“Do I need an Intermediate Flute?”  I receive this email a lot from students who are feeling like they have moved “officially” into the Intermediate Level. Let’s explore student flutes vs intermediate flutes today.

Here is the information you are looking for:

Honestly, I have many, many students who move from novice all the way through the beginner level and well into the Intermediate level before they have a new “intermediate” flute.  And, they play great!  That being said, there is a time when they have outgrown their flute and it is past time for a new one.

In this article I’ll discuss the reasons and ins-and-outs of moving to an upper level flute.

First, if a flutist has been using a low-quality flute (usually  made in China with an “off brand” name), then it is always time for a new flute.  But, I also realize that is not always possible for someone to begin with the quality they wish for.  So, in this case – we’ll take a flute in GREAT CONDITION for starters.[headline style=”6″ font_size=”17″ font_style=”bold italic” align=”right”]”You’d be amazed at the difference in volume and tone-quality of a lower-quality flute is compared with a higher quality brand”[/headline]


Next (this is really important), if a flute player does not have the skills to play on a higher level,.. the instrument will not matter.  There will be virtually no sound difference.[headline style=”6″ font_size=”16″ font_style=”bold italic” align=”right”]If a flute player does not have the skills to play on a higher level,.. the instrument will not matter.[/headline]


So, with all that out of the way let’s quickly see the differences between a Student model flute and an Intermediate.



* usually made of nickel that is silver plated

* may or may not have open-holes

* usually has a C foot joint

* usually has an offset G

* may or may not have the split E option



* At least the head joint is solid silver and the body nickel plated

* may or may not have open-holes

* may or may not have a B foot joint

* may or may not have an inline G


[headline style=”6″ font_size=”16″ font_style=”bold italic” align=”right”]”You can note that the more silver the better quality the flute is.”[/headline]

Now, here is the lowdown on each of the features mentioned above:

1. If the flute doesn’t have any real silver (or gold) on it, it is not an upper level flute.

Silver-plated is not the same thing.  The head joint (at least) should be SOLID SILVER.

2. The open holes are usually an indication that is it at least an Intermediate flute, but more and more flutists are choosing a closed hole option nowadays since there is virtually no difference in tone or sound quality.

3. Usually, you’ll have the option of a C foot or a B foot joint.  The B foot makes your flute a little longer and looks a bit fancier.  But, honestly you’ll need that extra note it gives you about… 0% of your flute-playing life. (unless you are going pro)

4. The offset G is also a choice that is dwindling over time.  If you look at your fingers you’ll notice that they are not all the same size.  The offset G allows your fingers to rest more naturally.  The Inline G option was created by someone in Paris who obviously thought there’d be no such thing as carpel-tunnel-syndrome.  My recommendation is for the Offset G option.  (I played an inline G for 20 years before moving back to offset)

5. The split E mechanism is designed to basically “tune” your E note.  This isn’t usually an option on the Intermediate flutes, but if it is- you should get it.  Everyone wants to play effortlessly on tune, don’t they?


I have no affiliation with any one brand, but I’ll tell you that I do have brands I like and I have brands I think are absolutely yuck.

If you’d like me to send you a link to what I like – send me an email from the contact page.



Rebecca Fuller Flute

See you in the Intermediate Flute Lessons in my online flute studio!


And, if you’re not part of this worldwide studio yet,… we’d love you to join!  (enter your info below)


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

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller
Get Flutie with us! Learn and enjoy every musical minute.

7 thoughts on “Student Flutes vs Intermediate Flutes”

  1. Thanks so much for your insight. I would really appreciate tips on which brand to purchase for my daughter. She has been playing for 3 years ( also plays the saxophone, piano & classical guitar) and I would like to purchase her an intermediate flute that will last her a while. Thanks

    1. Hi Keturah,
      Thank you for your comment! I would love to chat with you, and help you pick out the perfect flute for your daughter.
      Go ahead and reach out on email: rebecca@learnfluteonline.com
      and I will get with you as soon as possible!
      I look forward to talking with you some more 🙂 – Rebecca

  2. Thanks for a great article, Rebecca! After completing the Gold Level and taking a little break to play some other music (including my first performance at my church!), I am happy to be starting the intermediate level. This article answers exactly the question I have been wondering. I bought a new but inexpensive Hallelu flute, in excellent condition, and am very happy with it. But I’m starting to think about an intermediate flute, and would love to receive your list of good and “yucky” brands. That would be a huge help – thank you!

  3. Hi Rebecca,
    I would be interested to know your thoughts on various brands. I recently bought a new Trevor James Virtuoso III with solid silver headjoint and body which cost £1500 sterling which is about a shade under 2000 usd. What are your thoughts on my purchase please?
    Many thanks and keep up the excellent work.

    1. Hi John, thanks for the question here. The Trevor James upper flute line is really pretty great. I think you’ll love your choice. Glad you went for a quality flute. Let us know how it goes! ~Rebecca

  4. Hie Rebecca, i really appreciate your work by creating this link to be helping us flute players through online learning. Am one of the new flute player so far iv been with it for just three months am teaching myself by fetching information on the internet as iv done with you, my flute bland is santafe, what’s your recommendation on it? How best can i Make myself a better player of it?

    1. Hi Major, thanks for the comment here. I’m glad you’re learning how to play the flute. I definitely have a great set of information here for you. There are many brands of flutes nowadays, and the most important advice I can give you is to make sure that it is always kept in as premium condition as possible. Keep it clean. Put it away in the case when you are not playing it, and always twist when assembling/disassembling it. If it is of decent quality to start with, and you keep it in great condition you’ll do just great! ~Rebecca

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