How To Hold My Fingers When Playing the Flute

When playing really any instrument, but especially the flute, we all need to have good hand technique. There are many reasons for this. So if you have the question of, “How to hold my fingers when playing the flute” here are just 3 great answers for you:


1. We need to be able to play quick runs!

2. Some fingerings can be a little tricky

3. So we don’t create any leaks on the keys

Curved Flute Fingers

Pretend like you’re looking through binoculars but they’re really your hands over your eyes… Now take them away from your eyes still in that “binocular” shape. Separate your two hands and 4 fingers from your thumbs. You should have two letter C’s (one the right way, one mirroring it). Keep those same shapes on each of your hands as you put your flute in them. You’re going to have to move your left hand pointer finger to create a “chair” for your flute to sit on with the flute resting on the side of your right thumb. Other than that you should have curved fingers on the tops of your keys.

"Your fingers are so much more coordinated!"

Now that you’ve got awesome hand positioning skills, here are the reasons why we do so in a little more depth:


We need to be able to play quick runs! When our fingers are flat or straight on the keys, our fingers can’t move as fast. Our hand position is almost the same as a pianist. They are excellent at playing those fast notes and none of them have straight/flat fingers! The same goes for flutists. The more we play on the center of the key with our fingers curved, the faster we are going to be able to play


Some fingerings can be a little tricky. When you have good hand position, it’s easier to move between the fingerings and play those tricky fingerings or patterns. Your fingers are so much more coordinated!


Creating leaks in the keys of our flutes is a side effect of either having our fingers too far forward on the key, or having flat fingers. Leaks are not cheap to fix. Granted, we do get leaks, but not near as many as when we keep our fingers curved and on the middle of the key.


Some flutists I have heard of have had to have their wrists in braces, or even quit playing the flute because of a hurt wrist. I do not want this happening to you!  So, practice your good curved flute fingers. Having good hand technique can only help and improve your playing.

Having a hard time using curved fingers? Leave a comment below.

Rebecca Fuller Flute TeacherRebecca Fuller



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  • Jennifer

    Reply Reply February 25, 2016

    I have a beginner student who continues to struggle with her hand and finger position. I clearly see this causing her great difficulty in playing anything with more than one note. I can see her frustration when unable to accomplish playing correct notes in a scale for example. She holds her fingers so far away from the keys, she sometimes hits the wrong ones when lowering her fingers. Her right hand fingers curve way over the keys to cause the pads of her fingers to extend past the keys. I know she practices at home. However, I repeatedly show by example what correct hand positions should look and feel like, and attempt to help her follow my example by helping place her fingers on her flute where they should rest. Perhaps there are techniques and visual examples I can share with her that I haven’t thought of yet. Thanks in advance!

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply February 27, 2016

      Hi Jennifer, yes it is important to get those fingers under control. Your student is probably a newer player, and perhaps is trying to play music that is too difficult for her right now. This is probably why she cannot concentrate on finger placement. Slow her down and play only single notes with the focus on the finger position. After solely focusing on this for a week or so she’ll be fine. 🙂 Rebecca

  • Nyah

    Reply Reply October 10, 2016

    Hi Rebecca Fuller. I’m in beginner band and i have trouble pressing down on the C and D keys and Bb and D keys. Its very hard to do this and i’m having a really hard time. My band teacher said to practice ( which i do practice) but no matter how long i do practice i never get it right. I have lot’s of songs in my band book that has Bb to D keys and C to D keys. I know that i won’t get it the first time or second but is there any way i can get it right.

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply October 12, 2016

      Yes, Nyah this is normal. The C to D is the first real ‘trick’ you have to master. I have all the help lessons in sequential order inside the membership area here at LearnFluteOnline. It would be great for you if you go through the lessons carefully. Here’s the link to the super sale right now: Let me know if you questions- I’m here to help! ~Rebecca

  • Jennifer

    Reply Reply March 3, 2018

    Hi. I have been playing flute for two years now but just noticed that my hand positioning isn’t very good. My right pinky is always flat and I practise lots with it curved but it immediately goes flat 😕

    • RebeccaFuller

      Reply Reply March 9, 2018

      Hi Jennifer, oh yes- the right hand pinky is a common skill that usually needs more attention. The secret is to play slower, easier tunes while you focus solely on that finger. Try just 3 notes – turtle slow. If you can do that, then move it to 5 notes. Every day add a few more until you can make it through an entire little folk tune with good hand position. This will do it for you. Glad you asked. It’s a great thing to work on for sure! 🙂 ~Rebecca

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