Product Reviews: Nuvo Student Flute
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“Excellent beginner flute”
I am 68, and a complete novice at playing the flute. My choice of instrument was largely governed by its light weight and its price, in comparison to some beginner and some second hand flutes.
I am pleased to say that I have managed to produce some reasonable sounding notes quite quickly without recourse to the beginner embouchure thoughtfully provided
Listening to someone else playing the Nuvo flute, I am pleased with its tonal quality.
I thought that the various bright colours it comes in was an excellent idea and can imagine them appealing to both young children and older students, who want to play in pop groups and bands.
Obviously, I am not looking for an illustrious concert career myself! I think these plastic flutes are excellent starter instruments and am pleased that they are being adopted by schools. Anyone taking their music further would probably upgrade their instrument, whatever they started out with!
“Pink flute is a hoot!”
I take this with me a couple times a month to the swimming pool where I have physiotherapy. I throw it in the water from the deck to shock the new people, then I play it as I work on my walking/balance exercises. I enjoy it a great deal and so do my fellow pt patients. When I get home I take it apart and put it in the dish drainer to dry. The mechanism is a little mushy and the higher registers aren't great, but I have a lot of fun with this flute and that is what matters to me.
So what if this doesn't play or feel like my fancy Altus? It's the world's greatest bath toy!
“Excellent value and great fun to play!”
As an advanced player who's played but not regularly practised in the last 30 years, I bought myself one of these for Christmas - mainly in the hope that the novelty factor might make me practise more. I checked it over when it first arrived, and was amazed to find that it sounded pretty good when I played some initial tunes on it. I managed the self-restraint to put it away till Christmas, but looked forward hugely to giving it a proper workout. I've played it a lot over the last couple of months, and have found the following:
I play it very often, as I can leave it sitting on an ordinary flute stand in a corner. I notice it, and it's easy to pick up and have a quick play.
It's beautifully light to hold, so an old shoulder problem doesn't object.
It's light to carry around - I treat it with respect rather than awe when out and about.
It reliably produces a good tone, right down to middle 'C' and up as far as top 'D'.
As mentioned above, it's only reliable up to top 'D' - after which it's a bit wispy and not always reliable - but it only ever claims to be a beginner/student flute.
For experienced players, it is a bit different to hold; the bore is wider in places, and the lack of weight means it has a tendency to very gradually move around as you play.
I've only really used the case and cleaner, both are of good quality.
Excellent value for money, a lovely idea to get kids playing a 'proper' instrument without parents worrying about making a major financial investment. It's also a great idea for more advanced flautists who have shoulder problems, need to play anywhere that you wouldn't risk an expensive metal flute - or just need encouragement to practise more often!
“A great starter flute at a fantastic price”
The thing I really like about this instrument is that there is almost zero maintenance. Does it play like a £1,000 flute and would it impress pretentious flute snob? Probably not. But for someone who has developed a real love for the transfers flute, it has proved invaluable. Nuvo market the KIO (Keep It Out) aspect of their instruments due to the fact that they are made of plastic / resin. While I haven't yet played the flute in a swimming pool, I have practiced by chords in the garden in the pouring rain. Check out the many great YouTube clips of professional musicians playing the Nuvo.
“Like a marshmallow...only not edible!”
This is exactly like I imagine the experience of playing a marshmallow flute to feel...more flump than flute, I'm afraid! I understand the concept behind producing durable instruments for a classroom setting but it, unfortunately, gives the impression that instruments are things to be bashed about and not precious items to be taken care of. In my years of wider opportunities teaching, I spent a great deal of time teaching children the importance of instrument care. Sadly, the "flutes" used in my full class settings were even worse than these (so the NUVO gets 2 stars for at least seeming more mechanically sound) and only served to put children off learning the flute further. If this initiative is to continue (which, in my opinion, is not working and is just another government box ticking exercise) a much better option would be the fife, at £7 each, as part of GENERAL musicianship education, rather than bits of plastic that vaguely resemble a concert flute. There may be a use for this design on the beach (most probably as a snorkel, with the curved head, but be sure to blue-tac the holes) but I do object to it being marketed as a serious alternative for youngsters starting lessons. For really small children the fife is an excellent option, which is lightweight and an appropriate size. For children around 7 upwards I can absolutely recommend the Just Flutes "Apprentice" flute, which is only a little more expensive than the NUVO and produces a big sound easily (due to a very square embouchure hole) and will be better for children physiologically than a standard flute with curved head. I have demonstrated the "Apprentice" to students with some grade 8 pieces, so it is definitely up to the task and would even be a better option for adults wanting to have a bit of fun with a flute (because flutes put physical strain on the body, whatever your size). In comparison the NUVO is spongy, unresponsive (like blowing through cotton wool, and...well...plasticky! I applaud innovative research into alternative materials for instrument construction, especially with precious metal prices and ethical sourcing becoming of increasing concern, but, as for the NUVO...no...barking up the wrong tree!!!