Have you ever stopped to look at your right hand pinky? Try it right now. Is it short, long, curvy, straight? What kind of a pinky do you have?
I think the poor little guy is often over-looked.
Our flute pinky is a very important part of playing our flute. But, I think the poor little guy is often over-looked.
When positioning our right hand on the flute, our right hand has a special job. It’s a job that must be kind of hard because special attention must be given to it at all times. It’s job is to “relax”. Yup, just relax.
Try this with me: hang your right arm down by your side and just relax it as if you don’t even remember it is there. What is your hand doing? It should be just hanging there. Now, don’t move a muscle in your forearm or hand, but lift your arm from your shoulder up so your hand is positioned laterally in front of your face. See that? Those fingers are curved by nature!
Those curved fingers are absolutely perfect hand position. Yup, our bodies were designed to play the flute… or vice-versa.
Remember the last sandwich you ate? Your fingers were probably in the same relaxed position. If they weren’t, you would have had a hard time holding that sandwich. If your fingers were tensed and curved, they would dig into the bread leaving holes and making it not so pretty to eat. If they were straight, your sandwich would fall to the floor before getting it to your mouth.
I hope I’m making a point here that our right hand pinky is to be curved and relaxed while playing the flute. It should push gently (using the pads of the finger) from above, not hammer like a straight bar.
Remember the sandwich people. 🙂
39 thoughts on “Flute Pinky”
Thanks so much for your advice it is very helpful, Rebecca
Dulce, you’re welcome! I’m glad to hear that you are finding this information helpful. ~Rebecca
I suffer with a lot of hand pain as well as pinky cramp, my pinky finger sometimes locks and I have to stop playing. I have hyper mobility and fibromyalgia. Thank you I will try and have more relaxed fingers
Hi Ellen, great comment here. Yes Yes, the pinky cramp is a real thing for many flutists. The secret is to get that big knuckle curved. There are exact videos of the technique needed for the rest of your arm and hand also in the learning modules here inside the member’s area at LearnFluteOnline.com. See you again soon! ~Rebecca
I am having trouble with my right arm, holding it up, it gets tired, then I have pain, Is this common when you first begin. I came across your website right before christmas, my accident I watched the free lessons, found it so interest and fascinating. I just ordered a flute, got it yesterday. Now I am going to go thur the lessons again with my flute.
Hi Rita, yes this is a real thing for flutists. I’m excited you’re here learning!! New flutes are so great. The ‘hurt/ache’ comes from using a muscle you haven’t had to use before. Just like getting stronger in a gym, you’ll find it easier each week. You can ease the ‘burn’ by practicing in shorter stints (like 15 minutes and then take a break for a while). Learn with good posture so you teach yourself well. 🙂 Hope to see you in the membership area for the rest of the lessons soon. See ya! ~Rebecca
Your lessons are sooooo useful ! Thanks again !
You’re welcome, Connie. Glad you’re here learning! ~Rebecca
I get really bad muscle cramps in my thumbs would welcome tips for this as they are taking the weight of the flute I’m really struggling to do more than 15mins practice at a time.
Hi Laura, so sorry your thumbs are paining you. The secret lies in your hand position for sure. Instead of thinking that your thumbs have to ‘hold your flute up’, use them as levers instead. The flute should rest on the comfy chair spot (have you seen my videos on this?) just under the first finger, so the left hand thumb doesn’t hold any weight at all.. ever. And the right hand thumb will be best thought of as a ‘push’ rather than a ‘hold it up’ finger. Unlock your knuckles especially if they are tight and bending backwards.. this will save your hands’ lives. Tons more details for you inside the lessons. Come inside the membership area to get more. Glad you’re here. ~Rebecca
Thinking about thumbs and cramping, I guess people forget the chin is also a stabilising point as well as the thumb and the ‘comfie chair spot. Let that chin do the work.
Yep. Most people think they have to ‘hold the flute UP’. It causes a lot of tension. Get the balance points in check and things are great! Thanks for the comment, Essie. ~Rebecca
thank you so much for all tips and lessons.
they helped so much, especially right before district auditions.
you’re the best
You’re very welcome Blaze! There’s lots to learn for sure. 🙂
The info helped a lot. Thank you Rebecca.
