The Right Tools

The Right Instrument

Have you ever tried to saw wood with a dull blade? Or tried to use a butter knife instead of a screwdriver? While the job may get done, how did you feel? This same frustration is experienced by flute students whose instrument is not the appropriate quality for their age and performing ability. By the time young flutists get to their third year, many student flutes inhibit musical progress, and may prevent them from reaching their full potential. So, before your young player gets discouraged and wants to quit band, it’s time to consider a step-up!

But will any flute do? Here are some simple steps to getting the best return on your investment, giving your child the best chance to reach their musical potential.


There are two commitments that must be made for a successful flute purchase. The first is that of the parent. These are instruments that can cost a good sum of money. Some parents withhold purchasing a better instrument until they feel it would “be a good investment.” However, a player can only grow to the level their instrument will allow. A poor-quality instrument will seldom make a great player. We like to think of playing the flute as a lifelong activity but the majority of instruction happens right now, while your child is in school. Delaying purchase is a trap into which many fall, and it rarely works out well for a child’s musical development.

The next commitment is that of the child. Engage them in the selection process by making a pact towards growing their musicality. It can be difficult for a young person to invest emotionally in a pursuit when they are not part of the decision-making process. When parents say, “I believe in your musical potential and your commitment to practice to further your musical efforts,” the student is encouraged and motivated. When the child agrees to the plan, parents are more likely to feel they can invest without reservation.

The Right Tools in the Toolbox | 703.822.8282
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Try Before You Buy

Your child could be losing interest in playing the flute because they don’t have the right “tool” in their hands. Comparing multiple instruments before you purchase one will enable you to find the best tool for your student’s progress. Each person is unique in bone, facial and dental structure, so a flute will not play the same for every person. It’s quite possible for two excellent flutists to sound totally differently on the same excellent flute.

Use a Store that Has a Flute Professional on Staff

Going to a professional flute store and trying many different brands and models is an experience that must not be missed. A flute expert will be able to educate you about the differences between the various brands and models – the materials, options, prices and sound – and how the right combination can best benefit your student. There is no better reward for a professional flute specialist than to see both the parent and student excited about their new instrument.

Also important is ensuring that your instrument is of high quality and in good repair. Buying a used flute is like buying a used car. No matter how prestigious the brand, if the flute you buy is not up to standard, you may have to invest additional funds to get the instrument in playing condition with no guarantees or warranties. The Flutist’s Faire will help you avoid this by offering only new or “certified” pre-owned instruments at a price you can afford.

Encourage the use of the new tool

Find playing opportunities for your student with at church, parties, extra school events, or a youth symphony. Sharing one’s talent in different venues with a new instrument can be incredibly motivating, reaffirming the value of the parents’ investment, and also benefitting your community.

Investing in the right tools allows a player to perform to the best of his or her abilities while reaching full musical potential. The rate of return on your investment, then? Priceless!

Things to Consider

Musical instruments can be expensive and online discount options may seem like the responsible option.  For many consumer items, this is surely the case, but the opposite is true when purchasing a flute.  Without hands-on qualification of the instrument, the young flutist is likely receiving an old or damaged instrument that is not suited to their style of playing, even if they are a beginner.  For example, many flutes on Ebay are in poor condition, are pitched lower than today’s instruments, and may not have the newer scale and technology.

While a parent may think they’re getting a bargain by purchasing online, it is important to tangibly assess the instrument’s quality and condition.  You will be enhancing the likelihood of your child’s musical success and saving yourself from a horrible major purchase.

Things to consider when purchasing your instrument:

Facial Structure

1. Lip shape and size
2. Jaw structure/teeth
3. Palate
4. Size and shape of tongue

Headjoint Cut

1. Shape of embouchure – round, oval, square
2. Height of back wall
3. Materials – lip, riser, tube
4. Lip plate size, angle, and distance from the tube

Beginner Flutes to Professional Flutes

1. All silver plated c foot flute, drawn tone hole
2. All silver plated b foot open hole flute, drawn
tone hole
3. Silver head, plated body and mechanism, drawn
tone hole
4. Silver head and body, plated mechanism, drawn
tone hole
5. All silver flute, drawn tone hole
6. All silver flute, soldered tone hole


1. Riser – the metal that attaches the lip plate to the
headjoint tube: silver, gold, white gold, platinum
2. C# trill key
3. D# roller
4. Split E
5. Pinless mechanism
6. In line or Offset G
7. Pitch:  A=440 or A=442