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How To Choose A Flute

A Few Helpful Hints

Girl playing a flute

As a Beginner

If you have never played the flute, the most important thing is to talk to a teacher before you go flute shopping! There are so many different makes and models of flute, and not all are ideal for a beginner. Ask advice and if possible get them to come with you whilst you choose. We advise to stick to well-known, reliable makes which have a proven track record and which are available at multiple trustworthy retailers. Be wary of 'deals', as many are often not the bargain they first appear.

Moving Up

Most players who reach the higher grades find that they want a fullness of sound, variation in tone colour and speed of response that can be difficult to get on a student instrument. Step-up and intermediate instruments are designed to give you these qualities.

When testing out instruments, many players make the mistake of simply playing through pieces. While this can give a very good idea of the overall sound and feel of the flute, it might also mean that you're not really putting the instrument through its paces by pushing its capabilities.

in our experience:

  • Long notes and scales can be the best way to test the tonal qualities and tuning of a flute;
  • Note bending and slurring between octaves test its flexibility;
  • Pianissimo top register notes and fortissimo bottom notes test the dynamic capabilities.

Also try any technical aspects you feel are weaker on your current instrument. Then, after comparing flutes using these techniques, move on to playing pieces, and even then only pieces you know very well (otherwise all you're testing is your sight-reading ability!).