Product Reviews: Just Flutes JFL-101 "Apprentice" Flute
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“By far the best option for young musicians”
This little flute is fantastic and by far the best option for youngsters (from around 7 upwards - prior to this I'd recommend a little fife to get the basics) wanting to take up the flute. It is lightweight, sits very well for little hands and produces a big sound without much puff. It has a very square embouchure hole which produces a very rich tone, something that would be very encouraging to a youngster. Small lungs can struggle to get big sounds on full-sized flutes and children often feel discouraged by this. Full sized flutes are designed for full sized people, so fatigue, dizziness and pain are quite common in children over-stretching to play a full concert flute, and I actually think this flute would be an excellent option for any beginner. I've had great fun playing this and I've been a flute teacher for 15 years. It can handle most things and I would have no objection to my young students using this for their early grades. Some of the additional keys that only really come into play for more advanced pieces have been removed, which reduces weight and eliminates the constant problem of fingers catching unnecessary keys, followed by, "Miss, my flute's broke!". There is also a thumb rest for the right thumb. EXCELLENT! Teaching children from the beginning that the thumb goes under the index finger. For anyone using a full sized flute I would seriously recommend a THUMBPORT II thumb rest to continue this good habit. I use one and now all my students are too.
Anyway, as a flute teacher who has spent many hours of my life seeing children struggle with their instruments I really do recommend this. As a teacher who has also spent many hours attempting to screw back together badly made instruments I would recommend, when moving to a full-sized flute, Pearl 505E (with "Forza" headjoint if you can stretch to it), Jupiter ESSC (most economical of my 3 choices) and Yamaha 221 (I personally prefer the one without the E mechanism because the mechanism adds backwards weight and is another thing that can go wrong - I have just started playing my first ever E-mech flute and I didn't miss it before - but the 211 is good too). The Pearl and Yamahas in particular, if well maintained (and this is so, so important) are good enough to take a musician to a very advanced level and can be upgraded with a handmade headjoint. The "Forza" on the Pearl will get you the furthest. Stay well clear of Trevor James (I started to have nightmares about these as I had to screw several of them back together seconds before an exam and the metal is so soft they do not hold repairs at all - the Jupiter is around the same price and much better), NUVO flutes and, really, any beginner flutes that aren't the above 3, IMHO! Do not get really cheap instruments. Even some reputable music shops (not Just Flutes, I hasten to add) are selling these cheap instruments but, seriously, don't. They work, at best, for a couple of months, cannot be repaired, and are not really flutes. They are a bit like somebody with an artistic eye, but no mechanical knowledge, looking at a car, building something that looks like said car by eye...but it don't run like a car! Even better, a lot of these instruments turn green. Lovely!
So, anyway, in one sentence - for really young beginners, fife, then the Just Flutes "Apprentice", then a Pearl 505E "Forza", Jupiter ESSC or Yamaha 221.
“Just Flutes JFL101 'Apprentice' Flute”
I have just bought the 'Apprentice' flute for my daughter's 9th birthday. Having witnessed the benefits first hand of teaching children fife before moving onto a full sized flute - this instrument caught my eye. It certainly has impressed me with the quality of the sound it can produce. The ease of handling and balance is outstandingly better for small hands and arms etc. than a conventional student model flute. Even a curved headjoint on a conventional model demands so much physically from younger/smaller learners that I've found most of their initial practice sessions are spent on practising how to balance the instrument ... but with the 'Apprentice' she can simply and comfortably get on with blowing the instrument and concentrate on learning the notes. Thankyou for bringing it in at this price range!
However, I feel I must add that the quality of the case is very diasppointing. All of the screws at the hinge side, inside the case are showing through, and, I feel, are quite frankly dangerous for little fingers. There is glue from the manufacturing process stuck to the plating of the flute, too. I'd have been happy to pay a little more if this meant the quality of the case could have been improved.
Just Flutes response
Elaine, thank you for taking the time to review the Apprentice flute. In response to feedback, the latest models of the Apprentice are now supplied in an upgraded case, which are lighter, more rugged and do not have screws at this point. We look forward to being of service again in the future.
“Great Little Instrument”
I've purchased a couple of these to hire out to young flute students (7/8 year olds) who struggle with the weight and size of a traditional flute, even with a curved headjoint. These apprentice flutes have a great sound, are easy to play and so far seem robust enough to cope with some less than gentle handling.
This is a great beginner instrument. I have 2 students both aged 6 who use these flutes and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of both the instruments and the sound they produce. The thumb rest and the extended finger pads both help the child remember which keys to actually press and encourage correct hand positioning too. The fact that the box keeps it in one piece so that no assembly is required is not only time saving but also reduces the risk of small hands damaging keys while twisting!!
Fantastic value too.
Only 4 stars however as the box quality isn't great and one of the instruments lost a pearly finger pad insert but it was easily glued back on.
Just Flutes response
Samantha, thank you for taking the time to review the Apprentice flute. In response to feedback, the latest models of the Apprentice are now supplied in an upgraded case, which are lighter, more rugged and do not have screws at this point. We look forward to being of service again in the future.
“Great Beginners Flute”
Bought this for my 8 year old who was graduating from the fife. Lovely sound and really easy to handle and hold for small hands
“Wonderful flute for young beginners”
I teach Suzuki flute and use this flute for all of my little students (from 4 years and up). It's a wonderful instrument that plays very easily, with a beautiful tone and has some very interesting extra's (extended keys, thumb rest for the right hand, etc...). I prefer this instrument above the Jupiter Prodigy! The case could be a little bit firmer, but I haven't had anybody who really broke the case.
“What a fantastic instrument”
As soon as this arrived I had a go. It plays beautifully letting the youngest beginner get a good sound and encouraging a good position. I would suggest using this for longer than you might think. Try to resist the pupil's desire to have a full size and full length flute using this to create good habits. Of course, you may find you are limited note wise at a certain point when perhaps you could consider moving on.
So glad I found this. As an experienced flautist and flute teacher, it is a joy to play.
“Fabulous little flute”
After 30 years' experience teaching the flute, it has been pure joy to discover the 'Apprentice' flute, and make the joy of music-making more accessible to children. A group of eight-year-olds I have been teaching were giving it their best shot on the full-sized flutes, but their enthusiasm and stamina has definitely improved 100% after giving them an 'Apprentice' flute to use. Its lovely rich tone, and child-friendly design definitely gets the thumbs up from me.
“Great sound, perfect for little hands”
If I weren't so used to my full size flute, and if I didn't need to play anything using the trill keys, I could so just play on this even as a fully grown (middle aged) music educator. Nice sound, very light weight yet staying away from plastic. Has held up well over the years.
“So far very pleased ”
We have only had this for a few weeks, but I bought it for my 6 year old son who has just started the flute. He finds it very manageable in terms of size and weight, really likes the thumb rest so his right hand is always in the right place and has started to be able to get relatively clear notes out. I think for smaller flautists this is a really good option.