Flute Fingering Chart

On this page, you'll find:

  • An easy-to-read fingering chart for flute
  • A quick WALK-THROUGH video, showing you EXACTLY where to put your fingers on the flute

And as a bonus, you'll learn:

  • How to AVOID the 4 REALLY common MISTAKES beginner flute players make when reading a fingering chart

I'm Jane Cavanagh and I've been teaching the flute for over 20 years.

My real passion is showing people, like you, how to play the flute in a clear, STEP-BY-STEP way. The best bit is that you will feel yourself progress so fast, that you might not believe your ears!

Grab the COMPLETE easy-to-read flute fingering chart here.

> It's free!

⭐️ You'll also get Jane's weekly mini flute lessons. (And of course, you can unsubscribe anytime you want.)

How to Read a Fingering Chart

There is 1 simple instruction to remember when reading any fingering chart:

A coloured-in circle means you PRESS that KEY on the flute DOWN.

This fingering chart is easy-to-read because it simplifies the flute keys into just the ones you ACTUALLY USE.

FREE MINI-COURSE

How to Instantly Improve Your Flute Tone

Come and join me to learn the 3 SIMPLE TECHNIQUES which give you an instantly clearer and stronger sound.

⭐️ You'll also get Jane's weekly mini flute lessons! (And of course, you can unsubscribe anytime you want.)

"So how DO I hold the flute properly?"

In just 3 minutes, you're going to learn exactly WHERE TO PUT YOUR FINGERS on the flute


So, it’s sometimes not obvious from fingering charts exactly where you should put your fingers. And it’s definitely not clear how you should hold the flute!

Why? Because it's difficult to write down, or even draw, how to hold the flute.

You really need someone to show you.

So I made you a QUICK VIDEO that shows you exactly how to hold the flute and where to put your fingers.

The short lesson is in 10 simple steps. (Even though we have 10 fingers, it is not actually one step per finger!)

It is 10 easy steps about how to hold the flute correctly. When you learn correctly like this, it means you will be:

  • Comfortable when you play, without pain (yay for that!)
  • Able to play every note because your hands are in the right spot
  • Set up to become a good flute player because you’ve learnt your hand position correctly right from the start

Go ahead and learn those 10 steps in just 3 MINUTES right here:

How to Avoid Common Mistakes

Beginners often make these 4 mistakes when reading a flute FINGERING CHART. Here is how to avoid them!


Mistake #1

Forgetting to put the right hand pinky finger on

If you look at the fingering chart (or if you can already play the flute a bit), you’ll notice that the right hand pinky should be pressed down for a LOT of the notes.

When I get a new flute student who can already play the flute, you can tell when they haven’t learnt properly because their right hand pinky doesn’t go down when it should!

Normally players make this mistake because:

  • They played recorder when they were little (which has similar fingering to flute, but doesn’t use the pinky as much).
  • They can play saxophone or clarinet (also doesn’t use the right pinky as much as the flute).
  • They don’t think it’s necessary because it feels a little awkward.

So now you’re probably thinking “So WHY do I actually need to put my pinky finger down then??”

And fair question. If you keep the pinky up (which is incorrect), it doesn’t make a difference to the sound on most of the notes. It does change the sound for a few notes, but only a little bit.

But that’s not the real reason for needing to keep that key down!

The real reason is about CONSISTENCY. And I’m not talking about “being good” or being a well-behaved flute student. I’m talking about consistency for your brain.

That right hand pinky key (called the D# key in fact) stays down for most of the notes that you play on a flute, as you now know. And it turns out that it's important for your brain to know that it should always play the same fingering for each note. In other words - with the D# key down.

Why?

Because when you, bit by bit, become better and better at the flute, and you begin to play faster and faster, your brain will not have to decide “should I be playing this note with my pinky down or up?”. You will have taught your brain to always play that note with the pinky down.

And when your brain doesn’t need to make a decision, it will react faster. And you will be able to play faster and more fluidly, and with less effort.

This is such a SIMPLE WAY of making yourself a better player! And most people don’t know about it.

Watch this little video here to find out exactly what I’m talking about...

Mistake #2

Thinking that using correct fingerings is ALL you need to play the flute

Oooo gosh, that is so far from the truth!

There are many parts to playing the flute, and correct fingerings is just one of them.