You’re very welcome Cynthia – there’s lots to learn here. 🙂 ~Rebecca
madam your tutorial is very helpful to me and i really enjoy…. thank you…
which in one of the best..
Thanks, and you are very welcome. I hope you can join the lessons and learn LOTS. 🙂
The sandwich is a great image! Thank you It makes it easy to remember!
Thank you so much Rebecca for your helpful tips. I have been loving the Irish module. I see an great improvement in my skill level and look forward to taking more modules once my life slows down a bit. I work full-time, teach acrylic painting on the weekends, paint in Church services and also play flute. Whew! I can see light at the end of the tunnel and can’t wait to take some of the modules. You are a great teacher.
Nice to meet you Trece. We welcome you! Have fun learning!! ~ Rebecca
I know that I’ve got this wrong! It’s a challenger for me, because my brain want to try and anticipate the occurrence of fingerings like C# where things feel unstable. I’m fighting tension big time!
Rebecca,thanks for your flute lesson,am a begginer and will learn more from your lessons..Thanks for the pinky tips and advice..
No problem, Daniel. We’re excited for you to learn. There are SO many things I will teach you. 🙂 ~Rebecca
Now that I have enrolled and committed myself to going the distance, I am really enjoying the experience.
I didn’t realise that actually getting a note was quite an achievement.
I now know that a practise each day really helps to keep your learning fresh, because it is so easy to lose what you have gained.
I left the lessons due to other commitments and when I went back, I was back to the start.
My recommendation is start and keep going.
Don’t look back.
It’s great fun
I love your recommendation, Lawrence. Let’s frame it and stick it on everyone’s walls. SO happy you are here. 🙂 ~ Rebecca
I did the relaxing hand experiment – wow! I never thought of my fingers being naturally curved but it’s true!!! I really need lots of practice relaxing especially my right hand. When I think about it I can do it but then I forget and when I stop playing I realise how tense my hand has been. I find it easier to relax when I’m not blowing but just fingering the notes but the minute I start blowing my hand becomes quite tense. Anyway thank you for the tip. I’ll be working on it.
Yes, Maria it’s true that “squeezing” and “clamping” onto our flute makes our muscles tired. You’ll find that you can balance your flute just fine without having to grasp on so tightly. It’ll also calm your sound and keep your flute in the proper alignment. You’ll also be able to practice longer without tiring. Great comment! Thanks -Rebecca
I have been learning how to read the notes and I have never been able to read a note in all my life, I can play guitar, organ, piano, recorder and just by listening to a song I can play it. I am 51 years old and so badly want to learn more about reading the notes. Rebecca I just don’t have the money to do it I really wish that I could afford it but I can’t I am really sorry, you are the best teacher any one can ask for thank you so much for the free lessons that you have on line.
Hi Odette, I’m glad you’ve come here to learn. Do all you can in my free content, and maybe soon you can join in on the rest. 🙂
Thanks for the pinky tip Rebecca. I swear, ALL my fingers are like crowbars ! Maybe I have dainbramage ! I’ll work on it. the pinky I mean.
I love the “crowbar” analogy, Don. I have felt like that in the past for sure. The right hand pinky is the ultimate challenge in relaxing hand position for sure. Although I know a lot of people who have troubles with their right hand thumb as well… just keeping it relaxed under/behind the flute is a challenge for those with “bendy” joints. ha, you’ll get it I’m sure. It does take time, but it’s a total reality for everyone. 🙂
Thanks for the tip. Sometimes when I play, my right pinky starts to hurt. I guess I am putting too much pressure on it. I will have to remember to let that pinky relax.
yes Amy this also happens to me, i sometimes feel bit of pain on the pinky,but I guess this sandwich hand holding tip will work ! …I also think that because i give thepinky much attention and concentration, so automatically the body responce by having a pressure on it! so I think the best way is to just ignore it and let it be on its natural position on the flute
You are right on the money Abdu. Keep the sandwich hand and relax. The pinky is resistant because it wants to “hold” on to the flute. Remember that you have other balance points keeping your flute “on” your face… it’ll come if you focus on it. Good job.
Your tips are always soooo valid and welcome. Thank you.
You are so very welcome, Patrick.
I love your helpful tips and advise!
Elaine, you are so welcome! I’ll continue to do my best. 🙂