How to HOLD the flute: for total beginners

How to HOLD the flute: for total beginners

Apr 20, 2021

I decided to distill the common question "How do you properly hold the flute?" into 5 simple steps for you...

How to HOLD the flute: for total beginners

This is a surprisingly handy thing to know, even if you're not a beginner, because who knows if you've been holding the flute just a little bit wrong all these months or years?!

Watch this week's mini-lesson above to learn the 5 basic steps to holding a flute.

Come and see if you've actually been holding the flute right, or if there's a little tweak that you could make which will go towards improving your tone, finger speed, and breathing!

Jane xx

How to hold the flute in 5 simple steps

If you're a total beginner flute player, you are in the right place. You're about to learn how to hold the flute in 5 steps. Five simple steps.

Correct way to hold the flute

These 5 steps are the fundamentally correct way to hold the flute. The reason this is so good that you're learning this now is because it's going to set you up to be able to learn to play with a good sound. It's going to set you up to play with no pain. And it's going to set you up to be able to play with fast, quick dexterous fingers.

Faster flute progress through learning proper technique

I'm Jane. I'm a flute teacher, as you probably guessed. I live in Australia and I love teaching flute players how to make fast progress on the flute, through learning the proper technique.

And you are in luck because if you're a beginner and you have found this video, you are going to be learning the right way to hold the flute right from the start. And like I said, this sets you up for success.

By the way, if you're looking for a great flute fingering chart that's really easy to read, stick around, and I'll give you one at the end of this video.

Holding the flute correctly

Step One, to holding the flute correctly, we're going right back to basics and not because I don't think you're good enough beyond that. It's because if you learn these basics correctly, you're going to, like I said, set yourself up with a great posture to be able to get great sound, no pain, fast fingers, good breathing, all of that stuff.

So we're going to take the head joint. The most important thing when you're holding the flute, the most important thing. It's not your fingers. That's coming in a sec, is this I'm going to turn on the side so you can see this.

You are going to put the flute up to you. Not you go to the flute. So you're going to bring the flute up to you like this. And you keep yourself straight. Think of a string coming out of the top of your head. Always bring the flute up to you.

he opposite is this. And obviously, that's going to cause you back issues, neck issues and so on. But there's a bit of an in-between that a lot of people do, they think they're bringing the flute up to them. And then at the last minute they do that.

You want to avoid that, bring the flute completely, completely up to you. That's step one.

Bringing the flute up to your mouth

Step Two, put your whole flute together. And we're going to do that with the whole flute. So no fingers yet. Just put your hands gently over here and over here so that you've got your hands in the right spot. So this is how you hold the flute, but you're going to just hold it like this.

And you're going to try the same thing. Now that you've got the whole flute, can you bring it up to you and not go forward at all?

Correct place to rest flute on left hand index finger

Once you've got the feel of that it's time for Step Three, which is your fingers. So take your left hand. See you've got this knuckle here and this knuckle here, in between there's a squeegee bit. There's a fleshy bit. That is where your flute rests here.

So not on the knuckle, not on that knuckle, but right on the fleshy bit. Then your thumb on the back, your thumb will be pretty straight. It's not bent like this and it's not dead straight. It's just fairly straight.

Then your fingers on the front. We go here, skip this one. Then that one, that one and your little finger will hover over this key. So make sure it can reach, make sure that it's not like missing the mark like this and make sure that it's not overshooting like that. So gently curved hands, gently curved.

So not the absolute tips of your fingers and not flat. You want gentle curves.

Correct placement of right hand thumb on the flute

Step Four is your other hand, your right hand thumb. Stick it under the flute like this. It's generally under the third key up here, generally under that or it can be a bit closer to the second as well. That's fine. Careful your thumb doesn't stick right out like this.

And then we have 1, 2, 3, and then your little pinky curved, if you can. But when you're starting, just do what you can ultimately, you want this pinky curved.

Fundamental part of playing the flute

And here is your final important step. We're going to bring together what I taught you in step one and two with your hands in the right spot. Can you bring the flute up to you? Keep your head thinking like it's got a string out the top.

Can you bring the flute entirely up to you without you doing this at all? Without you sticking your head forward.

If you can do this, this is like the absolutely fundamental part to being able to play the flute well and pain-free and tension free. This is the absolute fundamental part. And I'm so glad you found this video because a lot of people miss this when they're learning the flute, they put their fingers on and then they blow and then they just go from there.

Free flute fingering chart

If you can get this absolute basic step, you're going to set yourself up for being able to get a great tone as your next step. Now that you know where to put your fingers.

You're probably wondering what to do with your fingers as well. So I've got a free fingering chart for you that's really clear. It's easy to read. Get it at

You can print it out and go from there. Again good on you for finding this video, when you learn this proper technique, this fundamental technique, you're going to progress so much faster. That's what I love teaching in my flute school, teaching people proper techniques so that they progress so much faster than they would without it.

Go grab your fingering chart at And I'll see you there.

Faster Progress Through Proper Technique ™

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

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