My preschooler has pretty good embouchure on a six hole plastic flute in the key of D; unfortunately, the distance from the mouth hole to the sixth finger hole is about 17.5 inches so the finger holes are way too far out for my preschooler to reach.

Should I consider:

  1. Trying to find my preschooler a shorter six hole flute in a higher key?
  2. Switching my preshooler to a six hole picollo and hoping my preschooler can adapt to the tighter embouchure?
  3. Abandoning the six hole flute and trying a beginner Boehm flute in C?

Note: Even though I have plenty of Tin Whistles around the house, I would prefer that my preschooler learn how to play a transverse flute.

  • 1
    Just a comment for future consideration -- school entry age differs by country. Giving your child's actual age would make the question easier for some people to answer.
    – slim
    Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 12:41

1 Answer 1


Since you're seeing a transverse flute in C in your preschooler's future, I would suggest moving to that instrument as soon as possible--there's no reason to delay starting the traditional instrument unless there are size considerations, like you mentioned.

For that, you should check out some of the specialty flutes that some of the manufacturers are producing with curved headjoints and shrunken keywork.

These models from Jupiter range from the absolute smallest... assisted fingering flute

to a full-size open-hole model that comes with both a curved and a straight headjoint. full-size offset with multiple headjoints

Yamaha also sells a curved headjoint for use with their entry-level flute.

  • For a preschooler, you would definitely need the shrunken keywork. I would stay away from open-hole transverse flute. Yes, there are plugs for the holes, but it's just another small piece to get lost or worse.
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 0:26
  • @NReilingh - The curved headjoint is awesome.
    – Shawn Eary
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 4:56
  • @Andrew - Yes, I can see how hole plugs could be a nuisance and/or hazard.
    – Shawn Eary
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 4:59
  • For sure--I wasn't sure where your preschooler is technique-wise. Theoretically, if he/she was already using an open-holed instrument, he/she might be able to use an open-holed flute from the get-go without issue. You'd need to check that, for sure. Thanks for the accept! You can also +1 this answer with the upvote button. Accepting with the checkmark doesn't automatically do that.
    – NReilingh
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 6:13
  • The action is a little different between an instrument with open holes for tone holes and an instrument with keys to push that happen to have holes to cover as well. It does add another dimension to the technique necessary, though, and if it is not necessary to frustrate the preschooler, why frustrate the preschooler?
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 4, 2011 at 18:51

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