You should start the process of geting a flute with a ball park price in mind.
Budget priced flutes are not always the best choice. There are many really bad "brands" on the market - some don't even work. So beware of ordering a cheapie no-name on the internet or from a big box discount store. Consult with your local music shop or with well-known websites like this one. You need the advice of an experienced professional to avoid rip-offs.
It is often a good idea to rent first to get a feel for the instrument before you buy. You may want to buy a used flute, but be very careful when doing this. Or you may buy a new one. A great alternative to renting or buying is to lease a new clarinet.
EBay: Buyer Beware EBay carries a wide-range of instruments - many we recommend and many we do NOT recommend. Stick with brand names only. Don't buy the cheap no-names. The low prices are very tempting. We don't allow them in our programs due to all the problems. Used instruments can offer good value. Click
on these links for used brand name flutes from EBay: Bundy • Gemeinhardt • Artley • Jupiter
Thank you for
your help and guidance. We knew nothing about student instruments
and now feel better prepared to make an informed choice on what
is best for our daughter! Donna
Thank you for
providing this service. Your expertise is very much appreciated.
Our son loves his new instrument! The company you recommended could
not have been more helpful. John
ALL ABOUT THE FLUTE
A flute for a child is a great starting point for learning music.
One of the most popular instruments in the world, the flute
is played by people of all ages and skill levels. Flute repertoire
is extensive: the instrument is used in school band programs,
symphony orchestras, flute choirs, jazz ensembles, and as a
solo instrument. Popular, classical, jazz, and even rock music
has been either written or transcribed for the instrument.
Many people are unaware that the concert, or C
flute is the best-known member of a family
of related instruments played in the same manner. The flute family
consists of the piccolo, E flat, concert, alto, and bass flutes. The
concert flute is the instrument of choice for beginners.
Beginner school bands usually introduce the flute
in the fourth or fifth grade. It is important
for young players to be large enough to reach the keys without straining
the neck or hands. For an eager student whose reach is not sufficient,
flutes with curved
headjoints are available; many flute manufacturers offer a
beginner model instrument featuring both
a standard and a curved-style headjoint. The curved headjoint
makes it possible for a young flutist to hold the instrument without
having to reach beyond his or her capabilities at first.
student grows, it is a simple matter to
change over to the traditional, straight headjoint. Be sure to check
with your local music dealer, band director, or flute teacher when
deciding whether to purchase the extra headjoint option; the initial
cost is nominal. Purchasing a regular flute and discovering later that
the student really needs the curved head necessitates the purchase
of the curved headjoint and another case as well.
The flutet case is also very important. The flutet
is a delicate instrument, and can easily be damaged, so look for a
sturdy case with latches that will not come open. Most cases come with
the purchase of a new instrument, but when buying a used flute,
it may be necessary to replace an older case to protect your investment.
WHERE TO BUY YOUR FLUTE
There are basically three types of places
to buy your instrument: the local music shop, a mail-order house, or
a private party selling a secondhand instrument. Each has its benefits,
but a very important consideration is service.
You can take advantage of Children's Music
Workshop discount prices through The Instrument Place.
Visit their website and order online!
A flute consists of many moving parts,
and occasionally needs minor repairs and adjustments, especially with
young players carrying the instrument to and from school and other
activities. If you can find a dealer near you who has a repair person
on site, they can often correct minor problems while you wait. If you
buy from a mail-order company, it is essential to make sure you know
a local repair shop who can fix the instrument, or you may have to
mail it back to the place you made the purchase in order to have repairs
IIf you are going to purchase a used flute,
you should seriously consider buying one from a reputable dealer. There
are many potential problems that may occur with a used instrument,
and it is important to have a company that will stand behind the purchase
and make necessary repairs. A good dealer will often refurbish used
instruments, and make them available for a reasonable price.
An ancient Chinese flute, the "tsche," played
in about 2637 BC, is believed to be the earliest transverse flute
(an instrument held horizontally). Made of bamboo, both sides
were closed, with a mouth-hole in the middle. Flutes have been
made of glass, wood, ceramic, brass, and even human and animal
bones. Gradually, improvements over the crude designs were made,
keys were added, and attempts were made to improve the pitch and
sound of the instrument. It is to the genius of Theobald Boehm
of Munich (1794-1881), a flutist, composer, and inventor, that
we owe credit for the modern flute used today.
The flute as we now know it was conceived in 1846.
After many experiments with the tube itself,
and the size and position of the toneholes in relation to it, Boehm
produced the modern flute. It had a parabolic, or tapered headjoint,
a cylindrical body, and large toneholes covered by keys. He experimented
with almost every material available. In 1847, he introduced his first
flutes made of silver and German silver (a
white alloy of copper, zinc, and nickel.)
At this time, the wooden flute
was still preferred by players over metal instruments, and remained
so until the early 20th century. It is interesting to note that,
although the flute is thousands of years old, the instrument we know
today was developed within a period of approximately 50 years, and
was chiefly the work of one person, Theobald Boehm.
IS THE FLUTE DIFFICULT TO LEARN?
Most anyone, with practice, can learn to play
the flute: the instrument described as being
most closely related to the human voice. It is important to learn proper
breathing techniques and breath support at the onset of playing so
that a proper embouchure (lip formation) can be developed. Most teachers
suggest that only the flute headjoint be
used at first when attempting to make initial sounds.
must vibrate in order for the sound to be produced; if a student
is unable to make a sound with the headjoint, putting the instrument
together will not help.
Some dizziness is common during the early stages
of playing: this happens because beginner players have to learn the
proper combination of embouchure [mouth] opening and air stream.
This will go away as breath control is learned and is nothing to worry
about. Keeping a chair handy and reminding the student to place his
head between his knees until the feeling goes away is all that is necessary.
Since the flute is held across the body and not
in front, it is difficult to see where the fingers are to be placed.
It is recommended that one hold the flute in front so the new
player can see correct finger placement without having to blow
at the same time. Practicing finger combinations without worrying
about sound production can help a student to develop the proper "feel" for
Reprinted with permission
of School Band and Orchestra magazine