Fast Fingers Are Another Benefit of Flute Playing

Did you learn how to play an instrument as a child? Were you older when you started playing the flute? There are many benefits of having music lessons in your lifetime, faster thinking, better discipline, are just a couple of music perks, and you may be surprised to hear that fast fingers are another benefit of playing the flute.

Fast fingers?

When a child is very young (infant), they are surprised and very happy the day they learn to wave ‘bye-bye’ by moving their wrist. Once they figure that out, they use the skill often. Not too long afterwards they learn to pick things up with their whole hand (all fingers grabbing at the same time including the thumb). This opens up a whole new world for them since they can now grasp what they want to put in their mouths usually haha.

New realms are opened to possibility!

Stage three is learning to use their thumb to pinch the underneath something with one or more fingers on top of the item allowing them more dexterity and freedom in picking up items of their choice.

Stage four is when the child enters about school age and they are required to learn to use a fat crayon or pencil. This takes more time and learning, but the thumb starts to get even more able to move by itself. The rest of the fingers, however tend to continue as one mass- with the exception of the index finger. It gets ‘kind of’ good at pointing, etc.

Enter flute lessons.

The first skills a flutist must learn is not only to place each finger on an individual key (at separate times), but the rest of the hand is used for balance including the bones at the top of the palm. It definitely starts out awkward, as if we were an infant learning how to use our body all over again, but within time and with lots of practice we become amazing!

Musicians who practice for years on an instrument that requires single digit movement (one finger at a time.. And all 10 fingers) become incredible at skills like typing on a keyboard for just one example. I know that I, my children, and all of my students just FLY through keyboarding class in school compared to peers who haven’t studied like this.

It’s a major benefit. It makes writing more fun. New realms are opened to possibility when the fingers operate on a quick-twitch zapped into action from a lightening fast brain.

I hope this quick article sparks you into action today. When is the last time you took a ‘typing test’? I just took one, and was speeding around 100 wpm. I’ll get my flute out, practice something zippy, and then take it again. I bet I get an even faster time.

What’s your experience with playing flute and finger speed? Time to think on it for a minute, and then leave a comment here.

Have any questions? Comment below and I will help you out.

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller



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  • Robert Van Dusen

    Reply Reply August 29, 2017

    My fingers are not only slow they are stupid.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply August 30, 2017

      Haha, Robert- I totally understand. My left hand ring finger is definitely my ‘dumb’ finger. It has learned A LOT from the beginning days though, so I guess I won’t give it too much blame. Keep it up. Glad you’re here learning. ~Rebecca

  • Margaret Neves

    Reply Reply March 20, 2018

    Interesting observation. I have used a keyboard to earn a living much of my life, as a computer teacher, translator and secretary.
    My flute fingering is much slower than I would like, but I try to focus first on accuracy, then on speed, just like typing. Notes, or letters, will never be correct fast until we can get them right slow.
    Thanks for the wonderful podcast series!

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply March 20, 2018

      You’re completely right, Margaret. Focusing on accuracy at a very slow speed is the top way to create the correct neural pathways that will eventually lead to amazing speed. Glad you like the podcast! ~R

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