How to Know Which Size of Flute You Should Use

How to Know Which Size of Flute You Should Use

Please watch the video below and read the article included.  Good luck!

I recently had a nice dad email me over the choice of flutes for his young daughter.  They are going to be learning online from me.  We were lucky enough to be able to meet since they were in my area on vacation.

This young girl is 8 years old very petite.  Learning on a flute that is too big would be a big mistake, so we are sizing her very carefully.

For younger learners the curved head flute is the best option because of arm length.  Until these kids grow enough this type of flute offers the best of both worlds.  They are actually still playing on a full-size flute as far as fingers go.  The lip plate is the exact same size as on a straight head.  A curved-head flute in great condition plays just as well as a straight one.

There is a great way to decide if a student needs a curved-head flute or not. Without having both a straight flute and a curved flute in your possession to try, how can this be determined?

All-Sizes-of-Flutes

There is a great way to decide if a student needs a curved-head flute or not.

Take a yard stick or a measuring tape and place the 0 end under the exact middle of the lips.  Next pull the tape measure or yard stick to the right of the student (as if it were to be the flute).

Have the student then place their right hand index finger on the measurement 16″.

Look closely at the angle of their right arm.  The elbow is bent at a possible 90 degrees, more or less.

If the angle of the right arm with the elbow being the point is LESS than 90 degrees, the child can use a straight flute.

If the arm angle is MORE than 90 degrees, the child is reaching too far and it will be too difficult for them to play a straight flute.  This young student needs a curved-head flute.

*Note, if the child is very young (3, 4, 5 yrs.) there is a real possibility that the student needs even a smaller flute.  There is one brand available as far as I know.  I have been using them for 14 years.  It is a Jupiter Prodigy 313S.  I do not recommend learning solely online if your child is this young.  Seek a good Suzuki Flute teacher who is accustomed to teaching students this young and working with their parents.  I do this in my studio, but do you live close enough?

My absolute favorite curved-head flute is the Jupiter 515S Deluxe Standard Flute.  It is very durable and has an amazing big sound.  It is also available for a very reasonable price from an online catalog instrument store.  It also includes a curved and straight head so the student can move to the straight flute when they are tall enough and ready.  All pieces are kept in the same flute case.

Here is a link to the exact flute I am talking about: Rebecca’s Recommendation Jupiter 515S

Here’s the final difference.  I just went and measured a straight flute vs. this curved-head flute.  The distance between the middle of the lip to the right index finger on a straight flute is 16″.  The distance on a curved-head flute is 10″.  That’s 6″ that we have to play around with.

Need to Skype to be sure?

Ask a question or leave a comment below and we’ll schedule a quick skype or facetime.

 

Rebecca Fuller Flute TeacherRebecca Fuller

 

 

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19 Comments

  • Christopher Santos

    Reply Reply August 17, 2012

    Hi again Rebecca,I had a silver flute already about 3 years now its brand name is Global. Im glad i found one of your videos after searching for so long. I had question about the kinds of flute I am talking about.They say some flutes had its on measurements in length.I am not sure if you have heard about soprano flute.If you know other kinds and their lengths, please tell me so I could know if what kind I had

  • Amy Li

    Reply Reply September 18, 2012

    Yes, I’m 12, joining Gr.7 band this year, absolutely a new student of flute!

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply September 21, 2012

      Great! You’ll need a regular student model flute. 🙂

  • Dixie

    Reply Reply September 30, 2012

    Hi Rebecca its me Dixie and I have another email and I will email you with it but I was figuring with skype we can work together and I can learn other songs cause I’m on my fourth day of working with you’re videos and mabey we can be better with skype. So whats your skyoe name?

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply October 1, 2012

      Hi Dixie, I’m so glad you are already on your 4th day. I will email you about the Skype lessons. 🙂

  • dileep naik

    Reply Reply November 10, 2012

    rebecca i am acustomd with bamboo flute and playing indian classical music on it. will be alright?

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply November 12, 2012

      Hi Dileep, I’m sorry but this is not the right learning program for the bamboo flute. Maybe in the future I will have a segment on this site for the Indian flutes.