This is what else is critical for a beginner to learn correctly:

HOW TO BLOW CORRECTLY

Your goal is not to get any kind of sound on the flute. It is to get a good, clear sound. It’s more than just about "sounding nice".

  • If you can get a clear sound, using a good embouchure (shape of your mouth), it means that you’re more likely to be able to play without feeling like you’re always running out of air.
  • And if you’re always running out of air, or if you have a fluffy sound, you’re probably getting dizzy too!
  • As a bonus, if you learn to play with the correct embouchure, later on, when you learn to play higher notes, you’ll be able to successfully play those high notes! It takes a good embouchure, learnt right from the start, to be able to handle higher notes on the flute.

HOW TO HOLD THE FLUTE CORRECTLY

You’ve already learnt (above) how to hold the flute and where to put your fingers. But your hands are only part of what plays the flute. There are other parts of your body involved too!

  • If you learn how to keep your shoulders relaxed when you play, and how to actually use your arm muscles instead, you’ll really be learning how to avoid pain in your neck, upper back and shoulders.
  • And when you know how to avoid discomfort when you play, you are actually learning how to avoid long-term injury. Have you heard of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) or work related muscular injuries? It’s from doing anything repetitive when there is tension or awkward positions involved - like computer work, factory work, certain sports, and yep playing a musical instrument.
  • In other words, learn to play the flute with correct posture and alignment right from the start, and you’ll avoid a whole lot of medical bills (and pain) later!
  • There is an added bonus to being able to play comfortably (as if that isn’t enough of an incentive in itself!). If you learn to play without tension and awkwardness, if means your fingers will be more free to move faster and evenly. That’s right - you’ll become a better flute player!

HOW TO BREATHE CORRECTLY

And if you haven’t been convinced yet on the virtues of playing with correct posture (although I’m sure you’re right on board!), here’s another added bonus you get...

  • Without the physical restrictions of playing with awkward posture, it will be easier to breathe.
  • And when you can breathe more freely, it means that your sound improves (woohoo!).

Mistake #3

Choosing a fingering chart that is over-complicated to read

There are many holes on the flute. Which means there are many keys on the flute. Now of course you don’t press all of them with your fingers because your hands aren't big enough for that! (And you also probably don't have 25 fingers!)

In fact, you only ever use around half of the keys that are on a flute.

Why are there so many unused keys?

Certain holes must be closed to play certain notes. But we literally can't reach those holes with our fingers. None of us have foot-long fingers (!), so the flute has "evolved" to include intricate mechanism. These rods and levers link up certain keys with others, so that we don't have to try and reach for them.

I have always wondered - why on earth would someone create a fingering chart that shows all of these keys, when a flute player (of any level) doesn't need to know about them to learn a fingering?!

It just seems like it over-complicates things for a beginner flute player, like you.

I am into clear teaching, that really makes sense to a beginner. That is my passion in fact - for a student to really understand what they are doing, so that they can do it with ease, and then excel at playing the flute.

Honestly, many fingering charts are just unnecessarily complicated to read.

So I created one that is clear and easy to read. And it only shows the keys that you actually ever touch on the flute.

And I'd like you to have it.

Because if it makes learning the flute easier for you - that makes me pleased.

Mistake #4

Trying to remember all the fingerings at once

And then feeling like you have a terrible memory because you can’t! Trust me - you do not have a bad memory. You’re completely normal.

It’s a much better idea to start yourself on super simple melodies. This gives you time to digest each new fingering as you learn it. Introduce yourself to 1 new note at a time. Get used to that note in your playing, then learn another.

When you layer the notes on top of each other like this, consolidating each one as you go, you will learn to play the notes on the flute much more easily. And it might sound counter-intuitive, but you’ll learn them a lot faster too.

You might feel keen to try and learn everything at once. But that can lead to 2 things:

  1. Feeling like you can’t do it.
  2. Overwhelm, and then burnout.

When one or both of those things happen, you are then in danger of giving up.

Because of this:

I am a BIG ADVOCATE of beginners being taught the flute WELL. Right from the START!

And the best way to do this is

  • Learn from someone who knows what they're doing
  • Take things one step at a time. Little steps of progress are the way forward!
  • Be sure that you are always feeling encouraged. It makes the world of difference to how much you'll want to practice!

Grab the FULL easy-to-read flute fingering chart here.

> It's free!

⭐️ You'll also get Jane's weekly mini flute lessons. And of course, you can unsubscribe anytime you want.)

Close