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Upgrading Your Beginner Flute

If you have been learning the flute for a few years, it may feel like your beginner instrument is started to restrict your progress. Once you have some experience under your belt, your developed embouchure and finger technique will be more suited to a flute with advanced features, such as open holes and a B footjoint. 

Intermediate flute models introduce a range of features, which give students the ability to take their playing to the next level. Let’s take a look at some of those features now.

Body materials

Beginner flutes are typically made of nickel, which is silver plated. This material is lightweight, making it ideal for people who are getting used to supporting the instrument. It can withstand a fair amount of wear and tear. 

Instruments that have parts made of solid silver will produce a richer sound. Some intermediate flute models feature a solid silver headjoint while the body & foot are still made of nickel silver. Other models with have a solid silver headjoint, body, and foot.

Some models also have the option of have a gold-plated lip plate, which is great if the student has a silver allergy. This can also provide a subtle difference in the tone quality.

Open Tone Holes

Beginner flutes have closed hole keys, which is easier for students to play as they learn correct hand placement. Although a beginner flute is a good choice for people who are new to the instrument, it will have limitations in the sound and range of expression it can produce.

Closed vs open tone holes

Intermediate and advanced flutes can have open holes on five of the keys. The open holes allow the flute to resonate to its full potential and are handy for techniques used in many 20th and 21st century pieces. They also promote good posture and hand placement, as they need to be completely covered for the instrument to sound.

It can be hard to transition to an open hole flute. Most come with plugs that can be removed one at a time as your fingers get used to the proper placement.


Pearl and Yamaha produce quality flutes at a range of price points. Here's a break down of the most popular models we sell from each brand. Click on the model name to read more about the instrument and its specifications.


 Solid Silver ComponentsClosed/Open holesFootjoint 
P665E1RHeadjointClosedC foot
P665RE1RHeadjointOpenC foot
P665RBEHeadjointOpenB foot
P695RBEFHeadjointOpenB foot
P795BREZZAHeadjoint, body, footOpenB foot


 Solid Silver ComponentsClosed/Open holesFootjoint
YFL372HeadjointOpenC foot
YFL372HHeadjointOpenB foot
YFL372HGLHeadjoint + gold-plated lip plateOpenB foot
YFL472Headjoint, body, footOpenB foot
YFL472HHeadjoint, body, footOpenB foot
YFL472HGLHeadjoint, body, foot + gold-plated lip plateOpenB foot

When upgrading to an intermediate or advanced flute, it will be up to you (and your budget) how much silver it contains. Discuss with your teacher what your future repertoire may require and what they would recommend for you. You can also compare how they play in your local music store. At Fine Music, we offer Play-Test Appointments so you can be guided through the process with ease.

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