Tip #2 for absolute beginner flute playersApr 04, 2022
Top flute tip #2 for absolute beginner flute players
You might remember, a few weeks ago, I wrote to you with TIP #1 from the Top 10 Tips for Absolute Beginner Flute Players article (that I wrote for the fabulous Swiss music company called Tomplay).
Well, today is all about TIP #2 - the different ways that beginners can get their hands on a flute - and the pros and cons of each!
Because we all know that having a flute that doesn't work properly is the worst. You never really know if it's the flute or if it's you!!
Have a read of the pros and cons below (or feel free to read all of the 10 tips here on Tomplay here if you feel like a good read!)
TOP FLUTE TIP #2: Make sure that you're using a flute that really works!
Naturally, you’re going to need a flute to be able to learn it! And it’s so important to have a flute that works properly.
Imagine this scenario: You’re teaching yourself the flute, you can’t make a sound and you think that you’re no good at the flute, so you give up.
But actually, the problem was not you, it was your flute!
This can be super frustrating because all along your flute was not working, when it really should be - to make your experience of learning the flute as smooth and frustration-free as possible!
So here are a few different options for acquiring a flute (that works!) if you don’t already have one...
Buy a brand new flute
The most important thing when you’re learning the flute is to have one that works properly. And the best way to ensure that your flute truly works is to buy a brand new student flute from a reputable brand.
Google “musical instrument shops” in your local area, and go in and chat to the staff. Chatting to an expert is often the best way to work out what is a suitable flute for your budget.
You might be tempted to buy a cheap flute online (e.g. on eBay), and they do look appealing - they are shiny and cheap!
Sometimes these flutes work well, and sometimes they don’t. It's really a bit of a "lottery" which you'll see below...
The risks of buying a cheap flute
As a beginner, it’s hard for you to know when the flute is actually working or not, so it’s generally best to avoid really cheap flutes.
In a nutshell: If you buy a really cheap flute, you never really know what you’re going to get. I recorded a fun video about buying a cheap supermarket flute here - you can hear what a really cheap flute sounds like and you’ll learn about the “lottery” (i.e. the risk!) of buying a super cheap flute.
The moral of the story is that it’s better to buy a brand new student model flute from a real music shop in person (or a real music shop online) if you can afford it. It will last for many years so is a great investment.
Rent a flute
Many reputable music shops offer an instrument rental service. This goes for not just flutes, but any instrument you want to learn - even including a gigantic piano - delivered right to your door!
Renting a flute is a fantastic option when you want to start playing the flute because it is affordable, and more importantly - the flutes are in good condition! The success of their business relies on them providing their customers with working instruments, so you can be confident that what you’re renting is a flute in good condition!
And like I said above, depending where you live, sometimes the instrument even gets delivered to you at home!
You have a flute lying around the house (yay!)
This might seem like the perfect scenario, but as a beginner, you may not know whether the flute is working!
The best approach, if you are lucky enough to already have a flute at home, is to take it to someone who is a good flute player and ask them if they can test it out for you.
When you take the flute to your friend, the'll be able to play a few scales, maybe a piece, on it and let you know straight away if it is in good working order. If so, you’re up and running with a flute! Woohoo!
And if you’re wondering how can you find someone who can play the flute well? Well, remember the Google search you did earlier about finding local community bands?
Contact them and ask if you could come in and watch part of a rehearsal! You'll be surprised at how often times community bands say YES to requests like this!
Take your flute with you, and I’m certain that the flute player of the band would be more than happy to test out your flute for you!
Borrow a flute from someone
If you’re in the fortunate position of someone offering you a flute for free, it would be wise to go through the same process as above of finding a flute player to test out your flute for you.
It’s really important to have a flute that works properly before you start learning!
Buy a second-hand flute
Buying a used flute can either be like getting the greatest bargain of the century (if the flute is good quality, in good working order and in your budget), or it could end up being the worst purchase you’ve ever made in your life (if you think the flute is a good deal but ends up not working properly!)
So, as you would do with any other non-new flute you’re thinking of using, see if you can find a good flute player to try out the second-hand flute before you buy it. That way, you know that you’re not buying a dud.
This is the advice that I give to all my flute students, and it results in them having a flute that lasts them for years. Every year or two, we get the flute checked for issues, and it might have a little tweak here and there by a qualified instrument repairer.
All in all however, their flute lasts them many years, and they can continue to learn frustration-free!
Stand by for Top Flute Tip #3!
So there you go - one of the important first steps as a flute player!
It's super important to have a flute that's working. If you don't, how will you know if you're the problem or if it's the flute??
In a few weeks, I'll send you Tip #3 - until next week, have a wonderful week of flute playing!