Hello everybody, I am new here and hope that you can help me with my dilemma. I am an amateur player and still use the flute I started with; an open hole student model Pearl (offset G, open holes, B foot, split E). I have exceptionally small hands for an adult and I find that my right hand never curves on the keys regardless of my right hand thumb position and my fingers are too stretched apart like I am playing the D minor chord on the piano. I do not have major issues with tone and can cover the holes well with low D plugged, but my right hand is very tense.
I cannot figure out whether it is my flute's key setup and/or the French holes and split E or a combination of these that might be the problem. I read that Pearl brands might be particularly taxing on the hand due to pinless construction that adds an extra rod. Does anyone know whether this is true? I am looking to buy a new flute now and wondering what would be more suitable for my case. I am leaning towards a closed hole and/or C foot entry level Miyazawa or Muramatsu (used) or perhaps a Yamaha or Powell Sonare. I am never going to become a professional but would like a well-made quality instrument that is pleasant to play. Any help is appreciated!!! Thank you.
The main problem will be the open holes. Also if your hands are very small you might have to touch the keys quite close to the pivot point which will increase the pressure needed to close the keys.
I suggest blocking all the holes to see what happens. As you surmise a change to a closed hole model together with a low C (to reduce the weight taken by the RH) should make life much easier for you. Split E & pinless mechanism won't make any difference. Of course the flute needs to be well adjusted & lightly sprung so that you don't have to use excessive pressure to get the pads to seal.
The received wisdom that open hole flutes are best in my view is over-rated unless you are a pro having to play way out music involving glissandos & other advanced effects. Also they are more expensive to maintain as fitting & seating the pads is more of a pita than those on closed hole.
Is the weight on the right hand adding to the tenseness?
As Zevang has pointed out - alternative grips, like the Rockstro or the baroque position can help. Although if you're just getting back into it and only noticed now that the tenseness is there, it might help to build up practice time so that it doesn't matter which grip you use.
Thanks everyone, I think it's my short fingers to blame more than anything. It's rather the up and down and sideways position that is uncomfortable. I grew up playing piano and easily have an octave + 1 reach, which is pretty standard for people with normal adult hands so I don't think it is a flexibility issues. I'll give Rockstro a try. Does anyone know which type of lips it is not recommended for? I remember reading something on it. I have this slightly downward lips so I want to be sure. Looks like this: