you've got on your flute and away you go.

But no, no, no. Those engravings are such a basic guide that they're pretty much wrong. They're going to lead you down the garden path that will lead you to think that you've got your flute, head joint in the right spot when you don't.

So why is it so important to have your flute head joint in the real right spot?

Clearer flute playing when embouchure is aligned properly 

It's because it means that you have an aligned embouchure blowing in the right direction, in the right way. Your hands are aligned properly so that your fingers can move freely. Your embouchure when it's aligned properly, it means that you're more able to get high notes correctly with the right technique.

And it means that you're going to have a whole lot less pain when you play. That means that you can breathe easier when you're free of tension and all because of setting up the head joint in the right spot. it gives you the foundation to be able to do all of that I just mentioned.

Now in there, I mentioned that you'll be able to get a clearer sound. More on that at the end of this video. I'm going to show you how exactly the tweaks to make, to get your sound much clearer. But before we do that we've got to get your head joint in the right spot.

Faster flute progress through learning proper technique

So my name is Jane. I teach the flute. You probably guessed that. I love showing people the exact techniques, the proper technique, so that they can get faster progress on the flute, make tiny little tweaks, tiny little adjustments to their playing, which gives them instant progress.

So aligning your head joint, firstly, you know these engravings, they're not like totally wrong. You know, they're better than someone off the street would be able to do, but there's a way better way of aligning your flute.

And this comes in two parts.

There's the basic version which I teach all my beginners and the advanced version if you're an advanced player or an intermediate player, you might be ready for that.    

Hole aligned with first key (along the row of keys)

So the basic one first. This key here, key that is not a key. This hole here needs to align with these keys here. This is the basic version. Now, the way you do that is you look down the flute and you line it up with the first few keys.

Put marking on your flute

Now you might have seen flute players putting their flute together and doing this every time. That's not necessary because once you've got that spot, you grab yourself a marker and you draw on your flute.

You draw black marks to line up the flute. This says permanent marker on it. It is not permanent on a flute. I have been doing this for over 20 years and I need to go over it every few months or so because this black mark will come off. It doesn't damage your flute...

This is a very expensive flute and I would not be drawing on it if it damaged my flute. 20 years, it's never done any, any kind of damage. So you're good to go there.

The reason that this mark is so useful is because it means that you're consistently putting your flute in the right spot. Every time you put it together, super, super easily, you just work it together there and you don't need to go through the ring or roll of lining up the flute. It's really easy.

If you want it even more permanent than that, use nail polish. That won't come off. I've seen nail polish on a flute the other day, 20 years later, I saw a flute that I taught my student on it and the purple nail polish was still there.

So black mark is ideal. If that concept was new to you lining up your flute with this and putting a black mark on, then stick with that.

Advanced version of embouchure alignment

The next step to this is the advanced version. Now, if you're ready to move on to the advanced version, come with me. If you're not just hang out for a second, I'm going to show you about the free mini course to instantly improve your tone at the end of this video, but just hold on for just one second there.

So the advanced version of lining up your flute, every body has a different shaped face, different size lips, different sides  teeth, different shaped teeth, chin, and different size hands.

Personalised alignment of the flute head joint for a more advanced player

So we get more specific and more accurate with lining up the head joint to suit you and your body type. So the real way to align a head joint is based on having a correct embouchure alignment more on that in a sec, that's in the free mini course.

Once you have a correct embouchure alignment up here and placement, then that lets you align your keys correctly down here. By that, I mean that these keys, even though they look pretty when they're parallel to the floor, they really ought to be tipped forward just a little bit.

The reason for that these rods have some weight on it and it forces your flute to roll back. To offset that rolling back, you want it tipped forward a little bit so that your hands aren't gripping on and that slows down your fingers.

So we start with the shape of your body, correct placement, which I’ll show you in the mini course at the end of this video, then align the keys so that they're slightly tipped forward. And then we put on the black mark. And that is exactly where my black mark is.

Mine is not actually, I don't know if you noticed before, but if I look down my flute, this hole is not inline with these keys. And it's because I'm doing the advanced version of lining up this head joint.

If you think you're ready for this stage, then I suggest you do the mini course to get your embouchure alignment and placement correct. Which means then you can start getting your keys, correct. Which means that you can then put the black mark in the right spot for you specifically for you.

Remember stay at the basic version of this, where you line up the hole here with the keys here and then put a black mark on. Stay on that basic version if that's as much as your brain can handle at the moment.

My students stay at that level for years because it has such a good setup. It's far, far, far better than just using the engravings that are on most flutes. It's it's a far better lineup than the engravings.

Free three day mini course to improve flute tone

If you've got the brain space to do the advanced version, go for it. Either way join me for the free mini course to check the alignment of your embouchure and the setup and placement of your embouchure , to register.

I'd love to see you there to show you the little tweaks that instantly improve your sound.

Faster Progress Through Proper Technique ™

Learn how making the right tiny adjustments to your flute playing accelerates your progress.

Come and join Jane in The Flute Academy to transform your flute playing - one clever tweak at a time!

Find out more

The Flute Academy acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country and their connections and continuous care for the skies, lands and waterways throughout Australia.