Choosing a Flute for Your Child

Most of my friends from high school, including one of my closest high school friends, I made in the music department. We all traveled together on band and choir trips, and many of my friends were involved in sports. We stressed over the SATs together, studied together, as well as the inevitable partying together. I may have been inspired by my mother, who is also a musician, to pursue music, but the opportunity and experiences afforded to me by my public school arts program wouldn’t have been possible, for me, in any other outlet.

If your child is showing an affinity towards or joy for the flute, you may be thinking about taking a serious step and renting a better instrument or purchasing one for your child. But where to start?

Renting

The first thing to know when renting a flute is that they come in two distinct options in terms of the keys: open or closed holed. However a closed hole flute is easier to play. Open holed flutes are played by the majority of professional players due the ability of this construction type to allow easier production of different colors and nuances. If the flute doesn’t come with plugs, plastic plugs can be purchase for 3 – 5 dollars and the student and teacher can remove them together one finger at a time as your child gets comfortable.

How To Select your Flute

image from Flutes Buying Guide on www. musiciansfriend.com

For the smaller framed flutist or little one (4 or 5 year old) who actually makes time to play their flute between obsessing over do it yourself bracelets which I’m sure are super easy to keep organized – God bless my parents for cultivating all my art projects – fret not! Head joints, the top piece of the flute, come in a curved variety to shorten the length, making it easier to hold. Curved headjoints can be purchased separately if you find out after the fact you’re in need of one, but they can also be purchased out right with the flute with a normal headjoint to give your child room to grow.

image from How to Buy a Curved Headjoing from childrensmusicworkshop.com

Buying

For the parents who have a child seriously considering the flute, where do you buy? What do you buy? For those of you who live in nearby New England, you’re in luck. Boston is a mecca for flute making. And a lot of these flute makers make high quality student model instruments. Gemeinhardt and Jupiter manufacture a flute that can range anywhere from a few hundred used to two thousand dollars. Amedeus – manufactured by Haynes, is a slightly more expensive option that can see a more serious student into their freshman year of college. My Gemeinhardt flute saw me into my Junior year of College. By then, I had out grown it and it had seen its headjoint replaced. This was also a practical, and common way, to stave of the purchase of a flute.

If you’re thinking of purchasing directly from the manufacturer and are thinking of customization, there are a lot of options.  Some of the options available on professional models are available on semi-professional flutes, mechanism options (springs and pads being made of gold vs silver), what the flute is made of (gold, silver, platinum, or an alloy), which I will not go into detail here. Buying an instrument is a deeply personal choice. No two instruments are the same, and do not play the same for every person; this will be more noticeable as the student’s skill level increases.

Left Handed Flutes?

They exist! It’s is not very common, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them. There are left handed violists and violinists, but they’re not very practical in orchestras. I’d imagine the same concern for string players hitting each other with their bows translates to the woodwind section with flute players! There is a left handed flute manufacturer, Viento Flutes. If a left handed flute is more practical due to an injury, talk with your band or orchestra director to ensure that your child is incorporated into the program and full included in the curriculum.

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