Product Reviews: Nuvo jFlute Curved Head Beginner Flute Kit
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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 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!!!
I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of playing and the warm tone. Whilst it doesn't even come close to the responsive Yamaha 311 I usually play and to me feels very chunky, it is great for what I bought it for. I have played it at the beach a number of times- it's light to carry, easy to clean and so far doesn't seem to be damaged by sand and salt.
I can definitely recommend it for playing outdoors.