  • Gwynne Trivelpiece

    Reply Reply September 18, 2013

    HI,Rebecca,I am very excited about taking lessons from you! I am experiencing technical difficulties. My Kindle doesn’t support Flash drive.I am able to see your lessons on YouTube but, I don’t know if they are a complete series? Anyway, I’m hoping I’ll be able to resolve this issue.In the meantime, I am reading your e-mails about choosing a flute and hope to get to our one and only music store soon.I live in Grand Canyon National Park & the closest town is 80 miles away. I am so impressed with your thoroughness and teaching style.Learning to play the flute has been a life long dream. Thanks so much, Gwynne

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply September 23, 2013

      Hi Gwynne, – I’m not aware you need flash to view my videos. I watch them on all of my devices, and you’re the first to mention this… and I LOVE that you’re studying from me from the Grand Canyon. That’s FUN. I’ll totally love to be a part of your life-long dream. 🙂

  • Dom

    Reply Reply February 2, 2014

    I have a simple question. I am about to get a professional model, and I find the change to be almost….. traumatizing because the fingers seem to have to be in direct contact with the holes all of the time or it won’t work. Might you have any tips for dealing with that, or is it something I just have to get used to?

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply February 6, 2014

      Hi Dom, this is a really great question. I remember when I switched from a student model to an intermediate/advanced model flute. I was excited and daunted both because of those holes. There is good news for you. You only need to seal the hole with your finger-top when you need that key closed. It really is best to learn to keep your fingers close, but the flute will still work just fine even if they aren’t. You can keep the plugs in the holes while you transition into a perfect hand position.. then take them out one at a time as you find each finger ready. Thanks – look forward to hearing more from you. 🙂 Rebecca

  • Shelb

    Reply Reply April 25, 2014

    Hi Rebecca, I have played flute for 7 year and I am about ready to retire my student flute and move up to a pro model. I fit a full length flute just fine but I have small hands, span about 6in from thumb to pinky. I have noticed I have a little trouble switching from D to E and I am also worked about the holes. I know they have plugs but I want to get the most of the flute I buy, what would you suggest.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply April 27, 2014

      Hi Shelb, thanks for asking. I’m glad you’re ready for a new flute. I’m not sure what level you play on, but you would love a solid intermediate flute. Here is a great one that I use a lot for students in my studio. It has been a very reliable and beautiful sounding flute for years for me. It’s a Pearl 665RBE http://amzn.to/1eXJoNX Check it out. 🙂 Rebecca

  • Clarebugg

    Reply Reply October 30, 2015

    Hi! I was wondering if you think its a bad idea to buy a curved head flute used. I have a bunch of siblings/cousins who want me to teach them the flute, but are too young. what o you think would be a reasonable price?

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply November 1, 2015

      Hi Clarebugg, I have lots of curved head flutes in my studio. We keep them in really great shape, so it’s easy to pass them from student to student. I also send them to my flute technician (he’s great!) before moving them to another student. He gets everything all perfect again, and they last for years and years.
      Remember that the actual brand and condition make the difference. This is my favorite curved head flute of all time: http://amzn.to/1P3D0LQ I have tried them all…. there are some that a super, super bad- so I won’t recommend them.
      I think you should be able to get a new one of these for around $500+ and a used one (please only buy in perfect condition) for about $350.
      I hope this helps answer your question. 🙂 ~Rebecca

  • Robert Van Dusen

    Reply Reply May 22, 2017

    Very timely as my flute had to go to the shop over the weekend.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply May 23, 2017

      Perfect. Glad you’re here learning. ~Rebecca

  • JESSICA

    Reply Reply December 12, 2018

    Hi Rebecca,
    I want to by a flute for beginner he is 22yr old.. and I don’t have any knowledge about flutes so could you please suggest me which flute to buy and of what size..

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply December 15, 2018

      Hi Jessica, I really love this flute for learning. It has such a nice big tone. Here’s a link: https://amzn.to/2QA25pm C foot, offset G. Let us know how it goes! ~Rebecca

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