Student Flutes vs Intermediate Flutes

“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.

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.

"You'd be amazed at the difference in volume and tone-quality of a lower-quality flute is compared with a higher quality brand"


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.

If a flute player does not have the skills to play on a higher level,.. the instrument will not matter.


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


"You can note that the more silver the better quality the flute is."

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







  • Patricia Coull

    August 22, 2014

    Hi Rebecca!
    I’m back. I completed the original series and just purchased the Intermediate. I was surprised there are only 5 Modules. When will the others be completed, since I will complete more than 5 a month?
    Thanks so much for doing this, since I did not want your lessons to end. Since I stopped taking your lessons I have been jamming with my son, who plays guitar and my boyfriend, who plays drums. Neither have had many lessons but have talent at improvising and I am trying to play along with them and learning more about the guitar, so I can try to figure out what to do with them. They think I’m doing it right, but I think I’m missing something. Do you have any suggestions?
    Your help is greatly appreciated! I’m so thrilled to have such a great teacher!

    • RebeccaIntermediate

      September 3, 2014

      We’re happy to have you here Patty. If I remember right, you are moving through the Gold Level also… you’ll be glad to know that the longer you’re a member here the more modules you’ll see. They’re packed full of higher level learning just for you. 🙂 Rebecca

  • Michael Crawshaw

    May 18, 2015

    I have no idea what my flute is made of, I really doubt that it is silver, I did try to find it on the internet but all I found was the they were once respected but had a suspect build quality and had fallen from grace.

    I must have an early one as it plays well and has a good voice.

    I am a little concerned by the above comment that there are only 5 modules. The Lully is taxing me and the pace of the instruction is great, just what I need. How long before the modules are increased? I still have the last couple of Gold level lessons to complete and I am really bouncing with anticipation.

  • Michael Crawshaw

    May 18, 2015

    Ok, I hold up my hand, I have learned to study the score first. I failed to notice the date on the first comment.

  • Kathy

    June 12, 2015

    I’m very excited to start the Intermediate Levels. I have started Module 1 and can see the higher level of challenge…..which I’m glad about. I like a challenge…it makes me work harder! I finished the Gold Levels in 6 months, but I’m still going back over them… “perfect” everything! I practice everyday for at least an hour and always start with the tone studies and scales…..just like you say to do! It’s paying off…..I think I sound pretty decent!


    • RebeccaIntermediate

      June 17, 2015

      Kathy, I always love hearing you play for me. Thank you so much for working and enjoying the program. You’re doing so well. 🙂

  • Ariana Culbreth

    November 26, 2015

    Hi. First of all I wanted to know the difference between a beginner flute and a intermediate flute. but shown above it has student and intermediate. But still what’s the bog difference a flute is a flute right? I’m asking because I am flute player in band and I play the flute.(mine is a colored flute any way) But my band director seems not to care whether my flute is a colored flute or not.

    • RebeccaIntermediate

      December 4, 2015

      Hi Ariana, the difference between a student and an intermediate flute is basically quality and a few small features. You can do everything on a student flute that you can on an intermediate flute, so no worries. And yes, purple flutes play just as well also – if they are in great condition. Come over to and get the lessons on the level you are learning. You’ll do so well! ~Rebecca